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 >

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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How the Supreme Court Could Reshape Discrimination Lawsuits

Post | November 15, 2019

On November 13, 2019, the Supreme Court heard arguments in Comcast Corp. v. National Association of African American-Owned Media.1 The Court’s decision will determine how difficult it will be to bring future cases regarding possible racial bias to trial.2 Facts of the Case Byron Allen, an African American, owns Entertainment Studios Networks (ESN), which operates […]


Reparations and the Demands of Justice

Post | August 27, 2019

In January 2019, Representative Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Texas) introduced H.R. 40: The Commission to Study and Develop Reparations Proposals for African Americans Act.1 Reparations for slavery, Jim Crow, and systematic segregation and racism in major U.S. institutions is not a new idea, but it has never gained the type of traction that it currently has. […]


Religious Freedom or the Right to Discriminate?

Post | August 22, 2019

On August 15, the Department of Labor published proposed changes that would expand federal contractors’ ability to claim a religious exemption to equal opportunity and anti-discrimination rules.1 The proposed rule change, as written, could allow employers with federal contracts to fire or refuse to hire LGBTQ employees, and could even be used to fire unmarried […]


Vote Statehood 51

Should Washington, DC, Become a State?

Post | May 29, 2019

If you visit Washington, DC, one of the things you may notice is the license plates on local vehicles. While the inhabitants of the District of Columbia pay federal taxes, they do not have voting representation in Congress – just one delegate whose votes do not count. So since 2000, after approval by the Mayor […]


Black and White Photo

The End of the Draft?

Post | March 12, 2019

Last month, a federal judge in Texas ruled that an all-male draft is unconstitutional.1Current laws demand that all males must register for Selective Service within 30 days of their 18th birthday, or face prosecution, fines and prison time. If an American male over 18 is not registered, he is not eligible for federal student aid, cannot […]


ERA women's rights protest

ERA Won’t Go Away

Post | February 20, 2019

“Yes Virginia, there is an ERA” “One State to 38!” These slogans adorned the banners and signs that ERA supporters brought to the Virginia State Capitol at the beginning of the General Assembly’s legislative session this January. ¹ ERA activists are hoping that this year’s session would include a floor vote on ratification of the […]


Protest poster

Don’t Like the Election Results? Change Them!

Post | December 11, 2018

Just when you thought it was safe to declare the 2018 midterm elections over… Historically, the results of elections have always been honored, even when the fairness of a given contest is debatable. In recent history, for example, some people questioned to what extent the elections of John F. Kennedy1, Richard Nixon2, Ronald Reagan3, George W. Bush4, […]


vote id required election day sign

Election Integrity or Voter Suppression?

Post | October 25, 2018

One of the most fundamental rights of citizens in a representative democracy is the right to vote—the right to decide who should govern and give input on key policy decisions. In recent years, conservative policymakers have raised concerns over voter fraud and its potential to influence the outcome of elections. President Donald Trump continues to claim that […]


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