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Outline CIVIL LIBERITIES Chapter 18


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CIVIL LIBERTIES A. INTRODUCTION A respect for civil liberties and civil rights is one of the most fundamental principles of the American political culture. The founders were very concerned with defining and protecting liberties and rights, and their efforts are reflected in the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and the Bill of Rights. Civil liberties and rights have continued to evolve through the years by means of additional amendments (particularly the Fourteenth), court decisions, and legislative actions. B. THE DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE "We hold these truths to be self-evident; that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. That, to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed." Thomas Jefferson, 1776 The Declaration clearly reflects the founders' belief that governments are responsible for protecting the "unalienable rights" of "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness." Since people are clearly capable of abusing the "natural rights" of others, the government must protect the rights of its citizens. C. THE ORIGINAL CONSTITUTION Most of the framers believed that the basic "natural rights" were guaranteed by the original Constitution before the Bill of Rights was added. Rights specifically mentioned in the body of the Constitution are: writ of habeas corpus no bills of attainder no ex post facto laws trial by jury in federal courts in criminal cases protection as citizens move from one state to another no titles of nobility limits on punishment for and use of the crime of treason no religious oaths for holding federal office guarantee of republican government for all states 1. THE WRIT OF HABEAS CORPUS "The privilege of the Writ of Habeas Corpus shall not be suspended, unless when in Cases of Rebellion or Invasion the public Safety may require it."
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Article One, Section Nine The Constitution of the United States Habeas Corpus literally means "produce the body." The writ is a court order requiring government officials to present a prisoner in court and to explain to the judge why the person is being held. Suspension of habeas corpus is a right of Congress, since the passage above appears in Article One, which defines the powers of Congress. Originally, the writ was only a court inquiry regarding the jurisdiction of the court that ordered the individual's confinement, but today it has developed into a remedy that a prisoner can formally request. A federal judge may order the jailer to show cause why the person is being held, and the judge may order the prisoner's immediate release.
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