Civil liberties

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The topic of civil liberties would include a discussion of:

  • freedom of expression (speech)
  • freedom from arbitrary arrest
  • freedom of religion
  • right to vote
  • right to privacy
  • freedom from discrimination
  • unreasonable search and seizure
  • self-incrimination
  • due process
  • equal protection under the law, as it pertains to race, sex (including lesbian and gay rights), abortion, disability

From the U.S. Constitution

The Bill of Rights, the first ten amendments to the U.S. Constitution, enumerates our basic civil rights:

First: Provides for freedom of worship, of speech, of the press, of assembly, and of petition to the government for redress of grievances.

Second: Grants the right to bear arms.

Third: Grants freedom from quartering soldiers in a house without the owner's consent.

Fourth: Protects people against unreasonable search and seizure, a safeguard only recently extended to the states.

Fifth: Provides that no person shall be held for "a capital or otherwise infamous crime" without indictment, be twice put in "jeopardy of life or limb" for the same offense, be compelled to testify against himself, or "be deprived of life, liberty, or property without due process of law."

Sixth: Guarantees the right of speedy and public trial by an impartial jury in all criminal proceedings.

Seventh: Guarantees the right of trial by jury in almost all common-law suits.

Eighth: Prohibits excessive bail, fines and "cruel and unusual" punishment.

Ninth: "The enumeration in the Constitution of certain rights shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people."

Tenth: "The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people."

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