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Constitutional Issues in the U.S.

The government is responsible for legal matters of the nation. Particularly, it should ensure that every citizen enjoys equal protection under statutory laws. This fact applies to most countries of the world including the United States. This article examines the political and constitutional implications of the US government towards ensuring that all residents have equal access and enjoy the rights granted under the law.

Overview of the American Law

In a sense, the American legislative system is a reflection of the British system, embedded in the Constitution and incorporated into the agreements and treaties of international law. That is to mean that the structure relies on proper administration. “As a general verdict, it is imperative that the United States adopts vital national interests in abiding by the global policies,” as outlined in the “Boos v. Barry” law case.

Decisions of the Federal courts are broad representations of the federal customary laws binding the state court rulings. In addition, the regulation of those laws assumes the principles of precedent. The latter does not comply with the up-to-the-case modification when facing contradictions with the previous agreements of the international characters.

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Protection by the Law

The Fourteenth Amendment ensures equal protection by constitutional law. From a general point of view, it addresses almost all citizenship aspects and the rights accessible to the citizens. As such, this paper analyzes the “equal measures of protecting the law” phrase of the amendment. Constitutionally, this line figures a range of landmark cases, which involved some crimes it prohibits.

Examples include racial discrimination, reproductive rights, gender discrimination, racial abuse in education (the University of California vs. Bakke) and election recounts (Bush vs. Gore). If a person commits any crime that resembles any of those mentioned in the current article, he or she can face judgment in line with provisions of the 14th Amendment.

The Sections

Amendment XIV of the US Constitution includes five sections that outline the ways in which citizens should access provisions of the laws.

Section One

All people naturalized or born in the United States and subject to the national jurisdictions, are the citizens of the USA as well as the state in which they reside. No state shall enforce or make any law that will abridge the immunities or privileges of citizens of this country; or deprive any person of property, life, or liberty without the ultimate process of law, nor deny to any individual within the jurisdiction the equal protection of the statutory laws.

Section Two

All Representatives shall be apportioned in various states as per their respective numbers, counting the total population of persons in a particular state, except the Indians who do not pay taxes. However, in so far as the right to vote, the electors’ choice for the United States’ Vice President or President, Representatives in the Congress, the judicial and executive officers or the members of the legislative assembly of the state, is not granted to any male inhabitant of that state, especially if he/she is twenty-one years old [Updated by the Twenty-Sixth Amendment], and the US citizen or abridged in any way, except for participating in a rebellious movement, or any other criminal activity, the responsibilities of representation in that state shall be reduced in direct ratio to the number of all-male citizens shall bear in comparison to the total number of twenty-one-year-old male citizens in that state.

Section Three

No individual shall become a Representative or Senator in Congress, or elector of the Vice President and President, or take charge of any office, military or civil, under the US, or any other state legislation, who, having taken an oath in the past, as a party to the Congress, or as one of the officers of the United States, or as a member to any legislature of the state, or as a judicial or executive officer of a state, to become a staunch supporter of the US Constitution, shall have participated in rebellion or insurrection against the same, or provided comfort or aid to the enemies or the state or nation. However, Congress may phase out such disability if the House guns two-thirds vote against the same.

Section Four

The validity of the United States’ public debts, authorized by the national law, including those incurred for pension payments and bounties for all the services in suppressing rebellion or insurrection, shall not become subject to questioning. However, neither the United States nor the states within it shall pay or assume any obligation or debt incurred in aid of rebellion or insurrection against the country, or any other claim for emancipation or loss of a slave; but all debts of that kind, claims and obligations shall be considered void and illegal.

Section Five

Congress shall possess exclusive powers to enforce all the provisions of Amendment XIV by the appropriate legislation.

The Implications

Federalism

The federal arrangements and ideas emerge in line with the evolution of man as a crucial tool for establishing fairness. In the broadest view, federalism underlies the need for polities and people to unite for a common goal yet sticking to their respective integrities. Since unity is a natural human feature, the one associated with federalism emanates from political provisions. Federal principles stem from the fact that people enjoy freedom in free societies.

Such people want to join lasting political groups in efforts to achieve particular interests and rights while preserving their identities. In essence, federalism is concerned with the spread of political power in line with liberty aspects as well as its concentration. As such, it is imperative to echo that federal ideas rest on the principle that the establishment of social and political institutions follows certain factors. These include compacts, covenants, and other contractual agreements.

That factor diminishes the notion that the formation of societal associations is dependent on constitutional choices. Instead, it is significant to note that federalism borrows its manifestations from a particular form of the constitutional framework that must be a result of power division. Usually, the sharing of power exists between the government and its constituents, which can include states, provinces, landers, cantons or republics. In some cases, the division of authority extends to capture the entire structure of the government of federal polities through a non-centralized channel.

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Importance of Federalism

In accordance with its conventional foundation, federalism is an opinion whose significance assumes doctrines of the natural law in analyzing justice. Moreover, its importance extends to the natural rights of delineating the constitution and the origins of any political society. In both modern and post-modern epochs, federalism is a political force that serves the central idea of the fact that there are no simple major or minor societal contingents.

Majorities consist of group congeries and the corollary principles of the minority rights, which guide the minorities in preserving themselves and forcing the majorities to remain compound rather than simple. Federalism serves those perceptions by emphasizing the roles of liberty and the consensual polity basis in the national constitution and management of democratic republics. Both conventions are crucial in interdependent worlds (nations), which include people of various nationalities. The United States can serve as an example of such a nation.

Federalism and Equal Access to Law

The Fourteenth Amendment of the US Constitution uses the ethics of federalism in its manifestation. In other words, protecting the law must follow justice. It is that fairness the law courts use to run the rulings over different cases that violate t provisions of this amendment. Usually, people, groups, associations, nations, organizations or polities access justice by participating in it while retaining their respective interests.

All parties require fair ruling, whether they are the offenders or offended. For example, both the university and student required fair judgment by the California court in the University of California vs. Bakke case. The school felt that Bakke did not qualify to get admission to their programs. However, after going to the law, Bakke won the case.

Despite losing the petition, the University of California still maintained that they had a comprehensive program of admitting students. However, the court ordered the school board to review some of the systems. Similarly, Bakke did not show arrogance or any gesture that would mean that the university was inferior after winning the seeking. As such, both parties maintained their integrities even after participating in an exercise that would promote justice. Such an approach defines federalism.

Civil Rights

The term “civil rights” refers to enforceable privileges or rights of individuals to receive equal treatment in a number of settings – including education, employment, housing and more- and are based on certain legally-protected characteristics. Examples include freedom of press, speech, and assembly, the right to equality in public areas, voting rights, and freedom from servitudes. Discriminations occur when people do not have the freedom to enjoy their civil rights because of their membership in particular groups or classes. For many years, different jurisdictions have enacted policies and regulations to prevent discriminations based on race, sex, religious background, age, past conditions of servitude, physical limitations, national origin, or sexual orientation.

In the United States, the most important expanses of civil rights stemmed from the enactment of the Thirteenth and Fourteenth Amendments of the US Constitution. The 13th Amendment was enacted with the aim of the abolishment of slavery in the US. In response to it, various states across the nation improvised “black codes” in efforts to curtail the rights of the freed slaves. However, the Fourteenth Amendment of 1868 phased out the above codes. It outlined that no region “shall enforce or make any law abridging the immunities or privileges of the United States citizens…, or deprive any person of property, life, or liberty without the ultimate process of law, [or] deny to any individual within the jurisdiction the equal protection of the statutory laws.”

According to Section Five of the 14th Amendment, only Congress has the power to pass the laws needed to enforce it. Following the expansion of Amendment XIV, the reconstruction era allowed Congress to establish numerous statutes of civil rights. Many of them are still enforceable and protect Americans from deprivation or discrimination against their civil privileges. “Equal Rights under the Law (Title 42, Section 1981)” protects citizens from all discriminations pertaining to race in enforcing and making contracts, in giving evidence and lawsuits.

The protection extends to other statutes such as Civil Action for Rights Deprivation, Conspiracies to Civil Rights Interference, Conspiracy against Citizens Rights and Rights Deprivation under Color Law among others. The most prominent legislation of civil rights is the 1964 Civil Rights Act.

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Civil Rights and Equal Protection of Law

In both the widest and narrowest senses, civil rights highlight the right for equal privileges of justice of every American citizen. Differences in background, education, religion, race, sexual orientation, ideas or beliefs should not dictate how a person receives justice. For example, if the colored children should receive a scholarship to any school in the country, all Americans have the right to receive the same scholarships.

Similarly, the government should only establish laws that apply to all citizens without any form of segregation. If any person discriminates against others, he or she must be answerable to the relevant authorities. Such an individual interferes with the civil rights of others and needs to understand that all Americans are equal before the law. For equality, the law enforcers need to interfere with his or her freedom by convicting him or her.

In other words, the relationship between civil rights and equal protection by the national laws means using legal policies to ‘revenge’ to the oppressor. The policy here is more or less similar to that of the “tit-for-tat” notion. Naturally, any offended person demands some sort of revenge to those who wrong him or her. It is that factor that enforcers of the law incorporate civil rights in ensuring equal protection of the American citizens.

Should anybody discriminate against others on any ground, the courts look for an equal way of treating him or her. Put it otherwise, they protect the people by ensuring that they have complete access and freedom to enjoy their civil rights. Put in another way, equal protection of laws is the observance of civil rights by the advocates of national and natural laws. Therefore, it follows that the democratic nations such as the United States use Constitutional provisions on civil rights to enhance diffusion and concentration of their enactment.

Civil Liberties

Notionally, the protection of civil rights and civil liberties is the most critical political value of American society. Many people seem to miss the difference between rights and liberties because the use of these terms is often misunderstood. There is no proper definition of the applicability of the above concepts; hence, their distinction is also blurred. However, they refer to different forms of social protection.

Civil liberties are protections against the actions of the government. For example, the 1st Amendment in the US Bill of Rights allows Americans to adhere to any religion of their choice. Here, the government cannot interfere or intervene in any person’s freedom of worship. In a nutshell, Amendment One gives the person liberty (guard) from all the government’s actions. In contrast, civil rights are the sets of positive actions the government takes to provide equal options for all citizens.

Enforcement of civil rights is the responsibility of the government, but it must give the citizens room to enjoy them. For an individual to access and use civil rights, one must have the liberty to do so. That is, the providers of those rights must allow the beneficiaries to use them and only interfere if the situation so requires.

Civil Liberties and Equal Protection by the Law

In channeling the ways of guarding the people without segregation, the government must define the limits of its involvement in the same. That is, every American is entitled to civil liberties from all statutory laws. Usually, democratic nations have comprehensive measures that define the roles pertaining to all legal exercises. For example, a law prohibiting over-speeding of vehicles includes four stakeholders – the driver, another user of the road, police offers and the government.

The provider of that regulation understood that the driver (first stakeholder) can lose control and miss the road or have an accident that involves another person/driver (second party) when over speeding. If any of those happens, the police officers (third users of the same law) must take the report. Lastly, the government (the fourth member of the regulation) must release funds for reinstating quality traffic facilities. The law can extend to the fifth user – a witness, who also has free will to report his or her view of the incident.

From the above example, it is evident that all parties have different roles to play. As such, it follows that developers of laws give freedom to all parties to carry their respective duties in ensuring each policy achieves its goals. In a democracy, that chance must involve equity. That is, all stakeholders get equal opportunities for ensuring they and other parties observe all national bills, laws, and bylaws.

This principle is central to expansions of the Fourteenth Amendment since it allows citizens, states, organizations, and groups to take responsibilities in its maintenance. They have civil liberties from any national movement that may bar them from achieving protection under all other statutory laws. Therefore, the citizens enjoy the safety under national policies while also having liberties from any interference that my shake that guard.

 

Based on findings in this paper, equal protection under the constitutional law cannot take place on its own unless it incorporates the ideas from federal structures, civil rights, and civil liberties. Just like the other nations, the US government is dedicated to ensuring that all residents have equal access and use of the law. In order to provide a standard platform for reinstating equity, the government has to incorporate the fundamental ethics of federalism, civil liberty, and civil rights.

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