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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The 14th: Why A Reconstruction-Era Amendment is in the News

Post | February 23, 2021

Now that former President Donald Trump’s second impeachment trial has concluded with another acquittal, some lawmakers and voters remain unsatisfied with the results.1 Had President Trump been found guilty by the Senate, he would have been barred from holding federal office again in the future. With an acquittal, President Trump remains eligible to run once […]


Presidential Pardon

Building Bridges – The Presidential Pardon

Podcast | February 16, 2021

This episode of Building Bridges looks at the history of the Presidential Pardon. We will focus on a range of Presidential Pardons and Commutations given to people from all different backgrounds and crimes committed.


#CounselorsNotCops

The Debate Over School Resource Officers and the #CounselorsNotCops Campaign

Post |

The debates over defunding or reforming the police and addressing the school-to-prison pipeline have merged to focus on the issue of police officers in schools. School resource officers (SROs) are career law enforcement officers who work in one or more schools.1 According to the Department of Justice, SROs are “responsible for safety and crime prevention […]


Athletes and Activism: Exploring Race, Sports, and Social Issues

Videos | February 12, 2021

During this Close Up Conversations webinar, available on-demand, Close Up’s, Joe Geraghty, discusses race, activism, and social issues in the world of sports, with Curtis Harris, PhD History candidate and adjunct professor at American University.


President Biden’s Policy Priorities: The First 100 Days

Post | January 22, 2021

During his inaugural address, President Joe Biden laid out a number of policy priorities. The clearest theme of his speech was a call for unity and the need to address political divisions in the United States, which came to a head with the attack on the Capitol on January 6, 2021.1 However, President Biden also […]


Fallout and Consequences, Part Two: Free Speech and Censorship

Post | January 15, 2021

The fallout continues to mount from the January 6 attack on the Capitol. In previous blog posts, we offered a collection of resources and articles and explored the question of accountability for elected officials. In this post, we examine a thorny issue that is also emerging as institutions respond to riots: the power of private […]


Fallout and Consequences, Part One: Who is Accountable?

Post | January 13, 2021

The events at the Capitol on January 6 are forcing voters and elected officials to face some challenging questions. In a previous blog post, we provided some resources to help you begin to address some of these questions; in an upcoming post, we will examine other questions related to free speech. In this post, we […]


Insurrection at the Capitol

Post | January 8, 2021

On January 6, 2021, Congress convened to certify the Electoral College results of the 2020 presidential election and to affirm the victory of President-elect Joe Biden. Although there has been no evidence of voter fraud, a group of Republican legislators planned to object to the certification process, saying they wanted Congress first to create an […]


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