This essay Civil Rights has a total of 761 words and 4 pages.
The Constitution Protects the Civil Rights of Americans
The Constitution does protect the civil rights of Americans. Even though some laws are passed that violate the civil rights of people in the United States, the Supreme Court corrects these errors. The cases reviewed here ask if it is okay to compose and mandate prayer in schools, whether the death penalty is Constitutional, and how much privacy is given to the American people. In the following Supreme Court cases, the reader will find that the decisions made are Constitutional and ensure that the civil rights of Americans are protected.
The First Amendment to the Constitution forbids the government form supporting religion. In the Supreme Court case, Engle v.. Vitale, a New York school system composed a prayer and forced children to pray in the mornings at school. This action by the school system clearly violates the “no establishment” clause of the First Amendment, which states, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion...” The Supreme Court ruled six to one that it was unconstitutional for schools to compose and mandate prayer.
The Engle decision was a good decision. Since the government now had no say in how school children prayed, the rights of minority religious groups were protected. This decision ensures that students in schools across the country will not have to go against their religion to please the government. Because this decision ensures the people’s right to worship in the way that they choose, American society as a whole benefits from this decision.
The Eighth Amendment to the Constitution prohibits “cruel and unusual punishment.” In the case, Gregg v. Georgia, the Supreme Court ruled that the death penalty was not unconstitutional as long as it was not arbitrarily applied. This case was accurately read because the writers of the Bill of Rights did not believe that the death penalty constituted “cruel and unusual punishment.” They believed that “cruel and unusual punishment” was punishment that inflicted excessive pain on the convicted. Since the death penalty is humane, it does not constitute “cruel and unusual punishment” and is therefore acceptable to use as a form of punishment.
The Gregg decision was a good decision. The death penalty is a fair and just punishment for those that have committed capital offenses. Although some might argue that it is a revenge-based punishment, it is only doing to the convicted what he did to his victim, although in a way much less painful. Because the death penalty is humane, causing almost no pain to the person being executed, it is a fair and allowable punishment for those that deserve it.
The Ninth Amendment to the Constitution allows citizens more rights that those listed in the Constitution. It can be inferred that the writers of the Bill of Rights meant for privacy to be included in this amendment. In Connecticut, there was a law that forbid the use and distribution of information about contraceptives. This law was overruled by the Supreme Court in the case, Griswold v. Connecticut, when it ruled that the law violated Constitutionally protected privacy. The government only has the right to censor information if it endangers national security or if it is considered obscene. Since the use and distribution of information about contraceptives does not fall under any of these categories, it is not Constitutionally correct for the government to violate people’s privacy in the way that it did in the Connecticut law.
The Griswold decision was a good decision. Because people deserve and are Constitutionally given privacy, it seems illogical that a state would make a law like the one that was made in Connecticut. This type of action can be interpreted as a state not respecting a person’s right to privacy, which is not only unconstitutional, but wrong. Because the Supreme Court abolished the Connecticut law forbidding the use and distribution of information about contraceptives, the people of the United States can rest assured that their right to privacy is being protected.
In the preceding Supreme Court cases, the Justices that heard the cases upheld the meanings of the Amendments contained in the Bill of Rights. The decisions all agreed with what the writers of the Bill of Rights thought when they were writing the Bill of Rights. Due to these decisions, the meanings
Topics Related to Civil Rights
Birth control in the United States, Griswold v. Connecticut, United States Constitution, Cruel and unusual punishment, Privacy, Supreme Court of the United States, Baker v. Nelson, Eighth Amendment to the United States Constitution
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