1. The constitution provides certain rights and freedoms that allow citizens to enjoy liberty. The First Amendment to the Tenth Amendments of the United States Constitution and the Bill of Rights have civil liberties. Civil liberty refers to the rights and freedoms in the constitution for speech and action, which are for the good of the community and against government actions that affect personal space and decisions. One of the basic civil liberties is the right to freedom of religion. This freedom allows no person to be denied the right to choose, form, or participate in a religion or religious activity. Another civil liberty is the right to freedom of speech. It is a right, which prevents the government from making laws or acting to prevent people from speaking, publishing, or communicating their minds to any person. Civil liberty provides for under the Fourth Amendment.
Other civil liberties are the rights to travel freely, the right to bear arms, the right to a jury trial, the right to marry, and the right to freedom from self-incrimination. These freedoms refer to the right to move to any country or a part of the country without any person limiting it by action or rules. The right to bear arms ensures protection from harm, while the right to a jury trial is a right that ensures that every person charged with an offense has the right and opportunity for the case to be heard by laymen and experts before taken to court to determine the guilt or innocence.
Civil rights make life bearable. Accordingly, every person has the right to him or her with equal measure. If the rights are denied, there would be no society to ensure the existence of the next generations. For example, if the citizens cannot marry, there would be no children to ensure society's growth. Additionally, if the right to freely move is stopped, people cannot engage in commerce, travel for education or healthcare, do research in various fields, or develop illnesses. There is no civil liberty that I would wish to give up because they are all necessary at various stages to make life bearable and enjoyable.
2. Civil liberties are essential for existence, and the government cannot justify limiting them. The space that the United States constitution has set aside for liberties indicates how essential they are. A whole ten amendments for the rules are indicative of the importance of the rules themselves. Civil liberties are non-limitable. However, in pandemic situations such as the ongoing Covid-19 infections, some activities limit the rights to protect the public from harm, which is also the government's duty. The United States has no right to limit religious services because the right is civil liberty essential for human living. According to Nyamutata (2020), the ongoing religious gathering limitations are a conflict between religion and public health needs, yet civil liberties are rights of a higher degree. The author argues that public health responses never respect civil liberties. The author states that "…according to the pattern of jurisprudence on disease outbreaks, it is plausible to conclude that public health responses barely accommodate individual rights or of private concerns (pp. 98); That is, at no time when there are public health issues are the civil liberties allowed to exist. This source suggests that the constitutional rights and provisions on liberties should be unlimited by the government at all costs.
However, applying realism principles shows that the government's duty to protect citizens from harm allows it to violate civil liberties for their benefit. For example, Corbin (2020) argues that the nature of the virus for Covid-19 necessitates the ban on religious gatherings. The article argues that groups of people believe that when supermarkets, liquor stores, and food marts are still operational, gatherings in churches should also be allowed because all of the allowed activities involve human interactions. The government's duties demand the violation of civil liberties even if the constitution prohibits the government from denying individuals the opportunity to enjoy them.
3. The federal government has the right or duty to protect its citizens from themselves whenever there is a danger. For example, the right to firearms is regulated to ensure that not every person can have arms. Children and people of unsound minds can harm themselves. In such situations, the government limits people who can own guns and rifles for their security. This is the duty that the First Amendment gives the government under the due process clause.
The government has a positive function to protect everybody. For example, in DeShaney v. Winnebago, 489 U.S 189, the court held that the government has no duty to protect every person in every situation, especially where other parties' actions limit duty. The facts of the case were that the Claimant's child had been living with his stepmother, who had been mistreating him (Alexander, 2019). The child developed a mental illness due to the beatings that the stepmother caused. The children's department released the child back to the mother after treatment, despite knowing that the child was unsafe with the stepmother. The father sued the government for failure to protect the child from harm.
The state's authority to protect citizens from themselves concerns life, liberty, and property. For example, the government sues people who try to commit suicide or those who commit arson. The legal actions' idea is to warn people that suicide takes away life, which is important for the government, dependents of the person, and the person. In the case of arson, the government punishes the offenders for deterring similar potential destruction to property and possible harm to the offender, the latter, which is done by detaining them in prison.
4. The Covid-19 pandemic happened at a time when the world was unready for limitation of rights in any way. The forced quarantine and lockdowns have created difficulties in movement and participating in activities in social settings. Religious gatherings have been affected by the limits on the number of people in churches or worship places. The public's reactions and the civil liberty laws' position cannot allow the continued violation of civil rights and liberties. The only way that civil liberties may be limited is through changing the laws in the first to the tenth amendments. The right to freedom of movement is basic and irreducible, without which the enjoyment of all other rights is impossible.
Moreover, the nature of civil liberties makes it hard to forego them. The government may abuse them if citizens decide that they want the government to control some liberties for every person's benefit. It is hard to let go of any of the rights, lest life becomes unbearable. For example, the freedom to religion is personal liberty that defines the spirituality and practices that make the people who they are and their choices. Additionally, suppose the freedom of expression and speech is limited. In that case, the government will be making laws that harm the citizens of favor the needs of the political elite and the wealthy members of the society. The right to security may also be meaningless where the individual's life is unguaranteed, so that there is an inability to enjoy any of the other rights when knowing that death or physical injury can occur anywhere and at any time.
Covid-19 experience has shown that life is unforeseeable and rights that civil liberties may be limited for citizens' security. The government applies its powers to the citizens and infringes upon their rights to protect people from harm. They also protect people from self-harm, especially laws against making self-incriminating statements. This exercise has shown that the government's role in protecting people often supersedes the need to protect individuals from harm.
Alexander, M. D. (2019). School liability in school shooting cases. In School violence in international contexts (pp. 219-228). Springer, Cham.
Corbin, C. M. (2020). Religious Liberty in a Pandemic. Duke LJ Online, 70, 1. Retrieved from https://heinonline.org/HOL/LandingPage?handle=hein.journals/duljo70&div=2&id=&page https://heinonline.org/HOL/LandingPage?handle=hein.journals/duljo70&div=2&id=&page=.
Nyamutata, C. (2020). Do civil liberties really matter during pandemics?: Approaches to coronavirus disease (covid-19). International Human Rights Law Review, 9(1), 62-98. Retrieved from: https://brill.com/view/journals/hrlr/9/1/article-p62_62.xml https://brill.com/view/journals/hrlr/9/1/article-p62_62.xml.
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