Symbolic speech refers to the non-verbal communication which is anticipated to pass on a concept, belief or idea. It has been ruled, on several occasions, by the United States Supreme Court that symbolic speech is a type of liberated speech. Therefore, this speech is considered to be protected under law. Flag burning exemplifies symbolic speech. Bearing this in mind, a number of Supreme Court cases have turned down laws that do not favor flag burning, disputing that they contravene the rights of free speech, which are assured in the United States Constitution. However, symbolic speech is not dealt with in the constitution. It has been hypothesized that this may be due to fact that forms of communication were fundamentally verbal at the point this document was being penned down. Defending press freedom and freedom of expression in the form of writing and spoken word would have been considered fundamental. Nonetheless, the Constitution writers might have surpassed the idea of non-verbal expressions which include: the putting on of symbols and works of art.
The Equal Protection Clause constitutes a section of the United States Constitution’s Fourteenth Amendment, which proposes that states cannot, “deny to any person within their jurisdiction the equal protection of (their) laws” (Bardes and Shelley 2010). The Equal Protection Clause is premeditated to put a stop to the channeling of prejudiced state laws that disallow equal rights to individuals experiencing similar state of affairs, though of divergent classes. The 14th Amendment was passed in the wake of the Civil War. The passage of this Amendment was motivated by the chain of ‘Black Laws’ that had been put into play by the Southern States to address the issue of emancipation. The Black Americans had been deprived of the chance to possess businesses or property by these laws. In response to this situation, the administration determined that in addition to offering protection against discrimination on a government level, there was also, the responsibility of making certain that the states did not indulge in any form of discrimination. However, the equal protection clause does not mean that every individual in the United States is taken care of in the same way. Tests subjected to the Equal Protection Clause indicate that majority of the states employ discriminatory laws on several occasions. However, these same laws are said to contain a rational foundation. Restricting people, based on age, to drink, drive and join the military exemplifies the laws that would, otherwise, pass the rational basis assessment.
There is a three-step test that is connected with discrimination in law as set out by the Supreme Court. The first step in the test finds out whether there is disparity in the treatment of individuals. The second test step involves the finding out of whether the differential treatment based on a specified ground. The third step of the test intends to unravel whether the differential treatment of individuals is discriminatory. The above procedures are well cut out in the three tests associated with discrimination in law (Bardes and Shelley 2010). These tests include comparator test, the injury to dignity analysis test and the subjective-objective analysis test. The rationale for employing these tests is to put a stop to the contravention of important human freedom and dignity via the imposition of stereotyping or social and political prejudice in order to uphold a society where, all individuals get the benefit of equal acknowledgment as human beings who are equally proficient and deserving of respect, concern and consideration.
The Brown versus Board of Education of Topeka case highlights the forms of discrimination faced by the African- American students. Their predicaments ranged from racial tension to racial violence. Furthermore, the Jim Crow laws that were in existence by then forced the African-American multitude to take water from separate fountains, eat in secluded sections of the restaurant and use separate washrooms. The Blacks were also given their separate schools to cater for their education. The conditions of these schools reveal the hardships faced by the Blacks as they had “broken floors, ceilings, plaster, heating ducts and windows” (Jandt 2000). These situations prompted Brown to file the discrimination case against the Board of Education of Topeka. As a result of the decision made with regard to this case, the African-Americans were subjected to policies that officially recognized the applications of “Separate but equal” practices, which protected them from discrimination.
Incorporation doctrine is, the officially permitted supposition that allows the Supreme Court to effect the Bill of Rights to states that are under the Fourteenth Amendment Due Process. It necessitated the application of the constitution amendments to the federal government as well as the state government. Initially, the Bill of Rights did not limit the powers bestowed upon the states by the Constitution. In regard to this autonomy, thee states could control investigations without warrants, freedom of speech and could also deny trial by the jury. Generally, the Supreme Court permitted states to limit a fundamental right on condition that the authorities had a substantial reason for the law. In addition, this was allowed on the ground that the law would be doctored to attain a permissible purpose. The incorporation doctrine expanded the rights of Americans immensely (Bardes and Shelley 2010). Moreover, it empowered the Supreme Court as it transferred the making of decisions concerning limits on confessions, searches, abortion, the death penalty, police power, Ten Commandments display and vagrancy laws from state lawmakers and judges. This doctrine is one of the causes for the unruly political battles with regard to nominees to the federal bench. The characterization of essential rights and forceful state interests may be altered due to personal principles and political perceptions of the judges.
Equality refers to the correspondence existing between a group of different persons, objects, circumstances or processes. Thus, Equality of results tends to illustrate a state in which individuals have more or less the same life conditions. This may be in terms of wealth or occupation. To attain this state, it necessitates eliminating or minimizing material wealth inequalities between households or individuals in the society. This could entail the transfer of wealth or income from the influential individuals in the society to the less fortunate. Apart from that, it may include the adoption of other institutions that are designed to enhance equality of condition from the beginning. This concept forms the focal point to some political ideas and is utilized frequently in political discourse.
The word “de jure” in law refers to a standard that has been recognized by law. On the other hand, the term “de facto” describes a generally acknowledged practice which has no legal backing. The two are related to Equality of Result in that, all of them determine the relationships between individuals in the society and how discrimination among these individuals may be commenced, perpetuated and prevented. All in all, the three aspects outline the fundamental causes of discrimination in the society.
The Establishment Clause is contained in the First Amendment. It is concerned with the connection that exists between the government and religion. The fundamental purpose of the Establishment Clause was to prohibit the federal government from declaring and offering financial prop up to a national religion that subsisted in other countries at the period of the nation’s birth. There are quite a number of proposals concerning the essence of this clause. Apparently, it is not clear whether this clause was also anticipated to put a stop to the federal government’s general sustenance of Christianity (Bardes and Shelley 2010). Proponents of a constricted explanation of the clause suggest that the very first Congress, to recommend the Bill of Rights, commenced their legislative day with prayer and agreed to apportion a substantial amount of cash to the establishment of Christian missions. Nonetheless, if viewed from a wider perspective, the meaning of the clause points to the establishment of “a wall of division” between the state and the church.
Free Exercise Clause removes from the state, legislative power and federal government the application of any kind of restraint on the liberated exercise of religion. The fundamental responsibility of this clause is to protect the religious liberty of individuals by eliminating any forms of invasions presented by the civil authority. It aims to bar the misuse of religious beliefs by the government as well as forbid the exploitation of worldly governmental programs that obstruct the adherence to religion. The fundamental basis of Free Exercise Clause is the freedom of conscience. With this, the government may not discriminate individuals based on their religious perspectives or force the individuals to confirm any special belief.
The Direct Incitement Test refers to the advocacy of prohibited action that is protected in the First Amendment unless looming lawless deed is anticipated and likely to happen. It was established in the 1969 (Bardes and Shelley 2010). The test further clarifies that the state may not prevent advocacy of the use of force except in cases where such support is directed towards the production of lawless activity. On the other hand, Clear and Present Danger Test is utilized in matters concerning freedom of speech within the First Amendment. It was meant to establish whether or not a declaration was protected under the Amendment. The First Amendment could not protect an individual’s speech if it brought harm to the people around him or her. Both tests are concerned with the actions resulting from the uttered speeches and their impact when it comes to law.
The constitution may permit limitation to the freedom of speech under several circumstances. One such circumstance is when it concerns commercial speech, especially in the form of advertisement speech. As much as this speech is given some First Amendment defense, it cannot be compare to the protection accorded to non-commercial expressions. Generally, commercial speeches that are not misleading or false and do not advertise illegal activity are the ones catered by the Amendment (Bardes and Shelley 2010). On the contrary, if the advertisement speech concerns issues such as drug use, they are banned by the federal government.
Another situation in which the constitution may permit limitation of speech freedom is when prior restraints exist. The court would utilize severe standards to assess the statutes that enforce a prior restraint speech. The prohibited activity is analysed to see if it results to the damage of a genuine government interest. In most cases, the application of the clear and present danger doctrine has been employed to prior restraints in issues such as the publication of materials that are believed to threaten the nation’s national security nation.
The set of policies which are premeditated to enhance the inclusion of every individual in order to address the issue of discrimination is referred to as Affirmative Action. Affirmative action has been in existence since the ancient times. Affirmative action tends to resolve issues involving discrimination in schools, jobs and social places. This concern cuts across the ages, ranging from past discrimination cases to the present-day forms of discrimination. As much as affirmative action roots for equality, it has faced criticism from various sectors as it is viewed as a source of separation between genders.
The Supreme Court upholds affirmative action with high esteem. This was exemplified by the united States Supreme Court when they resoluted on the constitutionality of affirmative action. They upheld the utilization of race as an aspect to attain diversity in the admissions done by colleges. To illustrate the essence of affirmative action, the High Court struck down the admissions procedure that approved applicants who originated from certain minor groups (Bardes and Shelley 2010). This was due to the fact that this process dishonored the Constitution’s equal protection clause. Quite a number of the rights outlined in the Bills of Rights have been implemented. However, there are some that have not been incorporated in the running of the state affairs. All in all, the state must honor all the rights entitled to citizens.