Chapter_19_Notes,_Part_One.doc - Mr McCormack American Government Central Dauphin High School Chapter Nineteen \u2013 Civil Liberties First Amendment

Chapter_19_Notes,_Part_One.doc - Mr McCormack American...

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Mr. McCormack American Government Central Dauphin High School Chapter Nineteen – Civil Liberties: First Amendment Freedoms I. The Unalienable Rights A. The Declaration of Independence proclaimed that certain rights are unalienable, meaning that they can never be surrendered to any government 1. Many of the former colonies quickly established state constitutions that attempted to define these rights 2. The US Constitution as originally written did not include a Bill of Rights a. Many Anti-Federalists opposed ratification of the Constitution for this failing b. James Madison, the Father of the Constitution, eventually became the leading author of the amendments in the first Congress 3. The first Congress passed 12 amendments, 10 of which became the Bill of Rights in 1791 a. An eleventh proposal became the 27 th Amendment in 1992 b. The twelfth proposal, fixing the ratio of congressional representation to population at 1:50,000, never passed 4. The Bill of Rights protects both civil rights and civil liberties a. The two terms are often used interchangeably b. Civil Rights i. Requires the government to act to guarantee constitutional protections to all people ii. Examples include prohibition of discrimination on the basis of race, etc. c. Civil Liberties i. Guarantees the safety of persons, property, etc. from the government ii. Examples include the freedom of religion, etc. B. Government in the United States is limited by the Constitution in what it can do C. Rights are relative, not absolute 1. Generally speaking, you can exercise your rights until doing so intrudes on another’s rights 2. Absolute freedom is anarchy D. Constitutional rights apply to all persons within the US 1. This includes citizens, visitors, legal immigrants, and illegal immigrants 2. Not all rights are necessarily enjoyed to the same degree, however (i.e. right to travel) E. Federalism and Individual Rights 1. The Bill of Rights, as amendments to the federal constitution, was originally understood to limit only the federal government, not the states 2. The Supreme Court recognized this limit in Barron v. Baltimore , 1833 3. Since the 1920’s, however, the Supreme Court has been applying more of the Bill of Rights to the states through the Fourteenth Amendment a. This process is called “incorporation” b. It relies upon the “due process clause” of the Fourteenth Amendment c. The Fourteenth Amendment prohibited any state from depriving a citizen of life, liberty, or property without due process of the law i. “Life, liberty, and property” has been interpreted to mean “fundamental rights” ii. The only process that would normally suffice to deprive you of your fundamental rights would be a Constitutional amendment d. Many people interpret due process to mean that states must have a trial, give you a chance to mount a defense, etc. – “procedural due process”
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e. Others believe that “due process” means you can not be deprived of anything that is “basic or essential to the American concept of ordered liberty” – “substantive due process” f. Substantive due process is still a controversial idea for many people
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