Civil Liberties are Constitutional Protections Against the Government

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We know people support rights in theory but their support may waiver when it comes time to put those rights into practice. Civil liberties are legal constitutional protections against the government, and basically, tell the government what it cannot do. Judicial interpretations shape the nature of civil liberties, and as these interpretations change over time, so do our rights. To understand the civil liberties and freedoms we have, and how they have changed, we must examine several key Supreme Court decisions. One of the most common controversies addressed by the court is should the Bill of Rights apply to state governments. In 1833 in Barron v. Baltimore, the Supreme Court ruled that the Bill of Rights only applies to the national …show more content…

The full faith and credit clause requires states to recognize legislative acts, public records and judicial decisions of other states. States cannot discriminate against residents of other states because they are American citizens in the privileges and immunities clause. (pg. 79) The Supreme Court uses to forms of scrutiny, ordinary and strict, to determine if the actions of elected government officials are constitutional (ordinary) or unconstitutional (strict). (pg. 84) Before the Civil War, slavery was a common staple in Supreme Court cases. Dred Scott v Sanford, 1857, was such a case. The Supreme Court ruled that slaves were not citizens of the United States, nor were they entitled to the rights and privileges of citizenship. The Court also ruled that the Missouri Compromise, which banned slavery in the territories in the southern border of Missouri, was unconstitutional, thus invalidating it. (pg. 80) Many of the Supreme Court cases over the years have been central in incorporating the freedoms given in the Bill of Rights into state legislatures. These liberties include freedom of religion, speech, press plus privacy rights and the rights of the accused. The first case to selectively incorporate a part of the Bill of Rights was Gitlow v New York in 1925. Benjamin Gitlow was convicted of criminal anarchy for his involvement in the

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