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Constitutional Rights

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Presentation on theme: "Constitutional Rights"— Presentation transcript:

1 Constitutional Rights
Chapters 13,14, &15

2 GPS Standards SSCG6: The student will demonstrate knowledge of Civil Liberties and Civil Rights. Examine the Bill of Rights with emphasis on the First Amendment freedoms. Analyze due process of law expressed in the 5th and 14th Amendments. Explain selective incorporation of the Bill of Rights. Explain how government seeks to maintain the balance between individual liberties and the public interest. Explain every citizen’s right to be treated equally under the law.

3 GPS Standards SSCG21: The student will demonstrate knowledge of criminal activity. Examine the nature and causes of crimes Explain the effects criminal acts have on their victims. Categorize different types of crimes. Explain the different types of defenses used by perpetrators of crime.

4 GPS Standards SSCG22: The student will demonstrate knowledge of the criminal justice system. Analyze the steps in the criminal justice process. Explain an individual’s due process. Describe the steps in a criminal trial or a civil suit. Examine the different types of sentences a convicted person can receive.

5 Constitutional Rights
The fundamental freedoms that all Americans have are called human rights. These rights are guaranteed to all Americans in the Constitution and cannot be taken away by anyone.

6 Constitutional Rights
Incorporation extended the Bill of Rights to state and local government. The 14th Amendment, 1868, expanded individual rights with the due process clause, which Supreme Court rulings have interpreted as applying to all levels of government.

7 Did You Know? The Supreme Court in 1962 ruled 6 to 1 against allowing prayers in public schools. The specific case dealing with this issue was Engle v. Vitale, for which Justice Hugo Black wrote the Court’s opinion, finding that school prayers violated the establishment clause of the First Amendment.

8 Freedom of Religion The Establishment Clause forbids Congress from passing legislation to establish a single religion for the United States. The Free Exercise Clause guarantees the free exercise of religion, forbids Congress from passing laws limiting the practice of religion.

9 The Establishment Clause
Public school cannot do anything to promote or hinder religion. Parochial schools are religious private schools. The Court has ruled state aid to parochial schools constitutional: 1. if the aid has a clear nonreligious purpose; 2. if its main effect is to neither advance nor inhibit religion; 3. if it avoids excessive government entanglement with religion.

10 The Free Exercise Clause
The Supreme Court makes an important distinction between religious belief and practice. Religious freedom cannot justify behavior or practices that violate laws protecting the health, safety, or morals of the community.

11 Did You Know? More than 2,000 years ago, a Greek philosopher named Diogenes said, “The most beautiful thing in the world is free speech.” Just as ancient Greece valued freedom of speech, United States citizens also regard it as one of their most fundamental rights. In fact, the nation’s founders included this freedom as a basic part of the first amendment they added to the Constitution.

12 Freedom of Speech Free speech includes:
Pure Speech - verbal expression of thought and opinion. symbolic speech - using actions and symbols. Because symbolic speech involves action, it may be limited by government restrictions that do not apply to pure speech.

13 Freedom of Speech Should this type of Symbolic Speech be allowed?

14 Freedom of Speech The First Amendment does not protect false speech called defamatory speech. It includes slander, or spoken words, and libel, or written words. Fighting words, or speech intended to provoke violence, are not protected. School authorities can regulate students’ free speech at school events and during activities.

15 Freedom of Speech What three tests does the Supreme Court use to set limits on free speech? clear and present danger — speech presenting immediate danger is not protected bad tendency — speech can be restricted even if it only tends to lead to illegal action preferred position — speech should not be limited unless absolutely necessary

16 Freedom of the Press Prior restraint, or censorship in advance, is permissible only in cases directly related to national security. Gag orders barring the press from publishing certain types of information are illegal and are allowed only in unusual circumstances. Shield laws protect the media from being forced to disclose confidential information in state courts.

17 Freedom of the Press The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) regulates radio and television. That agency cannot censor broadcasts but may set standards. Movies and Internet are protected by free press. Communities may regulate obscenity within limits acceptable to the courts. Advertising is commercial speech and receives less protection than purely political speech.

18 Did You Know? Burning an American flag during a demonstration protesting some action or policy of the government may be unpopular, but it is not illegal. Why? The Supreme Court has ruled that flag burning is protected by the First Amendment because it is symbolic speech.

19 Freedom of Assembly Freedom of assembly, the right to meet as a group.
You can meet with any group as long as that group does not break the law. Includes the right to parade and hold demonstrations in public places, but those who organize the events must get a permit. Demonstrations are not allowed on private property.

20 Freedom of Assembly When people assemble to advocate unpopular causes, police may have difficulty protecting them from violence and disorder. Police may disperse a demonstration in order to keep the peace.

21 Ch 14 Civil Rights

22 Search and Seizure The Fourth Amendment offers protection from unreasonable searches and seizures, but the courts have dealt with this issue on a case-by-case basis. Police must have a warrant or probable cause.

23 Guarantee of Council The Sixth Amendment guarantees a defendant the right to an attorney. Courts provide an attorney for defendants who cannot afford one.

24 Self Incrimination The Fifth Amendment protects witnesses from testifying in their own trial. The Fifth Amendment also protects defendants against forced confessions. The Fifth Amendment protects accused persons from double jeopardy, or being tried twice for the same crime.

25 Cruel and Unusual Punishment
The Eighth Amendment forbids cruel and unusual punishment. Use of the death penalty is an ongoing controversy under this amendment. It currently does not constitute cruel and unusual punishment.

26 Capital Punishment

27 Equal Protection Both the Fourteenth Amendment and the Fifth Amendment require that all people are entitled to equal rights and equal protection of the law.

28 Equal Protection According to the rational basis test, the Court will uphold state laws that distinguish among different groups of people if the state shows good reason for those classifications Classifications in state laws based on race or national origin are a suspect classification; the state must show some compelling public interest to justify them.

29 Intent to Discriminate
Discriminatory laws classify people solely because of their race, gender, ethnic group, age, physical disability, or religion. To prove a state or local government guilty of discrimination, one must prove the state’s intent to discriminate.

30 Struggle for Equal Rights
In Plessy v. Ferguson (1896), the Supreme Court used the “separate but equal” doctrine to justify segregation in the United States. In Brown v. Board of Education (1954), the Court overruled the “separate but equal” doctrine and touched off a long struggle to desegregate public schools.

31 Struggle for Equal Rights
Civil Disobedience - Civil rights workers peacefully broke laws supporting racial segregation; protesters who were arrested and convicted then appealed, challenging the constitutionality of these laws in the courts. Cases argued by Thurgood Marshall. Influenced by the civil rights movement led by Martin Luther King, Jr., Congress passed major civil rights legislation to ensure voting rights and equal job opportunities such as the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

32 Struggle for Equal Rights

33 Did You Know? In 1996 a majority of voters in California approved a proposition to end the state’s affirmative action program. When supporters of affirmative action asked the Supreme Court to prevent California from ending its program, the Court declined to hear the case.

34 Affirmative Action In the 1960s the government began programs that gave a preference to minorities, women, or the physically challenged in hiring and promotions, government contracts, admission to schools and training programs, and other areas. This was intended to counter balance years of discrimination. Most affirmative action programs are required by federal government regulations or court decisions; others are voluntary efforts.

35 Citizen’s Right to Privacy
The Constitution does not specifically mention privacy, but the Court has ruled that personal privacy is one of the rights protected by the Constitution. The right to privacy is sometimes restricted in the interest of national security.

36 Law in America Chapter 15

37 U.S. Legal Heritage The U.S. legal system is based on 4 sources:
Constitutional Law: is the fundamental source of U.S. law; is the supreme law of the land; applies to everyone. decides the limits of government’s power and the rights of the individual. Statutory Law: is written by a legislative branch of government; limits people’s behavior but also grants rights and benefits;

38 U.S. Legal Heritage (Cont.)
Administrative Law: spells out the authority and procedures to be followed by federal agencies; The Common Law: is the most important basis of the legal system; is made by judges in the process of settling individual cases. is the basis for state constitutions and the U.S. Constitution.

39 Principles of the U.S. Legal System
Equal justice under the law. Due process of law. The adversary system in court allows lawyers for opposing sides to present their strongest cases. Presumption of innocence means innocent until proven guilty.

40 Types of Civil Law Civil law concerns disputes between two or more individuals or between individuals and government. Four of the most important types of civil law deal with 1) contracts, 2) property, 3) family relations, and 4) civil wrongs causing physical injury or injury to property (tort).

41 Steps in a Civil Case In a civil case, called a lawsuit, a plaintiff seeks damages, usually an award of money, from the defendant. Most lawsuits go to state courts; the plaintiff sets forth the charges against the defendant in a complaint. About 90 percent of civil lawsuits are settled before trial. Civil lawsuits are tried by a jury or a judge, who decides the verdict.

42 Small Claims Court Small claims courts hear civil cases dealing with collecting small debts, property damage, small business problems, and the like. TV court shows are usually small claims court.

43 Types of Crime Most crimes committed in the United States break state laws; each state has its own penal code, or written laws that spell out crimes and punishments. Petty offenses are minor, like illegal parking Misdemeanors are more serious crimes like vandalism Felonies are serious criminal acts like murder, robbery, or kidnapping.

44 Steps in a Criminal Case
The prosecutor, or government lawyer responsible for bringing a criminal charge, must prove beyond a reasonable doubt to a judge or jury that the defendant violated the law. Criminal cases begin when police gather enough evidence to convince a judge to issue an arrest warrant. The arrested person is taken to a police station, the charges are recorded, and the suspect may be fingerprinted and photographed.

45 Steps in a Criminal Case (Cont.)
The arrested person is brought before a judge as quickly as possible to be formally charged with a crime; if the case is a misdemeanor, the person may plead guilty or not guilty. Cases may then go to a grand jury, which determines whether there is enough evidence to put the accused person on trial, or to a preliminary hearing before a judge for the same purpose. They issue and indictment.

46 Steps in a Criminal Case (Cont.)
After a grand jury indictment or a preliminary hearing, a judge reads the formal charge at an arraignment held in an open courtroom; the defendant may plead not guilty, not guilty by reason of insanity, guilty, or no contest. About 90% of criminal cases end in a guilty plea in which the accused pleads guilty to a lesser crime in return for the government’s not prosecuting the more serious original crime (plea bargain).

47 Steps in a Criminal Case (Cont.)
In felony cases, the defendant may choose between a jury trial and a bench trial heard by a judge. In jury trials, the presiding judge instructs the jury on proper legal procedures and explains the law. To reach a guilty verdict, the jury must unanimously find the evidence convincing beyond a reasonable doubt.

48 Steps in a Criminal Case
If the jury’s verdict is “not guilty,” the defendant is released immediately. If the jury’s verdict is “guilty,” the judge usually determines the sentence.

49 Criminal Case terms not already listed.
If after thorough discussion the jury cannot reach a unanimous decision, you have a hung jury. A plea of no contest means that you admit that you broke the law, but that it was morally the right thing to do at the time. Parole – Releasing a prisoner early from jail and then requiring the prisoner to complete a guided program, including regular check-ins. Affidavit – A written and sworn statement that has been signed by a person under oath.

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