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Civil Liberties And The Supreme Court History Assignment Help

Civil Liberties and the Supreme Court

Civil liberties represent the guarantees and freedoms from the oppressive and authoritative nature of the Federal government (Schmidt, 2014). In the 1700s, Anti-federalists and human rights advocates emerged to demand the inclusion of the Bill of Rights in the constitution. They argued that some human rights are fundamental that giving them up would be contrary to the common good (Center for the Study of the American Constitution, CSAC, 2020). Therefore, a bill of rights is necessary to outline these rights and assist the people in realizing when their rights are under threat. At the same time, they argued that the States’ bills of rights did not offer any protection since they regarded the constitution as the supreme rules of the American land (CSAC, 2020). Besides, the Anti-federalists indicated that the supremacy clause, along with other provisions, provided the government with excessive powers that threaten the existence of human rights.

The First Congress of the US proposed twelve amendments to the constitution in 1789 and sent them to the states for ratification. Three years later, ten out of the twelve changes received approval from two-thirds of the local governments, which was enough to declare the bill of rights to be legal (, 2020). The civil liberties in the bill of rights included the freedom to keep and bear arms without the infringement by the government. Also, Congress shall not make laws that restrict the establishment of one’s religion of choice. As a result, the amendment advocated for the freedom to decide and exercise the faith of choice. Furthermore, the First Amendment of 1791 extended its protection for human rights to freedom of speech and assembly (, 2020). The law allowed citizens and press to express their opinions without fear of government censorship, and also the freedom to peacefully assemble and petition the government for a redress of grievances.

An example of the extensions to the law is the Fourteenth Amendment,  adopted to the constitution in 1868. The amendment plays a significant role by granting citizenship to all the individuals born or naturalized in the US. The Fourteenth Amendment expands the protection of human rights to all Americans and ensures equality before the law. The case of Gideon vs. Wainwright indicates scenarios where the court has extended the civil liberties over the years. In that case, Gideon could not afford an attorney to defend him despite having the right to one. As a result, the court expanded the civil liberties and ruled that the constitution requires the state to provide Attorneys to criminal offenders who cannot afford lawyers for themselves. Elsewhere, in the case of Roe Vs. Wade (1973), the Supreme Court ruled unconstitutional to ban abortions intended to save the mother’s life. Through the example of Miranda vs. Arizona (1966), the court was able to expand civil liberties by adding that detained criminal suspects must be informed of their rights to a lawyer and against self-incrimination before police questioning.

The expansion of government surveillance assists the authorities in acquiring early, accurate, and real-time information to prevent terrorism activities before they happen. However, the strategy invades people’s privacy and places innocent civilians under investigation. But, reducing civil liberties is not a solution to national security since the approach only jeopardizes the existence of ordinary civilians (the majorities) in a free and equal world. Elsewhere, I believe that the civil liberty of free speech allows the corporation to use unlimited funds to express their political views, including funding campaigns. However, this is a threat to democracy since excessive funds can tamper with the actual opinions of the people.



References (2020). Bill of rights passes Congress.

Center for the Study of the American Constitution, CSAC. (2020). The debate over a bill of

rights. The University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Schmidt, C.W. (2014). The civil rights and civil liberties divide. Chicago-Kent College of Law,