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Introduction to Civil Liberties


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Introduction to Civil Liberties

  1. 1. American Constitutional Law Introduction to Civil Liberties
  2. 2. Source of Rights <ul><li>Constitution </li></ul><ul><li>Bill of Rights </li></ul><ul><li>Federal Law </li></ul><ul><li>State Constitution </li></ul><ul><li>State Law </li></ul><ul><li>Local Law </li></ul>
  3. 3. What Federal Law Adds <ul><li>Constitution only protects people from the government. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>federal law can regulate rights between private individuals. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Court may read constitutional right narrowly </li></ul><ul><ul><li>thus, need laws like Age Discrimination in Employment Act, Americans with Disabilities Act, Civil Rights Act. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>these groups aren't protected adequately by court's reading of the Constitution. </li></ul></ul></ul>
  4. 4. Criminal Procedure <ul><li>Rights we will not be covering in class: </li></ul><ul><li>4 th Amendment – privacy </li></ul><ul><li>5 th Amendment – Due Process </li></ul><ul><li>6 th Amendment – right to counsel & jury </li></ul><ul><li>8 th Amendment – cruel and unusual punishment </li></ul>
  5. 5. Checks on Power <ul><li>Constitution </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Separation of Powers </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Checks and Balances </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Bill of Rights </li></ul><ul><ul><li>protects individual rights from tyranny of majority. </li></ul></ul>
  6. 6. Competing Interests <ul><li>Constitution </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Federal v. State governments </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Civil Liberties </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Government (all levels) v. Individual </li></ul></ul>
  7. 7. State Action <ul><li>Liberty (fundamental rights) and Equality (equal protection) rights apply only to government. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Private conduct generally does not have to comply with the Constitution. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Constitution applies to government at all levels </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Federal, State, Local </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>and to actions of its officers </li></ul></ul>
  8. 8. When Does Constitution Apply to Private Actions? <ul><li>13 th Amendment – bans slavery </li></ul><ul><ul><li>only provision that specifically regulates private conduct. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Prohibition was another - 18 th Amendment </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Where private and government conduct are indistinguishable </li></ul><ul><li>Where federal or state law apply constitutional norms to private action. </li></ul>
  9. 9. Is it Government? <ul><li>State Action = Government </li></ul><ul><li>When an entity is part of government </li></ul><ul><ul><li>bodies, agencies, laws, rules, enforcement decisions, etc. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Public Functions Exceptions </li></ul><ul><ul><li>private entity exercises power traditionally exclusively reserved for State. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>The Entanglement Exceptions </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Gov't encourages private action </li></ul></ul>
  10. 10. Application of Bill of Rights to the States <ul><li>Text Doesn't Really Cover This. </li></ul><ul><li>“No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>14 th Amendment </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Has been interpreted to mean Bill of Rights applies to States. </li></ul>
  11. 11. Levels of Scrutiny <ul><li>The test that is applied to determine if the law is constitutional </li></ul><ul><li>Levels </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Rational Basis </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Middle Tier </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>intermediate, proportionality </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Strict Scrutiny </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>compelling interest </li></ul></ul></ul>Note – most cases fall under Rational Basis test
  12. 12. Strict Scrutiny <ul><li>Discrimination based upon: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>“Suspect Classes” </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Race </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>National Origin </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Religion </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>either under Equal Protection or Establishment Clause analysis </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>Interference with fundamental rights </li></ul><ul><ul><li>voting, travel, privacy, speech, access to courts </li></ul></ul>
  13. 13. Strict Scrutiny Test <ul><li>law serves a compelling government purpose </li></ul><ul><li>and is necessary to serve that interest </li></ul><ul><ul><li>least restrictive alternative </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>if there are valid alternatives, then State fails this prong. </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>specifically and narrowly tailored </li></ul></ul>
  14. 14. Intermediate Scrutiny <ul><li>Government must have “important” interest. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>lower standard than “compelling” </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Means used must be “substantially related” to the interest. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>lower standard than “necessary” </li></ul></ul>
  15. 15. Applies To <ul><li>Under Equal Protection (discrimination): </li></ul><ul><ul><li>“quasi suspect classes” </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Gender </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>legitimacy </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Under Fundamental Rights </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Time, Place and Manner Regulations in Public Forums </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Commercial Speech </li></ul></ul>
  16. 16. Rational Basis <ul><li>Applies to all laws that do not impact a “fundamental right” or a “suspect class” or “quasi-suspect” class. </li></ul><ul><li>Thus, the first question in any case is: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>fundamental right at stake? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>suspect or quasi-suspect class? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>If no to both, then rational basis test. </li></ul></ul>
  17. 17. Rational Basis Test <ul><li>“rationally related to a legitimate government purpose” </li></ul><ul><ul><li>rational relationship = any conceivable legitimate purpose </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>law also must be reasonable way to achieve the stated ends. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>whether the law is “fair” does not play a role in the analysis. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Gives enormous deference to government. </li></ul>
  18. 18. Distinguishing Middle Tier <ul><li>Government objective must be more than just a legitimate goal. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>must be “important” </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Means chosen must be more than simply reasonable way to reach goal. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>must be “substantially related” to the goal. </li></ul></ul>
  19. 19. Plyler v. Doe <ul><li>Which standard is being applied? </li></ul><ul><li>Why? </li></ul><ul><li>Why Equal Protection instead of Due Process? </li></ul>
  20. 20. Levels of Scrutiny EXAMPLES