Chapter 4 Notes - Civil Liberties(Chapter 4 I The...

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Civil Liberties (Chapter 4) I. The Constitution Basis for our Civil Liberties a. Civil Liberties – are limitations on government action i. Specifying what the government cannot do b. Civil Rights – specify what the government must do to ensure equal protection under the law for all Americans c. The Constitution itself only included a few civil liberty rights: i. Write of habeas corpus – an order requiring an official to bring a prisoner into court and explain to a judge why the prisoner is being held ii. Prohibition of bills of attainder – legislative acts that directly punish a specifically named individual or group without a trial (Japanese – Americans put in containment camps during WWII) iii. Prohibition of ex post facto laws – laws punishing an individual for committing an act that was legal when it was committed but has since become a crime (Megan’s Law and registration of sex offenders) iv. The Bill of Rights (added after the Constitution was ratified): Extending the bill of rights to the states 1. Originally the bill of rights limited only the powers if the national government. In 1833 Barron vs. Baltimore the Supreme Court held that the Bill of Rights did not apply to the states 2. In 1868, the 14 th amendment passed. The due process read: “No State shall…deprive a person of life, liberty, or property, without the due process of law” 3. Starting in 1925 with the Gitlow vs. New York case did the Supreme Court begin using the due process clause to apply the Bill of Rights to the States 4. Incorporation Doctrine – the process of applying the Bill of Rights to the States v. Gun Control 1. 2 nd amendment – “right to bear arms”. Does it mean individuals or the state militia have the right to bear arms? 2. US vs. Miller (1939) viewed it as an articulation of the right of state militias, not individuals, to bear arms. 3. Over the years, the Supreme Court has declined to take up 2 nd amendment challenges 4. D.C. vs. Heller (2008) held that the 2 nd amendment protects
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an individual’s right to possess a firearm for private use. It was the first Supreme Court case in US history to address
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