Video Exercises

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Watch the videos below and answer the questions that follow.

Nadine Strossen is the former president of the American Civil Liberties Union, the youngest person and first woman to hold this position. Additionally, she is a professor of law at New York Law School and a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. In the video below, she discusses the origins of civil liberties in the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution.

Where Do Civil Liberties Come From?
Nadine Strossen
from BigThink.com

1a.
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What are civil liberties and where do they come from, according to Professor Strossen? Why did the Founding generation see the need to write civil liberties protections into the Constitution?
1b.
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What kind of work does the American Civil Liberties Union do?
1c.
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Do you feel that the ACLU does an adequate job of protecting the civil liberties of Americans? Why or why not? Do you feel that your civil liberties have ever been threatened? If so, provide an example.
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The following is a video produced by the People For the American Way and the Electronic Frontier Foundation that features individuals urging Congress to stand up to the Bush administration and prevent surveillance of American citizens by the telecom industry.

Watch the video below and answer the questions that follow.

Stop the Spying!
People For the American Way and the Electronic Frontier Foundation

2a.
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In the wake of the September 11th, 2001, terrorist attacks, the Bush administration stepped up efforts to monitor select telecom activity within the United States for certain communications that may put the United States at further risk of attacks from terrorist organizations. What civil liberties could be threatened by these surveillance policies?
2b.
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Maintaining a balance between individual liberty and security is a continual challenge for the federal government. What is more important to you: individual liberty or security? Why?
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The Fifth Amendment’s "takings clause" extends to each citizen a protection against the "taking" of private property "without just compensation." In 2005, the Supreme Court decision in Kelo v. City of New London held that the Bill of Rights did not prohibit a city from seizing land from one private owner and transferring it to another as part of a redevelopment plan. In the video below, the Institute for Justice, a libertarian public interest law firm, assesses the Kelo decision and continued their opposition to it.

Institute for Justice
Kelo: Five Years Later

3a.
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What is eminent domain?
3b.
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What actions have the Institute for Justice and its supporters taken to oppose the U.S. Supreme Court’s interpretation of property rights in Kelo v. City of New London?
3c.
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Eminent domain is an inherent power of government, and the takings clause attempts to put some limits on the use of that power. What guidelines do you think governments should follow when they consider using their power of eminent domain?
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The Colbert Report, hosted by Stephen Colbert, is a parody of personality-driven political opinion shows such as those found on the cable news networks, wherein Colbert hosts the show in character as a right-wing pundit.

The Word Justice
The Colbert Report
Comedy Central
First aired Wednesday, June 20, 2007

The Colbert ReportMon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
The Word - Justice
www.colbertnation.com
Colbert Report Full Episodes2010 ElectionFox News
4a.
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What sort of civil liberty issues does Stephen Colbert discuss in the above video? Why does the threat of terrorism present so many challenges to civil liberties?
4b.
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Colbert argues that the president does not have to abide by the ruling of the Court in this case. And it is true that the judicial branch does not have its own enforcement powers against the other two branches. If you were an adviser to the president, why might you advise the president to ignore or stall implementation of this ruling? Why might you advise the president to comply?
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The Daily Show with Jon Stewart is a satirical news program hosted by Jon Stewart. The show draws its comedy from recent news stories, satirizing political figures, media organizations, and frequently the show itself and its cast members.

Headlines Flame Retarded
The Daily Show with Jon Stewart
Comedy Central
First aired June 23, 2005

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Headlines - Flame Retarded
www.thedailyshow.com
Daily Show Full EpisodesPolitical HumorTea Party
5a.
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What civil liberties restrictions are discussed in the above video clip?
5b.
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How does Jon Stewart characterize the governmental debate surrounding the issue of flag burning? Did you find this characterization humorous? Why or why not?
5c.
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Do you believe the First Amendment protects flag burning? Why or why not?

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About this exercise

This exercise asks you to view engaging videos and think critically about how they connect to the chapter's key concepts.