100 CIVIL LIBERTIES LECS

100 CIVIL LIBERTIES LECS - ANNOUNCEMENTS We are beginning...

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ANNOUNCEMENTS We are beginning the new unit on Civil Liberties and Civil Rights Readings: Chapters 8, 9, 10, and 12
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UNIT 3: CIVIL LIBERTIES AND CIVIL RIGHTS
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Civil liberties, civil rights, and human rights
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Definitions All of these are privileges and immunities to which people are entitled from government Privileges = what government is obligated to do for you Immunities = what government cannot do to you
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Civil Liberties The freedoms that Americans are entitled to under the US Constitution Primarily freedoms from government intrusion or interference in individuals’ actions or beliefs
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Civil Rights Government’s positive obligations to make sure that individuals are able to make use of their liberties
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Human Rights Human rights = the fundamental rights of all persons regardless of nationality or citizenship
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Enforcing rights and liberties Problem: If government is supposed to protect people’s rights and liberties, What about when it is the government that is violating those rights and liberties?
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All forms of government (monarchies, dictatorships, democracies) can, and often do, violate their citizens’ rights and liberties
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This happens frequently in monarchies or dictatorships Democracy is one solution to this But violations of civil rights and liberties can also happen in democracies
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How do violations of rights and liberties occur in democracies? Democracies are based on majority rule Majority rule more or less automatically protects the rights and liberties of those in the majority (Elected leaders usually will not tread on the rights and liberties of the majorities who elected them) But what about the rights and liberties of Minorities Individuals with unpopular views, beliefs, or practices
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Governments elected by a racial or religious majority may pass laws that discriminate against racial or ethnic minorities: Slavery Incarceration of Japanese Americans during WWII Laws banning religious practices offensive to the majority Jehovah’s Witness children’s refusal to say the Pledge of Allegiance Religious animal killings (sacrifices)
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This is called “tyranny of the majority”
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One solution to the danger of tyranny of the majority: Constitutional protections Problem = must be enforced by government But democratic governments are elected by the majority
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Judicial review of laws as necessary in a constitutional democracy Constitutional protections require an independent (non-elected) judiciary This is why federal judges are appointed , not elected It is also why federal judges serve for life Federal judges are appointed not on the basis of the popularity of their views, but on the basis of their ability to think clearly about legal and Constitutional questions
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Further difficulties in guaranteeing peoples’ rights and liberties What if judges believe that the majority’s violations of rights and liberties of minorities are legal? Slavery
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This note was uploaded on 04/24/2010 for the course ANTH 7173 taught by Professor George during the Spring '10 term at CSU Long Beach.

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100 CIVIL LIBERTIES LECS - ANNOUNCEMENTS We are beginning...

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