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American Constitutional Law Essay

1327 words - 6 pages


Justin Harris
POSC 401
Colin S. Cavell, Ph.D
April 29, 2014

Civil Liberties

The First Amendment of the Constitution, legislation, or common law gives all individuals rights or freedoms. These rights and freedoms allow individuals to think, assemble, worship, petition, and speak without limits or inferences from the government. There is a protective nature to these liberties. There is a broader concept to civil rights. These comprise positive components like the right to use amenities, the right to an equal education, or the right to government participation (Cite, ).

Society holds the protection of civil rights and liberties as the most fundamental political value that we as Americans possess. Individuals who often test the liberties that we have set in this country often are not considered to be the most ideal citizens. There are so many of these that exist that we have often forget or do not think of their importantance or the impact they have on us as a society. There are many instances that have made headlines in the 20th century. Though all of these are important some have impacted me more than others (Cite, ).

Civil liberties are protections against government actions. For example, the First Amendment of the Bill of Rights guarantees citizens the right to practice whatever religion. Government, then, cannot interfere in an individual's freedom of worship. Amendments gives the individual "liberty" from the actions of the government.
Civil rights, in contrast, refer to positive actions of government should take to create equal conditions for all Americans. The term "civil rights" is often associated with the protection of minority groups, such as African Americans, Hispanics, and women. The government counterbalances the "majority rule" tendency in a democracy that often finds minorities outvoted.

To me a very important civil liberty would be the right to privacy which is the Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution and part of the Bill of Rights. This prohibits the unreasonable seizure and search and requires that a warrant has to be sanctioned judicially as well as being backed by probable cause (LII / Legal Information Institute, 2014). As a police officer the Fourth Amendment plays into my job on a recurring basis. In this amendment as well as search and seizure, that does include arrest, must be limited in the realm that is in accordance to particular information that has been provided to the issuing court. In my profession as a law enforcement officer, I have been sworn in by it. There are three essential questions that exist when dealing with case law for this amendment. These include:
• What activities of the government constitute “search” and “seizure”
• What constitutes probable cause of the actions
• How Fourth Amendment right violations should be addressed

I have read several important cases that I think have an impact on the Fourth Amendment. ...

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