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Lecture 7

GVPT 170 Lecture Notes - Lecture 7: Flag Desecration, Public Figure, Ant-Zen

Government and Politics
Course Code
GVPT 170
Patrick Wohlfarth

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American Government: Civil Liberties
o Protections from Government
o Slow and Steady Incorporation to States
o 14th Amendment as Vehicle for Incorporation
o Supreme Court, not Congress, as Catalyst
o No Right is Absolute: Defining Boundaries
Civil Liberties vs. Civil Rights
o Civil liberties are protections from government. (Ex: The government cannot
punish you for publishing true statements that are inconvenient to the
o Civil rights are protections by the government. (Ex: The government can punish
you for refusing to hire persons with disabilities that do not interfere with the job
for which they are applying.)
Civil Liberties
o Fundamental individual freedoms
o Outlined in and guaranteed by the Bill of Rights
o Pre-incorporation example:
Barron v. Baltimore (1833) and the notion of “dual citizenship.”
The Bill of Rights only applied to American citizenship, not state
citizen ship.
Background: Owner of a Baltimore wharf lost his business as
Baltimore developed and the harbor became shallower. He sues
Baltimore on the basis of the 5th Amendment and the Takings
Decision: The Court decides that the 5th Amendment does not
apply to state or local governments, only to the federal
14th Amendment
o Due Process and Equal Protection Clauses:
“No State shall… deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without
due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal
protection of the laws.”
o Designed to protect former slaves and define national citizenship by not
subjecting the rights of citizenship to state control.
o Strategic political maneuver by the Republicans during Reconstruction to protect
Republican control of the federal government.
Selective Incorporation
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