POLS Chapter 4 - Ch 4: Civil Liberties and Public Policy -...

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Ch 4: Civil Liberties and Public Policy - Politics in Action o Civil liberties are essential to democracy. o Civil liberties are individual legal and constitutional protections against the government. American’s civil liberties are set down in the Bill of Rights, the first 10 amendments to the Constitution. - The Bill of Rights-Then and Now o In 1791 the Bill of Rights became a part of the Constitution. At the time, they enjoyed great popular support. o Political scientists have discovered that people are devotees of rights in theory but that their support wavers when it comes time to put those rights into practice. o The Bill of Rights and the States The Founders wrote the Bill of Rights to restrict the powers of the new national government. In Barron v. Baltimore the Court said that the Bill of Rights restrained only the national government, not the states and cities. Almost a century later, the Court ruled that a state government must respect some First Amendment Rights. 1868->Fourteenth Amendment-> no state shall make or enforce any law, which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the U.S. Gitlow v. New York-> the Court announced that freedoms of speech and press were fundamental personal rights and liberties protected by the due process clause (persons can’t be deprived of life, liberty or property) of the 14 th Amendment from impairment by the states. This decision began the incorporation doctrine-> the Supreme Court has nationalized the Bill of Rights by making most of its provisions applicable to the states. Initially, the SC held only parts of the 1 st amendment to be binding to the states as a result of Gitlow . Gradually, especially during the 1960s, the Court applied most of the Bill of Rights to the states. Only the 3 rd and 7 th Amendment have not been applied specifically to the states. - Freedom of Religion o The first amendment contains two elements regarding religion: o Establishment clause: congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion. The 1 st Amendment prohibits an established national religion.
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Thomas Jefferson argued that the First Amendment created a “wall of separation” between church and state, forbidding not just favoritism but also any support for religion at all. In Lemon v. Kurtzman the SC declared that aid to church-related schools must do the following: Have a secular legislative purpose Have a primary effect that neither advances nor inhibits religion. Not foster an excessive government “entanglement” with religion. In an important loosening of its constraints on aid to parochial schools, the SC decided in 1997 in Agostini v. Felton that public school systems could send teachers into parochial schools to teach remedial and supplemental classes to needy children. In 2002, the SC decided in
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This note was uploaded on 10/04/2010 for the course POLS POLS 206-1 taught by Professor Fulton during the Fall '09 term at Texas A&M.

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POLS Chapter 4 - Ch 4: Civil Liberties and Public Policy -...

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