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Chapter Summary5 - incorporating the Bill of Rights into...

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Chapter Five: Civil Liberties Study Chapter Summary Issues of civil liberties are among the most divisive and controversial in contemporary American politics. However, the inherent tension between majority rule and individual liberties is nothing new, and in fact it weighed heavily on the minds of the Framers as they wrote the Constitution. Although the Constitution included no formal listing of citizens' rights in its original form, its supporters and opponents alike soon recognized the value of including explicit limitations on government power. However, even when the Bill of Rights was added to the Constitution, it was not applied to state governments or policies. The passage of the Fourteenth Amendment during Reconstruction provided the legal basis for
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Unformatted text preview: incorporating the Bill of Rights into state policy. The actual process of incorporation has been selective and is still ongoing today. Some amendments, particularly the freedom of expression components of the First Amendment, were applied to the states relatively early and vigorously. Others, such as the Second Amendment, still have not been applied to the states. The Supreme Court has been the primary actor in controlling the incorporation process as well as safeguarding and balancing civil liberties, in general. While the unelected nature of the Court has insulated the body from popular passions in the short term, the Court has seldom flouted majority opinion in the long term....
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