POLS4312 Constitutional Law – Civil Rights and Civil Liberties

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Instructions: You have 4 questions to choose from, of which you must answer 2. Each response should be around 1 ½ – 2 pages in length, single spaced, complete with in-text citations for quotes and the paraphrasing of ideas and sentences. You may use any course materials to provide evidence for your response, but you may NOT use outside sources. Submit your responses to Blackboard as a Word or PDF document (you will lose points if you submit your responses late or not in Word/PDF format). Good luck!

Question 1: Describe the 3 classes of discrimination that the Supreme Court use to evaluate civil rights claims. Who are members of each group? What are the tests that the Supreme Court use to evaluate whether the disparate treatment of the group is constitutionally valid? Should the Supreme Court evaluate different groups (racial minorities, women, etc.) in this way? Why or why not?

Question 2: Explain the Supreme Court’s decision in Griswold v. Connecticut. What were the issues in this case? What did the Supreme Court conclude? Why did the Court claim that there is a right to privacy implied in the Bill of Rights? Do you believe that there is a right to privacy implied in the Bill of Rights? Why or why not?

Question 3: Discuss public health and privacy rights during the COVID-19 pandemic. What has the Supreme Court written in the past about the ability of governments to place restrictions on individual liberty if there is a public health emergency? Do you believe the current restrictions (face masks, social distancing, etc.) unconstitutionally violate a person’s right to privacy? Why or why not?

Question 4: Discuss the Citizens United decision. What did the Supreme Court rule about restrictions on campaign contributions and fundraising? Why did the Supreme Court rule the way it did? Do you believe the Court made the right decision? Why or why not?


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