CIVIL RIGHTS & INDIVIDUAL LIBERTIES

Background and Context

These resources will help students develop a thorough understanding of Civil Rights & Individual Liberties and make connections between historical events, current conversations, and current policy proposals surrounding the issue. This section includes all of the context and content previously included in Close Up’s public policy chapters.  

 

Civil Rights and Individual Liberties in Context

How have Civil Rights and Individual Liberties changed throughout our history and what are the policies today? Learn More >

Current Issue Debates

Current Issue Debates are framed by a central question and followed by historical context, an overview of both sides of the topic, and discussion questions to facilitate deliberation in the classroom.

 

Red Flag Gun Laws

Available for Middle & High School

Should governments enact "red flag" gun laws? Learn More >

A Bakery, Same-Sex Marriage, and the Supreme Court

Available for Middle & High School

Does the First Amendment allow a business to deny services to people on the basis of the business owner’s religious beliefs? Learn More >

Confederate Flag License Plates and the Supreme Court

Did the Supreme Court make the right decision in Walker v. Texas Division, Sons of Confederate Veterans, Inc.? Learn More >

Drug-Sniffing Dogs and the Supreme Court

Is the use of a K-9 unit, after the conclusion of a traffic stop and without reasonable suspicion of criminal activity, a violation of the Fourth Amendment prohibition on unreasonable searches and seizures? Learn More >

The Equality Act

Available for Middle & High School

Should Congress amend the Civil Rights Act to include discrimination protections for sexual orientation and gender identity? Learn More >

Abortion and Genetic Testing

Available for Middle & High School

Should the federal government pass a law that outlaws abortions based on disability discovered through prenatal genetic testing? Learn More >

A Cross on Public Property

Available for Middle & High School

Does the display and maintenance of a cross-shaped war memorial on public property violate the First Amendment? Learn More >

Abortion and the Supreme Court

Available for Middle & High School

Should the Supreme Court uphold a Louisiana law that requires doctors who perform abortions to have admitting privileges at a local hospital? Learn More >

Student Aid and Religious Schools

Available for Middle & High School

Can a state forbid students in religious schools from being eligible for a general student aid program? Learn More >

The Right to Transport a Handgun

Available for Middle & High School

Can a city ban a gun owner from transporting a licensed, locked, and unloaded handgun in their car? Learn More >

Transgender Employment Discrimination

Available for Middle & High School

Does the Civil Rights Act of 1964 outlaw employment discrimination based on a person’s transgender status? Learn More >

Videos from Policy Makers

Brought to you by ASP HOMEROOM, through a collaboration between Close Up Foundation and A Starting Point, these supplemental videos are an introduction to policy areas that provide an opportunity for students to hear different perspectives directly from lawmakers.

 

The Equality Act

Congressmen David Cicilline (D-RI) & Markwayne Mullin (R-OK)
July 14, 2021

Felon Voting Rights

Congresswoman Judy Chu (D-CA) & Congressman Byron Donalds (R-FL) 
February 11, 2021

Mental Health & Gun Ownership

Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky (D-IL) & Congressman Kelly Armstrong (R-ND)
April 5, 2021

Lesson Plans

These ready-to-use lesson plans can be utilized in conjunction with any of our resources to enhance the quality of student discourse in the classroom. Our supplemental Civic Readiness Guide provides a recommended lesson plan sequence for using our Current Issues resources.

 

Additional & Archived Resources on Civil Rights & Individual Liberties

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Filibuster

Time to Reform the Filibuster?

Post | April 6, 2021

The Senate is again considering changing its rules regarding the filibuster, a parliamentary procedure that gives individual senators the power to shape—and even block—legislation. The filibuster is “a loosely defined term for action designed to prolong debate and delay or prevent a vote on a bill, resolution, amendment, or other debatable question.”1 The filibuster is […]


Building Bridges – Women’s History Month – Part 2

Podcast | March 31, 2021

In this episode of Building Bridges we look at some additional remarkable women in American history: Lucy Parsons, Margaret Chase Smith, and Donna Brazile.


Andrew Harnik Press Pool

Women: A Majority in the United States, A Minority in U.S. Government

Post | March 29, 2021

The year 2021 has already been a ground-breaking one for women in national politics. Vice President Kamala Harris became the first woman and person of color to hold the office, the 117th Congress includes the largest number of female members in U.S. history, and President Joe Biden’s cabinet will ultimately include 11 women, setting a […]


student-protests-26th-amendment

The 50th Anniversary of the 26th Amendment

Post | March 22, 2021

Congress passed the 26th Amendment in March 1971; it was ratified by the states and signed by President Richard Nixon by July of that same year.1 The amendment lowered the voting age to 18. It reads: Section 1 The right of citizens of the United States, who are eighteen years of age or older, to […]


How Can We Overcome Vaccine Skepticism?

Post | March 16, 2021

There’s been a lot of good news in the fight against COVID-19. The United States has authorized three vaccines for emergency use and drastically ramped up the distribution to states while increasing the administration of doses.1 More than 107 million shots have already been given, with an average of 2.3 million per day.2 President Joe […]


Restoring Confidence or Destroying Democracy? The Fight Over Access to the Ballot

Post | March 8, 2021

The past several election cycles have seen high-stakes fights over access to the ballot and the rules that govern elections. In 2013, the Supreme Court invalidated provisions of the Voting Rights Act, thus making it easier for states to change their voting laws.1 In the years since, conservatives in Congress and in state legislatures have […]


Exploring Transportation Policy & Environmental Equity

Videos | February 26, 2021

During this Close Up Conversations webinar, Close Up’s, Mia Charity, discusses environmental justice issues with Dr. Regan F. Patterson of the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation.


156 Years and Counting: Reparations for Slavery in 2021

Post | February 24, 2021

In the wake of this past summer’s demonstrations and civil unrest spurred by accusations of wrongful police killings and systemic racism, Congress is considering legislation regarding reparations to Black Americans who are descended from enslaved people. The bill, H.R. 40: Commission to Study and Develop Reparation Proposals for African Americans Act, was introduced by Representative […]


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