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The Civil Rights-Civil Liberties Divide, Christopher W. Schmidt Apr 2014

The Civil Rights-Civil Liberties Divide, Christopher W. Schmidt

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Contemporary legal discourse differentiates “civil rights” from “civil liberties.” The former are generally understood as protections against discriminatory treatment, the latter as freedom from oppressive government authority. This Essay explains how this differentiation arose and considers its consequences.

Although there is a certain inherent logic to the civil rights-civil liberties divide, it in fact is the product of the unique circumstances of a particular moment in history. In the early years of the Cold War, liberal anticommunists sought to distinguish their incipient interest in the cause of racial equality from their belief that national security required limitations on the speech ...


The Tea Party And The Constitution, Christopher W. Schmidt Mar 2011

The Tea Party And The Constitution, Christopher W. Schmidt

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This Article considers the Tea Party as a constitutional movement. I explore the Tea Party’s ambitious effort to transform the role of the Constitution in American life, examining both the substance of the Tea Party’s constitutional claims and the tactics movement leaders have embraced for advancing these claims. No major social movement in modern American history has so explicitly tied its reform agenda to the Constitution. From the time when the Tea Party burst onto the American political scene in early 2009, its supporters claimed in no uncertain terms that much recent federal government action overstepped constitutionally defined ...