Civil Liberties and the State: A Documentary and Reference Guide

Civil Liberties and the State: A Documentary and Reference Guide

Civil Liberties and the State: A Documentary and Reference Guide

Civil Liberties and the State: A Documentary and Reference Guide

Synopsis

The USA PATRIOT Act, the actions and free speech of the Ku Klux Klan, and the use of privately owned devices with GPS by law enforcement are all highly controversial topics that fall under the blanket of civil liberties and federal or state authority- subjects that are important to most Americans.

This book provides a comprehensive examination of arbitrary state action post-September 11, 2001, combining detailed examinations of specific legislation with watershed coverage of issues such as freedom of speech, press, and religion as well as various aspects of criminal law and procedure. This text presents documents from Britain, the American colonial period, the Founding period, and the modern era, including recent Supreme Court cases. The author provides an accompanying analysis of each document, providing insightful historical context and ramifications of the decisions and the laws passed.

Excerpt

The discussion concerning civil liberties and arbitrary state action is an enduring issue in American politics and constitutional analysis. National debate over our civil liberties extends back to before the founding period and has intensified at various times throughout our nation’s history. In particular, the protections of due process, equal protection, privacy, freedom of speech and press have been essential instruments for the safeguarding of individual freedom and liberty against arbitrary state action. In response to 9/11, Congress, the president, and the Supreme Court are continually deliberating about possible restrictions on these civil liberties.

The historic and complex decision of Boumediene v. Bush in June 2008 has also opened the door to reexamine these fundamental rights in relation to arbitrary state action and the war on terror. The purpose of this book is to compile a wide range of documents, organized by chronology and subject matter, to provide the reader with a more complete understanding of the history, evolution, scope, and consequences surrounding the relationship between our civil liberties and arbitrary state action. The selected documents will expose readers to the historical underpinnings of four critical constitutional guarantees that provide important protections against government intrusion. This proves to be of particular value to the reader because so much of the writing and commentary on arbitrary state action in relation to due process, equal protection, privacy, freedom of speech and press focuses on what the nation’s founders achieved and thought, on laws, executive orders, court cases, and other commentaries that provide alternative points of view on the issues discussed.

Chapter 1 opens with documents from the founding era with a particular emphasis on the development of the aforementioned constitutional guarantees including the Fifth Amendment’s due process clause, the Fourteenth Amendment’s due process and equal protection clauses as well as the historical foundations of the First Amendment freedoms of speech and press and the right to privacy. This includes a number of treatises and early legislative enactments. Chapter 2 contains a number of early often overlooked Supreme Court rulings on due process, equal protection, the First Amendment, and privacy. Chapter 3 focuses on early statements, executive orders, and federal laws concerning equal protection, the First Amendment, and privacy. Chapter 4 contains a treasure trove of Supreme Court cases during the . . .

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