Civil Rights - US Politics

  • Created by: ljoy1801
  • Created on: 11-04-19 13:35
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  • Civil Rights
    • Protection of civil rights and liberties
      • How the Constitution protects rights
        • The constitution was made to protect citizens from overly dominant government. Checks and balances are in place to do this.
        • Article III introduced the Supreme Court which gives citizens the rights to a final appeal if they feel that their rights have been infringed
        • Having a complex amendment process means rights cannot be removed easily as they are entrenched
      • The Bill of Rights
        • Examples include: Freedom of speech, religion and assembly (1st); the right to bear arms (2nd); the right to a fair trail (6th); no cruel or unusual punishments (8th)
      • Subsequent amendments to the Constitution
        • When it was first ratified in 1791, the Bill of Rights only applied to those who were not slaves and women were not treated equally. Rights have therefore been introduced to protect these people
          • 13th amendment abolished slavery
          • 14th amendment gave slaves citizens. It promised equal protection under the law and stated that citizens freedoms cannot be removed without due process (fair treatment)
          • 19th gave women the right to vote (1920)
          • 24th amendment said no tax needs to be paid to vote, therefore ensuring African Americans got the vote fairly, as they tended to be poorer at the time
      • The Supreme Court
        • Has the right to interpret the Constitution to ensure it protects civil rights in a modern age
        • Landmark rulings have protected civil rights
        • Protected rights of African Americans in Brown v Board of Topeka (1954) to end segregation
        • Has protected gay rights in Obergefell v Hodges (2015)
    • Civil rights v Civil liberties
      • Civil rights are rights enjoyed by all Americans. Civil liberties are extra protection put in place by the government to ensure they are nit discriminated against
    • The role of pressure groups in promoting and supporting civil rights
      • Pressure groups have led campaigns to support rights eg the NRA campaign to protect the second amendment.
      • Groups raise money and pay for campaigns to influence the public eg Black Lives Matter raised c.$100M according to Washington Post to raise money for marches and security. They have tried to influence the Judiciary to get all policemen wearing bodycams.
      • Lobby politicians and donate to them eg NRA donated $30M to Trump in 2016
      • The role of the NAACP in the civil rights movement
        • Funded Brown v Board of Topeka in 1954
        • Helped plan the march in which MLK delivered his I Have a Dream speech
        • Lobbied congress to pass the Voting Rights Act of 1965
    • Pressure groups who have achieved and not achieved their aims
      • Achieved
        • NAACP and civil rights movement - funded Brown v Board of Topeka. Lobbied to pass Civil Rights Act of 1964 and Voters Rights Act
        • The Human Rights Campaign - sent Amicus curiae briefs during Obergefell v Hodges
        • National Organisation for Women - #MeToo campaign became popular - but unsuccessful after Equal Rights Amendment 1972 failed
      • Failed
        • US Conference of Catholic Bishops - tried to overturn Roe v Wade - spend around $350M a year lobbying
        • American Civil Liberties Union campaigned against Guantanamo Bay - Supreme Court have ruled against this four times but is still in existence
    • The Civil Rights Movement
      • Used direct action
      • Exposed brutality and violence of white citizens towards black
      • Passed 24th amendment in 1964 which protected African Americans from discrimination in voting
      • MLK's I Have A Dream speech inspired Obama in 2008
    • Affirmative Action
      • Argued for by Democrats who believed it would reverse the effects of discrimination
        • George W Bush was against it; Obama was in favour
      • Liberals argued that it was fair due to the amount of economic and social disadvantages they faced. Conservatives said it was reverse discrimation
      • Declared legal by the Supreme Court in Fisher v University of Texas 2016 providing that a certain criteria is met
    • Voting Rights
      • After the Voting Rights Act of 1965, turnout in states where there had perviously been voting discrimination grew eg Mississippi turnout amongst African Americans went from 7% to 67%
      • The Supreme Court argued that states could introduce voting restrictions such as ID through the case of Shelby County v Hodder in 2013
        • Since this, voter turnout amongst African Americans in these states has dropped dramatically, whilst white turnout has not been affected
      • More than 20 states have imposed these restrictions since Shelby County v Hodder


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