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Definition Of Civil Liberties And Civil Rights

Referencing Styles : APA | Pages : 2

Definition Of Civil Liberties And Civil Rights

Civil liberties: Civil liberties refers to the freedom of an individual which limits the government, which has been guaranteed by the Bills of Rights and the text of the constituency itself. These rights includes the freedom of speech and of religion and the right not to incriminate ourselves or be subject to unreasonable searches and seizures. The Supreme Court’s decision which have interpreted the Bill of Rights broadly have been granted by many. Those civil liberties stands on the shakier ground because the can overturn, in fact it sometimes does or modify the bills.

Civil rights: Civil rights refers to freedom of a group or a society which participate fully in the public life of a nation or a country. These groups are explained by particular characteristics like gender, race or sexual orientation; which goes beyond the control of the members. The rights which are protected for the group members like casting votes, getting education, traveling, getting married. As mentioned earlier, the protection of the civil rights often empowers the government act rather than limiting the government. The Thirteenth, Fourteenth, Fifteenth, Nineteenth and Twenty-Sixth Amendments to the Constitution provided protection to the civil rights and are guaranteed by the latter mentioned Amendments.

The Origin of Civil Liberties in the United States

The civil liberties are the rights guaranteed by the United States Constitution and by court-made law or legislation for the people of the country. These liberty allows the citizen of the country to raise voice against the government, express opinions and helps to organize protests and worship in whatever the citizen of the country choose. This is important to the early settlers because it allows to get protected from the unnecessary protection intrusion from the government.  These liberties are included in the Bill of Rights, the first 10 amendments to the United States Constitution, and include the right to privacy, the freedom of speech and the right to bear arms.

England established a similar legislation related to the Bill of Rights in the late 1600s. It includes many of the civil liberties which are similar to the latest constitution. Including right to speech and the right to bear arms. When the British settlers came to the Unites States of America and established the 13 colonies along with it they brought the British thinking and rules.

During the declaration of independence from Britain in 1776, it was argued most of the laws of the government was to protect the personal rights of the citizens. When the constitution was written in United States of America, several new modern civil liberties were incorporated into the Bill of Rights.

Though the Supreme Court of United States do not yet to have the power to declare unconstitutional legislation and laws. The Bill of Rights was therefore simply a declaration of convictions without any legal support.

Marbury v. Madison gave the U.S. Supreme Court authority in the early 1800s to strike down unconstitutional laws.This gave excellent protection to our civil rights included 

in the Bill of Rights because they were protected by an entity.

The Fourteenth Amendment, which incorporated our civil liberties found in the Bill of Rights, was ratified in the later 1800s.This meant that the individual states could not create laws

 that were against the Bill of Rights and, conversely, extended the protection contained in the Bill of Rights to the citizens of the States. This was not questioned and confirmed until 1925, when the U.S. Supreme Court held that through the Fourteenth Amendment the sates are definitely bound by the Bill of Rights. The civil liberties have been tested, interpreted and expanded till date. In 1965 the Supreme Court held in Griswold v. Connecticut that several amendments to the Bill of Rights implied a privacy right. This landmark decision paved the way for future civil liberty instances, such as those on abortion and same-sex marriage, which are being challenged in the Supreme Court to this day.

Civil Liberties and the Constitution

The Constitution as written in 1787 did not include a Bill of Rights, although the idea of including one was proposed and, after brief discussion, dismissed in the final week of the Constitutional Convention. The Constitution's framers thought they confronted much more urgent issues than the protection of civil rights and freedoms, most particularly maintaining the fragile union together in the face of inner disturbances and external threats.

Moreover, the framers thought that they had adequately covered rights issues in the main body of the document. Indeed, the Federalists did include in the Constitution some protections against legislative acts that might restrict the liberties of citizens, based on the history of real and perceived abuses by both British kings and parliaments as well as royal governors. In Article I, Section 9, the Constitution limits the power of Congress in three ways: prohibiting the passage of bills of attainder, prohibiting ex post facto laws, and limiting the ability of Congress to suspend the writ of habeas corpus.

A bill of attainders is a law that punishes or convicts an individual for a crime without a trial, a tactic often used in England against the enemies of the king. Banning such legislation implies the U.S Congress cannot just punish the unpopular individuals who appeared to be guilty of offences. An ex post facto law has a retroactive effect: it can be used to punish crimes that were not crimes at the time they were committed, or it can be used to increase the severity of punishment after the fact.

Civil War origin of concern that the states should respect civil liberties 

Finally, the writ of habeas corpus is used in our common-law legal system to demand that a neutral judge decide whether someone has been lawfully detained. Specifically during war like situation or even response of threats against the national security, the government has held suspected enemy agent without access to the civilian courts, without access to defense and lawyers, seeking instead to try them before military tribunals or detain them indefinitely without trial.

For an example, during the Civil War, the President Abraham Lincoln arrested the suspected Confederate saboteurs and sympathizers in Union-controlled states and tried to bring them in military courts, leading the Supreme Court to rule in Ex parte Milligan that the government could bypass the civilian court system in states where it was operating.  

The Roosevelt administration interned the Japanese Americans during the World War II and had other suspected enemy agents including the citizen of United States, who were tried by the military court rather than by the civilian justice system, the Supreme Court supported as a choice of interest in Ex parte Quirin.

However, the Bill of Rights was designed to safeguard the freedom of the citizens from the interference of the government officials. Initially these laws were applied only to exploit by the national government and different sets of rights were protected by the state constitutions and laws, the level of protection for them often differed by the norms of the states even when the individual rights were same. Since the Civil War results as a passage and the authorization of the Fourteenth Amendment as series of decision by the Supreme Court. The state government expanded the protection of civil liberties through a process of selective incorporation. Nevertheless there is still dynamic  debate regarding the involvement of the rights as a necessary or inevitable part and how the consequences should be balanced against the interest others and the entire society.


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