Free Essay

Evolution of the Right to Petition

In: Historical Events

Submitted By vcipriano3
Words 3478
Pages 14
Evolution of the Right to Petition, and Modern Applications

Back when I lived in Houston, TX there was a plan to place a small sewage treatment facility right next to the entrance of my neighborhood. As soon as residents heard of this plan they immediately gathered to petition our local government to stop these plans in their tracks. Soon after submitting their petition the group was met with a lawsuit from the company responsible for construction, claiming charges of defamation. Every day Americans assume they are able to enjoy and exercise the inalienable rights that were protected by our founding fathers in the Bill of Rights. However, in recent years it has come to the attention of many that our right to petition, as protected in the first amendment of the Bill of Rights, may be at risk. The source of concern is a controversial one that forces us to weigh the importance of our right to enter a plea against another citizen, against our right to petition freely without fear of redress. Over the past couple decades Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation in government, also know as SLAPPs, have become a tool used by corporations (especially those in real-estate) to silence critics who petition against their actions. The goal of delay and distraction is accomplished by forcing defendants to bear the burden of litigation costs in order to defend themselves from the impending lawsuit. Twenty-Eight states have already passed anti-SLAPP statutes, however I believe it is necessary for the national government to pass a nationwide anti-SLAPP law in order to protect what is arguably one of its citizens most fundamentally important rights. In order to support this claim however, it is imperative for us to examine the history of how the right to petition has been used, and the development of precedents that show how this right has been interpreted and protected through out its long English and American History. Petitioning the King for redress long predated the writing of the Magna Carta or any significant legal document. Contrary to what we would see in 1215, it historically applied only to a very limited set of grievances. These were only brought to the king after being addressed by lower authorities and was seen as the ultimate symbol of regal authority. This notion is supported by codifications that explicitly state that relief was available for the benefit of the monarch, not the claimant (Gregory). Similarly, these petitions were not used in any way to affect change in the king’s actions and thus provided no actual check on the king’s power. After the numerous abuses of power by King John, it quickly became evident that a check needed to be placed upon him, and thus the Magna Carta was written. This document was the inaugural document that attempted to hold a king responsible for his actions toward the people. The abuse of power on his part saw a departure from the customs of common feudal law that had governed the land for years before. The Magna Carta provided the barons the ability to petition the King, therefore bringing his failure to observe the aforementioned provisions to his eye (Painter). Unfortunately the rights that were agreed upon in the Magna Carta were ultimately short-lived and ineffective as a product of each king having to re-sign and agree to the document. However, it’s place in English common law was eventually solidified and it became the building block upon which later generations would attempt to secure their “natural rights” they believed every Englishman was born with. Additionally it fundamentally changed the way in which the right to petition was utilized. Transforming it from a government function that benefited the king, to a way in which common citizens could attempt to affect change in governmental policy. Over the next 400 years the right to petition was used mainly in the realm of parliamentary procedure and would eventually become the fundamental tool used to secure additional rights for Englishmen in 1628. The English Petition of Right, like many of these groundbreaking documents, arose from hardships placed upon English citizens at the hands of their ruler. After enduring increasing taxes to pay for failing wars, forced loans, periods of martial law (which at the time was considered the absence of law), and a great number of other grievances, the House of Lords and House of Commons began to greatly distrust King Charles I and his ministers. They attempted to write public resolutions that secured further rights for Englishmen, however none could be passed without Charles’ signature and were therefore essentially useless. Facing this obstacle, Sir Edward Coke suggested that the two houses join together and pass the resolutions in the form of a petition, one of the oldest forms of parliamentary processes. Eventually after drafting and much debate on revisions, the Petition of Right was passed by the House of Lords on May 26, and by the House of Commons on May 27th. The King was very reluctant to accept the Petition of Right, but eventually did so formally on June 7th, 1628 (Boynton). The method by which Charles I accepted the Petition was the same manner in which he would have normally accepted a parliamentary bill into law, speaking the words "soit droit fait comme est desire" (let it be done as it is desired). This was the first “signature win” for the right to petition in England. The people (through parliament) were able to influence government policies that were detrimental to the well being of its citizens. This provides very evident foreshadowing for the way we, as Americans now choose to exercise our right to petition, however with one slight twist, being that it is the common man in America who can also bring issues that he/she finds important, to the government’s attention. The next half-century in England was full of turmoil, including a series of civil wars and a temporary departure from the monarchy all-together. All of the fighting to secure the rights of Englishmen was not in vein however, and the ends that many sought would eventually come to fruition following the short reign of James II. King Charles II ruled until his death on February 6, 1685, converting to Catholicism on his deathbed. Having no direct heirs, he was succeeded by his brother who would rule as James II in England, also a catholic. He was at first welcomed with open arms by the parliament and the people who were elated at the peaceful transfer of power. However after being forced to deal with two rebellions quickly after his ascension, he decided to raise a standing army. This worried people because it directly contradicted common law that prohibited keeping a standing army during peacetime. In addition to this, James’ Catholicism lead him to make many decisions, and use his dispensing power in a way that alienated the majority of the Established Church who were typically allies to the monarchy. One his most controversial decisions was to arrest and try 7 bishops who submitted a petition asking for a reconsideration of his religious policies. This directly violated the common English ideal that protected petitioners from prosecution (Vallance). These policies were seen as temporary as long as James had no heir, however news of the Queen’s pregnancy in 1688 and the eventual birth of a son drove influential Protestants to begin negotiation with William, Prince of Orange. He was eventually asked to come to England with and army in June of 1688, and arrived on November 5th. Upon his arrival, many Protestant officers in the king’s army defected to join William and as a result James’ confidence waivered, leading him to attempt flight to France, and in the process, he threw The Great Seal of the Realm (which was needed to call parliament) into the River Thames. This was seen as an act of abdicating the throne, thereby leaving it open for joint rule by Mary Tudor and William of Orange. This was known as the Glorious Revolution because of the lack of blood spilled (Vallance). Before either could assume the throne, the House of Commons proposed a statement that outlined the rights and liberties of subjects, and simultaneously outlined the violation of these rights by their predecessor, James II. The ideas in this document directly mirror those of English philosophers of the day, most notably John Locke and William Blackstone. In his Commentaries on the Laws of England, Blackstone outlined the “principal absolute rights which appertain to every Englishman” as the rights of personal security, personal liberty, and private property. However he felt that without a means by which to protect and maintain these rights, they would ultimately be in vain. So he proposed the existence of certain other subordinate auxiliary rights who’s function was to secure the actual enjoyment of the aforementioned principal absolute rights. Consequently, one of these rights was the right to petition the king, or either house of parliament for redress of grievances. This was seen as the last protection given to the people from the actions of others or their government before the right to have arms for defense, which is the final auxiliary right outlined by Blackstone. On the other hand Locke was a social contract and natural law theorist, who believed that life in the State of Nature was not unbearable; instead it was mostly good and pleasant. However, without a just governing body, justice had to be sought by individuals who were wronged by one another, leading the State of Nature to be inherently insecure and periodically violent. This reality leads rational men to enter into a “social contract” with one another by giving up their right to seek personal retribution for wrongs against themselves, and instead granting that power to an “impartial justice backed by overwhelming force” (Tuckness). The role of the state in this contract is simply to enforce justice, which inherently includes protecting every individual’s natural right to “his life, liberty, and estate against the injuries and attempts of other men.” Locke continues to go further and explains that this social contract can be broken on the part of the sovereign (Tuckness). You can see here that Locke’s view of society requires both sides, the ruling and ruled, to concede certain rights to one another, and that if both sides are not honored then the contract is ultimately dissolved. Following the dissolution of the contract, the original State of Nature is reinstated which gives the people back the right to exact retribution for themselves. Looking back upon the events of the Glorious Revolution, it is easy to see that James II had broken the social contract with his citizens, who were then obligated to instigate a revolution in order to secure their natural rights. The act mentioned earlier, by the House of Commons before William and Mary’s ascention concerning these rights would become known as the English Bill of Rights 1689. In this monumental act, parliament guaranteed numerous rights for Englishmen, most notably prohibiting the government from taxing by royal prerogative, interfering with the freedom of people to have arms for their defense, impeaching the freedom of speech, the use of excessive bail or cruel/unusual punishments, and finally it granted the people the freedom to petition the monarch without fear of retribution (English). The relationship between this act and the Bill of Rights that would be ratified almost exactly one century later by the 1st United States Congress is blatantly obvious. This document along with the Magna Carta, The Petition of Right, and numerous others all constitute what is know as the Constitution of the United Kingdom. These documents, while separate, provided a blueprint for America’s founding fathers, who were also part of a social contract that was broken by King George III. After that contract was broken, the colonies were obligated to overthrow the oppressive English government and establish their own. They did this by declaring their Independence in 1776. The Declaration of Independence outlined the wrongs done by the crown unto the colonies; similar to the way revolting Englishmen had done with oppressive kings in the past. In addition the language used in the document was very Lockean, including familiar phrases like “all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights” and “That whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends (inalienable rights), it is the right of the people to alter or abolish it, and to institute new government.” The language used provides significant evidence that America was to be a country that operated under the social contract theory proposed by Locke. Understanding that our society was founded upon the these ideas is pivotal when it comes to the issue of SLAPP suits as will soon be discussed. According to the First Amendment of the Constitution “congress shall make no law… abridging… the right of the people to peaceably assemble and to petition the government for the redress of grievances.” However in recent years our right to petition freely as citizens has come under great duress with the rise of SLAPP lawsuits, which now have many citizens afraid to exercise this fundamental right. SLAPPs have become a favorite tool for large corporations and associations to silence opposing protesters under the burden of exorbitant litigation costs, and distract from the purpose of the individual’s petitions; this end is accomplished by alleging defamation, or libel on the part of the citizen. However, some critics might say, isn’t it everyone’s right to submit civil lawsuits for damages and injunction?” The answer to this question is yes, and by that reasoning every SLAPP lawsuit is completely legal because the corporations are simply exercising their basic constitutional rights. However court cases in the 1960s have given those on the short end of a SLAPP lawsuit a reason for hope. The Noerr-Pennington Doctrine arose from the court cases “Eastern Railroad Presidents Conference v. Noerr Motor Freight, Inc.” and ”United Mine Workers v. Pennington”. The subject of these lawsuits is unimportant, as it deals in the realm of anti-trust cases, however the scope granted by the court’s decisions have been broadened to extend immunity from a variety of tort (civil wrongs) cases, including those involving the Abuse of Processes (Reuters). The abuse of processes arise “from one party making a malicious and deliberate misuse or perversion of regularly issued court process (civil or criminal) not justified by the underlying legal action.” This applies directly to SLAPP lawsuits against citizens because these lawsuits “are not initiated with the intention of winning on the merits, but rather to harass, threaten, and intimidate the opposing citizens into dropping their lawsuits or stopping their petitions.” Because the intent of these lawsuits is not that for which they are suing, rather to create disruption in an attempt to silence petitioners, SLAPP lawsuits fall under the aforementioned doctrine that addresses the abuse of processes. With the Noerr-Pennington Doctrine in place, one would think that SLAPP lawsuits would never have come into being. Under the protection of this doctrine, any citizen “who is sued merely to intimidate and harass them for petitioning the government” would surely win in the end. However without the protection of anti-SLAPP laws, they may be forced to shoulder the burden of time and litigation costs before their eventual victory, which was the original goal of the SLAPP lawsuit.
Therefore I believe it is the duty of our national government to pass a nationwide anti-SLAPP law similar to that of Utah’s which allows “spurious lawsuits” to be dismissed at the pleading stage, and allows the defendant to recover costs and attorney’s fees. (Reuters) Without such a law the government is passively allowing for our right to petition to be taken away. The right to petition is second only to voting when it comes to ways in which the average citizen can meaningfully affect government policies and actions. In other words it is “the one method by which the unfranchised [can] take part in politics”(Krotoszynski). Additionally, Blackstone would argue that without the protection of the right to petition, our principal absolute rights to personal security, liberty and private property are at great risk. Losing the right to petition, as seen in numerous examples through out English history, is inversely related to a government ruled by the people and inevitably leads to revolution. According to our founding fathers we are a nation bound together by the social contract theory outlined by John Locke, therefore if the citizens loose their role in government processes, then the contract has been breached and every citizen then has the right to rise up against the government.
The common law that ruled England a millennia ago has not ceased to be prevalent in our society today. Its evolution through the past 1000 years has provided us with a clear view of how certain rights are to be exercised, and the right to petition is no exception. History has shown us that without the right to freely voice our opinions and complaints to the government, negative sentiment grows because the government becomes unresponsive to the needs of the people. Since we have all bought into the social contract theory it is the duty of our elected leaders to protect the inalienable rights we receive at birth. The fundamental right to petition has recently become endangered as the result of SLAPP lawsuits against citizens protesting to the government. Without intervention on the government’s part to pass anti-SLAPP lawsuits, our right will begin to slowly erode away, leading us down the slippery slope we saw through out English history.

Bibliography

Boynton, Lindsay. “Martial Law and the Petition of Right.” The English Historical Review, Vol. 79, No. 311 (April 1964), pp.255-284. Print

"English Bill of Rights." New World Encyclopedia, . 3 Apr 2008, 20:09 UTC. 11 Oct 2012, 18:41 <http://www.newworldencyclopedia.org/p/index.php?title=English_Bill_of_Rights&oldid=685819>.
Gregory A. Mark,The Vestigial Constitution: The History and Significance of the Right to Petition., 66 Fordham L. Rev. 2153 (1998).

Howard, Dick A. "Magna Carta Comes to America." American Heritage May 2008, 4 ed., Vol 58.

Kreis, Steven. “Lecture 7: The English Civil War.” The History Guide. August 3, 2009. Web. 15 October 2012

Krotoszynski, Ronald J. “Reclaiming the Petition Clause”: Yale University Press, April 2012. Print

Newton, Adam. "Petition - Overview." Firstamendmentcenter.org: Petition - Overview. First Amendment Center, n.d. Web. 28 Oct. 2012. <http://archive.firstamendmentcenter.org/petition/overview.aspx>

Reuters, Thomas. “Protecting Citizens’ Right to Petition the Government Through the SLAPP Act.” Utah Law Review Society (2005) Print.

Painter, Sidney “Magna Carta” The American Historical Review, Vol.53 No. 1 (October 1947) :pp 42-29. Print

Tuckness, Alex, "Locke's Political Philosophy", The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Winter 2011 Edition), Edward N. Zalta (ed.), URL = <http://plato.stanford.edu/archives/win2011/entries/locke-political/>.

"U.S. Constitution: First Amendment." Rights of Assembly & Petition. Find Law, 2012. Web. 11 Oct. 2012. <http://caselaw.lp.findlaw.com/data/constitution/amendment01/21.html>.

Vallance, Edward. “The Glorious Revolution.” BBC, 17 February 2011, Web. 15 October 2012

--------------------------------------------
[ 1 ]. After paragraphs securing the ends sought by the barons, Magna Carta provides, in part, in paragraph 61, we give and grant them the following security: namely, that the barons shall choose any twenty-five barons of the realm they wish, who with all their might are to observe, maintain and cause to be observed the peace and liberties which we have granted and confirmed to them by this our present charter;, so that if we or our justiciar or our bailiffs or any of our servants offend against anyone in any way, or transgress any of the articles of peace or security, and the offence is indicated to four of the aforesaid twenty-five barons, those four barons shall come to us or our justiciar, if we are out of the kingdom, and shall bring it to our notice and ask that we have it redressed without delay.
Manuscript Cii of Magna Carta (1215)
[ 2 ]. If there should happen any uncommon injury, or infringement of the rights beforementioned, which the ordinary course of law is too defective to reach, there still remains a fourth subordinate right appertaining to every individual, namely, the right of petitioning the king, or either house of parliament, for the redress of grievances.
[ 3 ]. “Whensoever…the Legislative shall transgress this fundamental Rule of Society, and either by Ambition, Fear, Folly or Corruption, endeavor to grasp themselves, or put into the hands of any other an Absolute Power over the Lives, Liberties, and Estates of the People; By this breach of Trust they forfeit the Power the People had put into their hands, for quite contrary ends, and it devolves to the People.”

Similar Documents

Premium Essay

Harbeus Corpeus

...Table of Contents Introduction; Historical Evolution of Habeas corpus 1 An analysis of the relevance of habeas corpus 3 Perspectives in regard to Habeas Corpus 4 The role of the president and Congress in suspending habeas corpus 5 Conclusion 6 References 7 Introduction; Historical Evolution of Habeas corpus Habeas corpus is a Latin term for "you have the body," it is a writ (court order) which directs the law enforcement officials who have custody of a prisoner to appear in court with the prisoner to help the judge determine whether the prisoner is lawfully in prison or jail or not ( Legal Dictionary). The order is usually obtained in the jurisdiction within which the prisoner is held.A writ of habeas corpus is a challenge to the legality of a prisoner’s detention and does not entail an inquiry into the prisoner’s guilt or innocence. After examining the reasons for confinement, the court that issued the writ may release the prisoner or remand the prisoner into custody. The habeas corpus concept was first expressed in The habeas corpus concept was first expressed in the Magna Charta, a constitutional document forced on King John by English landowners at Runnymede on June 15, 1215. Among the liberties declared in the Magna Charta was that "No free man shall be seized, or imprisoned, or outlawed, or exiled, or injured in any way, nor will we enter on him or send against him except by the lawful judgment of his peers, or by the law of the land." The roots of......

Words: 1681 - Pages: 7

Free Essay

Legal Case - Theresa Marie Schiavo: a Violation of Human Rights?

...1 Legal Case Paper The Case of Theresa Marie Schiavo: A Violation of Human Right? 2 The Case of Theresa Marie Schiavo: A Violation of Human Rights? Evolution of the Case In the early morning hours of February 25th, 1990, Theresa (Terri) Marie Schiavo suffered cardiac arrest at her home in St. Petersburg, Florida. Her husband awoke to the sound of her collapsing in the hallway and quickly called 911. Terri was found in full cardiac arrest and taken to Humana Northside Hospital. Unfortunately, the then twenty-six year old Terri had suffered irreversible damage due to prolonged lack of oxygen to the brain. Terri is left in a persistent vegetative state and has a feeding tube and requires total care (Schindler v Schiavo, 2005). The next three years consist of her husband, Michael, and her parents Robert and Mary Schindler working together to take care of Terri. During this time Michael was appointed as Terri’s legal guardian without objection from her parents. In February of 1993 Michael Schiavo and the Schindler’s began to disagree about Terri’s care and the Schindler’s attempted to remove Michael as her legal guardian (Cerminara & Goodman, 2005). In May of 1998, Michael Schiavo made his first attempt to petition the court for the removal of Terri’s feeding tube. Michael believed that there was no hope for any sort of recovery or changes in Terri’s persistent vegetative state and had stated that his wife told him that she would not want to live like that...

Words: 1810 - Pages: 8

Premium Essay

Are Interest Groups in the Usa Too Powerful?

...to determine policy. There are different structures of pressure groups within the United States, for example there is a predominance of business groups, the larger pressure groups (e.g. NRA) tend to have a wider scope of insider activity and the evolution of associated Political Action Committees by focusing on the funding side. In this essay I am defining ‘too powerful’ as something that is a hindrance to democracy. On the one hand there is the pluralist view on pressure groups. Many believe they provide true representation for the ordinary citizens between the long stretches of elections. Interest groups provide a valuable addition to any democracy in which the range of views and beliefs can be heard and fed into the decision-making process. Pressure groups highlight the inherent value of the first amendment to the constitution, which formally protects the freedom of speech and the right to petition for the remedy of grievances. In this light, pressure groups can effectively never be too powerful, as they are providing a source for ordinary citizens to participate in politics, which they normally don’t get to do between elections. Pressure groups offer many forms of participation, through simply joining, perhaps signing a petition, forming a protest, educating others or even standing for a role within the pressure group. Taking this into account, with reference to the first amendment, pressure groups are meant to be powerful; they provide citizens with political......

Words: 1276 - Pages: 6

Premium Essay

Echr in Uk

...on Human Rights (ECHR) is an international treaty that drafted by the Council of Europe to promote human rights and fundamental freedom in Europe. The aimed of Council of Europe is to achieve a unity among its member and believed that one of the way to persuade this goal is the maintenance and the further realization of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedom through this convention. The convention is inspired by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948 that was proclaimed by General Assembly of United Nation. The resulting is The European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) signed on Rome on 4th November 1950. The implementation of this convention came to force three years later in 1953 and three subsequent institutions were entrusted with safeguarding its workings: The European Commission of Human Rights (1954) The European Court of Human Rights (1959) The Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe(1). In the European Convention of Human Rights, there are 17 key articles relating to rights and freedoms in the convention outlined in section 1 Article 2-18, which include: • Right to life • Prohibition of torture or inhuman and degrading treatment or punishment • Prohibition of slavery and forced labour • Right to liberty and security • Right to a fair trial • No punishment without law • Right to respect for family and private life • Freedom of thought, conscience and religion • Freedom of expression • Freedom of assembly and association • Right to......

Words: 2405 - Pages: 10

Free Essay

Governing the Commons-the Evolutions of Institutions for Collective Action

...XAVIER INSTITUTE OF MANAGEMENT, BHUBANESWAR Term Paper Ecosystem and Sustainability management Gaurav Anand | U311067 Gautam Bhut | U311068 Krishanu Chakraborty | U311073 Rahul Fatnani | U311084 Saket Vardhan | U311088 Suraj Kumar S | u311094 The term paper is an attempt to review the noble prize winning work of Elinor Ostrom,” Governing the Commons-The Evolutions of Institutions for Collective Action” and extending it to analyze the Forest Rights Act through the IAD Framework. Contents Introduction ................................................................................................................................................ 3 How are the Commons & CPRs defined? .................................................................................................. 3 The three dominant models ..................................................................................................................... 4 The theory of the firm............................................................................................................................... 4 The theory of the state ............................................................................................................................. 4 The problem of supply .............................................................................................................................. 4 The problem of credible commitment ...............................................................

Words: 5562 - Pages: 23

Premium Essay

American Government

...challenge the legality of the application of federal laws that were used in judicial proceedings that resulted in the detainment of the individual ( Kavarsky,2014). This essay will examine the evolution of habeas corpus in the United States, how it affects civil liberties, and its effects on the war on terror. The most famous habeas corpus case was that of slave Dred Scott, who attempted to sue for his freedom. Earlier another slave by the name of James Somersett ran away from his master while in England. He was later captured but supporters obtained a writ of habeas corpus that required his captors to produce Sommersett in court where he sued for his freedom. Almost a century later, Dred Scott petitioned the U.S Federal Courts for a writ of habeas corpus. It was granted and later upheld in a court of appeals in 1857, in one of the most controversial cases in American history. The Supreme Court ruled Scott Seven to Two. The court found that no slave or descendent of a slave could be an American citizen, and so Scott was not considered a “person” within the purview of the constitution. Therefore he did not possess the rights of habeas corpus (McElroy.2009). Habeas Corpus or translated as “you should have the body” first appeared in the Magna Carta of 1215 and is the oldest human right in the history of English-Speaking civilization. The doctrine of habeas corpus stems from the requirement that a government must either charge a person or set them free. While in......

Words: 1838 - Pages: 8

Premium Essay

History of Corrections

...Purpose and History Amirah Shepard CJA/234 June 9, 2014 Shawna Olachea Purpose and History American culture has always placed importance on punishing people who commit acts unacceptable to the social norms of society. Because of this need, the development of prisons were constructed to house the individuals, so they can serve their time away from free individuals. Prisons are an intricate part of our history, starting from the late 1700’s up until now our system continues to redefine itself based on the needs of society. I will explore the evolution of punishment, prison system and how prison labor impacts over time. Punishment can be defined as the correctional goal with emphasis on inflicting pain or suffering. (Seiter, 2011) Punishment is used as a form of social control, it is viewed, that, a person will refrain from wrongdoing if the consequences impact their freedom. Since the ancient times of the Code of Hammarbi, banishment, and beheading punishment has been a part of how our culture deals with offenders. We can trace back punishment to the colonial days where punishment was based on community opinion and punishment was publicly displayed to ridicule and deter others from such behavior. This type of punishment started to transform into a more organized structure because of enlightened political philosophy, a more humane approach was sought. Incarceration became the vehicle in which the American justice system dealt with deviant behavior. Sir Alex......

Words: 893 - Pages: 4

Premium Essay

History of the Uk

...never had anything equivalent to the American Revolution or the French Revolution, they have not been colonized in a millennium but rather been the greatest colonizers in history, and in neither of the two world wars were they invaded or occupied. This explains why: • almost uniquely in the world, Britain has no written constitution (the only other such nations are Israel & New Zealand) • the political system is not neat or logical or always fully democratic or particularly efficient • change has been very gradual and pragmatic and built on consensus To simplify British political history very much, it has essentially been a struggle to shift political power and accountability from the all-powerful king - who claimed that he obtained his right to rule from God - to a national parliament that was increasingly representative of ordinary people and accountable to ordinary people. There have been many milestones along this long and troubled road to full democracy. A key date in...

Words: 657 - Pages: 3

Free Essay

Pol 201

...evolved in both the English and American traditions. The Habeas corpus is an important individual right in the US constitution that supersedes the other first ten amendments. However, Habeas Corpus is significant when combating terror. Thesis statement: the non-American terror suspects have the civil right of habeas corpus. The writ of habeas corpus According to the constitution of the US Article One and Section nine, “an accused individual has the right of habeas corpus unless when in cases of rebellion or invasion the public safety may require it" (Mason, 2011, p.12). As earlier defined and described, the accused persons have the right of habeas corpus that allows their detention to be interpreted in courts of law to establish whether they are being held legally. Nevertheless, the right of habeas corpus safeguards the civil liberties because it is the foundation of our constitutional democracy. Notably, the right of habeas corpus protects individuals from unlawful imprisonment at all times including war on terror. The US constitution ingrains the right of habeas corpus in order to protect detainee's civil liberties. It implies that the government must try the criminal suspects and detainees in a court of law and avoid detaining them for a long period without trial. The right of habeas corpus is an important individual right that comes first before other individual rights are addressed. There has been a case of detainees and criminal suspects in USA being held......

Words: 1632 - Pages: 7

Premium Essay

Rhetorical Analysis On Civil Disobedience

...Once again, conscience decides what is right, not laws, so how does one change them? Thoreau poses the question, “shall we be content to obey them… endeavor to amend them, and obey them until we have succeeded, or shall we transgress them at once?” To follow civil disobedience would be to transgress unjust laws. People talk about unjust laws yet do nothing to fix them. Reform of laws does not come from petitions, but from disobedient actions, “if one HONEST man, in this State of Massachusetts, ceasing to hold slaves, were actually to withdraw from this copartnership, and be locked up in the county jail therefore, it would be the abolition of slavery in America.” The government can lock a man up for civil disobedience, but only his body is imprisoned, for his actions have spoken and his virtuous nature is known. Thoreau ends his essay by pointing out the progress of governments from absolute to limited monarchy, to democracy. If there has been this much evolution of the government, can it not go further to reform and consider the...

Words: 735 - Pages: 3

Premium Essay

En 209 Civil Disobedience Critical Essay

...Lloyd Wyse Melissa Hull EN 209-014 April 18, 2012 Critical Essay: Civil Disobedience Civil disobedience is the active refusal to comply with certain laws or demands of a government, such as paying fines or taxes. Although it is not necessarily on-violent, it has classically been attributed to nonviolent resistance. The etymological origin of the term is from Henry David Thoreau’s essay Resistance to Government, written in 1849, which was eventually renamed to Essay on Civil Disobedience. Since its republication in 1866, Thoreau’s essay has inspired many important activists over the course of history. Its messages have resonated within countless people unsatisfied or disgusted with the law of the land; one of the most prominent lessons it teaches is that an unjust government can only be corrected by the defiance of its people. As long as there is an imperfect government, there will be a need for civil disobedience. Citizens of nations from all over the globe still read and learn from Civil Disobedience because even in modern times a perfect government does not exist. In Civil Disobedience, Thoreau prompts the reader to take direct action against injustice. He argues that the government is a representative of corruption and injustice that, like a machine, fuels the enabling of its wrongdoings through enforcement of law. He states that an individual’s silent compliance with the law is essentially the same as cooperation with injustices that the lawmaker commits. In......

Words: 1563 - Pages: 7

Premium Essay

Criminal Justice

...Crime victims rights Advocates for victims' rights have long complained that they have been sidelined by a criminal justice system that is focused on the interplay between the state and the defendant. With the enactment of the Victims' Bill of Rights Act of 2008, that is changing. The authors examine the current state of victims' rights, the evolution of the enforcement mechanisms, and the emerging role of the criminal practitioner in regards to these rights. [PUBLICATION ABSTRACT] Advocates for victims' rights have long complained that they have been sidelined by a criminal justice system that is focused on the interplay between the state and the defendant. With the enactment of the Victims' Bill of Rights Act of 2008, that is changing. The authors examine the current state of victims' rights, the evolution of the enforcement mechanisms, and the emerging role of the criminal practitioner in regards to these rights. [PUBLICATION ABSTRACT] You have requested "on-the-fly" machine translation of selected content from our databases. This functionality is provided solely for your convenience and is in no way intended to replace human translation. Show full disclaimer Neither ProQuest nor its licensors make any representations or warranties with respect to the translations. The translations are automatically generated "AS IS" and "AS AVAILABLE" and are not retained in our systems. PROQUEST AND ITS LICENSORS SPECIFICALLY DISCLAIM ANY AND ALL EXPRESS OR IMPLIED WARRANTIES,......

Words: 5571 - Pages: 23

Free Essay

Civil Liberties, Habeas Corpus, and War on Terror

...“The government may not deprive citizens of “life, liberty, or property without due process of the law” (N.A, 2010). When interpreted this means the government has laws to follow before a person can be determined innocent or guilty if either aren’t proven the detainee must be let free. This paper is going to attempt to analyze the historical evolution of Habeas Corpus; give examples from history of the suspension of Habeas Corpus, as well as analyzing it relevance. Habeas Corpus derived from English common law and first appeared in the Magna Carta of 1215 and is the oldest human right in history. Habeas Corpus translated means “you should have the body” habeas corpus is a legal action, or writ, by which those imprisoned unlawfully can seek relief from their imprisonment” (N.A, Habeas Corpus-The Rutherford Institute, 2015). Habeas Corpus was extremely important to the Framers of the Constitution from their personal experiences. When one was capture they were considered either an enemy combatant, imprisoned indefinitely and denied the opportunity to have a fair trial. It became increasing to the founders to protect the American people from such atrocities. March 4, 1801 President Jefferson in his first inaugural addressed the necessity of habeas corpus. President Jefferson belief was found the “freedom of person under the protection of the Habeas Corpus; and trial by juries impartially selected” (N.A, Habeas Corpus-The Rutherford Institute, 2015). There have been only......

Words: 1713 - Pages: 7

Free Essay

How to Prepare a Persuasive Speech

...How to Prepare a Persuasive Speech Public Speaking Tips for College Students Aug 19, 2009 Carol Rzadkiewicz When it comes time for students to deliver a persuasive speech, if they follow certain guidelines, they can deliver a speech that is both powerful and effective. Students are required to take public speaking in college as part of any undergraduate program of study; and of all the speeches students will be called upon to deliver, the most difficult and challenging will probably be the persuasive speech. There are steps, however, that students can take to help them prepare an effective, perhaps even outstanding, persuasive speech. Choose a Speech Topic The first step is to select a topic. When it comes to selecting one, though, students should keep two things in mind: • Since they will be expected to conduct research, preparation will be far less tedious if they select a topic in which they are truly interested and about which they would like to know more. • Ideally, they should select a topic that deals with an issue about which they genuinely care, for if they care, their passion will be evident and passion often helps sway an audience to accept a speaker’s opinion or argument. Sample Persuasive Speech Topics Although there are countless possibilities when it comes to topics for persuasive speeches, a few that students might consider include the following: • Should capital punishment be abolished? • Should marijuana be legalized? • Does......

Words: 932 - Pages: 4

Premium Essay

Euthanasia Business Ethics

...EUTHANASIA- The “Right” to Die ABSTRACT Euthanasia is one of those Taboo topics that individuals try to distance themselves from due to the fact that it’s a sensitive issue. Most individuals try to take a politically correct stand without evaluating the impact it has on the aggrieved party’s life. Euthanasia in itself may seem a simple issue at the first instance, but by probing deep into the issue we are made to ponder a lot about not only its ethical aspects but also the stakes involved in exercising Euthanasia as a fundamental right of an individual. The dilemma in this issue is a lot more complicated if we were to compare it to other conventional ethical dilemmas because both the stands seem morally right, but there’s a legal perspective which opposes one school of thought and supports the other. Is an individual allowed to determine his death if survival is more of a formality? If so what is the basis of qualifying a case to be a suitable contender for euthanasia? Is the judiciary ignoring this since Euthanasia is an issue faced by a minority? SOME FAMOUS VOICES ON EUTHNASIA: 1. Mr. Ravi B Naik, former High Court Judge and Senior Advocate: (deccanherald.com) “When it is not possible for man to give life, who is he to take it away? We should leave death in the hands of God who gave life. There is no law that allows killing by force till a man dies naturally, nor should there be one. In a situation where it is ‘impossible to live’, people die naturally. When they......

Words: 4456 - Pages: 18