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October 21, 2013 - Civil Rights.docx

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Western University
Political Science
Political Science 2244E
Peter Scapillato

Civil Rights October 21 , 2013 LECTURE ONLY COVERS PART OF THE CHAPTER, BUT ENTIRE CHAPTER IS TESTABLE. Area 51 Richard Nixon - Been around since 1942. - Assumed to originally be used to train pilots. - Fame comes from Cold War. - Declassified: U2 Spy planes were developed there. Many saw these planes being tested and believed them to be UFOs. - Famous Incident of the U2: In 1960, Gary Powers (Pilot) crashed and Soviet’s caught him and forced him to confess. - Inspired D21 plane, which took its place, working as a precursor to drone technology – plane without a pilot. - Used to test Soviet planes against American planes during the 60’s. Found that planes were equal, and it was ultimately on the pilot to who would win. - F17 Nighthog – planes still being developed (drop bombs). - Surrounded by conspiracies – aliens, testing energy weapons, Illuminati, etc. What are civil rights?  The political, social, and economic rights that each citizen has by virtue of simply being a citizen, and which are usually upheld by law.  American context o Minority groups – just as much emphasis on individuals as minority groups (race, gender, sexual orientation, age, religion, etc.). o “Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” Where did they come from?  Bill of Rights  Civil War  Fourteenth Amendment o Applies the Bill of Rights to all the states after the Civil War. Despite this, many (especially non-whites) still face(d) much discrimination. Seven Common Stages that These Groups Go Through When Trying to Ensure their Civil Rights: 1. A Group Defines Itself o Redefines themselves o Redefine themselves as victims of discrimination, challenging the current power structures to change how people understand them. o Victims of discrimination o Dominant power structure o Challenge narrative o E.g. Clubs Week – a group defining itself. 2. Challenging Society o Enter the political arena and demand rigjts. o Go beyond “formal channels” and use things like riots, protests, etc. o These informal channels are not necessarily peaceful or totally violent. 3. Shifting the Narrative o Fight to change the dominant narrative about them (e.g. phrenology – study of scull size in relation to IQ; Social Darwinism). 4. Federalism o Local level discrimination. o Education, voting laws, etc. o Because minority groups are often concentrated in specific areas, discrimination often begins at the state or local level. Local governments control education and voting policies, and it sometimes takes the federal government to come in and change it. 5. Executive Ice Breaker o Executive orders. o Create opportunity, momentum. o E.g. Obama’s undocumented aliens – a civil rights issue around immigration (aka. The Dream Act). 6. Congressional Blockbuster (READ UP MORE ON THIS– WILL BE ON EXAM) o Legislation o Fourteenth Amendment o Civil Rights Act (1964) 7. Court o “Ultimate arbiters.” o Interpretation, application. o The court decides who is right. These steps see a lot of overlap – especially in terms of federalism. This makes it difficult for those pursuing civil rights, as it means that they have to appeal to multiple powers and structures. Power centers in the United States include the Supreme Court, House of Representatives and the Senate (Congress), Executive Branch, President, and on an informal level to the public and society – you have to appeal to the people. Change is hard! Court and Civil Rights o Equal Protection Clause o Fourteeth Amendment o “No state shall deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.” o The court will look at this – whether it is coming from a racial, gender, or other kind of group, will apply different levels of scrutiny. o Judicial Framework o Classificaton of Groups o Race, ethnicity, etc. o Social norms/sentiment scale. o Three categories o Suspect categories o Quasi-suspect categories o Non-suspect categories Suspect Categories – highest level of scrutiny o Race, ethnicity, or legal aliens. o Strict scrutiny o “Compelling interest” o Cases of these categories will receive a lot of attention, and almost always gets struck down by the court for being unconstitutional – unless the government has a compelling interest. Quasi-Suspect Categories o 1976 o Gender o Intermediate scrutiny o “Important” state purpose o Virginia Military Institute o If the Act does not rest on an important state purpose, it will be struck down. Non-suspect Categories (all of the others) o The “others” o Age, disability, wealth, etc. o Rational basis scrutiny o Lowest, default level o Oregon – Struck down Oregon’s attempt at an act to ban Catholic Schools – there was no rational basis to ban them and was therefore irrational. Slavery and Civil Rights o 1500 – 1900 o 12 million Africans – taken from Africa. o 10 million survive – the rest mostly died on the ships. Of those, around 4 million went to the US. o 1808 o Trans-Atlantic slave trade officially ends.
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