Chapter 19 Civil Liberties

Civil Liberties: First Amendment
Chapter 19
The Unalienable Rights
• Rights & Liberties in American Political
– Civil Rights make Constitutional promises equal for
– Civil Liberties are protections against the
• Each person’s individual rights are relative to
the rights of every other person
• When rights conflict the courts must weigh the
claims carefully
• Persons to whom the rights are guaranteed
– Most rights are guaranteed to aliens too
– Some rights are for citizens of the U.S. only
• Example: the right to move freely around the country
• Federalism and Individual Rights
– The Bill of Rights applies only to the National
government, not the State governments
– The Supreme Court has ruled that State governments
may not deny people their rights because of the
wording of the 14th Amendment’s Due Process Clause
– The 9th Amendment states that there are rights
retained by the people that are not spelled out in the
Freedom of Religion
• Religion and the Bill of Rights
– Establishment Clause – 1st and 14th Amendments
prohibit the establishment of a state religion
– Free Exercise Clause – 1st and 14th Amendments
prohibit any interference with the free exercise of
• Separation of Church & State
– The Establishment Clause separates Church and State
– Zorach v Clauson, 1952 – RELEASED TIME. The Court
has allowed schools to release children from school to
attend religious classes if the classes are held on
private property.
• Engle v Vitale, 1962 – PRAYERS & THE BIBLE.
The Court has ruled against any laws requiring
or suggesting prayers or the religious use of
the Bible in public schools
• Westside Community Schools v Mergens,
Court has ruled that schools must allow
student religious groups to meet in the school
on the same terms that it sets for other
student organizations
• Epperson v Arkansas, 1908 – EVOLUTION. The
Court has struck down State laws prohibiting
the teaching of evolution or mandating the
teaching of the Biblical account of creation
• Lynch v Donnelly, 1984 – SEASONAL DISPLAYS.
The Court has held that public displays of
religious beliefs are permissible only if they
are part of an otherwise nonreligious or multireligious display.
• Marsh v Chambers, 1983 – CHAPLAINS IN
allows daily prayer in Congress and the State
legislatures because such prayer is based on
tradition and because adults, unlike
schoolchildren, are not “susceptible to religious
indoctrination or peer pressure.”
• Bob Jones University v U.S., 1983 – TAX
EXEMPTIONS. The Court allows tax exemptions
for religious organizations, but denies tax-exempt
status to religious organizations that practice
racial discrimination
• Mitchell v Helms, 2000 – STATE AID TO
PAROCHIAL SCHOOLS. State aid to parochial
schools exists in many forms, but is
• Lemon v Kurtzman, 1971 – THE LEMON TEST.
The purpose of state aid to religious schools
must be secular, not religious, that its primary
effect must not be to aid or inhibit religion;
and that it must avoid an “excessive
entanglement of government with religion.”
• Free Exercise of Religion
– Every person is guaranteed the right to believe
whatever that person chooses to believe in
matters of religion
– The Court limits the free exercise of religion in
cases where such exercise violates social duties or
is subversive of good order.
– The Court also protects free exercise in the face of
strong opposition against it
Freedom of Speech & Press
• The Bill of Rights/1st Amendment protects free
speech and free press, but the Court has ruled
that reasonable limits may be placed on this
freedom to protect against libel and slander.
– Libel is writing lies about someone
– Slander is saying lies about someone
• Miller v California, 1973 – OBSCENTIY. This is NOT
protected by the 1st or 14th Amendments. In
1973, The Court ruled that “contemporary
community standards” be sued in judging what is
• Near v Minnesota, 1931 – PRIOR RESTRAINT.
This is prohibited except in the case of threats
to our nation’s security, order of military
camps or prisons, and public school officials
editorial control over student publications.
• Brazenburg v Hayes, 1972 – CONFIDENTIALITY.
The Court has ruled that it is up to Congress
and the States to decide whether the press
should be made to reveal their sources
– Thirty states have given some protection to
reporters. These are called shield laws.
• Mutual Film Co. v Ohio, 1971 – MOTION
PICTURES. The get freedom of the press, but
are subject to obscenity ruling
• Red Lion Broadcasting v FCC, 1969 – RADIO
AND TV. These are subject to extensive federal
regulation because they use public airwaves to
broadcast their materials. Many states
regulate their shows today.
• Tinker v Des Moines, 1969 – SYMBOLIC
SPEECH. The Court has ruled both ways in
deciding cases of freedom of expression by
conduct. Their decisions have depended on
the circumstances surrounding the incident
• 44 Liquormart Inc., v Rhode Island, 1996 –
COMMERCIAL SPEECH. Advertising is now
protected by the 1st and 14th amendments;
however, false advertisement is forbidden.
Freedom of Expression & National
• Punishable Acts
– Espionage – spying against the U.S.
– Sabotage – plotting to do damage against U.S.
– Sedition – involves only speech or writing
– Treason – waging war against the U.S. or giving aid
and/or comfort to the nation’s enemies
• The Alien & Sedition Acts
– In 1798, they gave the U.S. President the power to
deport aliens who where against the government
– Later, they were repealed
• Seditious Acts in Wartime
– Schenck v U.S., 1917 – CLEAR AND PRESENT DANGER.
The Court upheld the conviction of a man who had
urged young men to resist the draft
– Clear & Present Danger – words can be outlawed if
they will trigger criminal acts
– Sedition in Peacetime. The Court has ruled it’s okay to
urge someone to believe something, just not to do