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Civil Liberties - Civil Liberties Civil Liberties One of...

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1 Civil Liberties Civil Liberties One of the first things our new government did under the new Constitution was to pass a Bill of Rights Due to the fear of a strong national govt. Linked to the idea of natural rights was the idea that a right was a “limitation” on any governmental power When we speak of Civil Liberties, then, we are referring to limitations on government which are spelled out in the Constitution Limits on government are mentioned throughout the Constitution, but mostly in the Bill of Rights, which is brief Judicial interpretation, then, has shaped our civil liberties and the rights we possess. So we must study the courts… Civil Liberties Cont. Originally, the BOR limited only the national govt.’s powers. States had their own BOR. It wasn’t until the 14th Amendment was passed in 1868, that the CL guaranteed by the national Constitution were applied to the states: “No state shall…deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law” For decades the courts were reluctant to define the liberties spelled out in the BOR as constituting “due process of law” which was protected by the 14th Amendment... …Until 1925 in Gitlow v. New York where speech was applied The Supreme Court, over the years, and through the Incorporation Theory, has used “rules” and “tests” to help it Strict Scrutiny Test, Lemon Test, Obscenity Rule, Good Faith
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2 Freedom of Religion Separation of Church and State The 1st Amendment and has two religious precepts: Establishment clause and Free Exercise clause “A wall of separation of church and state” – T. Jefferson 1971 Lemon v. Kurtzman no direct aid for religious instruction State aid to church-related schools, e.g. The 1971 Lemon Test : Aid has to be secular in aim, no primary effect of advancing or prohibiting religion, no excessive government entanglement Aiding students or religion? A fine line. Do any state have a right to promote religion in general?
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