In the American society, probably the essential political value is the protection of civil rights and civil liberties. Justice Frankfurter explains that individuals who test rights and liberties in courts are not usual ideal citizens (USHistory.org, n.d.). For starters, there is a need to elucidate the difference between a right and liberty. Both terms show up in the Bill of Rights and the Declaration of Independence. However, the dissimilarity between the two has always been blurred that the two concepts are now being used interchangeably. Nevertheless, they are used to refer to dissimilar types of guaranteed protections.
According to the U.S. History website, civil rights refer to the protections against the acts of the government (n.d.). For instance, the First Amendment of the Bill of Rights gives the citizens to join whichever religion they deem fit for them. Therefore, the government cannot hinder one’s freedom of worship. It is Amendment I that gives that person “liberty” from the government’s actions (USHistory.org, n.d). Conversely, civil rights describe the positive actions that the government should do to create equal conditions and opportunities for all Americans. Typically, the term “civil rights” is linked with the problem prevalent among minority groups like Hispanics, African-Americans, and women. This is because the government struggles to counterbalance the tendency of the “majority rule” in a democracy, which usually renders the minority outvoted. [“Write my essay for me?” Get help here.]
It is the belief of most Americans that civil liberties and rights are principles that shield freedoms all the time. Conversely, the truth is that the rights, which are listed in the Bill of Rights and the Constitution, are usually competing rights. A majority of civil rights and liberties court cases often involve the claimant’s against another right, which the defendant also claims to have been infringed (USHistory.org, n.d). Taking an example from 1971, the “Pentagon Papers” published by the New York Times disclosed a couple of adverse governmental actions by the government at the time of the Vietnam War. The government sought legal action against the newspaper with a claim that the reports jeopardized national security. In their protection, the New York Times claimed the public had the right to be informed that the freedom of the press needs to be upheld. Therefore, the situation here was freedom of the press vs. national security (USHistory.org, n.d., para. 12). Even though it was an arduous judgment, the Court eventually opted to uphold the rights of the media.[Need an essay writing service? Find help here.]
Bodenhamer (n.d.) defines federalism as a system created by two or more governments that share authority while exercising their power over the same geographical area and its occupants. Unitary governmental systems across the globe have only one source of power, the national or central government. Even though democracy can grow in either system, there exist significant and real differences between these two governments. Britain is a good system that has a unitary government. Britain’s parliament has the highest authority over everything that takes place within the United Kingdom. On top of delegating authority over local matters, the Parliament can direct its counties or towns to do as it thinks appropriate. If it chooses to, it can ban them or even change the existing boundaries (Bodenhamer, n.d). However, the situation is quite different in the U.S., and as Bodenhamer (n.d.) further mentions, the rules of the national government situated in Washington, D.C, apply to any individual living within the borders, whereas laws in each one of the 50 states are relevant to those people residing in those states alone.[Need an essay writing service? Find help here.]
It is stated in the under the U.S. Constitution that the United States government has exclusive authority to regulate foreign and interstate commerce, provide for the immigrants’ naturalization, maintain an army, coin money, including many other things (USHistory.org, n.d). The U.S. guarantees to each state a republican type of government. Therefore, it ensures that none of the states can create something like a monarchy. These are the areas where national interests surpass state interests, and get well set aside for the national government. Also, the national government has judicial power to resolve any controversies between states and also between members of different states.[Click Essay Writer to order your essay]
A perfect example of a case where a plaintiff’s civil rights were violated is Peggy’s. Peggy Young, who is the plaintiff in this instance, was working for UPS in the position of a pickup and delivery driver and was impregnated in 2006. Her doctor banned her from lifting anything more than 10 pounds for the remaining period. UPS told Young that she is not supposed to work since their company needs drivers who can lift parcels that weigh up to 70 pounds. Consequently, she was placed on an unpaid leave and then lost her worker medical coverage (Morris, Calvert, & Williams, 2015).
According to Peggy’s claims, her fellow workers were willing to help her any packages that weigh more than 20 pounds. She also argued that UPS had a procedure of sheltering other drivers who were not pregnant. During this period, her company accommodated one driver who was hurt on the job, two drivers who had lost certifications of the Department of Transportation, and three other drivers who were from a condition under the Americans with Disabilities Act (Morris et al., 2015). Peggy filed a federal lawsuit against her employer, UPS, under the 1987 Pregnancy Discrimination Act.[Click Essay Writer to order your essay]
The Pregnancy Discrimination Act amended the Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act to clarify that the longstanding abolition of discrimination based on sex is inclusive of discrimination based on childbirth, pregnancy and associated conditions (Morris et al., 2015). Critical to Young’s case, the Pregnancy Discrimination Act required that employers should treat women similarly to all worker-related purposes, “as other persons not so affected but similar in their ability or inability to work” (Morris, et al., 2015, para. 5). This is the clause that the Supreme Court’s decision interpreted. In their defense, UPS argued that its choice not to provide accommodation to her was not discriminatory because it adhered to the company policy, which does not consider pregnancy, referred to a “pregnancy-blind” policy (Morris et al., 2015, para. 6). However, the Supreme Court disagreed with UPS to favor Young yet two lower courts had supported UPS (Morris et al., 2015).
Women in need of income but do not have accommodations are usually compelled to continually work under unhealthy conditions, which in turn puts their health and that of their unborn babies at risk. It is true that physically demanding tasks and the unavailability of accommodation are contributing factors to low birth weight and preterm birth.
Under the court-provided framework, a pregnant worker in a situation like Young’s should undergo a multi-step procedure to investigate the way her fellow workers are treated. For instance, if one is pregnant and requires lighter tasks, they should determine who else needed an accommodation and if they received it, quit a tasking process (A better Balance, 2015). It gets more challenging if one does not have much bargaining power at her working place. Apart from being required to give compelling evidence in proof of their employer’s discriminatory intention, they also have to do so in areas where employers lack official policies or have hidden them just for their own benefit. A majority of women generally do not have enough resources and time to make it successful.[Need an essay writing service? Find help here.]
A better Balance. (2015). Fairness for pregnant workers after Young v. UPS: Why we need the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act.
Bodenhamer, D. (n.d). Federalism & democracy.
Morris, L., Calvert, C., & Williams, J. (2015, March 26). What Young vs. UPS means for pregnant workers and their bosses. Harvard Business Review, (March 26).
USHistory.org. (n.d). 10. Civil Liberties and Civil Rights.