Rights, Liberties, and Privacy
Protections in the Constitution
ex post facto law- law that would allow a person to be punished for an action that was not against the law when it was committed
bill of attainder- law that punishes a person accused of a crime without a trial or a fair hearing in court
Timeline of Court Cases that Protect 1st Amendment Rights
Explanations of Clauses
establishment- clause in the 1st 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 1st Amendment that states that Congress shall make no law prohibiting the free exercise of religion
Free Speech: How far does it stretch?
Tests to Free Speech
bad tendency test- permitted legislatures to forbid speech encouraging people to engage in illegal action
clear and present danger test- government cannot interfere with speech unless it presents a clear and present danger that it will lead to evil or illegal acts
miller test- rule used by the courts in which the definition of obscenity must be based on local standards
Protected Types of Free Speech: all speech is protected unless it falls into a category of libel, obscenity, fighting words, or comerrcial speech
Limits on Obscenity: work is considered legally obscene if:
-average persons finds that it appeals to a prurient interest in sex
-the work depicts patently offensive sexual conduct
-the work lacks serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value
fighting words- words that by their very nature inflict injury upon those to whom they are addressed or cause acts of violence by them
hate speech- speech made to offend someone
Free Press: Do they have a right to know?
In the US, free comment is protected. The Supreme Court cannot restrain reporters from talking about an ongoing trial. While federal rules of criminal procedure forbid radio and photographic coverage of criminal cases in federal courts, most states still permit televising courtroom proceedings.
Protections of Other Media
-the mails, handbills, sound trucks, billboards, motion pictures, plays, broadcasts, and cable communications all have various degrees of protection under the 1st amendment
-Reno v. ACLU struck down provisions that made it illegal to send obscene messages to anyone under the age of 18
-in 2004, the Supreme Court held that the Child Online Protection Act of 1998 was unenforceable and struck down the Child Pornography Prevention Act of 1996
Freedom of Assembly
-local rules on assembly allow local governments to classify if an assembly is a form of civil disobedience
Do you have a right to privacy?
-the right to be free from government surveillance or intrusion
-the right to not have private affairs be made public by the government
-the right to be free in thought and belief from governmental regulations
Supreme Court Rulings
stanley v. georgia- 1969 decision that people do have the right to possess obscene materials, just not to sell them
roe v. wade- 1973 decision that decriminalized abortion
bowers v. hardwick- 1986 decision that ruled the constitution did not protect the practice of sodomy between homosexuals, and that the states could ban sodomy
lawrence v. texas- 2003 decision that overturned Bowers v. Hardwick and declared a state law banning sodomy to be an unconstitutional intrusion on the right to privacy
The Four States of Privacy
How do you acquire and lose citizenship in the US?
-citizenship cannot be taken for committing crimes; citizenship can only be lost if the citizenship was secured by deception during the process of naturalization or if one renounces their own citizenship through the right of expatriation
How does the constitution protect private property? How does the government take it away?
-the government can take away private property by using its power of eminent domain, which allows the government to take private property for public use as long as the owner of the property is fairly compensated
What is the due process protection of the rights of the accused?
Timeline of the Quest for Equality
19th amendment- gave women the right to vote
24th amendment- outlawed the poll tax
26th amendment- lowered the voting age to 18
-white primaries, racial gerrymandering, poll taxes, and literacies tests made illegal
-Voting Rights Act of 1965 passed to ensure no person would be denied the right to vote because of race
Need for Equality
Many hispanics have been americans for generations, but because many speak Spanish as their first language over English, it has made it very difficult for them to establish themselves in the US. This inequality has also been overlooked due to the fact that many hispanics are not registered to vote, and thus the chicano movement is seeking equality to fix the injustices the hispanic people have faced.
Asian American Movement:
Many asian americans have faced much discrimination over the years, especially Japanese-Americans due to Japan's bombing on Pearl Harbor in WWII. Japanese-Americans were even sent into interment camps during this time, and repercussions of those events are still prevalent to this day. While some asian americans have begin to make their way into the mainstream of american society, there are still many who face discrimination and the asian american movement seeks equality in order to end these prejudices.
Native American Movement:
Native Americans used to inhabit all of what is now the US, but have had basically the entirety of their land taken from them by Americans and been forced to lived on reservations that are tiny fractions of what their land used to be. Native Americans make up only a tiny portion of the US population, and many reservations suffer from high unemployment and lack sufficient health care, education, and housing centers. The Native American movement needs to equality to ensure that their people are treated correctly by the US and to help right the wrongs they have faced over hundreds of years.