Civil Liberties 9-10-08

Civil Liberties 9-10-08 - Civil Liberties 9-10-08 &...

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Civil Liberties A. The Constitutional Basis for our Civil Liberties -Civil Liberties: Limitations on government action- specifying what government cannot do -Civil Liberties: Specify what government must do to ensure protection under the las for all Americans. 1. The constitution itself only included a few civil liberty rights… a. Writ of Habeas Corpus: an order requiring an official to bring a prisoner into court and explain to a judge why the prisoner is being held b. Prohibition of Bills of Attainder: Legislative acts that directly punish a specifically named individual or group without a trial (Asian-Americans during WWII). a. Prohibition of Ex Post Facto Laws: Laws punishing an individual for committing an act that was legal when it was committed but has since became a crime (Megan’s Law and the registration of sex offenders). 2. The bill of rights (added after the constitution was ratified): extending the bill of rights to the states. a. Originally the bill of rights limited only the powers of the national government. In 1883 Barron vs. Baltimore (1833) the Supreme Court held that the bill of rights did not apply to the states. 1.) In 1868 the 14 th amendment passed. The process Clause read: “No state shall… deprive any person of life, liberty or property, without the due process of law.” b. Starting in 1925 with the Gitlow vs. New York case did the Supreme Court began using the due process clause of the 14 th amendment to apply the bill of rights to the states.
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2.) Incorporation Doctrine: The process of applying 1 st amendment along with most of the bill of rights to state governments. B. Gun control 1. 2 nd amendment: “Right to bear arms” Does this mean we have an individual right to bear arms? Or does it mean a state militia has a right to bear arms? 2. United States vs. Miller (1939) viewed it as an articulation of the right of state militias to bear arms… not individuals. 3. D.C. vs. Heller, (2008) held that the 2 nd amendment protects an individual’s right to possess a firearm for private use. It was the first Supreme Court case in U.S. history to address directly whether the right to keep and bear arms is
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Civil Liberties 9-10-08 - Civil Liberties 9-10-08 &...

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