Rights, Liberties, and Privacy?

By: Tiffany Dunning

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Core Vocabulary

  • Writ of habeas corpus- A court order requiring police officials to produce an individual held in custody and show sufficient cause for that person's detention.
  • Ex post facto law- a law that makes an act criminal although the act was legal when it was committed
  • Bill of attainder- a law that declares a person, without a trial, to be guilty of a crime
  • Due process- Clause in the Fifth Amendment limiting the power of the national government
  • Establishment- Clause in the First Amendment that states that Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion. The Supreme Court has interpreted this to forbid governmental support to any or all religions.
  • Free exercise- Clause in the First Amendment that states that Congress shall make no law prohibiting the free exercise of religion.
  • Due Process Clause- Clause in the Fifth Amendment limiting the power of the national government; similar clause in the Fourteenth Amendment prohibiting state governments from depriving any person of life, liberty, or property without due process of law
  • Establishment Clause- Clause in the First Amendment that states that Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion. The Supreme Court has interpreted this to forbid governmental support to any or all religions.
  • Free Exercise Clause- Clause in the First Amendment that states that Congress shall make no law prohibiting the free exercise of religion.
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Freedoms

Free Speech: How far does it stretch?

  • There are many limits to our free speech and when and where it can be used.

Tests to free speech?

  • Bad Tendency Test
  • Clear and Present Danger Test
  • Preferred Position Doctrine

Protected types of free speech?

  • prior restraint
  • void for vagueness
  • least drastic means
  • content and viewpoint neutrality

Limits on:

obscenity?

  • if the average person, based on contemporary time, would find the work appeals to an excessive interest in sex
  • depicts in a patently offensive way sexual conduct defined by applicable law (legislatively defined act)
  • the work, taken as a whole, lacks literary, artistic, political, or scientific value

Fighting Words?

  • unprotected because they may inflict injury or tend to incite and immediate breech of the peace

Hate speech?


Free Press: Do they have a right to know?

  • No, the Supreme Court refused to acknowledge that the Press has the Constitutional right to know

Free Press vs. Fair Trials and Due Process?

  • reporters describe crime in vivid detail
  • may inflame public opinion

Protections of other media?

  • handbills, sound trucks, billboards
  • motion pictures and plays
  • broadcast and cable communications

The Internet?

  • Reno v. American Civil Liberties Union
  • Child Online Protection Act

Freedom of Assembly

  • even if the goal of the protest is not socially acceptable to the society at large (Neo Nazis, KKK, “Million Youth March” racist anti-semite: Khallid Abdul Muhammad) it will usually be allowed if the proper permits are granted
  • Not always “bad guys” whose right to assemble has had to be protected by the courts…….. MLK & the civil rights movement, Occupy Wall Street

Public Forums?


  • Protects the right to speak, doesn’t protect the right to communicate views to everyone, in every place, at every time they wish
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Privacy

Do you have a right to Privacy?

  • Everyone has a right to privacy to an extent

What does the Constitution say about it? How has the Supreme Court ruled in the past?

  • The right to privacy is not specifically stated in the Constitution but it is inferred from the 1st, 4th and 14th amendments

Court Cases:

  • Griswold v. Connecticut- Issue: A Connecticut statute forbids any person to obtain any drug or article to prevent conception. Supreme Court Decision: Appellants have standing to assert the constitutional rights of the married people; the Connecticut statute forbidding use of contraceptives violates the right of marital privacy which is within the penumbra of specific guarantees of the Bill of Rights
  • Stanley v. Georgia- Issue: State laws prohibiting the possession of obscene material. Supreme Court Decision: We hold that the 1st and 14th amendments prohibit making mere private possession of obscene material a crime; the Constitution does protect a person’s right to receive information without regard to its social worth
  • Roe v. Wade- Issue: A Texas law enforcing that attempting to or procuring an abortion is illegal. Supreme Court Decision: The Texas law violates the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, which protects state action against the right of privacy, including a woman’s qualified right to terminate her pregnancy
  • Bowers v. Hardwick- The Issue: A Georgia statute that criminalized sodomy. Supreme Court Decision: The Constitution does not confer a fundamental right upon homosexuals to engage in sodomy. None of the fundamental rights announced in this Court’s prior cases involving family relationships, marriage, or procreation bear any resemblance to the right asserted in this case. And any claim that those cases stand for the proposition that any kind of private sexual conduct between consenting adults is constitutionally insulated from state proscription is unsupportable
  • Lawrence v. Texas- The Issue: A Texas law forbidding a man from engaging in deviant sexual intercourse with another individual of the same sex. Supreme Court Decision:

    Texas “Homosexual Conduct’ law violates the privacy of homosexuals under the 14th Amendment; convictions for adult consensual sexual intimacy in the home violate their vital interests in liberty and privacy protected by the Due Process Clause of the 14th Amendment

"The Four States of Privacy"

  • solitude
  • intimacy
  • anonymity
  • reserve