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Bill of Rights

Bill of Rights

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Bill of Rights

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  1. Bill of Rights Essential Questions: Why have a Bill of Rights? How does the Bill of Rights protect out Freedoms? Lesson Objective: To understand the protections and purpose of the Bill of Rights

  2. The 1st Amendment • Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances



  5. Freedom of Religion • Establishment Clause- forbids the Government from establishing a national religion • Separation of Church & State does not actually appear in the Constitution* • Courts have limited prayer in public schools • Engle v. Vitale (1962) • Lemon v. Kurtzman(1971) • Lemon Test • Have a secular purpose • Have a primary effect that neither advances nor prohibits religion; and • Not foster excessive government entanglement with religion • Can: • Allow for optional bible study • Public funds for special education services at religious schools • Gov. can give people money to attend religious schools (vouchers) • Can’t • Pay catholic school teachers with public funds • Public prayer either in school or at school functions • Goal is to strike a balance between free exercise of religion and not promoting one particular religion

  6. Freedom of Religion • “Government will make no law…prohibiting the free exercise thereof….” • Not absolute • Snake handling • Use of illegal drugs • Polygamy • Can believe whatever you want…but practice can be limited

  7. Freedom of Speech, Press, and Assembly • Is freedom of speech important to a Democracy? • OF COURSE! • But…. Still subject to some regulation. • Thoughts- Most protected • Words- Somewhat protected • Actions- Least protected • What is not protected? • Obscenity, libel, lewdness, and fighting words • Can be hard to define

  8. Historical Limits on Speech • Alien and Sedition Acts • Ban on anti-slavery information in the South • Lincoln arrested many editors who opposed him during the Civil War • WWI –Espionage Acts • “Direct incitement”- must be likelihood of immanent harm- 1969

  9. Protected Speech and Publications • Prior Restraint • Symbolic Speech • Communist flag • Flag burning • Black Armbands to protest Vietnam • Hate Speech/ Unpopular Speech • Fine line between what is protected and what is not – Cross Burning is not protected • Sometime speech is limited by non-governmental agencies (universities / college)

  10. Unprotected Speech • Libel and Slander • High standards for proof • Even parodies are protected- Hustler Magazine v. Falwell • Fighting words • Obscenity and Pornography • Problem is defining it • “I know it when I see it”

  11. Rights of Criminal Defendants • Due Process rights • 4th, 5th, 6th, 8th Amendment • 4th Search and Seizure • “The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall be issued, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the person or things to be seized.“

  12. When police do not need warrants… • the person arrested • things in plain view of the accused • places or things that are in the immediate control of the accused • "stop and frisk" individuals under reasonable suspicion (a lower standard than probable cause) • with consent, no warrant is needed and consent may be given by roommates and other household occupants • drunk drivers • open fields

  13. The 5thAmendment • “No person shall be...compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself.“ • Miranda v. Arizona – why we have Miranda rights • Keeps police from coercing a confession out of you! • Exclusionary Rule -1914 • illegally obtained evidence is thrown out in court • Keeps police from breaking the 4th and 5th Amendments

  14. 6th Amendment • Right to counsel • At first meant could hire a lawyer • Eventually expanded to get free lawyer- for any case where jail time could be served • Gideon v. Wainwright – 1963 • Jury trials • Speedy, public, trial by “impartial jury” – 6 months or more in prison • Right to confront witnesses • Not absolute- Child abuse victims

  15. 8th Amendment • Cruel and unusual punishment • Generally refers to the death penalty • Federal court normally unwilling to overrule state decisions • Children and Mentally ill/ handicapped have been protected against death penalty • DNA testing has overturned many death penalty cases in recent years

  16. The 2nd Amendment • "A well-regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed." • What do you think that means? • What are some of the issues that surround this Amendment? • Should firearms be regulated? Illegal? Less restricted?

  17. The Right to Privacy • Not explicitly mentioned in Bill of Rights, courts have ruled that some areas of your life are off limits to the government • Birth Control • Abortion • One of the most controversial subjects today • Court has generally ruled, with Congress, to limit abortion rights