In people’s everyday lives, they have to face various types of discrimination. Fortunately, there is a possibility to fight with it since the citizens’ rights and liberties are guaranteed and protected by the Constitution. Even though some of the freedoms stated in the Bill of Rights are clearly formulated, none of them is actually absolute and can be limited by the Supreme Court’s decision. The purpose of this essay is to discuss such violations and differentiate between civil rights and civil liberties.
According to the Eighth Amendment, the federal government is not allowed to impose excessive fines, excessive bail, and unusual and cruel punishments. However, it is not stated which sentence may be considered cruel, and there are cases when the Supreme Court limits this civil liberty. For example, by involving the death penalty with certain types of capital punishment, the Supreme Court violates the Eighth Amendment. Therefore, in their decision in Baze v. Rees, 553 U.S. 35 (2008), the Court ruled that carrying out lethal injections with three drugs is not considered an unusual and cruel punishment. The First Amendment prohibits the federal government from limiting freedom of speech. However, in Schenck v. United States (1919), the Supreme Court decided that certain expressions can be restricted during wartime.
Civil rights granted by the government are people’s rights to have social and political equality and freedom and be protected from any discrimination. At the same time, civil liberties protect citizens from tyranny and are guaranteed by the Bill of Rights. It is interesting that the Fourteenth Amendment applies to both civil liberties and rights. It protects citizens from the government’s infringement of the liberties and rights guaranteed by the Constitution. Therefore, people are secured from both discrimination and tyranny.
Nowadays, people from all states take part in caucuses or primaries to elect delegates supporting their presidential candidate. Then, the presidential contender who received the most state delegate votes becomes the party nominee. In the conventions, a party’s choice for presidential and vice-presidential nominees is finalized. During the general elections, most or all members of a given political body are chosen. To determine the winner, the U.S. presidential elections use the Electoral College, where a candidate who receives a majority of votes becomes the president.
Proportional representation is a special system that is used to elect the U.S. government. This system gives a political party the seats in parliament, depending on the number of votes it gets. In other words, if a party wins 20% of the vote, it also earns 20% of the seats. On the contrary, in Winner-Take-All, or Single-Member District System, only the candidate who receives more votes becomes the winner. This system discourages third parties because of the lack of votes due to the fact that people like to support only major ones. While analyzing the situation, it becomes evident that this system is like a vicious circle that never lets minor parties flourish.
There are several more electoral and non-institutional reasons why a two-party system effectively discourages third parties. First, no candidate from a minor party has ever won the presidency, and this fact is not encouraging. Second, the lack of voter support does not let third political candidates become more significant. Then, the media usually tells the citizens about the major parties much more than the smaller ones, which contributes to their loss. Finally, in the structure of U.S. elections, one is seat tied to a geographic district, and this fact usually leads to the domination of two major political parties. It is hard to disagree that only a few people would like to enter a competition, knowing that there are almost no chances to win. The system itself is not ideal and does not provide alternative political candidates with an opportunity of becoming more significant.