1. When rights to safety and security seem to conflict with fundamental civil
liberties, how should we decide which to value more?
2. Should elected officials do what the majority desires? Or should they do
what they think is best, even if it is highly unpopular?
3. Should the time, place, and manner of speech matter when deciding whether
the speech is constitutionally protected?
4. Did you attend a public school where you had bible readings, prayers, religious assemblies, or other religious acts? Who organized these activities? Were you ever in a school choir or band that performed religious music? Did you ever have a coach who prayed before games or suggested you join the Fellow ship of Christian Athletes? Was there a prayer at your high school commencement? If any of these occurred in your school, how did you feel about them? Did it ever occur to you that your principal or teachers might be violating a Supreme Court ruling? Is it ever acceptable for someone to violate the Law? Under what conditions? What would happen if everyone decided he or she could choose what laws to obey?
5. How much free speech do you think we should allow in the United States?
Would you allow a white racist to give a speech on this campus? A member of a freemen’s militia? A neo-Nazi? A black racist?
6. Most of the democratic countries of the world have abolished capital punishment why do you think the United States still uses execution? If other countries had our crime rate, do you think they would want capital punishment? List arguments for and against capital punishment. Should we draw the line according to age or severity of crime?
7. The Supreme Court gives free speech a “privileged position” in the Bill of Rights. What does that mean? How does the Court justify that position?
8. Distinguish between civil liberties and civil rights.
9. Identify the constitutional right that you most treasure, and discuss why you feel so passionately about that right?
10. Concerning civil liberties, how would you change the Constitution? What
would you add to it, or take from it, to make it more relevant and meaningful
11. How does the USA Patriot Act raise questions about the balance between public safety and civil liberties? If you had to emphasize one goal more than the other, which would you emphasize? Why?
12. What are civil liberties? How are they different from civil rights?
13. Why have most of the advances in civil rights come through the federal courts and not through our legislatures. What does that say about our democratic system? Which would you rather have: judges who believe in judicial restraint when it comes to civil rights, or judges who are activist?
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