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Civil Liberties Issues and Views

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Civil liberties controversies tend to be divisive by their very nature, but in many ways they define our national culture and our national values. The fact that the United States is not largely of one mind on the importance of various issues pertaining to civil liberties is demonstrative of our culture. It shows our national complexity, our ideological diversity, and our relative discomfort with phony compromises.
  1. Abortion
  2. Same-Sex Marriage and Civil Unions
  3. Illegal Immigration
  4. The Death Penalty
  5. The Power of the Presidency

Abortion

Pro-Life Rally

No issue is more divisive in American political life than abortion. In social policy debate, it is always the proverbial elephant in the room.

Same-Sex Marriage and Civil Unions

Couple Married in San Francisco

Marriage has changed as much as any other social institution over the past century, and it continues to change to this day. For many people, this is a blessing. For others, it's a little scary.

Illegal Immigration

Immigrant Walking Along Border Fence

Since 1880, the U.S. government has for the most part had an unspoken agreement with undocumented Mexican immigrants: Show up here to work (often for less than minimum wage), and we won't deport you. Now that the undocumented population has grown to 11 million, the government is under pressure to violate that agreement.

The Death Penalty

Don't Kill for Me

Other than the fact that it is irreversible, expensive, often performed in a sloppy way, representative of racially biased prosecutorial trends, and occasionally inflicted on innocent people, the death penalty seems sensible enough.

The Power of the Presidency

George W. Bush

The federal government is made up of the executive branch (led by the president), the legislative branch (Congress), and the judicial branch (led by the Supreme Court). While all branches have at times abused their roles, the executive branch is by far the most dangerous of the three.

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