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Constitutional Rights


Title: Constitutional Rights, Citizenship & Equal Justice Author: mbaczynski Last modified by: Effingham County Created Date: 4/23/2007 10:03:26 PM – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Constitutional Rights

Constitutional Rights
Chapters 13,14, 15
GPS Standards
  • SSCG6 The student will demonstrate knowledge of
    Civil Liberties and Civil Rights.
  • Examine the Bill of Rights with emphasis on the
    First Amendment freedoms.
  • Analyze due process of law expressed in the 5th
    and 14th Amendments.
  • Explain selective incorporation of the Bill of
  • Explain how government seeks to maintain the
    balance between individual liberties and the
    public interest.
  • Explain every citizens right to be treated
    equally under the law.

GPS Standards
  • SSCG21 The student will demonstrate knowledge of
    criminal activity.
  • Examine the nature and causes of crimes
  • Explain the effects criminal acts have on their
  • Categorize different types of crimes.
  • Explain the different types of defenses used by
    perpetrators of crime.

GPS Standards
  • SSCG22 The student will demonstrate knowledge of
    the criminal justice system.
  • Analyze the steps in the criminal justice
  • Explain an individuals due process.
  • Describe the steps in a criminal trial or a civil
  • Examine the different types of sentences a
    convicted person can receive.

Constitutional Rights
  • The fundamental freedoms that all Americans have
    are called human rights.
  • These rights are guaranteed to all Americans in
    the Constitution and cannot be taken away by

Constitutional Rights
  • Incorporation extended the Bill of Rights to
    state and local government.
  • The 14th Amendment, 1868, expanded individual
    rights with the due process clause, which Supreme
    Court rulings have interpreted as applying to all
    levels of government.

Did You Know?
  • The Supreme Court in 1962 ruled 6 to 1 against
    allowing prayers in public schools. The specific
    case dealing with this issue was Engle v. Vitale,
    for which Justice Hugo Black wrote the Courts
    opinion, finding that school prayers violated the
    establishment clause of the First Amendment.

Freedom of Religion
  • The Establishment Clause forbids Congress from
    passing legislation to establish a single
    religion for the United States.
  • The Free Exercise Clause guarantees the free
    exercise of religion, forbids Congress from
    passing laws limiting the practice of religion.

The Establishment Clause
  • Public school cannot do anything to promote or
    hinder religion.
  • Parochial schools are religious private schools.
  • The Court has ruled state aid to parochial
    schools constitutional
  • 1. if the aid has a clear nonreligious purpose
  • 2. if its main effect is to neither advance nor
    inhibit religion
  • 3. if it avoids excessive government
    entanglement with religion.

The Free Exercise Clause
  • The Supreme Court makes an important distinction
    between religious belief and practice.
  • Religious freedom cannot justify behavior or
    practices that violate laws protecting the
    health, safety, or morals of the community.

Did You Know?
  • More than 2,000 years ago, a Greek philosopher
    named Diogenes said, The most beautiful thing in
    the world is free speech. Just as ancient Greece
    valued freedom of speech, United States citizens
    also regard it as one of their most fundamental
    rights. In fact, the nations founders included
    this freedom as a basic part of the first
    amendment they added to the Constitution.

Freedom of Speech
  • Free speech includes
  • Pure Speech - verbal expression of thought and
  • symbolic speech - using actions and symbols.
  • Because symbolic speech involves action, it may
    be limited by government restrictions that do not
    apply to pure speech.

Freedom of Speech
Should this type of Symbolic Speech be allowed?
Freedom of Speech
  • The First Amendment does not protect false speech
    called defamatory speech. It includes slander,
    or spoken words, and libel, or written words.
  • Fighting words, or speech intended to provoke
    violence, are not protected.
  • School authorities can regulate students free
    speech at school events and during activities.

Freedom of Speech
  • What three tests does the Supreme Court use to
    set limits on free speech?
  • clear and present danger speech presenting
    immediate danger is not protected
  • bad tendency speech can be restricted even if
    it only tends to lead to illegal action
  • preferred position speech should not be limited
    unless absolutely necessary

Freedom of the Press
  • Prior restraint, or censorship in advance, is
    permissible only in cases directly related to
    national security.
  • Gag orders barring the press from publishing
    certain types of information are illegal and are
    allowed only in unusual circumstances.
  • Shield laws protect the media from being forced
    to disclose confidential information in state

Freedom of the Press
  • The Federal Communications Commission (FCC)
    regulates radio and television. That agency
    cannot censor broadcasts but may set standards.
  • Movies and Internet are protected by free press.
  • Communities may regulate obscenity within limits
    acceptable to the courts.
  • Advertising is commercial speech and receives
    less protection than purely political speech.

Did You Know?
  • Burning an American flag during a demonstration
    protesting some action or policy of the
    government may be unpopular, but it is not
    illegal. Why? The Supreme Court has ruled that
    flag burning is protected by the First Amendment
    because it is symbolic speech.

Freedom of Assembly
  • Freedom of assembly, the right to meet as a
  • You can meet with any group as long as that group
    does not break the law.
  • Includes the right to parade and hold
    demonstrations in public places, but those who
    organize the events must get a permit.
  • Demonstrations are not allowed on private

Freedom of Assembly
  • When people assemble to advocate unpopular
    causes, police may have difficulty protecting
    them from violence and disorder.
  • Police may disperse a demonstration in order to
    keep the peace.

Ch 14
  • Civil Rights

Search and Seizure
  • The Fourth Amendment offers protection from
    unreasonable searches and seizures, but the
    courts have dealt with this issue on a
    case-by-case basis.
  • Police must have a warrant or probable cause.

Guarantee of Council
  • The Sixth Amendment guarantees a defendant the
    right to an attorney. Courts provide an attorney
    for defendants who cannot afford one.

Self Incrimination
  • The Fifth Amendment protects witnesses from
    testifying in their own trial.
  • The Fifth Amendment also protects defendants
    against forced confessions.
  • The Fifth Amendment protects accused persons from
    double jeopardy, or being tried twice for the
    same crime.

Cruel and Unusual Punishment
  • The Eighth Amendment forbids cruel and unusual
  • Use of the death penalty is an ongoing
    controversy under this amendment. It currently
    does not constitute cruel and unusual punishment.

Capital Punishment
Equal Protection
  • Both the Fourteenth Amendment and the Fifth
    Amendment require that all people are entitled to
    equal rights and equal protection of the law.

Equal Protection
  • According to the rational basis test, the Court
    will uphold state laws that distinguish among
    different groups of people if the state shows
    good reason for those classifications
  • Classifications in state laws based on race or
    national origin are a suspect classification the
    state must show some compelling public interest
    to justify them.

Intent to Discriminate
  • Discriminatory laws classify people solely
    because of their race, gender, ethnic group, age,
    physical disability, or religion.
  • To prove a state or local government guilty of
    discrimination, one must prove the states intent
    to discriminate.

Struggle for Equal Rights
  • In Plessy v. Ferguson (1896), the Supreme Court
    used the separate but equal doctrine to justify
    segregation in the United States.
  • In Brown v. Board of Education (1954), the Court
    overruled the separate but equal doctrine and
    touched off a long struggle to desegregate public

Struggle for Equal Rights
  • Civil Disobedience - Civil rights workers
    peacefully broke laws supporting racial
    segregation protesters who were arrested and
    convicted then appealed, challenging the
    constitutionality of these laws in the courts.
    Cases argued by Thurgood Marshall.
  • Influenced by the civil rights movement led by
    Martin Luther King, Jr., Congress passed major
    civil rights legislation to ensure voting rights
    and equal job opportunities such as the Civil
    Rights Act of 1964.

Struggle for Equal Rights
Did You Know?
  • In 1996 a majority of voters in California
    approved a proposition to end the states
    affirmative action program. When supporters of
    affirmative action asked the Supreme Court to
    prevent California from ending its program, the
    Court declined to hear the case.

Affirmative Action
  • In the 1960s the government began programs that
    gave a preference to minorities, women, or the
    physically challenged in hiring and promotions,
    government contracts, admission to schools and
    training programs, and other areas.
  • This was intended to counter balance years of
  • Most affirmative action programs are required by
    federal government regulations or court
    decisions others are voluntary efforts.

Citizens Right to Privacy
  • The Constitution does not specifically mention
    privacy, but the Court has ruled that personal
    privacy is one of the rights protected by the
  • The right to privacy is sometimes restricted in
    the interest of national security.

Law in America
  • Chapter 15

U.S. Legal Heritage
  • The U.S. legal system is based on 4 sources
  • Constitutional Law
  • is the fundamental source of U.S. law is the
    supreme law of the land applies to everyone.
  • decides the limits of governments power and the
    rights of the individual.
  • Statutory Law
  • is written by a legislative branch of government
  • limits peoples behavior but also grants rights
    and benefits

U.S. Legal Heritage (Cont.)
  • Administrative Law
  • spells out the authority and procedures to be
    followed by federal agencies
  • The Common Law
  • is the most important basis of the legal system
    is made by judges in the process of settling
    individual cases.
  • is the basis for state constitutions and the U.S.

Principles of the U.S. Legal System
  • Equal justice under the law.
  • Due process of law.
  • The adversary system in court allows lawyers for
    opposing sides to present their strongest cases.
  • Presumption of innocence means innocent until
    proven guilty.

Types of Civil Law
  • Civil law concerns disputes between two or more
    individuals or between individuals and
  • Four of the most important types of civil law
    deal with 1) contracts, 2) property, 3) family
    relations, and 4) civil wrongs causing physical
    injury or injury to property (tort).

Steps in a Civil Case
  • In a civil case, called a lawsuit, a plaintiff
    seeks damages, usually an award of money, from
    the defendant.
  • Most lawsuits go to state courts the plaintiff
    sets forth the charges against the defendant in a
  • About 90 percent of civil lawsuits are settled
    before trial.
  • Civil lawsuits are tried by a jury or a judge,
    who decides the verdict.

Small Claims Court
  • Small claims courts hear civil cases dealing with
    collecting small debts, property damage, small
    business problems, and the like.
  • TV court shows are usually small claims court.

Types of Crime
  • Most crimes committed in the United States break
    state laws each state has its own penal code, or
    written laws that spell out crimes and
  • Petty offenses are minor, like illegal parking
  • Misdemeanors are more serious crimes like
  • Felonies are serious criminal acts like murder,
    robbery, or kidnapping.

Steps in a Criminal Case
  • The prosecutor, or government lawyer responsible
    for bringing a criminal charge, must prove beyond
    a reasonable doubt to a judge or jury that the
    defendant violated the law.
  • Criminal cases begin when police gather enough
    evidence to convince a judge to issue an arrest
  • The arrested person is taken to a police station,
    the charges are recorded, and the suspect may be
    fingerprinted and photographed.

Steps in a Criminal Case (Cont.)
  • The arrested person is brought before a judge as
    quickly as possible to be formally charged with a
    crime if the case is a misdemeanor, the person
    may plead guilty or not guilty.
  • Cases may then go to a grand jury, which
    determines whether there is enough evidence to
    put the accused person on trial, or to a
    preliminary hearing before a judge for the same
    purpose. They issue and indictment.

Steps in a Criminal Case (Cont.)
  • After a grand jury indictment or a preliminary
    hearing, a judge reads the formal charge at an
    arraignment held in an open courtroom the
    defendant may plead not guilty, not guilty by
    reason of insanity, guilty, or no contest.
  • About 90 of criminal cases end in a guilty plea
    in which the accused pleads guilty to a lesser
    crime in return for the governments not
    prosecuting the more serious original crime (plea

Steps in a Criminal Case (Cont.)
  • In felony cases, the defendant may choose between
    a jury trial and a bench trial heard by a judge.
  • In jury trials, the presiding judge instructs the
    jury on proper legal procedures and explains the
    law. To reach a guilty verdict, the jury must
    unanimously find the evidence convincing beyond a
    reasonable doubt.

Steps in a Criminal Case
  • If the jurys verdict is not guilty, the
    defendant is released immediately. If the jurys
    verdict is guilty, the judge usually determines
    the sentence.

Criminal Case terms not already listed.
  • If after thorough discussion the jury cannot
    reach a unanimous decision, you have a hung jury.
  • A plea of no contest means that you admit that
    you broke the law, but that it was morally the
    right thing to do at the time.
  • Parole Releasing a prisoner early from jail and
    then requiring the prisoner to complete a guided
    program, including regular check-ins.
  • Affidavit A written and sworn statement that
    has been signed by a person under oath.