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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Shelter in Place

Should States Continue to Shelter in Place or Begin to Reopen?

Post | April 28, 2020

As COVID-19 has spread across the country and the globe, most U.S. states have taken to issuing shelter-in-place orders to help “flatten the curve.” As of April 20, 42 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico had asked residents to stay at home. However, over the past two weeks, there has been an increase […]


Prison and Corona Virus

Coronavirus, Prisons, and Detention Centers

Post | March 24, 2020

In the face of the spreading COVID-19 pandemic, government officials and medical experts are calling on people all over the world to practice social distancing.1 In general, this means canceling events and gatherings, avoiding large groups and crowds, and, when possible, staying home. Many people are working from home,2 schools have closed or moved online,3 and […]


Gender, Identity, and Official IDs

Post | March 13, 2020

In February, Representative Ro Khanna (D-Calif.) introduced the Gender Inclusive Passport Act (H.R. 5962) in the House of Representatives. The legislation currently has 25 cosponsors, all of them Democrats.1 If the bill becomes law, it would create a third gender designation on U.S. passports—unspecified (X)—to join the existing designations of male (M) and female (F).2 […]


The Death Penalty: A Just Punishment?

Post | December 4, 2019

On November 15, 2019, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals suspended the execution of Rodney Reed and sent his case back to trial, due to new witness testimony that pointed to his innocence and raised concerns about how evidence was handled during the initial trial.1 Since 1977, at least 166 inmates have been released from death […]


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 […]


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