Rights, Liberties and Privacy

In-class work; weeks 13-14

Chapter 15

Core Vocabulary

-Writ of Habeus Corpus: literally means, "produce the body;" a court order to deliver an imprisoned person back to court

-Ex post facto law: changes legal consequences once a law is passed, even if those consequences happened many years before

-Bill of Attainder: legislation declaring a person/group of people guilty of something without a trial

Timeline of First Amendment Court Cases

1878 - Reynolds v. United States (freedom of religion)

1919 - Debs v. United States (freedom of speech)

1931 - Stromberg v. California (freedom of speech)

1938 - Lovell v. Griffin (freedom of religion)

1940 - Thornhill v. Alabama (freedom of assembly)

1943 - West Virginia Board of Education v. Barnette (freedom of speech)

1961 - Torasco v. Watkins (freedom of religion)

1963 - Sherbert v. Verner (freedom of relgion)

1969 - Tinker v. Des Moines Independent Community School District (freedom of speech)

1969 - Brandenburg v. Ohio (freedom of speech)

1971 - New York Times Co. v. United States (freedom of press)

1971 - Lemon v. Kurtzman (freedom of religion)

1972 - Wisconsin v. Yoder (freedom of religion)

1978 - Federal Communications Committee (FCC) v. Pacifica (freedom of press)

1983 - Volger v. Youngs Drug Products Corporation

1988 - Meyer v. Grant (freedom of petition)

1988 - Hustler Magazine v. Falwell (freedom of religion)

1988 - Hazelwood School District v. Kuhlmeier (freedom of press)

1989 - Texas v. Johnson (freedom of speech)

2001 - Bartnicki v. Vopper (freedom of press)

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-Due Process Clause: ensures that one's life, liberty or property is not taken without a fair trial.

-Establishment Clause: the government cannot establish or enforce an official or national religion.

-Free Exercise Clause: the government cannot prohibit the free exercise of anyone's religion

Freedom of Speech

How far does it stretch? Your right to free speech stretches as long as you aren't hurting anyone. Libel, slander and obscenities are generally considered to be taking free speech too far.

Tests to free speech? The "Bad Tendency Test," "Clear and Present Danger," and "Preferred Position Doctrine."

Protected types of free speech? laws need to be content-neutral or viewpoint-neutral; prior restraint in the case of military and national security; vague laws are not unconstitutional

Limits on obscenity? If the work portrays an offensive, obscene act OR if the work lacks artistic value.

Fighting words? fighting words are unprotected because they can cause injury or disrupt peace.

Hate speech? hate speech (speech that offends based on certain physical or ethnic characteristics) is not protected as they can cause injury and discord.

Free Press

Do they have the right to know? Yes! The press is allowed to publish information no matter how it was gathered.

Free Press v. Fair Trials and Due Process? As reporters can describe a crime with unlimited details, this makes it difficult to find an impartial jury. If the jury isn't impartial, the accused might be denied their due process.

Protections of Other Media Nearly all news stations are allowed to run what they find; however, their levels of protection varies. Cable news stations are very protected, because customers can block what they do not want to see. Newspapers are less protected.

The Internet the internet is generally less protected, because people can post whatever they want to. However, it has been made illegal to allow underage people access to explicit content.

"I tell you, in my opinion, the cornerstone of democracy is free press - that's the cornerstone." Milos Forman

Freedom of Assembly

Public Forums? You can generally express your views in a public meeting or places where free exercise is accepted. Your right to speak is protected; however, you do not have the right to force your views onto everyone in hearing distance. There are public forums, which welcome everyone, and limited public forums, where there is limited space only.

Local rules on assembly? In North Carolina, you have to get a permit to assemble on public property, and your assemblies cannot end with violence. You can gather on your own property but you cannot fringe on anyone else's property who has not agreed.

Right to Privacy


Yes and no.

The Constitution says nothing about the right to privacy, and there are proponents and opponents to the idea. Proponents use the 1, 4, 5, and 14 amendments, while opponents use safety and national security as an excuse not to give citizens their privacy.

How has the Supreme Court ruled in the past?

1) Griswold v. Connecticut: 1965; the Supreme Court ruled that the Constitution protected the right of privacy for citizens. Legalized birth control.

2) Stanley v. Georgia: 1969; a Supreme Court ruling that helped to establish an implied "right to privacy" law. Overturned laws banning the private ownership of obscene materials.

3) Roe v. Wade: 1973; Supreme Court ruled that no state could ban first trimester abortions. It effectively legalized abortions in the United States.

4) Bowers v. Hardwick: 1986; overturned a Georgia law outlawing private homosexual activities. Upheld right to privacy.

5) Lawrence v. Texas: 2003; Supreme Court struck down another sodomy law in Texas and overturned sodomy laws in thirteen other states by extension.

Four States of Privacy

1) solitude: involves complete separation from the group and complete non-observance from other people.

2) intimacy: a small group of people that develops a close relationship through seclusion

3) anonymity: when an individual is in a public place/forum but hides their identity.

4) reserve: when one creates a barrier in one's mind, preventing interaction with others.

Chapter 16

How do you acquire and lose citizenship in the United States?

Acquire: you are a citizen of the United States when

-you are born in America or American territories (or on an American military base)

-you are born to American parents

-you go through the Naturalization Process and are approved

Lose: you can lose your citizenship by

-denouncing it

-swearing an oath of allegiance to/serving in the military of another country

-committing a felony (for naturalized citizens)

How does the government protect private property? How does the government take it away?

contract clause: states that a state cannot change or alter private contracts

eminent domain: the government has to compensate the owners of private property for any public usage

regulatory takings: when the government limits the usage of private property to an extent it falls under eminent domain

Any time the government wants to use one's private property, the owner MUST be compensated.

Due Process Protection of the Accused

The accused are protected through the due process clauses of the 5 and 14 amendments. These clauses state that the government cannot deny anyone life, liberty or property without due process of law. "Due process of law" refers to the rules and regulations that bind the government.

Another way the accused are protected is through substantive due process. These limit what a government may do and states that an unreasonable law can be unconstitutional.

Chapter 17

Timeline of Quest for Equality

1861-1865: Civil War (lead to Amendments 13, 14, and 15)

1877-1960(ish): Segregation and White Supremacy (amendments were bent so they were barely effective; white supremacy was supreme for nearly 100 years after reconstruction ended in 1877)

1918-1950: encompasses the end of World War I, World War II (after WWI, African Americans began to make social strides)

1960s: Civil Rights movement (nonviolent protests; riots; gained integration and equal rights under the law)

1960s-present day: still faces discrimination after Civil Rights movement but were on the uphill climb

Voting Rights/Suffrage

-Women's Rights Movement influenced the instillation of Amendment 15, which gave African Americans the right to vote.

-Females gained the right to vote with the 19th Amendment. The journey to suffrage included the Seneca Falls Convention and the expansion of Amendment 14 to include protection against gender discrimination.

Need For Equality

Hispanics: animosity towards Hispanics is not uncommon, though often unmerited. Stereotypes about the Hispanic community abound. Though Hispanics are now equal under the law, the general population still has some work to do before that portion of the American people is considered socially equal.

Asian Americans: Due to the persecution of the Japanese in World War II, the discord against Asian Americans is decades old. For a while, Asian Americans weren't allowed to own property or become citizens, adding to the long-held prejudices. Now, of course, actions like those are deemed unconstitutional, though offensive stereotypes remain.

Native Americans: although they were literally here first, the Europeans set the standard of oppressing the Native American population. Most modern-day Native Americans live on or near reservations. There is also a Bureau of Indian Affairs in the Department of the Interior. However, there are a large amount of Native Americans that live in poverty and suffer from unemployment.

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In Amendment 14, the Equal Protection clause states that no government can deny a person under their jurisdiction protection under the law. As education is considered a right, that means every state has to provide every child with free education.

Affirmative Action

Affirmative Action is very controversial because it was designed to give an advantage to minorities, who were usually looked down upon. Some felt this was fair, as minorities were often discriminated against. Some felt this was unfair, because it gave an advantage to people for something they could not control (their race).

"Freedom is never granted. It is earned by each generation… in the face of tyranny, cruelty, oppression, extremism, sometimes there is only one choice. When the world looks to America, America looks to you, and you never let her down." - Hillary Clinton