This chapter surveys quite a number of pressure points that have developed
in the American political system regarding the liberties of individuals and the government's involvement in protecting or restricting those liberties. Included among
these pressure points are national security, federal versus state enforcement
of rights, First Amendment freedoms, and criminal law. After reading and reviewing the material in this chapter, you should be able to
do each of the following:
- Discuss the relationship of the Bill of Rights to the concept of democratic
rule of the majority, and give examples of tension between majority rule and minority rights. Explain
how the politics of civil liberties may at times become a mass issue, and
offer several examples.
- Describe the conflicts that have arisen between those who claim First Amendment rights and those who are in favor of sedition
laws that might restrict freedom of speech. Explain how the Supreme Court
attempts to balance competing interests. Describe the various tests that
the Court has applied.
- Explain how the structure of the federal system affects the application of
the Bill of Rights. How has the Supreme Court used the Fourteenth Amendment
to expand coverage in the federal system? Discuss changing conceptions of the due process clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.
- List the categories under which the Supreme Court may classify "speech." Explain the distinction between protected and unprotected speech, and name
the various forms of expression that are not protected under the First Amendment. Describe the test
used by the Court to decide the circumstances under which freedom of expression
may be qualified.
- State what the Supreme Court decided in Miranda v. Arizona, and explain why that case illustrates how the Court operates in most such
due process cases.
- Analyze why the resolution of civil liberties issues involves politics as
well as law. Discuss the political factors that influence the Supreme Court when it decides fundamental civil liberties