Civil Liberties and Rights

Tracing rights, liberties, and privacy

Important Vocabulary

*Writ of habeas corpus: a court order to a person or agency holding someone in custody to deliver the imprisoned individual to the court issuing the order.

*Ex post facto law: is a law that retroactively changes the legal consequences of actions that were committed, or relationships that existed, before the enactment of the law.

*Bill of attainder: is an act of a legislature declaring a person or group of persons guilty of some crime and punishing them, often without a trial.

Explanation of Clauses

*Due Process: The legal requirement that the state must respect all legal rights that are owned to a person

*Establishment: States Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment or religion.

*Free Exercise: Guarantees freedom from governmental interference in both private and public religious affairs of all kinds.

Timeline of court cases that protect First Amendment Rights

Timeline of court cases that protect First Amendment Rights


Explanation of Clauses

Due Process Clause- deals with the administration of justice and thus the due process clause acts as a safeguard from arbitrary denial of life, liberty, or property by the Government outside the sanction of law.


Establishment Clause- prohibits the government from making any law “respecting an establishment of religion.”


Free Exercise Clause- reserves the right of American citizens to accept any religious belief and engage in religious rituals.

Free Speech: How far does it stretch?

Tests to free speech?Freedom of Speech


Protected types of free speech?Obscenity, Fighting Words, Black Mail


Limits on obscenity? Obscenity falls outside the protection of the First Amendment.


Fighting Words? Words which would likely make the person whom they are addressed commit an act of violence.


Hate speech? Is speech that offends, threatens, or insults groups, based on race, color, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, disability, or other traits.

Timeline of court Cases protecting the First Amendment; http://judiciallearningcenter.org/your-1st-amendment-rights/

Free Press: Do they have a right to know?

Free Press vs. Fair Trials and Due Process?


Protections of other media?


The Internet? The Internet is a worldwide system of connected networks.

Freedom of Assembly

Public Forums? Is a government-owned property that is open to public expression and assembly.


Local Rules on assembly?In terms of simple local binding preference of discrete submit conformations

Core vocabulary for protections in the Constitution:

Writ of habeas corpus-is a court order to a person (prison warden) or agency (institution)

Ex post facto law- is a law that retroactively changes the legal consequences

Bill of attainder- is an act of a legislature declaring a person or group of persons guilty of some crime

Do you have a right to Privacy?

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

  1. Griswold v. Connecticut- was a landmarkSupreme Court decision that recognized that a married couple has a right of privacy that cannot beinfringed upon by a state law making it a crime to use contraceptives
  2. Stanley v. Georgia- was a United States Supreme Court decision that helped to establish an implied "right to privacy" in U.S law, in the form of mere possession of obscene materials.
  3. Roe v. Wade- Legalized women abortion
  4. Bowers v. Hardwick- is a United States Supreme Court decision, overturned in 2003, that upheld, in a 5–4 ruling, the constitutionality of a Georgia sodomy law
  5. Lawrence v. Texas- striking down state sodomy laws as applied to gays and lesbians