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❶Is a place in a high status school something that provides opportunity or guarantees a result? He suspended Frederick for five days for allegedly promoting drugs at a school function.

Civil Rights Overview

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The term civil liberties refers to liberties that? I'm quite sure this is what its disguising the answer as. I see the difference in the two now. I'll give ya Best Answer when available. Are you sure you want to delete this answer? C Civil liberties are rights and freedoms that protect an individual from the state. Civil liberties set limits on the government so that its agents cannot abuse their power and interfere unduly with the lives of private citizens.

This Site Might Help You. Often thought of as the rights guaranteed in the Bill of Rights. Civil liberties concern basic rights and freedoms that are guaranteed -- either explicitly identified in the Bill of Rights and the Constitution, or interpreted or inferred through the years by legislatures or the courts. The law differentiates between civil rights, which means the basic right of freedom from discrimination based on certain personal characteristics such as gender, race, or disability, and civil liberties which are basic freedoms.

Civil liberties concern the actual basic freedoms; civil rights concern the treatment of an individual regarding certain rights.

Unlike civil liberties , where the government grants broad-based rights to individuals, civil rights are not only granted by the government but also contain a protective aspect of those rights based on certain characteristics. One way to consider the difference between civil rights and civil liberties is to look at 1 what right is affected, and 2 whose right is affected. For example, as an employee, you do not have the legal right to a promotion, mainly because getting a promotion is not a guaranteed "civil liberty.

By choosing not to promote a female worker solely because of the employee's gender, the employer has committed a civil rights violation and has engaged in unlawful employment discrimination based on sex or gender. Kenneth Starr, the famous special prosecutor who had pursued the Clintons for years in the Whitewater investigations, argued for the school. Do schools have the right to restrict speech if school officials interpret the speech as favoring drugs? In a six to three decision, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of the school.

On the majority side was a concurring opinion by Justice Clarence Thomas that students have no free speech rights in school at all—that the first amendment does not apply to schools. The majority was not willing to go that far. They concluded that even though the event was not on school grounds and even though Frederick had not gone to school that day, it was a school event, and the school could reasonably interpret the banner as in support of illegal drugs, which was against school policy.

Chief Justice Roberts, writing for the majority, saw the case as consistent with previous cases that do not give broad first amendment protections to students at school functions. John Paul Stevens wrote the dissenting opinion for the other three justices. They saw the message as less clearly pro-illegal drugs, as possibly promoting medical use of pot.

They argued that allowing school officials to interpret it any way they want amounts to letting officials ban any speech with which they disagree. The losing minority saw the speech as constitutionally protected. What does all this mean? Americans are fond of talking about their Constitutional rights and liberties. But exactly what are these rights and liberties? You should know from the chapters on the Constitution and the judicial system that the words in the Constitution do not necessarily mean what we think they mean, even when the words seem perfectly clear.

Thus we have the central paradox of this chapter: Such was the case of Joseph Frederick. He thought the first amendment clearly protected his right to such speech. Let me add another twist to the paradox. Most of the constitutional rights and liberties that we actually have did not come from the Constitution by itself.

Rather they came from political struggles in which people fought for and sometime even died for an interpretation of the Constitution that would recognize these rights and liberties.

The interpretation counts more than the actual words. Of course, you should know that by now from reading the chapters on the Constitution and the judicial system, in which you learned about the role of the Supreme Court in interpreting the Constitution.

That struggle is not over. Every generation faces forces that try to limit rights, usually for quite popular reasons. Local majorities and sometimes even national majorities are often eager to ignore the rights of minorities, especially if the minority is defined in some way that makes it unpopular or feared at the time.

You can certainly think of such groups that exist right now. If one group loses rights, then what is to keep authorities from restricting rights for other groups?

You never know when or if you will become classified as a member of some group that people feel is dangerous, and therefore not deserving protection.

In this chapter we will begin by defining what we mean by civil rights and liberties. Then we will look at what the Constitution seems to include in the way of rights and liberties. Each area we examine has been characterized by controversy and political conflict. These conflicts will continue. Some texts have separate chapters on civil rights and civil liberties. We are combining rights and liberties in this relatively short text.

Civil rights refer to equal treatment and protection of members of groups. Civil liberties refer to individual protections against government actions , such as restrictions on speech or religion or treatment in legal proceedings. That seems simple enough, so why are we confused? The label we use for an important part of the Constitution may be the source of confusion.

The Bill of Rights , which we apply to the first ten amendments, is where you will find most of the civil liberties that we have , such as free speech and so on.

As you may remember in the story of ratification of the Constitution, several states were not satisfied that the Constitution placed enough limits on the powers of the stronger central government that was being proposed to replace the Articles of Confederation government.

So these states added a call for additional safeguards to their ratification of the Constitution. Supporters of the new constitution agreed to this deal. As a result, the first Congress proposed a number of amendments. The states ratified ten of them in , only two years after the new government began operation.

We know them collectively as the Bill of Rights. Nevertheless, the main body of the Constitution does contain some rights and liberties, which the Founders felt were adequate when they drafted the document. For example, all the checks and balances built into the Constitution limited what any branch of government could do. The Founders considered this a limit on the power of the central government. More specific protections are in Article I, Section 9. To put it another way, the government is not supposed to arrest you and imprison you without giving an explanation of the legal charges against you.

Charges allow the courts to hold a trial to determine if the charges have any factual basis. In practice this depends on what government authorities consider to be an invasion or rebellion. Probably the worst abuse of this right was when Japanese American citizens were held in detention camps for years during World War II.

You might look this story up on the Web—a very sad chapter in American history. Thousands of Japanese American citizens were forcibly removed from their homes and held, without the.

Supreme Court approved the actions U. Government photo, public domain. But just in case, it means an after-the-fact law. One cannot be tried for violating a law that was not in place when the act was committed. All of these things were of concern to the Founders because of their past experiences with the British government. Article I, Section 9 contains a long list of other limits on the central government. The national government could only impose taxes that were in proportion to the populations of each state.

This meant that taxes, based on income rather than population, were not allowed. In the Sixteenth Amendment changed this to allow an income tax.

The national government could not tax exports from any state. It could show no preference for one state over another in regulating interstate commerce. Article III, Section 3 limits the ability of the central government to convict people of treason.

Finally, Article VI guarantees that no religion will limit who can run for office or hold public employment. Collectively we ignore the spirit of Article VI even though we have no formal legal religious tests for office. But as you know, this was not enough to satisfy those who feared a strong central government. So the Bill of Rights included a great many other protections. Amendments that came later in history added a great many more protections.

For now, we will list the general areas amendment by amendment and make brief comments on some of the areas. Later we will go into greater detail in how some of these protections have been interpreted. The most famous amendment is the First Amendment, which lists five or six protections, depending on how you read the clause about religion. Rather it means no unreasonable law. What is reasonable is a matter of endless debate—like schools prohibiting speech that school officials feel disagrees with existing drug policy.

None of these restrictions on government action is absolute. The Third Amendment is perhaps the least controversial because it has never been tested. It refers to a practice that Americans found horrid, that of British troops taking over private property to house their troops. Lots of searches have been judged to be reasonable, often without any formal warrant. The Fifth Amendment continues in matters of criminal proceedings, giving a list of protections.

This is when someone refuses to testify in a legal proceeding that could harm them. Two more protections in the Fifth Amendment merit some additional comment. The first is procedural due process , referring to following the proper procedures. The second kind of due process is substantive due process , which is far more controversial. Of course this means that the courts end up deciding what reasons are good enough.

Another way of thinking about substantive due process is to ask whether the outcome as opposed to the procedure is fair. Fairness depends on social notions of fairness that are built into history and culture. Again, the courts end up making subjective qualitative judgments. This troubles people who want the courts to play a more objective role and leave questions of fairness to the political branches of government that write laws. In a number of cases the Supreme Court has explicitly used the idea of substantive due process to overturn laws that force parents to send their children to public schools for education, to prevent keeping a non-dangerous mentally ill person confined to a hospital, and overturn cases where a court allowed extremely high monetary damages.

But sometimes the courts allow things that seem unfair to stand. Then if wrongs are to be righted, it is up to citizens to pressure other branches to make it right. And that involves political movements. For example, consider the question of unequal sentencing for crimes that seem similar. The government might charge two people with breaking drug laws, one for trafficking powdered cocaine and the other for crack cocaine.

Laws setting penalties for crimes involving crack cocaine have been much harsher by a ratio of to 1! Authorities could treat both people the same in terms of procedure. But the outcomes in terms of the sentence have been greatly different. Moreover, African-Americans were far more likely to use crack cocaine than whites, who were more likely to use powdered cocaine.

So the impact led to much longer sentences for blacks than whites. As society began to question the fairness of this, the question could be seen as a violation substantive due process.

The courts failed to see this as a violation of substantive due process and upheld these unequal sentences. But under public pressure, Congress passed the Fair Sentencing Act in that reduced the disparity to 18 to 1. While less unfair, one might argue that that this difference still violates the idea of substantive due process. Users of crack cocaine, like those shown above, are subject to much longer sentences than users of.

Instead, citizens have forced some change, at least in California where citizen initiated change is possible. Three strikes laws require life sentences for those convicted of three serious crimes. They are aimed at getting repeat offenders off the streets for good. About half the states in the U.

In California in voters used the initiative process to put in place one of the harshest laws in the nation by counting all felony convictions as serious crimes. This resulted in about 3, people serving life terms after conviction of non-violent felonies, such as passing a bad check. This struck many as grossly unfair and also cost taxpayers a great deal of money in prison expenses. In , voters again used the initiative process to limit the law to apply only to serious and violent third offenses.

Confiscating is an obvious form of taking. This kind of action can reduce the value of the land, even though it is not literally taken. Or does it also include giving the land to private developers so that it can be redeveloped to generate higher property tax revenues? The property rights movement has challenged building regulations that prevent the construction of houses. The Sixth Amendment continues a list of protections afforded to those accused of any crime.

Again, each of these terms has had to be defined. How fast is speedy? Can judges make trials private if the judge feels that a public trial would result in some harm? At what point and for what crimes must counsel be provided? Must the counsel meet any minimum quality standards? The courts hear many cases that answer these questions, as well as other questions concerning criminal procedures.

The Seventh Amendment concerns legal matters in civil suits. At the time this was a significant amount of money, but of course it is trivial today.

This level of specific detail is unusual for the Constitution. Constitutional scholars would argue that details like this are better left to statutory law passed by a legislative body. The result today is that all law suits in federal courts retain the right of jury trial. The Seventh goes on to say that facts established by juries cannot be reexamined by any other court. Substantive due process, which we just discussed, is a basic principle of common law, so denial of substantive due process could allow courts to reexamine facts.

If the courts find that a person is a flight risk, bail can be denied. What is excessive is also a highly subjective matter. Someone who cannot get out on bail is pretty much stuck with accepting any deal that the prosecutors offer. Going to trial while in jail and not being gainfully employed greatly increases the odds of being found guilty.

And keeping people in jail awaiting trial, which can take a year or more, costs taxpayers a great deal of money. Electronic monitoring would be much cheaper and more humane, allowing people to continue working in many cases. So why do we continue a bail system that operates this way?

It is at least partially because of the power of the bail bond industry that makes a great deal of money in the current system. The power of interest groups in our political system is the subject of another chapter. The most controversial area here is that of capital punishment. As of this writing, the United States is the only western industrial democracy that allows the death penalty.

Those challenging the death penalty have in recent years attacked methods of execution as being cruel and have attacked standards of evidence used in imposing the penalty. They have argued that DNA evidence has shown that some of those condemned were in fact innocent.

Many states have already banned the death penalty in state criminal proceedings. States in the South are more likely to still have the penalty and impose it more frequently. Ironically, the states with the highest murder rates are those that are most likely to have the death penalty.

Attacks on the penalty will continue, and in all probability some day the penalty will be banned. No executions, but the law allows them. No executions and no death penalty. The Ninth Amendment is perhaps the most interesting amendment because it leaves room for a range of other rights that could exist, but are not explicitly mentioned. This wording seems to demand judicial interpretation. Those arguing for a narrow literal interpretation of the Constitution and the rights in the Constitution have a great problem with this amendment.

This is because if they want to limit rights to the ones literally written in the Constitution, they must find a way to construe or interpret this amendment as meaning not what it literally says. They must find a way to say that this amendment means that no other rights exist.

So ironically, a narrow literalist interpretation of the Constitution requires a broad interpretation of this particular amendment! Robert Bork, who was turned down for a seat on the Supreme Court by the Senate in in part because of his narrow views on the Constitution, evaded any interpretation of the Ninth Amendment by saying it means nothing.

Many of the rest of the amendments expand rights. The Thirteenth banned slavery. We have already mentioned the Fourteenth, which grants the right of citizenship to all those born in the United States and over time has protected rights from state actions.

We will have much more to say about how this has come about later in the chapter. Most of the remaining rights found in the amendments concern voting. The Fifteenth presumably guaranteed the right to vote, though that took about a hundred years, another story we will discuss later. Amendment Seventeen gave the people the right to vote for U. Nineteen extended the right to vote to women. Twenty-three gave residents of the District of Columbia the right to choose presidential electors.

Amendment twenty-four stopped states from using the poll tax to restrict the right to vote, although federal courts had already found poll tax laws to be unconstitutional.

And finally, number twenty-six further expanded the right to vote to eighteen year old citizens. The broad sweep of all these changes in the Constitution has been to expand rights and the groups to whom rights are guaranteed.

In fact, we can only find one amendment that restricted rights, and that amendment was undone by a later amendment. The Eighteenth Amendment created prohibition , a ban on the sale of alcohol. Because of the cultural values it challenged, this proved so difficult to enforce that fourteen years later, in , the Twenty-first Amendment repealed the Eighteenth. Government agents destroying alcohol during Prohibition, put in place by the. Eighteenth Amendment—the only amendment to restrict rights—which was later overturned by the.

Twenty-first Amendment public domain. If you have been reading carefully, you know that the Bill of Rights was aimed at protecting citizens from actions of the national government. But what about actions by state governments? Does the Constitution protect us from state governments that may want to restrict speech or religious practice or deny us legal counsel when we are tried for crimes?

You may remember the universal answer to nearly all political questions: That answer applies here. It depends on what time in history we are talking about and what right we are talking about. The answer involves a story with the same theme we saw in looking at amendments concerning the right to vote—the gradual slow and sometimes painful expansion of rights.

It involves the paradox of seemingly obvious constitutional rights not being constitutionally protected. His business involved offloading goods from ships anchored in the harbor, storing them, and then helping to distribute them. It was a good business. Then the City of Baltimore undertook a public works project that greatly reduced the flow of water to the wharf and increased the sand surrounding the wharf.

The result turned a profitable wharf into a worthless waterless wharf. He then appealed the case to the federal courts because it rested on words in the United States Constitution. John Marshall was still Chief Justice when Barron v. Baltimore reached the Supreme Court in The Bill of Rights was specifically aimed at the national government, not the state governments. The City of Baltimore was chartered by the state of Maryland , so it was an agent of a state government.

So any protections in the Bill of Rights did not apply to Baltimore. Barron was stuck, both legally and literally in the sand--end of case! Fourteenth Amendment, most of the rights in the Bill of Rights were gradually applied, or. The nation fought the Civil War, and the national government, concerned that states might deny rights to those freed from enslavement, proposed the Fourteenth Amendment. The states quickly ratified it in , thirty years after the Barron case. What does that sound like it means to you?

And the rights you have as a U. This interpretation is called the incorporation theory , meaning that the Fourteenth Amendment incorporates, or takes in, the Bill of Rights to apply to state as well as national actions. That seems pretty clear to me? Does it to you? But of course, what counts is not what we think the plain language says.

What counts is what the Supreme Court says it means. In the late s the Supreme Court began to apply first amendment rights to state actions. Did that mean that all the other rights also would be applied?

In Frank Palko was fleeing the scene of a crime. Police cornered him and he killed two police officers before being captured. The state of Connecticut tried him for first degree murder, but the jury only found him guilty of second degree murder. He was sentenced to life imprisonment. Authorities in Connecticut were not satisfied.

So they tried him for murder again. This time the jury found him guilty of first degree murder, and the judge sentenced him to death. Does this sound logical to you? To let the state continue to try someone with different juries until they get a verdict they liked would seem to offend any reasonable notion of fairness. Moreover, as we mentioned above, the Supreme Court had in earlier cases applied some parts of the Bill of Rights to state laws, for example freedom of speech.

Despite all this, Palko lost in an eight to one decision! The majority decision in Palko v. If government can try someone until they get a guilty verdict or a harsh penalty, can anyone have liberty?

What do you think about this? Regardless, that is what the Court said—double jeopardy protection was just not important enough to be incorporated by the Fourteenth Amendment to apply to the states. Frank Palko was electrocuted in April of The Constitution does not always mean what it seems to say—where Frank Palko ended up.

Supreme Court decided that protecting the accused from double jeopardy in state legal. In in Benton v. Maryland , the Supreme Court overturned the Palko precedent. It decided that double jeopardy was indeed important and used the Fourteenth Amendment to apply it to state criminal proceedings.

That did not help Frank Palko. Despite what you and I may have seen as the plain wording and meaning in the Fourteenth Amendment, the Supreme Court has never had a majority ruling that all of the Bill of Rights is incorporated, or brought in, to apply to the states. Some individual justices have made that argument, but never a majority in a ruling.

However, gradually over time, case by case, right by right, the Court has applied most of the rights under the Bill of Rights to the states. Over history the Court has applied all the rights in the first ten amendments to all the states except the protection against quartering troops in the Third Amendment the right to grand jury indictment the Fifth , and the right to trial by jury in civil cases the Seventh.

Most American government texts go into a great deal of detail in discussing civil rights and liberties in a range of areas. The questions in all of these areas involve what the words of the Constitution mean when applied to very specific governmental actions or laws.


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right to express oneself and one's views in spoken words, actions, printed materials, assemblies or gatherings and petitions submitted to the government. It refers to the collective rights guaranteed in .

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) The term civil liberties refers to specific individual rights that A. apply in civil cases but not in criminal cases. B. apply in civil cases but not in military ones.

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Sep 15,  · Civil liberties are rights and freedoms that protect an individual from the state. Civil liberties set limits on the government so that its agents cannot abuse their power and interfere unduly with the lives of private obidytfp.cf: Resolved. Although the two terms overlap considerably in ordinary usage (and are often difficult to distinguish in concrete instances), the term civil liberties generally refers more specifically to the protection of the individual's rights to form and express his or her own preferences or convictions and to act freely upon them in the private sphere.

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Civil liberties are guaranteed by the Constitution and cannot be taken away, while civil rights refer to the rights to equal treatment for specific groups based on race, gender, sex, etc. e. The term “civil liberties” was used prior to the twentieth century, while the term “civil rights” was used afterward%(20). Civil liberties are rights that are guaranteed to the citizens or residents of a country or territory. They're a matter of fundamental law. Civil Liberties vs. Human Rights Civil liberties generally differ from human rights, which are universal rights to which all human beings are entitled regardless of where they live. Think of civil liberties as rights that a government is contractually obligated to protect, usually by a .