- The term civil rights is used to imply that the state has a role in ensuring all citizen have equal protection under the law and equal opportunity to exercise the privileges of citizenship regardless of race, religion, sex or other characteristic unrelated to the worth of the individual (United States Department of Justice, 2008) .
- Therefore civil rights are obligations imposed upon government to promote equality
- The term civil liberties refers to fundamental individuals rights such as freedom of speech, press, or religion due to process of law and other limitation on the power of the government to restrain or dictate the actions of individuals(United States Department of Justice, 2008) .
- They are the freedoms that are guaranteed by Bill of Right.
- Civil liberties offer protection to individuals from improper government action and arbitrary government interferences
Examples of Civil liberties cases
- Boy Scouts of American v. Dale (2000). This is an example of civil liberty case that was taken by the Supreme Court. The case was about the right of gays in the American society (Schmidt, W. C., 2014).
- Log Cabin Republicans v. United Sates, 716 F. Supp.2d 884 (C.D. Cal 2010. This case was about privacy and personal liberty where the military personnel operated in “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” (Schmidt, W. C., 2014).
Example of Civic rights cases in Supreme court
- Garner v Louisiana 368 U. S. 157 (1961). This case reached Supreme court after it proved to be very difficult. Supreme court struck down the breach of peace convictions on factual grounds, namely that the protesters did nothing to actually disturb the peace (Schmidt, W. C., 2014).
- New York Times v. Sullivan, 273 Ala. 656 (1962). The Supreme Court, in another opinion by Justice Brennan, held that in light of “the profound national commitment to the principle that debate on public issues should be uninhibited, robust and wide-open” the verdict infringed on the newspaper’s First Amendment rights (Schmidt, W. C., 2014).
Liberties cases ruled by Supreme Court
- Brent M. Rubin, Buchanan v. Warley and the Limits of Substantive Due Process as Antidiscrimination Law, 92 TEX. L. REV. 477 (2013). The Supreme Court verdict instructed the government to enforcement of nondiscrimination norms against private parties (Schmidt, W. C., 2014).
- Bernstein and others have called for a reinvigoration of this “laissez-faire version of civil rights” or put another way, a civil liberties approach to advancing the civil rights goal of combatting discrimination (Schmidt, W. C., 2014).
Case involving civil rights
- Lawrence v. Texas The verdict of this case was driven by two principles: the power of the individual to self-direct his/her life and the proper role of government to protect and expand liberty, not to limit it (Schmidt, W. C., 2014).
- The two principles validated lesbian and gay equality as sound conservative politics (Schmidt, W. C., 2014)
A leader of civil liberty
- Victor Rothem: headed the Civil Liberties Union in 1941.
- Initially Senator Robert LaFollete in 1930s created and chaired the Civil Liberties Committee.
- The main concern about the movement was to protect the rights of the workers.
- Victor changed the name of the movement because it was confused with ACLU
Leader of Civil right
- Harry S. Truman solidify the civil rights especially the problems that involves racial discrimination.
- In contrast with civil liberties, Truman ensures that government put in place the necessary measures that promotes freedom (Schmidt, W. C., 2014).
- Civil rights would require an acceptance of the need for some measures of social engineering and an acceptance of the need for careful application of governmental power in the promotion of personal liberty, an approach that was in tension with negative-liberty orientation of civil libertarians (Schmidt, W. C., 2014).
- Robert K. Carr demonstrated that value of this new “civil right” mindset through his differentiation of what he called the “shield approach” and the “sword approach” to protect individuals rights (Bernstein, E. D., 2011) .
- Accordingly, it was against government and government alone, that the Bill of Right was directed (Schmidt, W. C., 2014).
- However, Carr argued that the use of a defensive weapon is not enough. A sword must be wielded and aggressive battle waged to safeguard the fundamental rights.
- As a result a battle to preserve civil rights, the role of government inevitably changes from oppressor to protector (Bernstein, E. D., 2011) .
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