Intent of the Framers In this paper I will describe the original intent of the freedom of speech, freedom of religion, right to privacy, and criminals’ rights. I will explain current views of the provisions of freedom of speech, freedom of religion, right to privacy, and criminals’ rights. I will assess which events and opinions have changed the intent of each of these provisions over time. I will evaluate the effects of Supreme Court decisions related to these provisions and express consideration for the future of these provisions.
Freedom of speech is part of the first amendment which states, “You are free to say almost anything except that which is obscene, slanders another person, or has a high probability of inciting others to take imminent lawless action. ” (Patterson, 2008, p. 98) With the freedom of speech it is necessary to put certain restraints into place. The government cannot restrict what people say unless there is a clear and present danger to other people from the voicing of the statement.
The freedom of speech was originally intended to give people the right to voice their opinion without being taken to court for it as long as it did not hurt anyone.
Currently freedom of speech is viewed as a way to allow people the chance to speak for themselves. By allowing this government is allowing people to have a say in their governance and not ruled by the government without their input. This allows us to have a say in our government and what is represented by us. In 1927, Fiske vs. Kansas was a case that helped to invalidate state laws that restricted expression. The events that changed freedom of speech over the years are the burning of the flag court case, the “pentagon paper” publishing, and other such events throughout the years.
The freedom of religion is another important part of the first amendment and states, “You are protected from having the religious beliefs of others imposed on you, and you are free to believe what you like. ”(Patterson, 2008, p. 98) The original intent of the freedom of religion was to allow anyone to have their own religious beliefs without opposition. This is because the government has agreed not to push a certain religion on anyone and has taken the practice of reciting of prayers out of public schools since 1962 with the court ruling of Engel vs.
Vitale. Shortly afterward bible passage readings were also banned from public schools. The Supreme Court has ruled that there cannot be any religious displays on public property when there is only a religious context and no history contained within the display. The first amendment also promotes the ability to freely practice your religion as long as you do not impose it on someone else. The current views on the freedom of religion have changed. In early times schools were allowed to promote religion and have morning prayers.
In the more recent times, there is no public display of anything religious. People try to make sure that anything that bears any resemblance to religion is removed from plain view or taken out of commission as soon as they possibly can. There are many people that have migrated to the United States of America and it is these people who are moving here that have issues with the original statutes that we had in place with the creation of our country. People are still free to practice their own religion, as long as it does not interfere with anyone else’s beliefs or freedoms.
Some events that have changed people’s minds about the freedom of religion are court cases such as Engel vs. Vitale, McCreary County vs. American Civil Liberties Union, and the free exercise clause. The right to privacy is very important for Americans today. The right to privacy was added to the ninth amendment as a result of a Supreme Court ruling Griswold vs. Connecticut which challenged a law prohibiting couples from using birth control, even married couples. The right of privacy was the main factor in the Roe vs.
Wade ruling which gave mothers the freedom to choose abortion in the first three months of her pregnancy. The right to privacy when it refers to the government only deals with normal couples and not same sex couples. The right to privacy did help to take away the sodomy laws from the 13 states that had it. Every person is entitled to their own privacy when it comes with sexuality. The right of privacy is not only pertaining to sex and the issues surrounding it, this also encompasses medical and financial records although the limits have not yet been defined in these areas.
The current views of people today are that they have a right to their privacy and with identity theft today it is very important to us. It is one of the most important factors to us today is our privacy, people find their medical histories are private and need not be shared with the general public as in the same case when it comes to financial records. This is the most moral of the dilemmas that may be encountered when laws are violated. An example is a drug history in a person’s medical history need not be shared with someone just because it is in their file; this is why there is patient and doctor confidentiality.
In the current state of the country, people value their privacy as one of the most important aspects of their life and feel that it does not need to be shared with everyone or anyone. I am sure celebrities which they had a lot more privacy than they do, however they are destined to have people follow them for a piece of the action….. is this a violation of their right to privacy? Can they sue someone for not respecting it like paparazzi? Major events in the right to privacy are the Roe vs. Wade abortion ruling and Lawrence vs. Texas sodomy ruling.
Criminal’s rights are there to help them receive a fair trial. There are four different amendments that address criminal rights. In the Fourth Amendment it states that police are forbidden to conduct searches unless they have probable cause of a crime. The Fifth Amendment protects against double jeopardy where a person cannot be tried twice for the same crime or self-incrimination. The Sixth Amendment provides the right to legal counsel, to confront witnesses, to receive a speedy trial, and to have a trial by jury in criminal proceedings.
Finally the Eighth Amendment protects against excessive bails or fines and prohibits the use of cruel and unusual punishment on those convicted of crimes. (Patterson, 2008, p. 115) The original intent of criminals rights’ is to protect them while they are awaiting trial and to make sure that they are not treated wrongly while they are in due process. This came about by a Supreme Court ruling Mapp vs. Ohio by putting in place the probable cause and unreasonable search and seizure. Today, the current views on criminals’ rights are standard.
Most people know what they are subject to receive now when they do something wrong. There are so many different crime shows on the TV today that show us basically how the system works. The bad side to this is it also shows these criminals ways to get around the system but for the most part, how criminals’ rights works for the people who have committed crimes and gives them a fair trial while waiting for a decision from their jury by peers or whatever decision the judge has ruled on his or her case. The main events that have happened for this would be Mapp vs.
Ohio or unreasonable search and seizure, Gideon vs. Wainwright for the right to counsel, and Benton vs. Maryland for double jeopardy. The Supreme Court is the court which has the most authority in the country. The Supreme Court is the final level that a case will be decided by after going through all measures of appeals that are possible. It is the Supreme Court that decides what is fair and what is unreasonable for the country. It is this level of justice that has changed and added on many new amendments and laws to make the country a better place to live in.
These laws are put into place and followed by the judicial branch of our government and it is an important one as it helps to keep us internally at peace and law abiding, well most of us with the exception of the criminals. When it comes to the future, I am not sure what it will hold. There is already the freedom of expression, freedom of speech, freedom of religion, right to privacy, and criminals’ rights. These are all important to us every day and they may change. The United States are changing daily and always encompassing new freedoms for our people. Who would have thought that we would have an African-American president?
Not many. It is events like this that are ever-changing and bringing us into unchartered territory. With the basic amendments set into place, we cannot go wrong. It is the democracy that we live in today that Americans are proud of and others keep venturing over whether it is legally or not. We constantly make mistakes that teach us what is right and wrong for the country and how we want our policies and procedures to work. Without them, would our country have come this far? Reference Patterson, T. E. (2008). Civil Liberties. Protecting Individual Rights. In The American Democracy (p. 98). New York, NY: McGraw-Hill.
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