Rights, Liberty, and Privacy

Claudia Patterson In Class Assignment

Chapter 15- 1st Amendment Rights

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Core Vocabulary in Chapter 15

Writ of Habeas Corpus- "produce the body," court order directing the official holding the prisoner to bring him to a court official.

Ex Post Facto Law- Retroactive law that changes the punishment for a crime or makes a law illegal. It is wrong to try someone for a crime that was made illegal after someone committed it.

Example: Prohibition

Bill of Attainer- Legislative acts inflicting punishment or deprivation of property without a trial.

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Due Process

The legal requirement that a state must respect the legal rights that are owed to a person.


"Congress shall make no law respecting the establishment of religion." The Establishment Clause protects religion and makes sure that there isn't any government interference with religion. This establishes a separation of church and state.

Free Exercise

"Congress should make no law respecting the establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof." This clause allows for Americans to accept any religious belief and participate in any religious ritual.

Freedom of Speech

The freedom of speech guaranteed in the Constitution is not completely free, and does have some limitations. This is because speech is in between belief and action and can be regulated by the government if it becomes a problem.

How do people test freedom of speech?

Bad Tendency Test

Speech is not protected if the speech corrupts society and leads to crime.

Clear and Present Danger Test

Government can only interfere if words uttered create a "clear and present danger." This speech has to lead to riots, destruction of property, and corruption of elections.

Schenck v. USA- https://www.oyez.org/cases/1900-1940/249us47

Preferred Position Doctrine

In 1940, the Supreme Court applied 1st amendment guarantees to the states. This doctrine states that actions should be punished, but not words and pictures.

What type of speech is NOT protected?

  • written defamation or false statements
  • must be able to prove malice in the press
  • must be depicted in a offensive way
  • must lack literary, artistic, political or scientific value
  • cannot involve a minor
Fighting words
  • could inflict injury or incite violence
Commercial Speech
  • protects people against false advertisement

Prior Restraint

Prior Restraint is also known as editing before the person does/publishes what they intend to say.

Hazelwood v. Kuhlmeier- https://www.oyez.org/cases/1987/86-836

Freedom of the Press

In the Court System

The press/reporters believe that they have a right to keep information from grand juries and legislative/ investigating committees. The Supreme Court has refused to acknowledge that reporters and public officials have the right to know everything. However, they have allowed them to go into criminal trials, just without cameras. The press isn't protected when classified information is involved.

Criminal Trials

When the press reports on crimes, it makes it hard to find an impartial jury. The court system can order a "gag order" that makes the trial closed to the press.

Different Types of Media

Governmental censorship of mail is unconstitutional.

What forms of Media are constitutional?

  1. Handbills
  2. Sound Trucks
  3. Billboards
  4. Motion Pictures
  5. Play
  6. Broadcast
  7. Cable Communications

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What about the Internet?

The Internet may be the most vague of all media types. Web sites cannot be made available to people under the age of 17 if they involve explicit material. This is subject to the discretion of the "community."

Freedom of Assembly

Assembly is allowed ONLY IF the person obtains the proper permits. There also regulations on the time, place, and manner of protests and parades to make sure that they are reasonable. Permits are not needed in public forums such as streets and sidewalks.


Do we have a right to privacy?

The Constitution actually doesn't say anything about privacy, yet it has become an integral part of policy making. Proponents of privacy laws site the 1, 4, 5, and 14 amendments. There is often an argument between privacy and national security. This argument came to a height after the PATRIOT Act following the terrorists attacks of 9/11.

Supreme Court Cases Dealing with Privacy

The 4 States of Privacy

  1. Solitude- free from observation
  2. Intimacy- choose friend/partner
  3. Anonymity- free from supervision
  4. Reserve- free to hold back info, don't have to disclose information

Chapter 16

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How does a person gain or lose citizenship?

There are a couple ways to become an American citizen. Any person that is born on United States soil is considered to be a citizen. This includes United States territories and army bases. A child that is born to American parents on foreign soil is still an American citizen. If a child has parents or grandparents that have been living in America for more than 5 years.

A person that wants to become a United States citizen would have to go through a naturalization process. Any person that has been living in the United States for 5 years is eligible to apply for naturalization. The naturalization process involves a background check, a civics/US history test, and an oath of allegiance. Many people are citizens of both the United States and another country, or dual citizens.

A person can lose their citizenship in a couple of ways. First, someone can voluntarily give up their citizenship if they so desire. This includes applying for and obtaining naturalization in a foreign country, making an oath of allegiance to another country, serving in the military of another country, serving in a foreign government position that requires an oath of allegiance, making a formal renunciation of U.S. citizen to a consular officer outside of the United States, making a formal renunciation of citizenship while in the US and during time that the United States is involved in war, and conviction of treason or attempting by force to overthrow the United States government through forms such as conspiracy convictions.

Right To Private Property in the Constitution

The right to private property is protected by the 5th amendment. This amendment states that the government cannot deprive citizens of their property without due process of law. This amendment also sets limits on what is considered to be "eminent domain" and can be taken away by the government. Property can also not be taken away without compensation by the government and be used for public use.

Due Process of the rights of the accused

Due process is defined as rules and regulations that restrain those in government who exercise power. Due process is protected by the 5th and 14th amendments. Due process is split into procedural and substantive due process. Procedural due process refers to the way in which a law is applied. Substantive due process places limits on what a government may do.

As an accused person, the person is given freedom from unreasonable searches and seizures. The individual is granted the Exclusionary Rule by the Mapp vs. Ohio court case. This states that police cannot use evidence that was taken illegally in court trials. Accused individuals are also allowed the right to remain silent to protect themselves from self-incrimination. The accused person is guaranteed the right to a fair trial, which includes the right to counsel, right to an indictment, and the right to a trial.

Chapter 17

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According to the Constitution, the state government is in charge of regulating elections and voting qualifications, but Article I, Section 4 has given Congress power to supersede state regulations. This has allowed for the passing of the 14th, 19th, and 26th amendments. The 14th amendment forbids qualification to vote based on age, the 19th forbids qualification based on gender, the 24th amendment forbids a poll tax, and the 26th forbids the denial of the right to vote to citizens that are age 18 or older.

Voting Rights have always been fiercely fought for. In 1960, the Supreme Court held that racial gerrymandering was unconstitutional and went against the 15th amendment. Southern states attempted to disallow African Americans from voting by forcing them to pass tough literacy tests to gain their right to vote. In order to protect people's right to vote, Congress passed the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Proposed originally by President Lyndon Johnson in a speech, the Act was made so that no person would be deprived the right to vote in any election for any office because of color or race.

There are still some discrepancies when it comes to voting rights. In some states, present and past felons are not allowed to vote. There is also some controversy over whether or not voter identification laws are discriminatory toward minority and poor voters.

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Asian Americans

Asian Americans are the fastest growing immigrant population currently in the United States. This minority group is considered to be full of model citizens. The Asian American population typically lives in Western states. The Asian American population includes Chinese Americans, Japanese Americans, and various other Asian Americans. The Asian American population has received large spread discrimination.

Native Americans

The Native American population is one that is very interesting. They are citizens of the United States, but they are also citizens of their respective nations. They have the right to vote in elections in the United States. They used to not have this luxury, and were often treated as second class citizen. Today, Native Americans still struggle with high unemployment, high rates of crime, and high levels of addiction. They lack health care facilities, educational facilities, housing, and jobs.

Education Equality

Education Rights and Protections

In Brown vs. Board of Education of Topeka, the Supreme Court ruled that "separate but equal" facilities were unconstitutional. Since then, many different minorities have fought to gain equality for educational rights. This included Hispanics, Asian Americans, and women. In North Carolina law it states that all people have a right to an education.

Affirmative Action

Why is Affirmative Action Controversial?

Affirmative Action was made to ensure that minorities were not discriminated against. This includes African Americans, Native Americans, Hispanics, and women. This is controversial because some people think that it is "reverse discrimination." The quota system allows for white people to be discriminated against.