Civil Liberties in the U.S

Your Civil Liberties are basic freedoms of individuals that are granted to protect you from the infringement of the government. As you read this, you may be an American, and may already be aware of some of your Constitutional rights. But are you aware of the original ten basic rights that have been granted to you for your protection?

I plan to list all ten of them just to make sure that everyone is aware of their rights as an American citizen.

  1. Freedom of speech, religion, press, assembly, and petition

There are some restrictions/limits to this amendment; “freedom of speech” will not protect the following things:

  • libel/slander
  • Obscene language
  • Words that represent clear & present danger

2. Right to Bear Arms

3. Cannot quarter soldiers without consent

4. No unreasonable search & seizures

5. Protects one from self-incrimination, double jeopardy (Cannot charge a person for the same crime more than once), trial in front of a grand jury

6. Right to a speedy trial and an attorney

7. Right to trial by jury

8. Protects one from cruel & unusual punishment, fines, and bails

This has become a controversial amendment due to the fact that it can be linked to the argument of whether or not the death penalty is cruel or not

9. States that the rights listed within the eight so far are not exclusive; there may be more rights that are not explicitly stated within the Bill of Rights (Implied Powers)

10. States that the rights that are not granted to the national government, automatically go to the state government or the people

Other Civil Liberties in the Constitution:

Right to Privacy: Is that explicitly stated, but it is implied that as citizens, we have the right to privacy. This right was granted by the 1965 case (Griswold v Connecticut). Griswold brought the state of Connecticut to court because the state banned the use of contraception. Griswold fought on the basis that he had the right of privacy to use contraception.

Habeas Corpus: Protection against imprisonment without trial (must be brought before a judge and a court). One cannot be subject to jail without a proper trial.

It is very important that citizens become aware of the rights that they have been granted. These rights specifically protect citizens from the infringement of the government. It is important that citizens stay aware of their rights and exercise their rights to the best of their ability.

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