Students will understand civil liberties a United States citizen is entitled to and recognize how they have changed over time.
This packet explores the idea of Civil Liberties, or the freedoms accorded to U.S. citizens to live without interference from government. These freedoms are accorded by the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, and various court cases. Individuals are generally able to seek their own happiness as they see fit provided they don't infringe on the rights of others. However, government can limit this freedom. Government has the obligation to promote the general welfare, safety and even morals of society. To ensure that society can achieve these goals, government can conduct searches and, arrest and punish people. But these police powers are also limited, by individual freedoms. This balancing act of individual freedoms versus government protection of the welfare of society will be highlighted in this packet as well
You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law. You have the right to speak to an attorney, and to have an attorney present during any questioning. If you cannot afford a lawyer, one will be provided for you at government expense.
Any one who has come across an episode of Law and Order, would readily recognize this statement. This is known as the Miranda Warning. It details civil liberties a person is entitled to if police are placing them under arrest. The Miranda Warning includes examples of civil liberties, such as the freedom from self-incrimination and the right to an adequate defense, or lawyer, Fortunately, U.S. citizens are entitled to more.
Civil liberties concern basic rights and freedoms that are guaranteed -- either explicitly identified in the Bill of Rights and the Constitution, or interpreted through the years by courts and lawmakers. Civil liberties include:
Freedom of speech
The right to privacy
The right to be free from unreasonable searches of your home or auto
Freedom from unreasonable searches of yourself
The right to a fair and speedy court trial
The right to marry
The right to vote
Freedom from slavery or forced labor
Freedom from cruel or unusual punishment
Freedom from incriminating oneself
U.S. citizens are GENERALLY entitled to these liberties. However, a constant balancing act occurs because the government also has an obligation to do the following, that may limit civil liberties:
Some examples of how the government may limit individual freedom include:
Again these are just some examples of civil liberties and government protection. For a great example of civil liberties and the obligation to protect the safety of students, please see the videos below.
Check out this fun SIMS game by Icivics to learn more about the Civil liberties and Rights - as well as the constitutional amendments associated with them.
This sheet outlines the concept of civil liberties. At the top, the main idea. Essential details within. And at the end, consider the point as to why civil liberties are so important!
Source: MacGruder's American Government, 2000
This video describes Safford Unified School District versus Redding. A recent and prominent civil liberties court case where a young girl was stripped searched by school officials who were searching for ibuporfen pills. Another student had claimed Savana had them. Her case called into question basic constitutional freedoms for students.
How do you think the Supreme Court should have rules on this case?
See the video below for the results.
Source: Savana Redding's strip search case goes to supreme court CBS News Online
The conclusion of the Savana Redding case.
Source: CBS News