and Liberty in a
Civil Liberties -
Article VI of the U.S. Constitution asserts that laws passed
by Congress, and actions by the president, must comply with
the Constitution. Article VI is intended to assure that the
rights and liberties of citizens are secure. Unless the government
can prove that it has a very good reason for regulating individual
freedom, any law restricting personal liberty is a violation
of the Constitution.
Most civil liberties are protected by the Bill of Rights
- the first 10 amendments to the Constitution. These liberties
include freedom of thought, belief, expression, and assembly;
protection against unreasonable searches and seizures; and
provisions for a court hearing prior to government taking
of a person's life, liberty, or property.
During certain times the government may place limits on
civil liberties. This is allowed during times of war or other
national crisis. Citizens have the right to challenge government
actions by initiating legal action. In such a case the U.
S. Supreme Court uses its power of judicial review, which
included the power to void any legislative or executive action
that violates constitutional rights.
Civil Liberties - History
The following sites include information
about the progression of cases in which civil
liberties were examined and defined. Constitutional law
examines the interpretation and implementation
of the U.S. Constitution. Constitutional law defined many
of the fundamental relationships within
our government and society. The Constitution defines role
of the three branches of the federal government (Executive,
Legislature, and Judiciary). The Constitution also defines
the relationships among citizens, states, and
government. Rights of the individual, while not necessarily
state in absolute terms, spring from the Constitution.
The Supreme Court
plays a crucial role in interpreting the Constitution.
As such, the progression of civil liberties can be
examining Supreme Court rulings.
of Constitutional Law
These Constitution and Bill of Rights were created
during a very different time. Our society has changed
in ways that could not have been predicted when the
writers of these documents, often refered to
as the "framers," debated the details to be included. Is
the intent of the framers, or has society changed so
much that it is not helpful to consider what the framers
were thinking when these documents were prepared?
Civil Liberties - War on Drugs
The "War on Terror" is the most recent threat
to civil liberties. Some suggest that the "War
on Drugs" has
been chipping away at our civil liberties for
many years. These links provide some comparisons.
A Society of Suspects
ACLU - War on Drugs
Personal Liberties and the War on
Drug War Redux
In what ways are the "War on Drugs" and "The War
of Terror" similar?
Other Civil Liberties Links
These links provide general information,
and a range of perspectives, regarding civil liberties.
In some cases we see unexpected linkages between "liberal"
and "conservatives" regarding the issue of civil liberties.
Alliance for Justice
Civil Liberties Union
- Individual Rights and Responsibilities
of Rights Defense Committee
for Democracy and Technology
Southern Poverty Law Center
Your Rights: Use 'Em or Lose 'Em