310LSpring2009CivilLiberties

310LSpring2009CivilLiberties - Studying Civil Liberties An...

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Studying Civil Liberties An overview
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Some examples Civil liberties cases on campuses: speech codes and free speech [textbook 454-5] The case of Joshua DeShaney [DeShaney v. Winnebago County Dept of Social Services (1989)]
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Nature of a “liberty” or a “right” A power or privilege an individual claims to possess--by nature, by tradition, or by law Nature: “natural law” [cf. Declaration of Independence] Sacred? Secular? Tradition [cf., colonial heritage from Britain] Law: the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, and/or legislation
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Distinguishing definitions Civil liberties— “freedoms protected by constitutional provisions, laws, and practices from certain types of government interference. As embodied in the Bill of Rights, civil liberties are protected by prohibitions against government actions that threaten the enjoyment of freedom.” [textbook, page 456] Freedoms from government --freedoms that the constitutions of the nation and/or a state, as interpreted by the courts, prevent those governments from violating and require those governments to protect.--Edwards
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So, key underlying questions concerning civil liberties Debate: Specifically what are U.S. civil liberties, and to whom do they apply? Issue: The power of the governments vs. the freedom or liberty of the individual Do and/or should we sacrifice some civil liberties in the interests of national security —esp. in the face of terrorist threat? Will the government observe and enforce particular civil liberties?
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Civil rights— “Guarantees of equal treatment by government officials regarding political rights, the judicial system, and public programs.” [textbook, page 490] Claims against government , demanding that it take positive steps to protect people from the unlawful actions of others, including government(s)--Edwards
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So, ironically, Strong advocates of civil rights may favor a stronger state to investigate and enforce them, which could compromise the civil liberties of some or all citizens
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Key topics from the textbook Civil liberties in the Constitution [table 15.1] The evolution of rights and liberties Economic liberty “Nationalization” of the Bill of Rights (also called “incorporation”) [see below]
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“What are your first amendment rights?” --the American people respond (percentages):
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This note was uploaded on 02/19/2010 for the course GOV 310L taught by Professor Kieth during the Spring '07 term at University of Texas at Austin.

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310LSpring2009CivilLiberties - Studying Civil Liberties An...

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