Civil Rights

     The Constitution Protects the Civil Rights of Americans The Constitution
does protect the civil rights of Americans. Even though some laws are passed
that violate the civil rights of people in the United States, the Supreme Court
corrects these errors. The cases reviewed here ask if it is okay to compose and
mandate prayer in schools, whether the death penalty is Constitutional, and how
much privacy is given to the American people. In the following Supreme Court
cases, the reader will find that the decisions made are Constitutional and
ensure that the civil rights of Americans are protected. The First Amendment to
the Constitution forbids the government form supporting religion. In the Supreme

Court case, Engle v.. Vitale, a New York school system composed a prayer and
forced children to pray in the mornings at school. This action by the school
system clearly violates the "no establishment" clause of the First

Amendment, which states, "Congress shall make no law respecting an
establishment of religion..." The Supreme Court ruled six to one that it was
unconstitutional for schools to compose and mandate prayer. The Engle decision
was a good decision. Since the government now had no say in how school children
prayed, the rights of minority religious groups were protected. This decision
ensures that students in schools across the country will not have to go against
their religion to please the government. Because this decision ensures the
peopleís right to worship in the way that they choose, American society as a
whole benefits from this decision. The Eighth Amendment to the Constitution
prohibits "cruel and unusual punishment." In the case, Gregg v. Georgia, the

Supreme Court ruled that the death penalty was not unconstitutional as long as
it was not arbitrarily applied. This case was accurately read because the
writers of the Bill of Rights did not believe that the death penalty constituted"cruel and unusual punishment." They believed that "cruel and unusual
punishment" was punishment that inflicted excessive pain on the convicted.

Since the death penalty is humane, it does not constitute "cruel and unusual
punishment" and is therefore acceptable to use as a form of punishment. The

Gregg decision was a good decision. The death penalty is a fair and just
punishment for those that have committed capital offenses. Although some might
argue that it is a revenge-based punishment, it is only doing to the convicted
what he did to his victim, although in a way much less painful. Because the
death penalty is humane, causing almost no pain to the person being executed, it
is a fair and allowable punishment for those that deserve it. The Ninth

Amendment to the Constitution allows citizens more rights that those listed in
the Constitution. It can be inferred that the writers of the Bill of Rights
meant for privacy to be included in this amendment. In Connecticut, there was a
law that forbid the use and distribution of information about contraceptives.

This law was overruled by the Supreme Court in the case, Griswold v.

Connecticut, when it ruled that the law violated Constitutionally protected
privacy. The government only has the right to censor information if it endangers
national security or if it is considered obscene. Since the use and distribution
of information about contraceptives does not fall under any of these categories,
it is not Constitutionally correct for the government to violate peopleís
privacy in the way that it did in the Connecticut law. The Griswold decision was
a good decision. Because people deserve and are Constitutionally given privacy,
it seems illogical that a state would make a law like the one that was made in

Connecticut. This type of action can be interpreted as a state not respecting a
personís right to privacy, which is not only unconstitutional, but wrong.

Because the Supreme Court abolished the Connecticut law forbidding the use and
distribution of information about contraceptives, the people of the United

States can rest assured that their right to privacy is being protected. In the
preceding Supreme Court cases, the Justices that heard the cases upheld the
meanings of the Amendments contained in the Bill of Rights. The decisions all
agreed with what the writers of the Bill of Rights thought when they were
writing the Bill of Rights. Due to these decisions, the meanings of the rights
given to Americans have grown clearer than they were before, and will continue
to do so as long as they are being interpreted by the Supreme Court, and other
courts in the American justice system.