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American Government

American Government

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American Government

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  1. American Government Chapter 19 Notes Civil Liberties: First Amendment Freedoms

  2. Section 1 • The Unalienable Rights

  3. A Commitment to Freedom • Personal freedom is deeply rooted in America’s history • Constitution and Bill of Rights reinforce personal freedom • Fight for civil liberties and civil rights • Protections against the government • Right to participate in Government

  4. Limited Government • Difference between democracy and dictatorship is the extent of power over personal freedom • Rights are Relative, not Absolute • Right to do as they please… so long as you do not infringe on the rights of others • When Rights Conflict • Fight of freedom of press versus the right to a fair trial • To Whom are Rights Guaranteed? • Extends to all persons, and even aliens • non-citizen individuals • However, aliens do have some restrictions such travel

  5. Federalism and Individual Rights • The Bill of Rights • The first ten amendments were intended to restrict the new national governments power • The Modifying Effect of the 14th Amendment • States cannot deny basic rights because of the Due Process Clause of the 14th Amendment • No state can deny any person any right that is “basic or essential to the American concept of ordered liberty.” • Process of Incorporation • Merged, or combined, the bill of rights in the 14th amendment

  6. The 9th Amendment • Many rights are not explicitly stated in the Constitution • “The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.” 9th Amendment

  7. Section 2 • Freedom of Religion

  8. Freedom of Expression • Religion has always played a large and important role in American life • 1st and 14th amendments prohibit the establishment of religion (Establishment Clause) and interference by the government in the “free exercise” of religion

  9. Separation of Church and State • States that there needs to be “a wall of separation between church and the state (Government)” • Originally defined by Thomas Jefferson • Government has encouraged churches through no taxation, taking oath of office in the name of God, coins, and nation’s anthem • However, parochial schools are religious schools, and they are not under the rules of DESE • Example, Catholic High School

  10. Religion and Education • In Everson v. Board of Education, law requiring the public to pay for buses (even parochial buses) was against the establishment clause • Released Time • Allowed public schools to release students during school hours to attend religious classes on school grounds • Considered illegal by the Supreme Court

  11. Religion and Education (Con’t) • Prayers and the Bible • Continually the Supreme Court has held that the requirement of prayer to be unconstitutional • Including before a public school graduation or football game • Student Religious Groups • Students are allowed to create religious groups at schools, as long as they are supported similar to other student groups at the school • Evolution • Cannot forbid the teaching of evolution

  12. Religion and Education (Con’t) • Aid to Parochial Schools • Whether or not states should provide funding for private religious school districts • The Lemon Test • Purpose of the aid is clearly secular, not religious • Its primary effect neither enhances or inhibits religion • It avoids an excessive entanglement of government with religion • However, not completely clear cut from Supreme Court

  13. Other Establishment Clause Cases • Seasonal Displays • Supreme Court has held that public organizations can put up Christmas decorations, as long as they show other religious symbols as well • ACLU continually attacks this issue • Chaplains • Legislative meetings can begin with prayer because: • tradition • Legislators are not like school children and are not “susceptible to religious indoctrination or peer pressure”

  14. The Free Exercise Clause • Guarantees to each person the right to believe whatever he or she chooses to believe in matters of religion • However, one cannot violate criminal laws, offend public morals, or otherwise threaten the safety of the community • Limits on Free Exercise • Multiple cases involving the restriction of individual freedom

  15. The Free Exercise Clause (Con’t) • Free Exercise Upheld • The government is limited on restricting individual freedoms • Amish only go to school till 8th grade • Jehovah witnesses have the right to not salute the U.S. flag

  16. Section 3 • Freedom of Speech and Press

  17. The Free Exchange of Ideas • 1st and 14th amendments provide certain fundamental rights • Each person a right of free expression in all means of communication • Guarantee to all person a full, wide ranging discussion of public affairs

  18. The Free Exchange of Ideas (Con’t) • America’s governmental system depends on the ability of the people to make sound, reasoned judgments and decisions • Used to protect unpopular views • However there are restrictions, especially concerning libel and slander • false and malicious use of printed words • false and malicious use of spoken words

  19. Seditious Speech • Sedition is the crime of attempting to overthrow the government by force or to disrupt its lawful activities by violent acts • Seditious speech is the advocating or urging, of such conduct • The Alien and Sedition Acts • Ability to deport undesirable aliens in 1798 • However eventually found unconstitutional

  20. Seditious Speech (Con’t) • The Sedition Act of 1917 • Ability of the government to charge individuals who tried to interfere with the war effort • Established Clear and Present Danger • The Smith Act of 1940 • A crime for anyone to advocate the violent overthrow of the government of the United States • Parts of the act are still used today

  21. Obscenity • Can be considered obscene if: • The average person find that the work tends to excite lust • Depicts or describes a form of promiscuity • The work taken as a whole, lacks serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value

  22. Prior Restraint • Punishment of words said or written after they are made • Basically used as a form of censorship

  23. The Media • Confidentiality • In theory, reporters are to give up their sources, if requested by the courts • However, some states have passed shield laws • Allow reporters to maintain their confidentiality • Motion Pictures • No longer do towns have “censorship” committees • Most individuals use the industry’s own rating system

  24. The Media (Con’t) • Radio and Television • Most often the form of communication with the highest amount of restrictions • The FCC is the government agency in charge of regulating the decency of radio and television

  25. Symbolic Speech • Expression by conduct… communicating ideas through facial expressions, body language, or by carrying a sign or wearing an arm band • Example: Picketing • patrolling of a business site by workers who are on strike

  26. Symbolic Speech (Con’t) • Other Symbolic Speech Cases • Acts of dissent can be punished if: • the object of the protest is within the constitutional powers of the government • whatever restriction is placed on expression is no greater than necessary in the circumstance • government’s real interest in the matter is not to squelch dissent • Flag Burning • Courts found it to be constitutional

  27. Commercial Speech • Advertising for businesses is sometimes protected • Example: • Cigarette and drinking commercials during college basketball games

  28. Section 4 • Freedom of Assembly and Petition

  29. The Constitution’s Guarantees • The Constitution protects the right of people to assemble peacefully • Gather with one another

  30. Time-Place-Manner Regulation • The government is allowed to put reasonable regulation on the right to assemble • The government’s regulations must also be content neutral • Cannot regulate assemblies on the basis of what might be said there

  31. Public Property • Most assemblies, or demonstrations, take place on public property • Thus many times, demonstrations are restricted to specific parts of public property, and must give advanced notice • In order to help maintain order and control • Gregory V. Chicago • As long as demonstrators act peacefully, they could not be punished for disorderly conduct • Recent Cases • Mostly dealing with abortion and groups trying to dissuade women from having or receiving advice on abortions

  32. Private Property • The rights of assembly and petition do not give people a right to trespass on private property, even if they wish to express political views • That includes shops or malls

  33. Public Property • Most assemblies, or demonstrations, take place on public property • Thus many times, demonstrations are restricted to specific parts of public property, and must give advanced notice • In order to help maintain order and control • Gregory V. Chicago • As long as demonstrators act peacefully, they could not be punished for disorderly conduct • Recent Cases • Mostly dealing with abortion and groups trying to dissuade women from having or receiving advice on abortions

  34. Private Property • The rights of assembly and petition do not give people a right to trespass on private property, even if they wish to express political views • That includes shops or malls

  35. Freedom of Associations • Those rights to associate with others to promote political, economic, and other social causes • Also known as right of association • Example: Boy Scouts of America V. Dale, 2001 • The Boy Scouts kicked out a professed homosexual child • The Courts held that the Boy Scouts had the right to do it, because if they accepted the boy, then they would be contradicting what the organization professes to believe • Their charter opposed homosexuality