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Civil Liberties and Civil Rights

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  1. Civil Liberties andCivil Rights

  2. Civil Liberties • Those rights guaranteed to you in the Bill of Rights

  3. Bill of Rights • Framers had three objectives in regards to civil liberties • Wanted to limit federal powers and assure the rights and liberties found in several state constitutions • Wanted the Constitution to be a document proclaiming what the federal government could do • Any mention of what the government could not do was meant to apply ONLY to federal government

  4. Reasons why Civil Liberties have created major issues in the history of the nation • Bill of Rights contains competing rights • Government officials have often been successful at taking action against the rights of political or religious dissidents • Cultural differences of immigrants have created conflicts

  5. First Amendment • Freedom of Speech, Assembly, Religion, Press, Petition

  6. Non-Protected Speech • Libel • Written statement defaming another with false information • Slander • Defamatory oral statement • Burden of proof in libel and slander tends to be higher for public figures because they must show actual malice

  7. Obscenity • FCC has not created an enduring and comprehensive definition • Contemporary community standards and based on whether the material in question had “serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value.”

  8. Symbolic Speech • An expression through acts rather than words • Is not protected when it involves an illegal act • Burning a draft card • Protected when no illegal act is involved • Burning a flag, black arm bands

  9. Definition of a Person • Corporations and organizations usually have the same First Amendment rights as individuals • More restrictions are placed on commercial speech • Young people have fewer rights than adults • School newspapers may be censored

  10. Church and State • Religious rights on the First Amendment are protected by two different clauses

  11. The Free-exercise Clause • The government cannot interfere with an individual’s practice of religion • The law may not impose special burdens on religion • However there are no religious exemptions from a law binding all other citizens, even if that law oppresses one’s religious beliefs • Ex. Refusing to work on Saturday if it is your holy day

  12. The Establishment Clause • Interpreted to mean no government involvement in religion, even if the involvement is not preferential • Some government aid to parochial schools and denominational colleges has been allowed • Secular purpose that neither advances nor inhibits religion • Does not create excessive government entanglement

  13. Rights of the Accused • Contained in the 4th, 5th , and 6th Amendments • Prohibition against unreasonable searches and seizures • Rights when accused, due process • Rights when on trial

  14. Exclusionary Rule • Derived from 4th amendment, freedom from unreasonable searches and 5th amendment protection against self-incrimination • Mapp v Ohio, the Supreme Court ruled that the exclusionary rule applies to the states as well as the federal government

  15. What is a reasonable search? • Properly obtained search warrant • Probable cause to believe that a crime has been committed and the evidence bearing on that crime will be found at a certain location • Can be searched in the process of a lawful arrest, items in plain view, and items immediately under control of the individual

  16. Searches in Cars • Recently the Court has allowed more searching of a car upon arrest • Concern for public safety

  17. Miranda v Arizona1966 • Set guidelines for police questioning the accused by forcing officers to read suspects their rights • Were designed to protect the accused against self-incrimination and to protect their right to counsel

  18. Terrorism and Civil Liberties • Patriot Act was designed to increase federal powers in investigating terrorists

  19. The government may tap any telephone used by a suspect after receiving a court order • The government may tap Internet connections with a court order • The government may seize voicemail with a court order • Investigators can share information learned in grand jury proceedings

  20. Any non-citizen may be held as a security risk for seven days, or longer if certified to be a security risk • The federal government may track money across U.S. borders and among banks • The statute of limitations on terrorist crimes is eliminated, with increased penalties

  21. An executive order proclaimed that any non-citizen believed to be a terrorist or to have harbored a terrorist would be tried by a military court

  22. Military Court Operations • Accused are tried before a commission of military officers • A 2/3 vote of the commission is needed to find the accused guilty • An appeal by the accused may be only to the secretary of defense or to the president

  23. Other Rights Guaranteed in The Bill of Rights • Right to Bear Arms • Private citizens do not have to quarter troops • Right to trial in civil suits • No excessive bail or cruel and unusual punishment • Un-enumerated rights protected • States reserved powers

  24. Civil Rights • The rights of citizens to receive equal treatment before the law

  25. Civil Rights Movement in the Courts • 14th amendment was both an opportnity and a problem for black activists • A guarantee of equal rights for all • Narrowly interpreted to mean equal legal rights, but otherwise could be treated differently • Narrow view adopted in Plessy v Ferguson (1896)

  26. NAACP • Established in 1909 to lobby Washington and publicize black grievances • Most influential role was in the courtroom • Three step process to attack school segregation • Declare unconstitutional laws creating separate schools obviously unequal • Declare unconstitutional laws creating separate schools that were no so obviously unequal • Rule that separate schools are inherently unequal and unconstitutional

  27. Brown v Board of Education • Landmark decision, Court ruled that separate schools were inherently unequal and overturned Plessy in a unanimous decision • Class action suit that applied to all similarly situated African American students • Integration should proceed with all deliberate speed

  28. de jure v de facto • de jure, by law • In the South, clearly unconstitutional as a result of Brown • de facto, residential • In the North, based on where people lived • Integration came to be defined by the courts as a “unitary, nonracial system of education”

  29. Swann v Charlotte-Mecklenburg Board of Education (1971) • To violate the Constitution a school system must have intended to discriminate • A one race school creates the presumption of intent to discriminate • Remedies for past discrimination can include quotas, busing, and redrawn district lines • Not every school must reflect the racial composition of the entire system

  30. Civil Rights and Congress • Four developments changed the civil rights movements’ chances in Congress • Public opinion became more favorable toward the movement as the years wore on • Violent reactions by white segregationists received extensive coverage by the media • Assassination of Pres. Kennedy gave Pres. Johnson a period of strong relations with Congress • 1964 election was a Democratic landside that allowed northern Democrats to seize power in Congress

  31. Congressional Actions • Five important civil rights bills were passed between 1957 and 1968 • Significant voting rights laws were passed in 1957, 1960, and 1965 • High point of civil rights legislation was Civil Rights Act of 1964 • Assured equality of opportunity in employment, public accommodations, voting, and schools

  32. Women and Equal Rights • Feminist movement reappeared in the 1960s • Questioned the claim that women differed from men in ways that justified differences in legal status • Congress responded by passing laws that required equal pay for equal work and prohibited discrimination in education and employment

  33. Military • Rostker v Goldberg (1981) • The Supreme Court held that Congress can require men but not women to register for the draft without violating the due-process clause of the 5th Amendment • 1993 the secretary of defense allowed women to have air and sea combat positions but not ground combat positions

  34. Sexual Harassment • Types • Quid pro quo • Sexual favors are expected in return for holding a job or gaining a promotion • Hostile environment • Creating a setting in which harassment impairs a person’s ability to work • Employers are liable in this form if they are negligent

  35. Abortion • Issue was left up to the states until 1973 when Roe v Wade declared a Texas law that banned abortion unconstitutional • During the 3rd trimester states can ban abortion because the fetus is viable • 1976 Congress barred the use of federal funds to pay except when mother’s life is in danger • 1989 Supreme Court upheld the right of states to impose some restrictions • 1992 Court permitted more restrictions such as a 24 hour waiting period

  36. Affirmative Action • Equality of opportunity vs. equality of results • 1978 Bakke Case • Supreme Court ruled that numerical minority quotas are not permissible but that race could be considered in admissions policies

  37. Affirmative action cont. • In a landmark 2003 case involving the University of Michigan's affirmative action policies-one of the most important rulings on the issue in twenty-five years-the Supreme Court decisively upheld the right of affirmative action in higher education. • Two cases, first tried in federal courts in 2000 and 2001, were involved • the University of Michigan's undergraduate program (Gratz v. Bollinger) • its law school (Grutter v. Bollinger). • The Supreme Court (5-4) upheld the University of Michigan Law School's policy, ruling that race can be one of many factors considered by colleges when selecting their students because it furthers "a compelling interest in obtaining the educational benefits that flow from a diverse student body." .

  38. The Supreme Court, however, ruled (6-3) that the more formulaic approach of the University of Michigan's undergraduate admissions program, which uses a point system that rate students and awards additional points to minorities, had to be modified. The undergraduate program, unlike the law school's, did not provide the "individualized consideration" of applicants deemed necessary in previous Supreme Court decisions on affirmative action.

  39. In the Michigan cases, the Supreme Court ruled that although affirmative action was no longer justified as a way of redressing past oppression and injustice, it promoted a "compelling state interest" in diversity at all levels of society. • A record number of "friend-of-court" briefs were filed in support of Michigan's affirmative action case by hundreds of organizations representing academia, business, labor unions, and the military, arguing the benefits of broad racial representation. • As Sandra Day O'Connor wrote for the majority, "In order to cultivate a set of leaders with legitimacy in the eyes of the citizenry, it is necessary that the path to leadership be visibly open to talented and qualified individuals of every race and ethnicity."

  40. Other Areas of Civil Rights Conflicts • Immigration • Gay Rights