Presentation on theme: "American Government and Politics Today"— Presentation transcript:
1 American Government and Politics Today Chapter 4Civil Liberties
2 The Bill of RightsOrigins - colonists’ fear of a tyrannical governmentFederalists agreed to amend the Constitution to include a Bill of Rights after ratificationThis placed limitations on the government and thus protected citizens’ civil liberties
3 The Bill of Rights and State Governments The original Bill of Rights did not apply to state governmentsThe Fourteenth Amendment (1868) imposed, step-by-step, most Constitutional protections of civil liberties upon state governmentsIncorporation theory: the view that most protections of the Bill of Rights apply to state governments through the Fourteenth Amendment’s due process clause
4 Freedom of Religion: The Establishment Clause Setting up “a wall of separation of Church and State”Aid to church-related schoolsSchool vouchersSchool prayer—Engel v. VitalePrayer outside the classroomThe Ten CommandmentsThe teaching of evolutionReligious speech
5 Freedom of Religion: The Free Exercise Clause Guarantees the free exercise of religion, and is restrained when religious practices interfere with public policyExamples: the ability of school districts to select texts for students; the requirement of vaccinations for school enrollmentThe Religious Freedom Restoration ActFree exercise in public schools
6 Freedom of Expression No prior restraint Protection of symbolic speech Protection of commercial speechPermitted restrictions on expressionClear and present dangerModifications: the bad-tendency rule, the grave and probable rule
7 Freedom of Expression (continued) Unprotected SpeechObscenitySlanderPornography and Internet pornographyCampus speechHate speech on the Internet
8 Freedom of the Press Libel: a written defamation of character Public figures must meet higher standards than ordinary people to win a libel suitA free press versus a fair trialGag order: the right of a defendant to a fair trial supersedes the right of the public to “attend” the trialFilm, radio, and televisionThis freedom is no longer limited to print media, though broadcast media do not receive the same protection as print media
9 The Right to Assemble and Petition the Government The Supreme Court has held that state and local governments cannot bar individuals from assemblingHowever, they can require permits for assembly so that order can be maintained, though they cannot be selective as to who receives permitsStreet gangsOnline assembly
10 Matters of PrivacyThere is no explicit Constitutional right to privacy – it is an interpretation by the Supreme Court drawn from the First, Third, Fourth, Fifth, and Ninth AmendmentsThe right was established in in Griswold v. ConnecticutPrivacy rights in an information age
11 Privacy Rights and Abortion In Roe v. Wade (1973) the court held that governments could not prohibit abortions, as this would violate a woman’s right to privacyThe Supreme Court has issued many decisions on the boundaries of state regulations concerning abortionThe controversy continues
12 Privacy Rights and the Right to Die Cruzan v. Director, Missouri Department of Health (1997): a patient’s life support could be withdrawn at the request of a family member if there was “clear and convincing evidence” that the patient did not want the treatmentThis has led to the popularity of advance health directives, commonly called living willsWhat if there is no living will?
13 Privacy Rights and the Right to Die (continued) Physician-assisted suicide - the Court has stated that the Constitution does not imply a right to commit suicideThis decision has given states much leeway to legislate on this issueOnly Oregon has legalized physician-assisted suicide
14 Privacy Rights versus Security Issues Privacy rights have taken on particular importance since September 11, 2001Rules such as the proposed “roving” wiretap legislation may violate the Fourth AmendmentThe USA Patriot ActConcerns about civil liberties
15 The Rights of the Accused versus the Rights of Society Fourth AmendmentNo unreasonable or unwarranted search or seizureNo arrest except on probable causeFifth AmendmentNo coerced confessionNo compulsory self-incrimination
16 The Rights of the Accused (continued) Sixth AmendmentLegal counselInformed of chargesSpeedy and public jury trialImpartial jury of one’s peersEighth AmendmentReasonable bailNo cruel or unusual punishment
17 Extending the Rights of the Accused Miranda v. Arizona (1966): requires police to inform suspects of their rightsA “public safety” exception to Miranda says that illegal confessions need not bar a conviction if other evidence is strong, and that suspects must claim their rights unequivocally
18 Extending the Rights of the Accused (continued) In the future, a procedure such as video recording of interrogations might satisfy Fifth Amendment requirementsThe exclusionary rule: prohibits the admission of illegally seized evidence
19 The Death Penalty Is the death penalty cruel and unusual punishment? Or is it a useful method for dealing with the worst criminals?
21 The Death Penalty Today The death penalty is allowed in 37 statesTime limits for death row appealsThe Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996 limits appeals from death rowDNA testing has freed about 100 death row inmates who were wrongly convicted, casting more doubt on the use of capital punishment
22 Questions for Critical Thinking What do you think is the historical basis for civil liberties? Are Americans as concerned today about the protection of their civil liberties as were our founders?Do you think the libel laws restrict a free press? Should the press be allowed to publish anything it wants about a person? Should the press have to prove that everything published is absolutely true?
23 Questions for Critical Thinking Why are the rights of the accused so important? Is there any way to strike a balance between the rights of the victims and the rights of the accused?