PSCI 110120 Sept 2007 Civil Liberties Contemporary concerns Civil liberties vs. civil rights Personal rights and the First Amendment
Civil Liberties vs. Civil Rights Civil liberties: Freedom from. The freedoms enjoyed by individuals. Civil liberties define what government cannot do to people; negative rights. Civil rights: Freedom to. Clarifies that civil liberties apply to all. Civil rights specify what government should do to avoid discriminatory application of civil liberties; positive rights.
Theoretical Concepts UnderlyingCivil Rights and Liberties 1. Equality • Individual dignity • Freedom:Maximize individual choice • Freedoms are in conflict • Limit freedom to protect the rights of others
Personal Rightsand the First 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.”
Freedom of Speech The First Amendment states: “Congress shall make no law… abridging the freedom of speech…” But, rights are relative.
Freedom of Speech The First Amendment states: “Congress shall make no law… abridging the freedom of speech…” But, rights are relative. The courts have addressed free speech issues by making a distinction between: * pure speech * conduct
Pure Speech Conduct Pure speech is Constitutionally protected. Conduct, however, is not necessarily protected. Where do you draw the line??
DeJonge v. Oregon(1937)The Supreme Court declared that DeJonge should be set free because he was “entitled to peaceably discuss the issues of the day.” * * * * *Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes (1929): “If there is any principle of the Constitution that more imperatively calls for attachment than any other it is the principle of free thought – not free thought for those who agree with us but freedom for the thought that we hate.” 1st Amendment, Free Speech Case
Testing the Limits to the First Amendment’s Guarantee of Free Speech Tests devised by the Supreme Court: • Clear and present danger test • Balancing of the interest test (including application of the preferred position doctrine) • Gravity of the evil test • Incitation test, distinguishing between: • advocacy in the abstract; and • advocacy designed to incite immediate illegal action