Unit 3 Civil Liberties and Civil Rights
Activity 6 Civil Liberties and Civil Rights Writing Assignment
NOTE: You must include references to the textbook in all of your coursework: discussion activities and writing assignments. For example, if you were writing about the Bakke case, in which the Supreme
Court declared that racial quotas in public school admissions were unconstitutional, you would cite the textbook in this way (Sidlow & Henschen 119).
Please post your responses in the assignments tool. My expectations are that you will write at least 4-5 informed paragraphs (each paragraph being 5-6 sentences) for the essay questions, and at least one
paragraph for the short answers. The questions will come from the text and from my notes of important literatures and concepts in American government. When answering questions, I would urge you to
provide a good background of the issue in your responses. Then go about demonstrating your points with specific examples and substantial evidence. Each unit assignment will be worth 20 points or about 10
percent of your grade.
Essay (Please answer only one essay question): 8 points
• In a democracy, freedom of speech and the press must be accorded great respect, but other values such as national security, the protection of reputation or public safety sometimes conflict with
First Amendment guarantees. Discuss the approaches that have been used by the Supreme Court to define the limits on expression. How have these approaches been applied in specific cases?
• Should Affirmative Action be abolished? Why or why not? To substantiate your position, please reference at least three pivotal cases involving Affirmative Action and explain the Supreme Court’s
ruling in these cases.
Short Answer (Please answer three of five questions): 12 points (4 points each)
• Discuss the ways the Supreme Court has upheld the “wall of separation” between church and state.
• Why was the Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka (1954) so pivotal to the civil rights movement?
• What was the relevance of the Supreme Court’s decision in Miranda v. Arizona (1966)?
• List the three parts of the Lemon Test to determine whether government can constitutionally aid parochial schools. What case is it based on?
• What standards does the Supreme Court apply when trying to determine whether a particular legislative classification is consistent with the Constitution’s equal protection guarantee?
Your To Do List
• Required Readings:
o Sidlow and Henschen, Chapters 4 and 5
o Instructor notes on American government literatures and concepts:
? Taylor Branch’s Parting the Waters: America in the King Years (1988).
• Supplementary References (optional):
o Sidney Verba and Gary R. Orren’s Equality in America: The View from the Top (1985).
• Course Work
o Activity 5
o Activity 6
This unit examines the constitutional basis of our liberties and the historical struggle for civil rights in our country. The origins of our liberties emanate from the safeguards in the original Constitution, the Bill of
Rights (i.e., 1st through 10th Amendments), and also incorporation issues based on due process as expressed in the 5th and 14th Amendments. In addition, a discussion of First Amendment freedoms and the
right to privacy will be addressed. The class will also study the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment of the Constitution in relation to the rights of historically disadvantaged groups in America. Finally,
we will look at the issue of Affirmative Action and whether the United States has been faithful to its promise to provide opportunity for all Americans.