The Citizens Civil Liberties: Our Fundamental Rights

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The United State was built under the principle that the citizens should always have a voice on their government. Resulting in the establishment of a democratic government where the people get to choose their electoral candidates under the premise of who will govern them. In order to prevent a corrupt governmental system, it is broken down into three separate branches. As result no decision can be made without referring to the other branches for confirmation creating a process known as check and balances (Newell et. 47). Written in the U.S constitution are the Bill of Rights which states all the civil liberties every American citizen has in Section. Since Texas is a strong advocate for limited government power it is adamant for Texans citizens to always be able to enact their liberties. How this is achieved is through a process known as incorporation where a state writes the Bill of Rights into our Texas constitution forever insuring the people civil liberties (Newall et al. 272). It works as an insurance if the united states become too corrupt it decides to suppress the people constitutional right. Thus, describing how Texas laws protect citizens liberties in the first amendment and how it has impacted the state throughout the years.

In the first amendment it establishes our civil liberties also known as the bill of rights which list our individual freedom of speech, press, religion, and assembly (Newall et al., 280). These liberties are considered a “freedom of expression” which cannot be suppressed by the government. A common purpose for the first amendment is to protect the voice of individuals views that are not liked by the majority. For example, the case of Texas v. Johnson caused controversy on how the interpretation “freedom of speech and press” should be utilized. During the Regan administration Gregory Johnson was arrested in Texas for burning the U.S flag despite the fact it was his version of a representational speech (Newall et al. 273). The Supreme Court agreed on Johnson appeal declaring that Texas law prohibiting residents from burning the flag was an unconstitutional because it was a restriction that violated the first amendment. The result from this dilemma caused Texas to reevaluate their interpretation on “Freedom of Expression” in order to prevent a situation like Johnson from happening again. Another strict evaluation on the first amendment is congress inability to established or associate their specific choice of religion (Newall et al. 274). This liberty is meant to respect the diverse religion inside the United States free from prosecutions or intimidation. What the policy aims to do is keep a separation between the church and state preventing the government from favoring any form of religion. The only actions the government can provide is aid churches it must show that there are no preference meaning all the receiving aids must be exactly the same help toward other religious organizations. An example of these circumstances was a Christian pastor Rick Barr sued the city of Sinton when they passed an ordinance preventing paroles one thousand feet near churches thus preventing the practice of his religion. Texas worked to uphold these laws by ruling Sinton ordinance unconstitutional respecting the constitutional right to express the freedom of religion.

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While civil liberties refer to the freedom given in the constitution civil rights are the equal treatment every citizen deserves despite their orientation, race, or religion. If the government oppresses groups of people because of their ethnic, or other categories it means their civil rights have been violated (Newell et al. 280). There have been many civil rights that citizens have fought for which include voting for everyone, education, fair trial, and etc. A major case known as Brown V. Board of Education which ruled that segregation was unconstitutional under the violation of the fourteenth amendment (Newell et al. 274). Despite the Supreme Court ruling there have been series of turbulence attempting to work around the law by segregating students inside the school. Until they got tired of the constant lawsuits and successfully integrated all public-school districts. As a result, from these series of laws causes the question to rise should education be a basic right. Texas Constitution worked to protect all citizens which was recognized in the ruling of Edgewood v. Kirby case. Then there the second amendment which is the right to bear arms creates major controversy on whether American citizens should be allowed to exercise this right. This is a heavily researched topic where 54% of American favor stricter gun control laws but that is against the second amendment where they specifically discuss that any suppression to the right of bear arms. The Texas constitution protects the second amendments in section twenty-three establishing that any citizens has the right to protect themselves by bearing arms preventing any U.S laws from stripping that right. As a safety insurance to protect Texas citizens from inexperience gun user they passed castle doctrine. This law does not restrict gun arms but add a requirement which is ten hours of training in order to carry a concealed weapon (Newall et al. 278). Maintaining the rights of Texas citizens

The biggest civil right that has been fought over the centuries a is racial equality. A case about twenty years ago occurred in a small town known as Jasper near the border of Louisiana and east Texas. Where three white men tied an African American man known as James Byrd Jr to their car and dragged his body across the border for three miles. Then discarding the body in front of a previously black cemetery for everyone in the town to see. This cruel murder appalled all the citizens in their community and opening the eyes to everyone across the country about black brutality. However, James Byrd Jr death did not go in vain with the immediate prosecution of the murders. Unlike previous times where lynched black men death went uninvestigated James homicide was prosecuted at the plead of his community who wished to see justice. With a substantial amount of evidence two of the men received the death penalty and the other a life sentence. This had marked the second time in Texas history that a white man had been given the death penalty for murdering an African American man. The charges for the three black white changed the justice system that was previously bias to African American people. This trauma marked a difference between the old and new Texas one that started to identify minorities as equals. Being one of the first steps taken to the equal rights in trail for African Americans this affect the states civil rights concern and issues. Another issue that occurred was the drug busts in Tulia in January of 1998. Where a corrupt undercover agent Thomas Coleman was assigned a job to discover drug dealer in Tulia. The following year Coleman had accused forty-six minorities of selling illegal drugs. However, many would come to suspect his farce by uncovering the testimony of multiple individuals describing his personality as conniving, thieving, and aggressive towards minorities (Newall et al. 285). The most convincing testimony was the evidence of bank records proving she was in Oklahoma at the time when Coleman claim she was pushing drugs to him. At the end of the investigation into Coleman he was imprisoned for multiple accounts of perjury. Both cases displayed a sense of community unity and structure to seek justice for the minorities who were wronged. This shown how far Texas Laws have progressed in supporting equal rights for all citizens (Newall et al. 286).

Knowing your civil liberties and rights give citizens a greater knowledge of what they’re capable of changing in their community.

Works Cited

  1. NEWELL, C., Prindle, D. F., & Riddlesperger, J. W. (2015). TEXAS POLITICS: Ideal and reality (13th ed.). Boston, MA: CENGAGE LEARNING.


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