Civil Liberties and Civil Rights

Person civil rights are the fundamental rights that ensure protection from unequal discrimination based on specific factors such as gender, disability, and race. Civil rights typically extend to jobs, public utilities, housing, and schooling (Kaczorowski 1866). Individual discrimination based on defined protected features is a violation of civil rights. The bulk of civil rights are defined by federal government laws or case law. On the other side, civil liberties related to the basic rights and freedoms which are provided for in the bill of rights found in the constitution and deduced over many years by the legislative arm of the government or the courts of law (Kaczorowski 1867). The civil liberties may consist of the rights to privacy, freedom of speech, to be silent during a police interrogation, freedom of unwarranted searches in homes, fair trials in courts, to marry and the right to participate in elections.

According to the established laws, the civil rights are the basic rights that protect the citizens of a country from being discriminated based on specific individual characteristics like disability, sex, or gender, while the civil liberties are the basic freedoms of the citizens of a country. Civil liberties relate to the basic freedoms while on the other hand civil rights are linked to the treatment of a person concerning particular rights (Kettl 488). Civil rights are granted to the citizens by their government whereas the civil rights may not only be protected by the state governments, but they entail specific protective aspects of the rights relating to particular characteristics.

A good example to differentiate civil rights from civil liberties can be when employees lack the legal right to be promoted since promotion is not a guarantee, i.e., civil liberty. The female employees lack the legal right against discrimination to be given promotions and thus, the promotion cannot be denied concerning gender, race or disability (Kaczorowski 1868). When a company decides not to promote female staff simply because of their gender, it will have violated a civil right of the employees. On a different angle, the company will have been involved in illegal discrimination of the female workers.

Constitutional and Institutional Bases

The protection of civil rights and civil liberties modulate the government through the establishment of the aspects of the activities like speech and religion among others where there is a limitation to government interference. Although the constitution outlines its guarantees to the citizens, several problems and controversies are encountered during their application in particular cases (Kettl 489). The government institutions in the United States are bestowed with the responsibility of protecting the civil liberties of the citizens. The American Supreme Court upholds the civil rights and civil liberties guard during the formulation of policies by the government.

The civil liberties provided for in the constitution include the Bill of Rights which guards the people against the national government and the respective state governments. The Bill of Rights is regarded as a civil liberty because it covers the citizens from government manipulation (Kaczorowski 1869). It guarantees a private aspect of individual liberty which is not regulated by government limitations. The First Amendment Act offers a comprehensive explanation in limiting the national government. The restraints of the Bill of Rights are also extended to the various state governments in one way or the other.

The Supreme Court allows dual citizenship since the people are members of the national government and the respective states. The Fourteenth Amendment ascertained that the states should not enforce laws which hinder the privileges and protections of the United States’ citizens. It further describes that the state governments should not deny any individual of the right to life, have property and liberty without a legal procedure (Kettl 490). The Supreme Court incorporates the law relating to dual citizenship based on the Bill of Rights to the Fourteenth Amendment by each case. The Supreme Court has made efforts to nationalize several rights, especially the right to privacy, hence promoting the scope of the national government.

According to the First Amendment, the Congress should not hinder the citizens from exercising whatever religion that they wish. There is an establishment clause that outlines that the government cannot favor a specific church or religion. Its interpretation continues by stating that the government should not be party to any religion but should only offer the necessary advice to the religious centers (Kaczorowski 1870). The clause further describes that the state should be completely distinct from the church. The free exercise clause provided for in the First Amendment allows the citizens the right to participate in any religion of their choice whereas the Supreme Court has the mandate of ensuring a balance between the public policies and the religious stances.

The First Amendment offers freedom of speech and press. When circumstances such as hate speech occur, the judiciary takes the duty of establishing precedents and laws that aid in deciding which type of speech is or is not guarded constitutionally. The Fourth Amendment protects the rights that don’t allow unwarranted searches and seizures of private property. The court offers support for the law by stating that pieces of evidence that are obtained illegally should not be used during a trial (Kettl 491). The Fifth Amendment provides that grand juries should play significant parts in the federal criminal matters which offer protection to individuals against undergoing double trial for the same crime. It also protects the property rights of the people. The Sixth Amendment provides the right for the individuals to counsel during criminal trials. The Eight Amendment Act protects the citizens against excess fine and bails. It also promotes the rights preventing individuals from cruel and excessive punishments.

Regarding civil rights, the national government has through the Supreme Court upheld laws that promote the segregation of African Americans and White people which meet the Fourteenth Amendment protection provided that they have access to equal facilities. The African American Civil Rights Movement through its mechanisms of civil disobedience and resistance compelled the Congress to uphold the civil rights of the Black Americans, especially the right to vote (Kaczorowski 1872). The significant legislation on civil rights of 1964 encouraged rights to employment and discouraged discrimination based on gender, race, immigration, disability, age, and same-sex issues. The political struggles by the civil rights activists emphasize on affirmative action regarding compensation concerning previous discrimination effects. In 1978, the American Supreme Court could not approve the legality of the affirmative action by the constitution. The Supreme Court is still undecided on the matter.

Section 1 of the 14th Amendment requires that all people that are born or are naturalists to the US are subjects to the laws and are citizens of American and their respective states. It bars the states from using laws that may deny privileges and protection to such individuals. The section encourages that the individuals should enjoy equal immunity (Kettl 492). Section 2 allows the apportionment of state representatives according to their numbers in exclusion of the untaxed Indians. It has an age consideration of twenty-one years. Section 3 holds that people who might have demonstrated a rebellious behavior towards the constitution shall not be appointed as senators, Congress representatives, president, vice president, military, state legislature, and judicial staff.

The same applies to people who may have previously cooperated with enemies of the United States. Section 4 of the 14th Amendment provides that public debts incurred by the United States in defense against incidences of rebellions should not be questioned (Kaczorowski 1873). Another provision of the section is that the state government or the various states shall not bear the liability of a public debt accumulated in support of rebellious activities. It holds all matters relating to the encouragement of rebellious activities to be null and void. Section 5 allows power to the Congress through appropriate legality to uphold the provisions of the article.

The civil rights movement of the 1960s promoted the civil rights of women through the foundation of organizations such as the National Organization for Women (NOW) which was purposed on eradicating discrimination based on gender in learning institutions and at the workplace. The organization sought for equality in the administration of legal rights (Kettl 493). These rights included the right to the ownership of property and quick access to divorce regarding women. The movement struggled for economic equality in matters like equal payment and expansion of employment in jobs that are dominated by men. The movement promoted several legal and social changes that ensured more equality advanced to female citizens.

The movements established previously by the African Americans and women inspired the emergence of many groups through their achievements in the fight for equal rights for all American citizens. According to the First Amendment section 10b states that the Congress should not enhance laws encouraging the establishment of any religion. The Amendment allows for freedom of speech or press. It further allows the freedom of peaceful assemblies and petition of the government in case of any breach of such rights (Kaczorowski 1874). The First Amendment guards a good number of basic liberties including freedom of press, speech, religion, peaceful assembly and petition. It has not been an easy task in interpreting the amendment, and the process has not been completed to date.

The freedom of assembly and petition are similar to the freedom of speech, and their protection is almost the same. According to the existing laws and the constitution, the freedom of assembly should not interfere with the rights of other people. The implication is that the freedom of assembly should not interfere with public order, the flow of traffic, usual business, and peace. The group involved should seek a permit from the responsible government agencies but ensure that they have established ways of maintaining order (Kettl 494). Over a period of many years since the establishment of the constitution, the First Amendment guarded such rights theoretically. However, this changed in the 20th century because many people have challenged the national government in law courts regarding the infringement of their rights. The amendment has become stronger than in the previous times. It has become the most effective tool in guarding the freedoms related to religions, assembly, petitions, speech, and press.

Function and Role of Federal, State and Local Governments

The principle of the due process emphasizes that the legal process should apply fairly and equally to all people, particularly to the suspects of a crime. The constitution applies the 5th and 14th amendments to outline that the government will not deny any person the right to liberty, own property and life. The implication is that individuals should only be deprived of such freedoms only when there is evidence of a due process of law (Kaczorowski 1875). The 5th Amendment specifications guard people against practices of the federal government while the 14th Amendment protects the rights of the citizens against infringements by state or local governments.

The 4th amendment prevents the national government from conducting general searches and seizing of property. A significant issue regarding interpretation has been identified in the attempts by the legal bodies to determine the exact meaning of unreasonable searching and seizing of property. The fourth amendment secures the right of individuals against unreasonable searching and seizing of their possessions (Kettl 495). The law indicates that such searches will only be legal when there is evidence of a legal warrant specifying the area to be searched and the people or items to be seized. The Supreme Court interpretation about searches allows the police to search an arrested suspect, items that are visible of the accused individuals, places and items linked to the accused individual, and property is suspected to pose a danger to people.

The 5th Amendment provides that citizens should not be accused in connection with serious crimes with the absence of a grand jury investigation. The amendment also protects suspects from double conviction related to the same criminal undertaking. It describes that suspected individuals should not be judged for capital or infamous crimes without a grand jury except for land cases or militia during war times or public danger (Kaczorowski 1876). It further explains that a citizen shall not be jeopardized twice for the same offense. The amendment also outlines that people should not be compelled to witness against themselves and that no one should be deprived of their right to own property, have life, or liberty in the absence of a due legal procedure nor property shifted for public utilization without fair compensation. The constitution allows several rights to aliens relating to ownership of property, business, and admission in public learning institutions, the First Amendment rights, and the due process. The United States provides legal protection for its citizens through the Bill of Rights and the constitution and also by the established state and national laws.

Logical Coherent and Empirically Supported Perspective

The freedom of speech as the fundamental provision of a democratic system is more important compared to the protection of ethnic, racial, and religious community symbols and traditions (Kettl 496). The reason is that the freedom of speech allows free expression and hence the citizens do not continue to suffer in case they feel that they are being oppressed in one way or another. The freedom of expression provides a civil right for the people to seek litigation when aggrieved. A nation that withholds the freedom of speech from its citizens is less likely to prosper economically, socially, and politically. The freedom of speech is a significant aspect whose realization leads to many positive changes in the legal system.

Works Cited

Barendt, Eric. Freedom of speech. Oxford University Press, 2005.

Chong, Dennis. Collective action and the civil rights movement. University of Chicago Press, 2014.

Kaczorowski, Robert J. The politics of judicial interpretation: The federal courts, department of justice, and civil rights, 1866-1876. No. 9. Fordham Univ Press, 2005.

Kettl, Donald F. “The transformation of governance: Globalization, devolution, and the role of government.” Public administration review 60.6 (2000): 488-497.

Tushnet, Mark. “Defending Korematsu: Reflections on Civil Liberties in Wartime.” Wis. L. Rev. (2003): 273.

Vile, Maurice John Crawley. Constitutionalism and the Separation of Powers. Liberty Fund, 2012.

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