Skip to main content

tv   Lectures in History First Second Amendment Court Cases  CSPAN  December 26, 2020 8:00pm-8:57pm EST

8:00 pm
would try to deny the widows, and that is when the equity courts would counteract that. been fascinating. i want to say thank you for taking the time to talk to us to night and share this. >> my pleasure. i think this is a wonderful series. this tohappy to bring such a well educated and engaged audience. announcer: you are watching american history tv on c-span3. up next on lectures in history, img academy instructor john prevas teaches about the first and second amendments to the u.s. constitution, using court cases.
8:01 pm
img is a college preparatory school focused on student athletes. offers certain students college with -- courses with college credit. prof. prevas: this afternoon we will be looking at the 10 amendments to the constitution called collectively the bill of rights. it's the third part of the constitution. the bill of rights is unquestionably the shining ,eacons in a world of darkness because it says to the world that america is an exceptional country, that america is a country that provides and considers the rights of its citizens before anything. what we are going to look at
8:02 pm
hopefully ion -- will be able to cover all 10 amendments. as we get into them, you will find the amendments are incredibly easy to rate. even though -- easy to read. even though they were written over 200 years ago, the words make sense. theproblem is in interpretation of those words. what do those words mean? beginning ofthe this course looking at liberal and conservative philosophies and how you look at these amendments is determined to a great deal by your philosophical, your political perspective. you lookok at these -- at these amendments through liberal eyes, you see them one way.
8:03 pm
through conservative eyes, you see them another way. a lot of the issues we look at this afternoon in the bill of rights are tearing this country apart to some degree. friends,eople, families ieven. before i begin with the first amendment, i'd like to give you a real quick overview of the constitution. very brief. the constitution has three parts to it. the simplel, what's definition of a constitution? quick and easy. it's simply a plan of government. whichs out the rules by
8:04 pm
the federal government will operate. you're all in sports. constitution, they are the roles of the game -- rules of the game. threee constitution has essential parts. the first is the preamble. memorizeof you had to the preamble in middle school or high school? okay, what is the preamble? not what does it say, but what is it? yes, sir. [indiscernible] take it more than that. it is the introduction. what does it contain in that introduction? give me a couple of the main
8:05 pm
points in the preamble. >> to establish justice. prof. prevas: okay. so what it's telling you, ensure the domestic tranquility, establish justice. what else? welfare.or the common provide for the common defense. preambleically -- the contains a vision for the framers of the country. a country where there is justice for everybody, a country, depending on your political perspective, that provides for the common welfare. does that mean everyone has a right to a minimal certain standard of living? when you look at those words, they are easy to read, but they are complicated to interpret. what does it mean, provide for
8:06 pm
the common defense? that may be the easiest one. keep america safe from external enemies. but what about internal enemies? does it also apply there? in ther notes, put preamble contains the vision, t he philosophy of the framers for what kind of a country they wanted america to be. second part, the articles. the articles. in detailes lay out how the government, the federal government will be set up and how it will run.
8:07 pm
how thecles establish federal government will be set up and run. it establishes the powers of each branch of government and branchmitations of each of government. if i'm going to fast, te -- too fast, tell me. i want to make sure you've got it clear in your notes. the constitution establishes the qualifications to hold office. the qualifications for congressman, for senators, for the president. long thatshes how term of office should be for congressmen, for senators.
8:08 pm
i guess you could call those term limits. powers,tablishes the the duties, and limitations. article one covers congress, the house and the senate. how old do you have to be to be a congressmen or senator and what are your primary duties? ident.e two, the pres how old do you have to be to be president? you have to be born in the united states. what are your duties? article one is longer. article two is shorter. article three establishes the judicial branch, the courts. is shorter than article two. what does that mean?
8:09 pm
the i look at it, it means primary responsibility lies with congress. congress makes the laws. put that in your notes, congress makes the laws. president carries out the laws passed by congress. the president doesn't make law. the president carries out the laws made by congress. the function of the courts. the main responsibility of the courts is to make sure that no putpassed by congress --
8:10 pm
this carefully in your notes -- no law passed by congress and. out by the president -- and carried out by the president violates the constitution. passed by congress, carried out by the president violates the constitution. overview ofmplified the constitution of the united states. the third part of the constitution -- preamble, articles -- the third part is the bill of rights. the bill of rights. and the subject of our lecture this afternoon. as i go through these rights, if you have questions and comments about them, stop me and ask the
8:11 pm
m. i don't want you to wait until the end of the class, because we may run out of time or you may find you have forgotten the question you were going to ask anyway. please interrupt me whenever you want. the bill of rights. were added rights onto the constitution. that is why they are called amendments. there were added on in 1791. they are over 220 years old. relevantare still very today. very relevant today. sir? >> [indiscernible] what year was it? >> 1791.
8:12 pm
1791. constitution, 1789. three years later, two years lat er, you have the bill of rights. what are teh bill of rights -- the bill of rights? the bill of rights are your thets as an american, protections that you have aga inst government intrusion. the bill of rights, the protections of americans -- in fact, it is wider than that -- anybody within the borders of the united states is protected by the bill of rights. your protections against government abuse. notbill of rights does protect you from your neighbor. it doesn't protect one citizen from another. from therotects you
8:13 pm
government. it limits what the government can do vis-a-vis your rights. and the architect of the bill of rights was thomas jefferson. jefferson said we need on the constitution amended a clear list of what the rights of the common people are. animal 10 on -- hamilton on the other hand said you don't need it. the dispute between hamilton and jefferson resulted in a compromise. the compromise was we will have a list of 10 rights that everyone in this country has, safeguards. let's take a look at those rights. first amendment number one.
8:14 pm
freedoms. four the four freedoms. the four freedoms are freedom of , freedom of speech, and freedom ofs, assembly. press, andpeech, assembly. with look at each one of those. we start looking at all the cases throughout history that have, out of the first amendment -- come out of
8:15 pm
the first amendment, we could spend the entire semester alone looking at how they affected american societies, at ourover 220 years perspectives have changed, and yet the first amendment is still relative today. let's look at the first one, freedom of religion. freedom of religion does not mean you are free to do anything you want in the name of religion. it doesn't mean that. means the government cannot m to put it to church, simply. congress cannot pass a law establishing a religion, whether it is catholicism or judaism or islam and then say every sunday you've got to go to church.
8:16 pm
you might take it for granted. why is it such a big deal? there are societies in the world where you pray five times a day, and if you don't you are going to get your head cut off. experience my own when i was your age, i lived in greece with my father -- i have dual citizenship, american and greek. in 1968, there was a coup. the military took control in greece. i was in athens living with my dad. the government that came to power was a government of military men, colonels. they looked at greek society and said we have taken control because greek society is getting out of control. the way to bring back the old values, they said, every male
8:17 pm
and female under the age of 26 go too to chuhrch -- church on sunday. if you are not in church on sunday, you are going to be arrested. i can remember sunday mornings going to church with my father and there would be tanks in the streets and armed soldiers. if you gave them crap about going to church, they would pull out a .45 and kneecap you. you know what i kneecap is? -- a kneecap? it means you are crippled for the rest of your life. they would kneecap you. then the colonel said the other problem with greek society is you've got too many young guys wearing beards. so it became against the law to have appeared.
8:18 pm
you could go to prison for wearing a beard. you had to be clean-shaven. freedom of religion as a iten, but in many states, isn't. in many areas of the world, it isn't. there is a national religion in place and you will adhere to it. some middle eastern countries operate under religious law. you know what i am talking about? sharia. freedom of religion. what else does freedom of religion mean? congress cannot pass a law making you go to church, and it also means that congress cannot pass a law preventing you from worshiping. the religion or the church of
8:19 pm
your choice. what does that mean? does that mean in the name of religion you can do anything you want? freedom of religion, like the others, like speech and press and assembly, are not absolute. put that in your notes. limited.edoms are and one of the first tests of freedom of religion came in the american west in the late 1800s. are you familiar with the mormon church? thenormon church back believed in polygamy, that every woman and man could have more than one wife. but american law for bates polygamy -- forbades polygamy.
8:20 pm
the mormons challenged it under freedom of religion and the courts ruled no, you can practice religion, but your religion cannot violate reasonable criminal laws. in parts of new york and new jersey. there are muslim communities who say we should come under sharia law. there are jewish orthodox communities who say we should come under the law of the talmud. earlier we discussed what two types of law? --itive law, diving law divine law, and how they can come into conflict. put in your notes that freedom of religion gives you the right to worship so long as the way violatehip does not
8:21 pm
criminal laws. example. you another there was a religious group out of miami -- i forget the name, and you don't need to make notes on this. 20, 30 years ago. they said during our religious services -- i think they were eating hallucinogenic mushrooms. then we go into a state and we are better able to communicate with god. some of their practitioners were arrested and convicted under illegal drug use laws. they appealed it and said it's freedom of religion. the courts were very clear, you cannot do in the name of religion things which violate the local norms.
8:22 pm
>> [indiscernible] government experiment with those psychedelic drugs? there is declassified documents of the government experimenting with psychedelics like mushrooms, dmt. prof. prevas: give me that louder. o that --n they not d prof. prevas: who is they? >> the people in miami. but the government can experiment with psychedelic drugs -- prof. prevas: local laws outlawed the use of whatever this mushroom was. you are using it, you see, in part of your religious ceremony. you are violating law. >> why is the government using it though to experiment? prof. prevas: let me ask you another question. >> i can't smoke weed but
8:23 pm
government officials can? prof. prevas: there was another case where a religious group were having their ceremonies. their ceremonies included sex with little kids. they said it's part of our religious experience. the authorities arrested them, charged them, and said you can't argue you are using this as some religious experience. you can't hide under the first amendment. as long as your religious practices come under the norms of society, you are free to do what you want. but once they do, then you can't. are you clear on that? thisain take away from freedom of religion is it is not absolute.
8:24 pm
congress cannot make you worship, congress cannot prevent you, they cannot pass a law that makes you go to church, they cannot pass a law that prevents you from going to church as long as your religious practices stay within the confines of society. imagine if you took that limitation off, if you could do whatever you want so long as it cann the name of religion i do it. said human sacrifice is part of our religious experience. who sacrificed his son on the altar in the old testament? yes sir. have sacrifice as part of our religious experience? theyou clear on that, of
8:25 pm
limitations? >> [indiscernible] state that violates violations under social distancing rules for new york state's. -- york state. prof. prevas: new york has a real problem on its hands. the orthodox tuition communities in brooklyn and queens are saying we are going to have our ritual prayers and god will take care of us. de blasio, he's got a problem. police imagine the arresting orthodox jews in the streets of new york? it will be like what all over again? nazi germany. at the same time, you can't be spreading the virus. you've got a public health crisis. so what do you do?
8:26 pm
it's a quandary. what will happen, i predict, is there are going to be jewwish l -- jewish leaders who will be arrested and they will appeal and it will probably go to the supreme court. let's move on. any mom questionsre -- any more questions on religion? let's look at freedom of speech. freedom of speech is not an absolute right. you cannot say whatever you want to say, no matter what. there are limitations. case, schenckous
8:27 pm
versus the united states. to world war i. schenck was a socialist. the united states got involved in world war i and the army needed guys to join, so they started a campaign to have guys sign up. before they drafted them, they tried to see if they could induce enough men to join the army. schenck is against the war. schenck goes down to a recruiting station and stands outside and says don't go. don't sign up. all you are going to wind up doing is dying for nothing, don't do it. the police arrest schenck. schenck makes the argument, he's convicted. he appeals.
8:28 pm
his case goes all the way to the supreme court. schenck says i have freedom of speech. i have a right to speak out against the war and i have a right to tell young men not to join in the army to go abroad and kill other people or be killed. the head of the supreme court was one of the most famous justices of all time, justice all over wendell holmes -- oliver wendell holmes. -- schenckin versus the united states is the foundation for the freedom of speech. oliver wendell holmes said the right to free speech is not cannot be tolerated
8:29 pm
if it presents a clear and present danger to society. notdom of speech is absolute. it cannot be tolerated in those instances where it presents a clear and present danger to society. most famous part of his quotes. you cannot go into a crowded yell theater and falsely fire. cause a stampede, people trampled to death, and then when you are arrested turn and say i using my freedom of
8:30 pm
speech. over the years, freedom of speech has been interpreted by the courts to mean more than just speaking. 1970's, high and school students started wearing black armbands to school to protest the vietnam war. the school principal said take off the black armband or we will suspend you from school. kids refused to take it off. they got suspended. parents sued. the cases went up to the supreme court and the supreme court ruled those students have a right to wear a black armband. it is another manifestation of what? speech. it is another way of speaking.
8:31 pm
another way of speaking. a few years later you had people demonstrating and burning the american flag. and they got arrested for burning the american flag. the question became, you are going to do time for burning the flag. the argument was, in burning the flag, it's my way of expressing my speech. yeah? >> how does this tie in with companies censoring people they don't agree with? how does this tie in with big tech companies like twitter, instagram censoring people they don't agree with politically and taking their content off their platforms? prof. prevas: that is a hot
8:32 pm
issue. are you familiar with the snowden case? there is a lot of controversy about facebook and twitter and all this. one argument they would give you is you don't have to go on if you don't like it. you are free not to use it. what we do with your data is up to us, because if you don't like it, nobody is forcing you to get on. does that answer your question? you sure? what does freedom of assembly mean? it means you have a right to hang around with people who think and feel the same way you to and you have a right
8:33 pm
protest with them against what you think the government is doing that's wrong. you have the right to associate with people who think the way in do and to join with them demonstrating against the government for what you think is wrong. yeah? >> [indiscernible] clear and present danger against society, right? prof. prevas: let me give you a couple examples. in the 1970's -- what is that place in illinois? in -- i think it was 1976 or 1977.
8:34 pm
-- american nazi party remember when we dealt with the political spectrum, we had neo-nazis, the american nazi party is way out on the right wing. the more out on the buildable spectrum, the more -- on the political spectrum, the more inclined to violence you are. the american nazi party filed for a permit to march through this town in illinois on adolf h marchs birthday and a through the jewish section of town in full nazi uniforms. the city said no, we are not giving you the permit. the nazis said you are violating
8:35 pm
our freedom of assembly and our freedom of speech. by marching on adolf hitler's birthday, we are expressing our political view. it was denied. they sued. nazinow what the american part y did? they got the american civil liberties union to defend them. the aclu -- are you familiar with it? the american civil liberties union is a very liberal group made up essentially of lawyers and they take cases that they feel are right and argue them pro bono, for free. thenazis on the right go to american civil liberties union on the left and they get a jewish lawyer. they say to him, we want you to
8:36 pm
argue our case. lawyer who is going to argue a case for the neo-nazis to march through the jewish section of town on adolf hitler's birthday. you know with the lawyer did? he arguied it. he said everything the neo-nazis stand for disgusts me, but it is not about me. it is their right under the bill of rights to march and express their views. just because i don't like their views doesn't mean they can't express them. he argued the case for them. won the case. saidhen the neo-nazi party we will not march anyway. we will march in chicago. again, give me an example
8:37 pm
recently where extreme right wing groups wanted to meet together to demonstrate, to assemble, and it turned violent and it ripped this country apart. where? >> the black lives matter movement. prof. prevas: pull your thing down. but where? the black lives matter movement, but where did the fires burn? >> what about charlottesville, virginia? prof. prevas: yes. that was, what, two years ago? the neo-nazis wanted to meet. what were they protesting? taking down confederate war monuments. who showed up? antifa on the left showed up. black lives matter showed up. the two groups clashed. cops can't deny them the right.
8:38 pm
means you assembly are free to say what you want so long as you stay within those , even if you don't like what the other side is saying, you have a right to say it. >> what about when it comes to destruction of property? what happens when it comes to destruction of property? prof. prevas: the destruction of property is against the law. invariably when the violence breaks out, their excuse on the left or right is it was self-defense. we were defending ourselves. to the government have the right to do what they did to go into waco, texas?
8:39 pm
prof. prevas: waco is -- alright. are you familiar with waco? the branch davidians were a religious group headed by this guy who said he was a messiah. he had a compound in waco, texas. he was holding religious services. what did he have, a dozen wives? the argument is he was having sex with 12-year-old and 13-year-old girls who were part of the religious group and stockpiling all these weapons. the feds went in because of the weapons violations and the argument was he was having sexual relations with underaged girls and that is against the law. so you have a weapons violation and that one. it turned bad.
8:40 pm
there was a siege. something like 80 or 85 branch davidians were killed, as well as federal agents. questions on that one? let's look at freedom of press. isedom of the press extremely important. is it quarter to five? and i haven't even gotten out of the first amendment. you see what i mean when i say we can spend a whole semester? freedom of press, the right for newspapers, journals, to write about politics, to write about what is going on. censorship government -- from the government.
8:41 pm
years, there have been two very controversial cases. the press argues we should be able to write whatever we want so americans can read the material and understand what is going on in the country politically, economically, so she logically -- sociologically. you can do that if you have censorship. most of the world has press censorship. two interesting cases here. one deals with pornography and the other deals with a hydrogen bomb. up until the, 1960's, pornography was against the law. if you had porno, you could be sentenced to prison. this group started trying to
8:42 pm
sell pornography and it wound up going before the supreme court. their argument was if i want to distribute a porno magazine, that is my right under the freedom of press. the supreme court agreed and pornography became legal under the doctrine of the freedom of the press. the second case to me is really interesting. a magazine printed an edition called "how to build your own hydrogen bomb." they printed step-by-step, and one oferal government -- the federal agencies got wind of it. the magazine hasn't been distributed yet. the feds went to the government, they said give us an injunction so we can raid that warehouse, seize those copies before they
8:43 pm
hit the stands. , i think it was usa versus progressive publishing. the publisher said we've got freedom of press. we did not use any top-secret stolen information to do this. we have a right to print a magazine, how to build your own hydrogen bomb. and it went to the supreme court. the government's argument was how likely is it that some guy is going to go down to his basement and build a hydrogen bomb? not likely. but what is likely is other countries will buy that magazine and it will help them advance their nuclear programs so they can get nuclear weapons faster. the federal government argued we need to seize and destroy those magazines.
8:44 pm
the court agreed. there is a clear and present what? danger. that lines up the first amendment. i can't believe i have gone through 45 minutes. let me do the second amendment and then we will call it a day. the second amendment. an extremely controversial amendment today. give me the issues you think are tearing the society apart today. abortion. what else. gun rights? affordable care act. all three of those are at the forefront of the tensions in our society today. all three of them are going to come out of the constitutional bill of rights interpretations.
8:45 pm
what does the second amendment say? i know john has memorized it by heart. pull your thing down. >> ask somebody else. prof. prevas: come on, you are from south carolina, right? >> i don't know it word by word. prof. prevas: a well regulated militia, being necessary for the security of the state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed. you can look in your textbooks. the back of the book has the constitution. being regulated militia, necessary for the security and well-being of the state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed. what does that mean? the nra, national rifle
8:46 pm
association, which is where on the political spectrum? to the right -- says it's simple. just take the second half of the amendment, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed. what does keep arms mean? i have a right to have a weapon. what does bear arms mean? i have a right to carry it. conservatives say every american has a god-given right. yeah? do liberal politicians want a forced buyback -- does that violate this amendment? prof. prevas: no, they are not forcing you to turn your gun in. >> they are forcing you to give them your gun and they will pay you, but you have to give them the gun. prof. prevas: give me one example where they are forcing you to turn in your gun.
8:47 pm
>> they are not doing it right now, but that is in thing they talked about wanting to do. prof. prevas: who talked about that? >> left politicians. liberals, mr. prevas. prof. prevas: i never said i was a liberal. let's look at that amendment. does that mean you have a right or doesnd carry a gun, that mean you have the right to a gun if you are part of the militia? the modern term for militia today is national guard. if you are a member of the national guard or south carolina national guard, then liberals say you have a right to have a gun issued to you by the national guard. conservatives say no, you have a right to have a gun. you have a right to own and car ry it. there are some interesting cases
8:48 pm
there. ruledil 1939, the courts there is an associative requirement to the amendment. you have a right to a gun as long as you are associated with a militia. in 2008 or in the -- 2009 heller versus the district of columbia. the heller decision. the districtsued which has more police than any city in the united states, which said you cannot own a handgun unless you or you are at and member of the police force or fbi or u.s. capitol police.
8:49 pm
heller sued. heller argued i should be able to have a handgun in my house to defend myself. i don't have to be associated with the national guard to own a gun. the supreme court ruled you are right. the supreme court ruled gun ownership is an individual right, not an associative right. rule andturned d.c.'s said you can own a gun. the most recent case comes out of new york city. cityse of heller, new york has the sullivan law, one of the toughest anti-gun laws on the books and one of the highest murder rates. new york decided because of the heller decision, we will have to
8:50 pm
let people have handguns, but you have to have a permit, the handgun must stay in your house or in your business. you can't transport it. if you get caught transporting it, you can get put in jail. now the opponents of that law have taken it to the supreme court and said it's restrictive. if i want to take my handgun from my home to my second home on long island, i should be able to do that. if i want to take my gun to a shooting range, i should be able to. that law is up before the courts. i think my time is just about up. any questions? >> are citizens under the cement thisto bear all -- under amendment able to bear all types of arms?
8:51 pm
prof. prevas: past cases have ruled the federal government has a right to regulate certain healthy disruptive firearms, machine guns, for instance. rocket propelled grenades. it,again, if you look at it's going to have to be adjudicated by the courts when someone challenges it. any questions? i understand the gun laws implies they have the right to but whatbear arms, about a foreign citizen that comes into the u.s.? prof. prevas: the courts have ruled you have a right to a gun, but wherever you are living has a right to demand that you get a
8:52 pm
permit for it. they have a right to set the requirements for a permit. i will tell you an interesting case. we've got time. i did an interesting case for the sixth judicial circuit. a mother was being sued by her son. the mother is like 80 something years old and the son is like 60 years old. i get the case. the guy is suing his mother for $3000 and/or the return of all of his guns. in court i said, what is the issue? he said my mother when i was drunk came into my trailer and took all my handguns back to her and sheocked them up, won't give them back to me. i said to the mother, well, do you have his guns?
8:53 pm
she said can i talk to you in private? i said sure. we left the courtroom. she says to me, he's an alcoholic. he's got a plate in his head. he's seeing a v.a. psychologist. he has solution nations -- has hallucinations. he's dangerous. can we use that to take his guns away? i said to the clerk, put his name in the database for florida and let me see his arrest and conviction record. the clerk spits out a long list. the guy has been arrested 10, 12 times. the arrests all have to deal with guns. he's either walking outside of his trailer and shooting his gun, some kids were making noise so he shot off the gun. the police took the gun away
8:54 pm
from him. they arrested him. but he had a right to get all his guns back. why? florida law says you have to be convicted of a crime. he had been arrested multiple times, but never convicted. either the state attorney dismissed the charge or the judge found him not guilty. because he had no convictions, we had to return the guns to him. there was no choice because thatda law says convictions prohibit you from having the gun, not arrests. give me that again? >> there is no mental health -- like nothing that can stop him from owning the guns? prof. prevas: because of his mental condition? i said to him, look, why don't we do this? are you seeing a psychiatrist? he said yeah.
8:55 pm
i said why don't you let your mom hold the guns, come back in 60 days and bring me a letter from the psychiatrist that says you are ok and we will give them back to you. would you think any doctor is going to write a letter? no. but he was happy with it. he left. never saw him again. i don't know whether he got the guns back. >> you said you were out of place by doing that. prof. prevas: because legally he had a right to those guns. but i had to balance positive law which said he had a right to the guns with what? natural law which said to me it is wrong to give him the guns. gentlemen, enjoyed it. wednesday, why don't we look at the fourth amendment, search and
8:56 pm
seizure. enjoyed it, gentlemen. >> thank you. you can watch lectures in history every weekend on american history tv. we take you inside college classrooms to learn about topics ranging from the american revolution to 9/11 on c-span3. an event hosted by the heritage foundation, participants examine the role of property rights and free markets in the mayflower compact. the panelists discuss why these concepts were important to early settlers and the influence it had on today's economy. the heritage foundation provided the video for this event. >> we are very excited about our partnership with the religious freedom institute as we celebrate the 400th aer


info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on