• Another responsibility that you have as an American is to know your rights & freedoms. As a citizen of the United States, you are entitled to all the rights protected by the Constitution, as well as countless others you are born with. We often refer to these basic, human rights as our civil liberties. However, all rights have certain limits.
Finding a Balance• The goal is to keep American society as open and free as possible• The Supreme Court protects your rights & freedoms, but also must consider… – Your rights vs. national security – Your rights vs. the rights of others – Your rights vs. public safety – How to deal with new technology – How to deal with situations not in the Constitution
The 1st AmendmentThe most basic of rights you • 1st Amendment Rightshave can be found in the 1stamendment. These 5 - Freedom of Speechfreedoms are often referred - Freedom of Religionto as your freedom of - Freedom of the Pressexpression. - Freedom of Assembly - Freedom of Petition- Preferred PositionDoctrine: The 1stamendment rights are moreimportant than any other
Freedom of Speech• Why we have it – It enables people to speak out about what they see wrong with their government or society. Gives the average citizen power and a voice.• Even the most controversial and offensive speech is upheld.
Freedom of Speech• There are 2 types of speech protected by the Constitution: 1. Pure Speech – Protects anything written or spoken 2. Symbolic Speech – Protects actions meant to express yourself (clothing you wear, artwork, dance, etc.)
Don’t say that!• Not all speech is protected. There are generally 5 areas where speech is limited: 1. Seditious Speech – Speech that encourages someone to break the law or resist authority, or encourages an overthrow of the government. 2. Clear & Present Danger – Speech that presents a danger to the nation or public safety.
Don’t Say That!3. Fighting Words – Speech that is so harmful itis likely to incite violence.4. Defamatory Speech – You cannot lie aboutsomeone in an effort to harm their reputation.This can take form either by slander (spoken) orlibel (written).5. Obscenity – Certain speech is harmful and hasno value on society and therefore can berestricted
Free Speech Protected Not Protected• Offensive speech such as • Obscene phrases and flag burning gestures• Criticism of government • Lies officials • Speech deemed dangerous• Protests & Rallies • Speech in school
Freedom of Religion• Why we have it: The founders had fled religious persecution in England, and wanted to make sure that people in the United States could believe whatever they wanted.• Freedom of Religion has some conflicting points.
Freedom of Religion• Freedom of Religion is centered around 2 major principles. 1. The Establishment Clause – Government can make no law, or take any action, that establishes or endorses a national religion. – This is what eliminates prayer in public schools, prevents religious displays in government buildings,
Freedom of Religion2. Free Exercise Clause – Government can makeno law or take any action preventing the freeexercise of any religion• You cannot violate the law in the name of religion, but you may believe and say whatever you want
Freedom of Religion Legal Illegal• Vague references to God by • Polygamy government (on money, • Drug use pledge of allegiance, etc.) • Other criminal acts• Student led religious groups • Prayer in public school, led in public schools (FCA) by school officials• Teaching classes about religion
Freedom of the Press• Why we have it: Free Press is one of the most important pieces of a democratic society. The press is responsible for reporting to the people on the actions of government and elected officials. In this sense they act as a watchdog to help the people stay informed of both the good & bad.
Freedom of the Press• The US Government Limits to Press/Media does not have Prior Restraint (Government 1. Media reporting of censorship of media) court cases (releasing unless the issue directly victims names, other threatens national sensitive material) security 2. Advertising – because• It is often left up to the its for profit media to police themselves for honesty 3. Obscenity & ethics 4. Student Press
Freedom of Assembly• Why we have it: Guarantees the right of people to come together and meet. This includes groups that the government may not like, or protests against the government.• This right has been used to protest the Vietnam War, to speak against discrimination in the civil rights movement, or more recently during the occupy wall street movements.
Limits to Assembly• Permits can be required• Cannot interfere with the rights of others• Does not extend to private property (trespassing)• Police can end demonstrations when safety & order are threatened
Freedom of Petition• Why we have it: This right allows Americans to petition or contact elected officials to express their opinion on issues and urge them to act. It ensures the people will have power and influence in a democracy.• Petition has granted women the right to vote, lowered the voting age, ended prohibition, amended the constitution, etc.
Other Freedoms & New Challenges• Publics Right to Know: You can seek information on the government such as emails, memos, files, etc.• Your right to privacy Where does this begin and end? For example… Your trash is not considered private. Phone records, texts, emails can all be obtained by police Conversations between you and a spouse are protected. Medical records are heavily guarded, discussions with lawyers, etc. Searches at airports are more intrusive in the name of security
Other Freedoms & New Challenges• Technology poses many new challenges and threats to privacy and free speech The internet has proven difficult to police Postings on facebook, twitter, texts, and other websites have led to legal challenges Often, these sites are policed by schools, law enforcement and employers and have led to firings, suspensions, arrests, etc. GPS and cell phones have been used to track criminals Cameras are more common and things are recorded and sent to millions