LS 138 - Glossary of Constitutional terms and concepts.pdf - Glossary Classical Liberalism or Legal Liberalism Classical liberalism is the concept of

LS 138 - Glossary of Constitutional terms and concepts.pdf...

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Glossary Classical Liberalism or Legal Liberalism: Classical liberalism is the concept of liberty that defines the purpose of government as protecting individual rights and maximizing the autonomy of individuals. Government does this by protecting citizens’ life, liberty and property from foreign and domestic threats, such as providing armed forces and police. The government also provides certain basic services that the government can provide better than the private sector, such as creating laws and a judicial system. Under liberal theory, after providing these basic needs, the government should then leave citizens alone and respect each person’s autonomy to create whatever kind of society the citizens desire through private arrangements. Although classical liberalism is often associated with minimal government, sometimes called libertarianism, the basic definition of liberalism can include a more expansive governmental role. Government can provide services to citizens that maximize citizens’ ability to pursue their individual happiness and welfare. A liberal government can create a social safety net, protect the environment, eliminate discrimination against certain groups of citizens, all in the name of maximizing individual autonomy. Concurring Opinion: A Justice may agree with the result of the majority opinion but want to set forth different reasoning for reaching that result. That Justice, sometimes with others, can publish a concurring opinion. A concurring opinion can be persuasive authority but is not binding authority. Coverture: The doctrine developed by English common law courts and adopted by courts in the United States that a married woman has no legal existence is coverture. Under this doctrine, a woman’s legal life is “covered” by her husband. Married women could not own property, contract or, of course, vote. This doctrine assumed that a woman’s role is to be a daughter, wife and mother and never an independent citizen. Dissenting Opinion: An opinion written by a Justice or a group of Justices who disagree with the result reached by the majority of the Court as set forth in the opinion of the Court. The dissenting opinion, or dissent, explains why the dissenters think the Court should have reached a different result. Equality Liberalism: Equality liberalism is a system of legal liberalism that emerged in the United States in the mid-twentieth century. It expanded the role of 1
the Supreme Court and the federal government to include protecting the equality rights of all people. The major innovations of this form of liberalism were to end government-sponsored racial discrimination, to equalize citizens’ voting power, and to enforce a national criminal justice process. Equal Protection and Suspect Class: The Fourteenth Amendment orders states to not “deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.” The Supreme Court has interpreted this phrase to apply to laws that discriminate against certain classes of people. When the Court determines that certain groups

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