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Civil Liberties & Civil Rights

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Presentation on theme: "Civil Liberties & Civil Rights"— Presentation transcript:

1 Civil Liberties & Civil Rights

2 Principles of Civil Liberties and Civil Rights
Differences Civil liberties – constitutional protections of all persons against governmental restrictions on the freedoms of conscience, religion, and expression (basic freedoms) Civil rights – constitutional rights of all persons to due process and the equal protection of the law (discriminatory treatment) Sources The Constitution (no ex post facto laws, bills of attainder, habeas corpus) Bill of Rights, subsequent amendments (especially Amendments 1, 5, and 14) Legislation (e.g. Civil Rights Acts of 1964, Voting Rights Act of 1965) State constitutions

3 Principles of Civil Liberties and Civil Rights
Important Considerations Protections are not absolute—they may be exercised only as long as they do not infringe upon the rights of others Your right to swing your arms ends just where the other man's nose begins Balancing test: courts balance individual rights and liberties with society’s need for order and stability Most rights and liberties are granted to all in the United States, regardless of citizenship Exceptions: non-citizens may not vote, serve on juries, staying in the U.S. unconditionally, hold public office or certain

4 Principles of Civil Liberties and Civil Rights
Impact of federalism Framers believed that the Constitution limited government enough. However, the state ratifying constitutions demanded the addition of a Bill of Rights to protect citizens from the federal government. Bill of Rights was a protection against the national governments and did not include protections against state governments 1st Amendment – “Congress shall make no law…” Barron v. Baltimore (1833) – 5th amendment limits only the powers of the federal government At the time of passage (1791), every state constitution included a bill of rights

5 Principles of Civil Liberties and Civil Rights
Impact of the Fourteenth Amendment (1868) Due Process Clause – “no state shall deprive any person of life, liberty or property without due process of law” Equal Protection Clause – “no state shall deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws” Gitlow v. New York (1925) began a process of selective incorporation (gradual, case-by-case process of applying the Bill of Rights to the states) that lasted from 1930s-1960s & 2010 (McDonald v. Chicago)

6 Principles of Civil Liberties and Civil Rights
Other rights applied to the state by selective incorporation: Assembly Petition Religion Search and seizure protections Self-incrimination Double jeopardy Right to counsel Right to bring witnesses Right to confront witnesses Cruel and unusual punishment protections Which rights must be upheld comes from Palko v. Connecticut (1937): any right that is “essential to a fundamental scheme of liberty”

7 Freedom of Religion Establishment clause: “Congress shall make no laws respecting an establishment of religion…” Came from colonial aversion to state-sponsored churches Clearly prevents a state-sponsored church Competing interpretations: Accomodationist view “Freedom OF Religion” vs. Separationist view “Freedom FROM Religion” (Jefferson and the “wall of separation” between the two) Incorporating case: Emerson v. Board (1947) Engel v. Vitale (1962): recited prayer Lemon v. Kurtzman (1971): aid to parochial school Zelmon v. Simmons-Harris (2002): vouchers

8 Freedom of Religion Free Exercise Clause: “…or prohibiting the free exercise thereof;” Provides freedom of worship and from burdens on religious institutions Religion cannot make an otherwise illegal act legal Belief is always protected; practice is sometimes not (is: Jehovah’s Witnesses not saluting the flag; not: polygamy) – government must show a “compelling interest” to restrict practice Incorporating case: Cantwell v. Connecticut (1940)

9 Freedom of Speech and Press
Protected by the 1st and 14th Amendments at the federal and state level (incorporating case: Gitlow and Near v. Minnesota (1941)) Involves both giving and hearing speech Intended to protect expressing unpopular views Not all speech is protected “Clear and Present Danger” Test (FIRE!!! – not protected) Libel – publication of statements known to be false that damage a person’s reputation New York Times v. Sullivan (1964): libelous statements only when false and malicious in intent Slander – Spoken defamation of character Obscenity (Problem: what is obscene? Miller v. California (1973): decisions should reflect local communities) Symbolic speech (Tinker and Texas v. Johnson)

10 Freedom of Assembly Right to gather together in order to make a statement within reasonable limits Government may impose time, place, and manner restrictions Incorporating case: DeJonge v. Oregon (1937) Courts are reluctant to impose prior restraint

11 Freedom to Petition Right to petition the government for a redress of grievances – ask the government for action Incorporating case: Edwards v. South Carolina (1963) Constitutional basis for lobbying Provides the basis for freedom of association Political association (limited for federal employees by the Hatch Act) Private association

12 Due Process of Law Due process of law: 5th and 14th Amendments prohibit the government from denying life, liberty, or property without due process of law Procedural Due Process: “how” the law is applied If the government is going to deny one of these rights, it must use fair procedures to do so. Violations: Illegal searches; Unfair court procedures Substantive Process: “what” a government may or may not do Not only does the government have to go about applying the law in the right way, but the laws themselves must be fair Courts focus on violations against enumerated rights of the Bill of Rights, minority rights, rights necessary to participate in the political process

13 Rights of the Accused Search and Seizure Protection
Incorporating case: Wolf v. Colorado (1949) Seizures (arrests) may conducted: With a warrant issued upon “probable cause” Without a warrant in emergencies, in cases of “hot pursuit”, or when probable cause exists Searches may be conducted: Warrant must be specific: must state place to be searched and objects to be searched for This was a reaction to British general search warrants (writs of assistance) issued during colonial times

14 Rights of the Accused Exclusionary Rule
Prohibits evidence obtained by illegal searches or seizure from being admitted in court; “fruit of the poisonous tree” Stems from freedom from unreasonable searches and seizures (4th Amendment) and protection against self-incrimination (5th Amendment) Incorporating case: Mapp v. Ohio (1961)

15 Rights of the Accused Protection From Self-Incrimination
Fifth Amendment provides this right: “…nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to a witness against himself…” Incorporating case: Malloy v. Hogan (1964) Miranda warnings (Miranda v. Arizona (1966)) are necessary for any suspect taken into custody Right to Counsel Incorporating case: Powell v. Alabama (1932) for capital cases, Gideon v. Wainwright (1963) for felony cases State must provide legal help for those who cannot afford it – included in Miranda warnings

16 Rights of the Accused Excessive bail and fines
8th Amendment; Incorporation is questionable Bail set must bear some relationship to: Seriousness of the offense Likelihood that the suspect will flee if bail is posted *Denial of bail does not constitute excessive bail Cruel and Unusual Punishment Banned by 8th Amendment Most of the debate on the issue has centered on the application Laws vary from state to state, but legal after Gregg v. Georgia (1976) Cannot be mandatory; protection for 16- and 17-year olds as well as the mentally handicapped from the death penalty Recent decline attributed to DNA testing and public concerns over wrongful sentences Punishment must be proportionate to the crime Three strikes rule has been upheld

17 Right to Privacy Not specifically granted in the Constitution. However, the following provisions imply a right to privacy: Amend. I – guarantee of freedom of religion Amen. III – prohibition against quartering Amen. IV – search and seizure protections Amen. V – protection of private property seizure without due process Defined by the opinion in Groswold v. Connecticut (1965) – prohibition of contraceptives violated the right to marital privacy Precedent that was used in Roe v. Wade (1973)

18 Understanding Civil Liberties
Civil Liberties and Democracy People need the right to express themselves Courts continue to define the limits of liberties Civil Liberties and the Scope of Government Must decide the line between freedom & order Since Americans can no longer avoid the attention of government, strict limitations on governmental power are essential—limitations that are provided by the Bill of Rights (Freedom v. Order debate) In general, civil liberties limit the scope of government

19 Civil Rights: An Overview
Civil rights are the constitutional rights of all persons to due process and the equal protection of the law Policies designed to protect people against arbitrary or discriminatory treatment by government officials of individuals Issue: Is an increase in the scope of government to protect some people’s rights an unacceptable threat to the rights of others? Issue: Are the differences in treatment reasonable? Most Americans favor equality as an abstract concept, but the concrete struggle for equal rights (think 14th Amendment) under the law has been a bitter struggle

20 The Struggle For Equal Justice
Racial Equality The end of the Civil War brought the 13th, 14th, and 15th Amendments and the legislative support to achieve their aims Supreme Court struck down many of these laws and limited the construction of the amendment; progress towards equality was not a reality again until the 1950s and 60s Migration Northward following World War I created a voting African American middle class that opposed segregation Brown v. Board of Education (1954) decision began the push towards equality by breaking down many of the legal barriers to integration Executive branch used its authority to integrate the military and federal bureaucracy in the 1940s and 50s Federal Civil Rights Acts of 1957 became the first civil rights legislation since Reconstruction Civil Rights Era Political participation (largely unconventional) brought attention to the issue of equal rights and segregation Civil Rights Act of 1964 forbid discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, or nationality Legislation and key Supreme Court decisions continued to push the nation towards racial equality

21 The Struggle For Equal Justice
Gender Equality The push for women’s rights began with the Seneca Falls Women’s Rights Convention (1948), but during the Civil War, women were encouraged to devote their efforts toward ending slavery instead States (starting with WY) slowly began granting women suffrage, but the ultimate goal was federal suffrage – 19th Amendment (1920) Equality was still not met (e.g., pay and treatment) Successes (i.e. sexual harassment protections) and failures (i.e. Equal Rights Amendment) have led to current state of what is seen as still limited progress for women’s rights Other minority groups Hispanics (targeted in immigration debate) Asian Americans (Chinese Exclusion Act and Japanese internment camps) Native Americans (historic discrimination from the beginning of the U.S.)

22 Applying Equal Protection
Constitution does not prevent all discrimination, but unreasonable or arbitrary classifications (age restrictions on voting, marrying, and driving appear as reasonable) Three tests to distinguish classifications Rational basis test Petitioning party must prove that law has no reasonable relationship to a proper purpose of government (substantive due process) Cannot be used if the case involves a suspect classification (treatment on basis of race or national origin), almost-suspect classification, or a fundamental right Strict scrutiny test Government must show that discrimination of a suspect classification has a “compelling interest” to constitutionally justify the discrimination Heightened scrutiny test Government must show that its classification served “important governmental objectives” Applies to quasi-suspect classifications: sex

23 Voting Rights Although states are given the power to regulate voting, Congress may supersede these regulations according to Article I, Section 4 After passage of the 15th Amendment, officials sought to undermine the right of African-Americans to vote Literacy tests, poll taxes, white primaries, intimidation and violence Court began to protect African-American rights in the 1940s White primaries declared unconstitutional in Smith v. Allwright (1944) Racial gerrymandering declared violating the 15th Amendment in Gomillion v. Lightfoot (1960) 24th Amendment forbid poll taxes in national elections and Harper v. Board of Elections (1966) applied the 14th Amendment to forbid all poll taxes Voting Rights Act of 1965 Prohibits voting qualifications that result in the denial of the right to vote on account of race or color DOJ has the right to review changes that may result in voting power losses Shelby County v. Holder (2013) disallowed the formula that was used to decide which states needed pre-clearance to change voting laws (Section IV)

24 Equal Opportunity Congress’ authority to legislate against discrimination by private individuals comes from broad construction of the Commerce Clause Title II of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 applied anti-discrimination to places of public accommodation Title VII created the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission to enforce anti-discriminatory hiring practices Supreme Court rulings outlawed restrictive covenants and 1968 Fair Housing Act forbid discrimination in housing because of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, or physical handicap

25 Education Rights Brown ruling overruled Plessy by asserting that separate is necessarily unequal Swann v. Charlotte-Mecklenburg (1971) allowed busing to remedy the effects of de jure segregation, but not de facto segregation In time, mandatory busing has been largely eliminated and race-conscious school assignment plans have been ruled unconstitutional Affirmative action has sought to remedy past barriers to employment and education UC Regents v. Bakke (1978) addressed the perceived reverse discrimination from affirmative action by allowing affirmative action (“plus” system), but ruled against quota systems “Individual consideration” must be given Gratz v. Bollinger (2003) declared Michigan’s point system as too mechanical for undergraduates and barely upheld the law school’s system in Grutter v. Bollinger (2003) because it did not use a point system

26 Discussion How could the Supreme Court rule that segregation was constitutional? What was the Court’s argument in overruling Plessy? Suppose it could be proved that segregation did not have a detrimental effect on African American children. Would this require that the Court—in the interests of logical consistency—rule differently in Brown?

27 Discussion How did the Court move from (a) interpreting the Fourteenth Amendment to mean that African Americans cannot be relegated to particular schools because of their race to (b) requiring that a particular racial balance must exist in schools? Why was it important that the first busing cases to come to the Court were from southern states that had practiced de jure segregation? What similarities and differences can you discern between the African American civil rights movement and that for women? Latinos? Gays and lesbians? Are these differences primarily historical, cultural, or legal? How do those differences affect the remedies necessary to protect these individuals’ civil rights?

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