GOVT 2302 - Chapter 4 - Chapter4Outline...

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Chapter 4 Outline A Brief History of the Bill of Rights 1. Civil liberties are protections from improper government action. Some of these restraints are substantive  liberties, which put limits on what the government shall and shall not have power to do. Other restraints are  procedural liberties, which deal with how the government is supposed to act. Civil liberties require a delicate  balance between governmental power and governmental restraint. 2. Despite the insistence of Alexander Hamilton that a bill of rights was both unnecessary and dangerous,  adding a list of explicit rights was the most important item of business for the 1st Congress in 1789. 3. The Bill of Rights would have been more aptly named the “Bill of Liberties” because it is made up of  provisions that protect citizens from improper government action. 4. Civil rights did not become part of the Constitution until 1868 with the adoption of the Fourteenth  Amendment, which sought to provide for each citizen “the equal protection of the laws.” 5. In 1833, the Supreme Court found that the Bill of Rights limited only the national government and not state  governments. 6. Although the language of the Fourteenth Amendment seems to indicate that the protections of the Bill of  Rights apply to state governments as well as the national government, for the remainder of the nineteenth  century the Supreme Court (with only one exception) made decisions as if the Fourteenth Amendment had  never been adopted. 7. As of 1961, only the First Amendment and one clause of the Fifth Amendment had been “selectively  incorporated” into the Fourteenth Amendment. After 1961, however, most of the provisions of the Bill of  Rights were gradually incorporated into the Fourteenth Amendment and applied to the states. The First Amendment and Freedom of Religion 1. The “establishment clause” of the First Amendment has been interpreted in several ways, one being the  strict separation of church and state. But there is significant disagreement about how high that wall is and of  what materials it is composed. 2. The Supreme Court’s test from  Lemon v. Kurtzmann  determined that government aid to religious schools  would be accepted as constitutional if (1) it had a secular purpose, (2) its effect was neither to advance nor  to inhibit religion, and (3) it did not entangle government and religious institutions in each other’s affairs. 3.
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This note was uploaded on 02/16/2012 for the course GOVT 2302 taught by Professor Billy during the Spring '12 term at University of Texas at Austin.

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GOVT 2302 - Chapter 4 - Chapter4Outline...

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