Section 1:Protecting Constitutional Rights Section 2:First Amendment Freedoms Section 3:Protecting Individual Liberties Section 4: Crime and Punishment Chapter 10: Civil Liberties
Section 1 at a Glance • Protecting Constitutional Rights • The Bill of Rights protects Americans’ civil liberties and civil rights. • In some cases, government may place limits on individual freedoms for the sake of the common good. • The Supreme Court has established that many of the provisions of the Bill of Rights limit the actions of state and local governments as well as of the federal government.
Protecting Constitutional Rights Main Idea The United States was formed out of a belief that individuals had certain important liberties and rights. The Constitution’s Bill of Rights protects these liberties and rights. • Reading Focus • What is the Bill of Rights, and what does it protect? • What are the limitations on civil liberties and rights? • How does the Fourteenth Amendment help protect civil liberties?
The Bill of Rights A firm commitment to gain personal freedoms drove American colonists to break from Great Britain in the Revolutionary War. The colonists were trying to protect their rights, including “Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.” Eventually this quest led to the creation of the Bill of Rights. • After Independence • States adopted own constitutions, most of which protected liberties • 1787: delegates gathered to draft new national constitution, but there was little talk of protecting individual rights until end of convention • George Mason wrote Virginia Declaration of Rights, proposed including bill of rights; others argued state constitutions enough to protect rights • Mason’s proposal defeated; few specific protections of individual rights included in Constitution
The Bill of Rights (cont’d.) • The Ten Amendments • To win ratification of Constitution, supporters agreed to add bill of rights as soon as new national government met • James Madison began drafting amendments • Some feared listing individual rights might imply government would protect only those rights • Amendment added stating that listing specific rights did not mean other rights denied to the people • December 1791: 10 amendments became part of Constitution • Civil liberties: basic freedoms to think and act; all people have them; protected from government abuse • Civil rights: rights of fair and equal status, treatment, right to participate in government—though these rights not originally guaranteed for all
Sequencing List the sequence of events that led to the creation of the Bill of Rights. Answer(s):independence from Britain declared, states adopt constitutions, new national Constitution drafted, a bill of rights is promised during the ratification battle, Constitution ratified, Bill of Rights ratified
Limits on Civil Liberties and Rights The Bill of Rights sets limits on government, but people do not have complete freedom to do whatever they choose. To protect the common good, there are limits on individual liberties and rights. • When Rights Conflict • Framers: ideal government one that limited liberties as little as possible • Personal freedoms limited when one person’s exercise of a freedom harms another person • Supreme Court has examined limits of different constitutionally protected freedoms over the years, continues to do so • Example: government can limit free speech in wartime when that speech might aid enemy—such as publishing information about tactics of soldiers
The Role of the Courts • Balancing protection of civil liberties a challenge for government • Government maintains balance through courts • Courts cannot bring action on their own; only issue rulings when cases brought before them • Early on many who needed rights protected had no access to court system • Most Supreme Court cases protecting civil rights occurred after early 1900s • Some cases came through actions of interest groups like National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund (MALDEF) • Groups’ involvement in cases had important impact on courts’ decisions about liberties, rights
Summarizing Why are individual liberties and rights sometimes limited? Answer(s):to protect other citizens and the nation
Civil Liberties and the Fourteenth Amendment The Bill of Rights was intended to limit the actions of the federal government. This does not mean that state and local governments can deny individuals their civil liberties and rights. The Supreme Court has ruled that most Bill of Rights protections apply to state and local governments as well. • The Due Process Clause • 14th Amendment: intended to protect rights of formerly enslaved African Americans after the Civil War • Forbade states from passing laws to deprive any of “life, liberty or property without due process of law”—following established legal procedures • Supreme Court says 14th Amendment’s due process clause guarantees Bill of Rights applies to states • Incorporation doctrine holds that certain protections are essential to due process of law, therefore states cannot deny protections to the people
Key Cases • Process of incorporation found in number of Supreme Court cases • Chicago, Burlington & Quincy Railroad Company v. Chicago—required states to give owners fair compensation when taking private property • 1920s: flurry of 1st Amendment freedom cases • Gitlow v. New York: Court agreed New York State could forbid man from plotting to overthrow government, but states must respect freedom of speech • 1931, Near v. Minnesota: Court incorporated freedom of press • 1937, DeJonge v. Oregon: incorporated freedom of assembly • 1947, Everson v. Board of Education: limits against establishment of religion • Multiple rulings incorporating other amendments • Court has not incorporated all of Bill of Rights into 14th Amendment • Incorporating many rights has proved important for protection of rights, liberties
Summarizing How has the incorporation of the Bill of Rights into the Fourteenth Amendment affected the protection of civil liberties? Answer(s):It has extended the protections by applying the Bill of Rights to the state governments.
Section 2 at a Glance • First Amendment Freedoms • The First Amendment protects five freedoms that are fundamental to the American concept of liberty: religion, speech, press, assembly, and petition. • Government may not act to establish an official religion, support one religion over another, or tell people what they must believe in matters of religion. • The First Amendment gives every person the right to express his or her opinion. While this guarantee protects unpopular speech, free expression is not unlimited.
First Amendment Freedoms Main Idea The First Amendment protects five fundamental freedoms that are central to the American notion of liberty: the freedoms of religion, speech, the press, assembly, and petition. • Reading Focus • How does the First Amendment guarantee religious freedom? • What are the guarantees of and limits on the freedoms of speech and of the press? • What are the guarantees of and limits on the freedoms of assembly and petition?
Religious Freedom • Chief among the freedoms guaranteed by the First Amendment is the freedom of religion. • Central factor in development of United States • Many came to colonies for freedom to practice faith without discrimination faced in home countries. • First Amendment forbids government from establishing official religion, and guarantees people’s right to “free exercise” of own religion • The Establishment Clause • Establishment clause declares that government cannot take actions to create official religion or support one religion over another. • Through incorporation doctrine, state governments face same prohibition • Separation of church and state—how separated should they be? • Religious displays on public property? Public money used to support religious schools?
Public Displays • Court issue: legality of government-sponsored religious displays • 1984, Lynch v. Donnelly: Supreme Court ruled that acknowledging religion in Christmas display did not necessarily mean government promotion of it • 2005: two 5–4 Supreme Court decisions regarding Ten Commandments • Two Kentucky courthouses sued for displaying copies of Ten Commandments along with other historical documents including Constitution • Kentucky case ruled unconstitutional—focused excessively on religious aspects of Ten Commandments • Texas sued for stone marker of Ten Commandments on state capitol grounds • Texas case ruled constitutional—marker part of historical, educational display, did not primarily promote a religion
Religion and Education • First Supreme Court case exploring limits of establishment clause based on educational issues • 1947, Everson v. Board of Education: Court upheld New Jersey plan to use public money to bus students to private schools • Did not violate establishment clause because did not single out students attending religious schools • 1962, Engel v. Vitale: Court said public school prayer violated establishment clause even though it was not based on specific religion • 1971, Lemon v. Kurtzman: established Lemon Test, law must meet all three standards in order to be found constitutional: • Must have secular purpose • Major effects must neither advance nor inhibit religion • Must not encourage “excessive government entanglement with religion”
Free Exercise of Religion • Free exercise clause guarantees each person right to hold any religious beliefs they choose • Government cannot tell person what he/she must believe • However, religious practices can be limited in some cases • 1990, Employment Division of Oregon v. Smith: government can punish illegal drug use even if drug use part of religious practice • 1878, Reynolds v. United States: Court ruled government could ban Mormon practice of polygamy • Laws regulating behavior can be constitutional as long as laws neutral, do not target specific religious group • 1940, Minorsville School District v. Gobitis: upheld expelling child from public school for refusing to salute flag, recite Pledge of Allegiance • 1943: Court reversed self when Jehovah’s Witnesses were assaulted during World War II • Some court rulings uphold religious freedom when state laws cause harmful consequences to members of religious groups
Identifying the Main Idea What two main guarantees regarding religion are protected by the First Amendment? Answer(s):Government cannot establish an official religion, nor can it prevent people from holding any religious beliefs they choose.
Why Freedom of Speech and of the Press? • Decisions in U.S. government made by representatives of people • People must have access to full range of opinions, information • Must be able to discuss, criticize government without fear of punishment • Open meeting laws require government to act in public • Freedom of Information Act: federal government must release most documents to press, public on request • Protecting freedom of speech, press challenging in cases of unpopular ideas • First Amendment exists especially to protect such ideas Freedom of Speech and of the Press The First Amendment forbids Congress from making any law abridging freedom of speech or the press; but the Supreme Court has ruled that government may place limits on these freedoms, especially when issues of national security are concerned.
Limits on Freedoms • Limits to protection of even unpopular ideas • Government can limit speech, printed material judged obscene • False advertising also outlawed • Freedom of speech, press does not give person right to knowingly harm another • Constitution does not protect defamation, false statements that harm another person • – Slander: spoken defamatory statement • – Libel: defamation in print • Individuals who believe selves to be slandered or libeled may take legal action • 1964, New York Times Co. v. Sullivan: public officials have fewer legal protections against libel than private citizens • Involved ad in New York Times describing racial discrimination in Alabama • Supreme Court rejected libel suit • Court: to be libelous, false statement about public official must demonstrate “actual malice”
Limits on Freedoms (cont’d.) • Government may limit First Amendment freedoms in name of national security, to prevent treason, sedition • Treason: crime of making war against United States or giving “aid and comfort” to its enemies • During wartime certain speech or writings may be treasonous, such as publishing information about location, tactics of American forces • Sedition: legal term for speech, actions that inspire revolt against government • Courts have upheld laws banning seditious speech • Attempts to define seditious speech, analyze whether or not it has been protected by First Amendment, have caused much controversy
The Alien and Sedition Acts • 1798: United States on verge of war with France • Federalist Party controlled presidency; Congress passed Alien and Sedition Acts; intended to protect country from domestic dissent during war • Supposedly outlawed “false, scandalous, and malicious” statements about U.S. government • In reality, new laws designed to silence Federalists’ rivals, Democratic-Republicans • 1800: anger over acts brought about defeat of President John Adams • Three of four acts later repealed or allowed to expire • One, Alien Enemies Act, still in effect; allows president to deport resident aliens if their home countries at war with United States
A “Clear and Present Danger” • World War I, Congress passed Espionage Act, Sedition Act—targeting criticism of government, interference with war effort • 1919, Schenck v. United States: Court upheld conviction of man charged with interfering with war effort by publishing flyer urging men to refuse to serve in military • Oliver Wendell Holmes wrote Schenck decision • Established idea that speech can be limited if it creates “clear and present danger” of an outcome that government has right to prevent • Later changed view, argued for specific definition of dangerous speech • 1927, Whitney v. California: state has power to punish those whose words might encourage crime, disturb peace, harm public welfare • Eve of U.S. entry into World War II • Outlawed calling for forceful overthrow of United States • Also outlawed organizing, joining group with such views
The First Amendment and the Media • First Amendment also protects freedom of press • Acknowledges importance of free media in democratic society • Government has tried to balance need for media freedom, rights of others, issues of national security • Radio, television broadcasters have fewer First Amendment protections than print media; government regulates public airwaves • Certain language and content limited or prohibited • Cable systems do not use public airwaves, have greater freedom • Internet also less subject to government regulation • Trying to limit pornography on Internet largely unsuccessful • 1997, Reno v. American Civil Liberties Union: Court rejected law seeking to regulate Internet pornography, in part because users not likely to encounter offensive content by accident—ruled law violated First Amendment’s guarantee of free speech
Prior Restraint • Another freedom of press issue is prior restraint: government action that seeks to prevent materials from being published • 1931, Near v. Minnesota: Court ruled prior restraint almost always unconstitutional • Someone could be punished if law broken, but not if officials believed law might be violated in the future • 1971, New York times Co. v. United States: President Richard Nixon tried to stop New York Times publication of Pentagon Papers, classified documents about Vietnam War policy • White House argued publication of papers would threaten national security • In reality, publication would reveal that U.S. officials had long misled public about war • Court ruled government failed to prove need for prior restraint; Pentagon Papers were published
Symbolic Speech • Supreme Court has granted some First Amendment protections to symbolic speech: communication of ideas through symbols, actions • Protected as long as speech does not pose major threat to property, public order • 1931, Stromberg v. California: Court overturned conviction of woman displaying red flag as symbol of opposition to organized government • Ruled California law overly vague, restricted free speech • 1969, Tinker v. Des Moines Independent Community School District: Supreme Court ruled Iowa school could not prevent students from wearing black armbands as Vietnam War protest • 1989, Texas v. Johnson: burning American flag as part of political protest protected act of free speech • Cannot prohibit expression of idea simply because society finds idea offensive, disagreeable
Drawing Conclusions Why are freedom of speech and freedom of the press so important in our democratic system? Answer(s):possible answer—They allow citizens access to a wide range of ideas about politics and encourage discussion of government policies and active participation in government.
Freedoms of Assembly and Petition • The First Amendment’s final two protections prohibit government from denying people the right “peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.” • People have right to meet together, express views peacefully • People have right to make opinions known to government through petitions designed to force government to consider issue, allow vote • Landmark Cases • 1937, DeJonge v. Oregon: ruling recognized right to peaceably assemble as basic right, incorporated into 14th Amendment making it illegal for states to deny this right • 1963, Edwards v. South Carolina: students denied right to assemble, petition for redress of grievances; if assembly is peaceful, cannot be stopped simply because bystanders ARE disorderly
Limits on Assembly and Petition • In general, government cannot limit right of assembly, petition based on protesters’ points of view • Only in extreme cases—protesters encouraging violent acts—does government have strong reason to limit First Amendment freedom • Governments can place reasonable restrictions on time, manner, place of gatherings • Citizens can be required to obtain permit to hold demonstration • Citizens can be denied right to make excessive noise • Citizens can be kept off private property, prevented from invading privacy of others • Any rules must serve clear, valid purpose • Any rules must be applied evenly, without regard to content of demonstrator’s message
Freedom of Association • Freedom of association—the right to join with others, share ideas, work toward common purpose • Phrase does not appear in First Amendment • Supreme Court has determined freedoms guaranteed by First Amendment establish right to freedom of association • 1958, National Association for the Advancement of Colored People v. Alabama ex rel. Patterson • Alabama had tried to force NAACP to give state list of members • NAACP feared publicizing names would lead to violence, harmful consequences • Supreme Court agreed: forcing release of members’ names would harm freedom to associate • Found Alabama’s actions violation of Constitution
Drawing Conclusions What are the purposes of the freedoms of assembly and petition? Answer(s):allows people to meet together, express their ideas and make their views known to the government
Debating the Issue: Prayer in Public Schools Does the Constitution permit prayer in public schools? The First Amendment states that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” This protection of religious freedom both forbids the government from establishing an official religion and guarantees Americans’ right to freely exercise their own religious beliefs. But what about prayer in public schools? Some Americans believe that allowing prayer in public schools is an unconstitutional government support for religion. Others believe that the right to pray in public schools is an essential religious freedom.
Section 3 at a Glance • Protecting Individual Liberties • The Second Amendment protects the right to keep and bear arms. The Third and Fourth Amendments guard the rights to security of home and person. • The Supreme Court has interpreted the Constitution as protecting a right to privacy. • The Constitution’s guarantees of due process require that government act in accordance with fair and public laws in whatever it does.
Protecting Individual Liberties Main Idea A key purpose of the Bill of Rights is to protect individuals from government abuses. Several amendments limit the government’s power and protect individual rights against government actions. • Reading Focus • What are the purposes of and limits on the right to keep and bear arms? • How does the Bill of Rights guarantee the security of home and person? • How has the right to privacy developed? • How and why does the Constitution guarantee due process of law?