Civil Liberties Mastery Product
5.1 Trace the Constitutional Roots of
• Anti-Federalists stressed the need for a bill of
rights, even though most of the Framers
originally did not like the idea of a bill of rights.
• The Federalists argued that a bill of rights was
not needed and unnecessary.
• Soon, some Framers began to support the idea,
and the Bill of Rights (the first ten amendments
of the U.S. Constitution) was sent to the states in
1789 for ratification.
• In the Bill of Rights, the Ninth and Tenth
Amendments express that the Bill of Rights is
• The Ninth Amendment makes it clear that
enumerating rights in the Constitution or Bill of
Rights does not mean that others do not exist.
• The Tenth Amendment states that the powers
not given to the national government are
reserved to the people or to the states.
• The Bill of Rights was originally put into place to limit
the power of the national government.
• In 1868, the Fourteenth Amendment was added to the
U.S. Constitution, and it suggested that some or even all
of the protections in the Bill of Rights could be
interpreted to prevent state infringements of those
rights, as well.
• In Gitlow v. New York the U.S. Supreme Court found
that states could not abridge free speech protection,
which led to the development of the incorporation
doctrine (the due process clause of the Fourteenth
Amendment requires that state and local governments
must guarantee the rights that are in the Bill of Rights).
• The U.S. Supreme Court has used selective
incorporation (most but not all of the protections
found in the Bill of Rights are made applicable to the
states) for the reason that not all of the guarantees
in the Bill of Rights have been made applicable to
the states through the due process clause.
• Today, selective incorporation requires that states
respect freedoms of press, speech, and assembly;
however, the guarantees of the Third and Seventh
Amendments have not been included.
5.2 Describe the First Amendment
Guarantee of Freedom of Religion
• The First Amendment of the Constitution states
that, “Congress shall make no law respecting an
establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free
• Therefore, the First Amendment guarantees the
freedom of religion.
• The first clause of the First Amendment, the
establishment clause, prohibits the national
government from imposing an offical national
• The separation of church and state has always
been a difficult issue in America.
• Most Americans practice their own religions, but
over the years, the U.S. Supreme Court has had
troubles interpreting the establishment clause.
• Generally, the national and state governments
do not give aid to religious groups, but most
forms of aid that help and benefit children are
allowed by the Constitution.
• The second clause of the First Amendment, the
free exercise clause, prohibits the U.S.
government from interfering with a citizen’s
right to practice his or her religion.
• However, this guarantee is not absolute, and
when secular law clashes with religious law, the
right to practice one’s religion is usually denied.
5.3 Outline the First Amendment
Guarantees of and Limitations on
Freedom of Speech, Press, Assembly,
• According to the First Amendment, “Congress
shall make no law . . . abridging the freedom of
speech or of the press.”
• However, the speech and press clauses are not
absolute bans against government regulation,
and some liberties have better protection than
• When the First Amendment was ratified, it was
thought to protect against prior restraint (prevents
the government from prohibiting speech or
publication before the fact).
• On the other hand, in 1798, the Alien and Sedition
Acts were enacted and designed to forbid criticism
of the government.
• However, when Thomas Jefferson was elected, he
pardoned anyone who had been convicted under the
Alien and Sedition Acts and allowed the acts to
• The U.S. Supreme Court has given protection to
many types of speech and press.
• For example, symbolic speech (symbols, signs,
and other methods of expression) is protected
under the First Amendment.
• Also, hate speech is protected as long as it does
not become action.
• The Supreme Court does not protect some forms
• For instance, libel (written statement that
defames a person’s character) and slander
(untrue spoken statements that defame a
person’s character) are not protected.
• In addition, fighting words (words that, “by their
very utterance inflict injury or tend to incite an
immediate breach of peace,”) are not protected
under the First Amendment.
• Also, obscenity and pornography are not
• Restricting the sale and distribution of obscene
materials has been fairly easy for lawmakers; on
the other hand, monitoring the internet has been
• The freedoms of petition and assembly are
related directly to the freedoms of speech and of
5.4 Summarize Changes in the
Interpretation of the Second
Amendment’s Right to Keep and Bear
• Initially, the Second Amendment was added to
the Constitution to make sure that Congress
could not disarm state militias.
• As time passed, many different gun restrictions
have been enacted.
• Despite the many gun restrictions, the U.S.
Supreme Court has ruled that the Second
Amendment protects the right to own a firearm.
5.5 Analyze the Rights of Criminal
Defendants found in the Bill of Rights
• The Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, and Eighth Amendments
provide a variety of guarantees to criminals.
• The Fourth Amendment of the Constitution protects
Americans from unreasonable searches and seizures
by the federal government; it explains what can not
be searched unless a warrant is issued.
• Generally, the U.S. Supreme Court has refused to
allow evidence seized in violation of this to be used
• The Fifth Amendment provides many guarantees
that protect people who have been charged with a
• This Amendment allows the accused to present their
case before a “Grand Jury.”
• Also, “No person shall be . . . compelled in any
criminal case to be a witness against himself.” The
government must inform the accused of his or her
rights to remain silent.
• In addition, the double jeopardy clause protects
people from being tried twice for the same crime.
• The Sixth Amendment sets out the basic
requirements of procedural due process for
federal courts to follow in criminal trials.
• Congress requires federal courts to provide an
attorney for defendants who cannot afford one.
• Also, the Sixth Amendment states that a person
accused of a crime has the right to a speedy and
public trial by an impartial jury.
• In addition, the Sixth Amendment states that the
trial must be in the State where the crime was
committed, the accused must be given proper
notice of the charges, the accused has the right
to confront and obtain witnesses, and the
accused has the right to a lawyer.
• The Eighth Amendment states that, “Excessive
bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines
imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments
• The Eighth Amendment does not prohibit the
use of the death penalty; therefore, the death
penalty is not considered a cruel and unusual
punishment in capital cases.
5.6 Explain the Origin and Significance
of the Right to Privacy
• The U.S. Supreme Court has given protection to
rights not specifically enumerated in the
• The right to privacy is a judicially-created
principle made from the penumbras of the First,
Third, Fourth, Ninth, and Fourteenth
• The U.S. Supreme Court has found that limiting
access to birth control, prohibiting abortion, and
banning homosexual acts are unconstitutional.
5.7 Evaluate how Reforms to Combat
Terrorism Have Affected Civil Liberties
• After September 11, 2011, “an alternative reality”
was enacted, and the Bill of Rights guarantees
were suspended in the time of war.
• There were bans placed on the First
Amendment, the Fourth Amendment, and the
Due Process Rights.
• Critics of these bans said that too many
constitutional guarantees were compromised.
• Supporters said that these changes were needed
to protect the national security.
O’Connor, Karen, Sabato, Larry J., and Yanus,
Alixandra B. American Government: Roots and
Reform. Pearson Education, Inc., 2011. Print.