Rights Liberties and the Pursuit of Happiness Bill of Rights – the first 10 amendments to the Constitution, they are a listing of the rights of the people. Civil Liberties – protections against the government. In particular the national govt. Civil Rights – actions of the government that attempt to make constitutional guarantees, practiced for everyone.
What are Rights? Rights are based on the concept of Limited Government. (limiting the authority of government) Rights only extend until the infringe upon the rights of someone else. Sometimes rights are denied when they come into conflict (Sheppard v. Maxwell, 1966) Depending on the right, it can be limited. States can’t limit rights either • Due Process Clause (14th A.) – States can’t take away any rights that are needed to have the American idea of freedom. • Process of incorporation – merging the Bill of Rights with the Due Process Clause
Freedom of Speech Protected in the 1st Amendment Allows Freedom to communicate verbally, visually, and in the press Able to discuss public (political) issues Why? Original goal of the Founders was to find “Enlightened” people to serve society. Why?
Not protected by Freedom of Speech Libel (false or malicious use of printed words) & Slander (false or malicious use of speech) are not protected Seditious speech is NOT protected “Clear and Present Danger” – basically, if it will cause some form of national problem, Congress can make it a crime that is punishable. – Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes Smith Act of 1940 – outlawed to advocate the violent overthrow of the National Govt. of the U.S. or to knowingly belong to such a group.
Obscene What is obscene? Not protected by the 1st and 14th A. Three part test The average person using local standards finds the material to excite lust The describes or depicts a form of sexual conduct anti-obscenity law The work lacks serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value Where can also be regulated locally Locations such as adult entertainment close to public places Libraries that receive federal funding can’t have obscene material Can also regulate the delivery method of the obscene material – (not aimed at limiting free expression, but how that expression is shown)
Proper Restraint With a few exceptions the government cannot put “Prior Restraint” on words or ideas before they are expressed. • Exceptions – wartime, obscene, expresses violence • New York Times v. United States (1971) – allowed the publication of the “Pentagon Papers” because the govt. could not prove how it violated national security. • Hazelwood School District v. Kuhlmeier (1988) – the S.C. held that educators can use editorial control over the style and content of student speech in school sponsored expressive activities so long as those actions are related to legitimate educational concerns (anything involved with the school/district)
Confidentiality Confidentiality in relation to free speech occurs when sources will only give information to a reporter in exchange for their identity being hidden. The Courts have not granted this power to reporters and stated that only Congress & the States can issue that power known as “shield laws” Congress never did, but some states have.
Broadcasting The Court upholds control of various broadcasting systems because they use “the publics” airwaves to distribute their product Allowed to issue licenses Can sensor Obscene behavior and take this into account when stations are applying for license renewal.
Symbolic Speech Using symbols instead of words to convey a message Ex. Signs, pins, facial expressions, limb gestures Must remain peaceful or it can be stopped Doesn’t include everything that could be called the expression of an idea or message (United States v. O’Brian 1968) Can be punished if Within Constitutional Law to regulate Restrictions on expression are not greater than necessary The real aim of the govt. isn’t to crush dissent This includes the protection of flag burning as protest.
Freedom of Religion 1st & 14th Amend. – guarantee this by stating that the govt. can’t create a State Religion (such as in Europe) and can’t interfere with religion. Not creating a State Religion is known as the Establishment Clause and allows the famous idea of “separation of church and state” Church and Education Schools can’t sponsor religious exercises (includes beginning with a prayer each day or reading the Bible in public schools for religious purposes, moments of silences by law at the beginning of each day).
Student Groups By law, student religious groups get to meet in the school under the same rules as other groups, as long as that school receives federal funds (Equal Access Act of 1984) Court upheld because it doesn’t violate the Establishment Clause
Others Seasonal Displays are permitted as long as they either mix the displays (multi-religious or neutral religious) Chaplains get paid in Congress and the State houses and start the day with a prayer because 1. been doing it since the beginning of our country 2. “Congressmen are not susceptible to religious indoctrination or peer pressure”
Free Exercise Clause The belief that YOU can believe whatever you want is known as the Free Exercise Clause. It can be limited based on situations
Freedom of Assembly Assembly – to gather with other people to express views on public matters. Protects the right to PEACEFULLY organize, influence public policy, to be heard by public officials (written, verbal or otherwise) Rules can be placed on this right in regards to time, where, or how this is done.– must be precise Based on the usual use of public property, it is permitted to need to get permits to demonstrate in public settings. The right to assembly doesn’t mean you can trespass on private property, such as stores, malls, churches, etc.
Freedom of Association Under Assembly, the freedom of Association allows you to be with whoever you want to promote political, economic, and other social causes. While not written in the Constitution it is none the less there (NAACP v. Alabama 1958),(Boy Scouts of America v. Dale 2000)