The Use Of Congress In Law Cultural Studies Essay

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Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances

California's Pruneyard doctrine, prohibits private property owners whose property is equivalent to a traditional public forum (often shopping malls and grocery stores) from enforcing their private property rights to exclude political speakers and petition-gatherers.

The Pruneyard doctrine privileges protesters, who would otherwise be trespassers, from being ejected from the property, as would other trespassers. Moreover, the doctrine deprives the property owner of one of their rights, as well as forcing them to allow their premises to become a forum for speech for which they do not approve.[8][Need quotation on talk to verify]

The U.S. Supreme Court has never interpreted the First Amendment as having the same power to alter private property rights, or provide any other protection against purely private action. When considering private authority figures (such as a child's parents or an employee's employer), Constitutional free speech provides no protection. A private authority figure may reserve the right to censor their subordinate's speech, or discriminate on the basis of speech, without any legal consequences. For example, per the at-will employment doctrine, an employee may be fired from their occupation for speaking out against a politician that the employer likes.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/First_Amendment_to_the_United_States_Constitution

Freedom of assembly, sometimes used interchangeably with the freedom of association, is the individual right to come together and collectively express, promote, pursue and defend common interests.[1] The right to freedom of association is recognized as a human right, a political freedom and a civil liberty.

Freedom of assembly and freedom of association may be used to distinguish between the freedom to assemble in public places and the freedom of joining an association. Freedom of assembly is often used in the context of the right to protest, while freedom of association is used in the context of labor rights and the right to collective bargaining, for example by joining a trade union. Freedom of assembly as guaranteed in the Canadian Constitution and the Constitution of the United States are interpreted to mean both the freedom to assemble and the freedom to join an association.[2]

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Freedom_of_assembly

Our freedom of speech, protected by the First Amendment in the Bill of Rights, is one of our most basic constitutional rights.

the various provisions of the 1st Amendment, guaranteeing the freedoms of speech, the press, religion, and assembly.

In general, the rights to freedom of thought, expression, and action, and the protection of these rights from government interference or restriction. Civil liberties are the hallmark of liberal, democratic "free" societies. In the United States, the Bill of Rights guarantees a variety of civil liberties, most notably freedom of assembly, freedom of the press, freedom of religion, and freedom of speech, expressed in the First Amendment. (See civil rights.)

Those freedoms which are, or should be, guaranteed to persons to protect an area of non-interference from others, particularly power holders and legal authorities. Civil liberties are especially invoked to limit the justifiable coercive power of the state: for example, freedom from arbitrary arrest, or detention, and habeas corpus; freedom of speech; freedom of lawful assembly; freedom of association and of movement; and the right not to incriminate oneself. Some civil liberties are seen as implications of respect for the rule of law; for example, the right to a fair trial. The importance of civil liberties has been reflected in attempts to provide constitutional guarantees for them.

http://www.answers.com/topic/civil-liberties

These are certain rights given to the people under the First amendment to the constitution which includes freedom of speech, expression,press, assemble, worship,right to vote, right to equality in public places without any interference or restriction from the government.They are given to treat all the peole equally under the law and make them enjoy rights of speech, protection,enjoyment and liberty.

http://www.legal-explanations.com/definitions/civil-liberties.htm

The Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Pub.L. 88-352, 78 Stat. 241, July 2, 1964) was a landmark piece of legislation in the United States that extended voting rights and outlawed racial segregation in schools, at the workplace and by facilities that served the general public ("public accommodations").

Once the Act was implemented, its effects were far reaching and had tremendous long-term impacts on the whole country. It prohibited discrimination in public facilities, in government, and in employment, invalidating the Jim Crow laws in the southern U.S. It became illegal to compel segregation of the races in schools, housing, or hiring.

The bill was introduced by President John F Kennedy in his civil rights speech of June 11, 1963,[1] in which he asked for legislation "giving all Americans the right to be served in facilities which are open to the public-hotels, restaurants, theaters, retail stores, and similar establishments," as well as "greater protection for the right to vote."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Civil_Rights_Act_of_1964

Public space has long been recognized for its importance as a social safety valve, a place where different classes and ethnicities can mix, ultimately creating a more peaceful (and ideally, more equal) society through their interactions in public parks, markets and streets.

Likewise, the dearth of discussion and genuine interaction brought on by the decline of public space has been a factor in the comparative decline of Western democratic structures, and the explosion of urban conflict. As genuine public spaces are replaced or neglected in favour of the privately-owned, quasi-public zones of chain store-filled downtown malls and pedestrian tunnels, the accessible interactivity that public spaces provide is replaced with a new environment of buying and consuming, available only to those with the cash to participate. The privatized spaces of malls and tunnels are open only to the "desirables" - those with the appearance, purpose and financing to contribute to the "friendly shopping atmosphere" conceived by the space's owners. All other parties are excluded, effecting the physical segregation of the city into the parallel worlds of the haves and have-nots. While this division existed before the "mallification" of the city, the privatization of public space has strengthened the divide, giving this prosperity gap a concrete, bricks-and-mortar foothold in the foundations of the urban environment.

In 1992, riots ripped through South Central Los Angeles, leaving fifty-four people dead and $900 million in damage to large swaths of the city.(1) The riots, while initially sparked by not-guilty verdicts in the Rodney King police beating trial, were the result of years of economic and social marginalization and segregation experienced by the city's lower-class black and Latino communities. Los Angeles is a city of extremes; a city polarized between the gleaming office towers, Hollywood glitz and luxury housing developments of the whites who own and manage it, and the ghettos and barrios where blacks and Latin American immigrants - the janitors and manual labourers who keep the city running - live in crowded tenements amid third-world squalor. While it might seem easy enough to simply write the riots and segregation off as phenomena unique to Los Angeles, this is not the case. While the general urban situation in the rest of the developed world may not be as extreme as in LA, the symptoms of racial and economic segregation are visible everywhere and growing worse. Public policy and private interests have launched a sustained, if not always intentional, attack on the urban poor; and central to this assault has been the changing face of urban public spaces. The privatization and militarization of public space, occurring across the developed world, is building for the future a city ever more hostile to its impoverished populations.

Public space has long been recognized for its importance as a social safety valve, a place where different classes and ethnicities can mix, ultimately creating a more peaceful (and ideally, more equal) society through their interactions in public parks, markets and streets. Frederick Law Olmsted, the father of New York's Central Park, recognized these qualities in his creation. "No one who has closely observed the conduct of the people who visit the Park can doubt that it exercises a distinctly harmonizing and refining influence upon the most unfortunate and most lawless classes of the city."(2) The diverse interactions that can occur in public spaces are the breeding ground for tolerance and the foundation for real democracy in our society. As Kevin Mattson has observed, "By associating together for public discussion, citizens learn the skills necessary for the health of a democratic public: listening, persuading, arguing, compromising, and seeking common ground."(3) Likewise, the dearth of discussion and genuine interaction brought on by the decline of public space has been a factor in the comparative decline of Western democratic structures, and the explosion of urban conflict. As genuine public spaces are replaced or neglected in favour of the privately-owned, quasi-public zones of chain store-filled downtown malls and pedestrian tunnels, the accessible interactivity that public spaces provide is replaced with a new environment of buying and consuming, available only to those with the cash to participate. The privatized spaces of malls and tunnels are open only to the "desirables" - those with the appearance, purpose and financing to contribute to the "friendly shopping atmosphere" conceived by the space's owners. All other parties are excluded, effecting the physical segregation of the city into the parallel worlds of the haves and have-nots. While this division existed before the "mallification" of the city, the privatization of public space has strengthened the divide, giving this prosperity gap a concrete, bricks-and-mortar foothold in the foundations of the urban environment.

The history of shop-lined malls and walkways for the elite dates back to the raised corridoio vasariano of Florence's Medici merchant-rulers (from which the city's elite could watch the hustle and bustle in the streets below, and through which they could escape from the city in times of armed revolt), and to the eighteenth-century Paris arcades, where nobles could shop, sheltered from the rain, in exclusive boutiques. However, it was not until the rise of North American consumer culture after the 1950s that these halls of policed and mediated consumption came to replace legitimate public spaces and become ubiquitous in the first-world urban environment. The completion of the first fully-enclosed shopping mall in a Minneapolis suburb in 1956 sparked a whirlwind of building, a commercial coup that would topple the regime of public square and open air market, replacing them with privately-owned and operated malls, places where free speech rights were non-existent and non-shoppers forcibly removed. The climate-controlled homogeneity of these suburban installations would soon be recreated by urban planners anxious to bring the white middle-class back to city centers they had recently abandoned. As urban renewal projects leveled the most vocal and visible pockets of non-white city life, replacing them with civic buildings, urban malls and the occasional office tower, a new medium of pedestrian travel came to replace walking the streets of the city core. Elevated walkways and underground tunnels began to be built, connecting the office towers and new shopping centers of the downtown and facilitating travel between these privately-owned structures without ever having to enter the uncertain world of the city's streets. Minneapolis led the way once again, opening its first "skyways" in the mid-1960s. For white, middle-class office workers, already used to the newfound protective, homogenous comfort of suburban living and shopping, the climate-controlled passageways were a dream come true, a method of escaping the cold reality of the streets below. As race and class stratification worsened on the streets of Minneapolis in the 1980s as a result of recession and ongoing cuts to social programs, the Minneapolis-St.Paul Skyway became a filter, a refuge for urban professionals from the streets they had now come to fear. Security firms received contracts to post guards whose purpose was to "subtly dissuade the poor, infirm, black, Native American, and mentally ill from entering the skyway system without explicit and closely monitored business."(4) Informally, visual codes and cues informed all potential users of the Skyway system that anyone not dressed appropriately or behaving in an acceptable manner was unwelcome. Through both direct and indirect policing, the Minneapolis Skyway had become the exclusive domain of a middle-class that had abandoned the city's streets. Elsewhere in North America, almost every major city had made an attempt at reproducing the Minneapolis model. Some, such as Toronto and Montreal, built their pedestrian pathways underground, while other systems, such as Calgary's "Plus Fifteen" and Charlotte's "Overstreet Mall," borrowed more directly from the Minneapolis model. All saw the same exacerbation of urban segregation. In Charlotte, William H. Whyte commented that the "Overstreet Mall has created a virtual apartheid in the city, with middle-class whites above, and blacks and poor people below."(5) In Calgary, the success of its elevated system came at the expense of outdoor pedestrian spaces, such as the Stephen Avenue Mall, which was once a vibrant street but now stands almost empty, its stores closed.

The effect of these walkways and tunnels has been to create a two-tiered urban environment, with a privileged class able to live and shop within climate-controlled, comfortable suburb-like isolation, while condemning the city's less fortunate to the streets outside. This privately owned infrastructure imposes what can only be described as a middle-class tyranny on the downtown. Its spaces are policed by private security guards instructed to exclude "undesirables" such as the poor, coloured and homeless, and "undesirable" activity such as protests and "loitering"(6) (the latter having come to represent any activity that doesn't involve shopping). The chain stores within its mall-like passages have, unsurprisingly, pulled business away from the old, store-lined streets of the downtown core, leading to increased vacancies, depressed property values, and an ever-spiraling flight to both the suburbs and the suburb-like pedestrian systems of the revamped downtown. As conditions in the city continue to worsen as a result of cuts to social spending, too many people have lost faith in the idea of a socially diverse, multiracial, tolerant public realm. Fleeing into quasi-public spaces, from which the targets of their often self-fulfilling fears can be excluded, the middle-class has agreed to structures of segregation, structures with little possibility of dialogue between the classes. And when these structures alone are insufficient or impractical in defending the narrow interests of the consumer tyranny that now rules the cities of the developed world, politicians and businesses turn increasingly to militaristic defenses.

Nowhere is the militarized city more apparent than in Los Angeles, where defending the wealthy is a multibillion dollar industry, giving birth to an arsenal of security systems and an ongoing obsession with enforcing social boundaries through the use of force and militarized architecture. Wealthy neighbourhoods on the west side of the city have been built as, or converted into, high-tech fortresses, their upscale streets and homes surrounded by security fencing and electronic gates, and patrolled by private security contractors. There are nearly a hundred thousand security guards in the Los Angeles area, most of whom are visible minorities, earning little more than minimum wage(7) as they guard the wealthy against people like themselves. It is impossible to enter these fortress residential developments without the invitation of a resident. Older affluent neighbourhoods of the city, following the example of the new fortress developments on the periphery, are winning the right to withdraw their streets from public use and erect security gates of their own. Along with segregating another pocket of middle-class residents from the burgeoning immigrant population that surrounds them, this action alone has resulted in a 20% rise in local property values in neighbourhoods such as Whitley Hills.(8)

The city's new downtown core, built with $2 billion in public subsidies after financial institutions came close to abandoning the city during the 1960s, is likewise protected from the Latino communities that surround it by a freeway and the regraded slopes of Bunker Hill. Pedestrian links to the surrounding neighbourhoods, including the old downtown, have been systematically removed, making it almost impossible to reach the downtown on foot. These physical barriers have not been sufficient to prevent an influx of street people into the area as Los Angeles' homeless population skyrocketed, fed by an explosion in undocumented immigration from Central America and the deep cuts to social programs that occurred in the 1980s. Reacting to the perceived menace, business owners, city planners and the police have implemented a whole host of measures to make life as uncomfortable as possible for the residents of the street. "Bumproof" benches, barrel-shaped and impossible to sleep on, have been installed. Park authorities have installed overhead sprinklers to drench would-be sleepers at random intervals during the night, and area merchants have followed suit. Garbage bins are now cradled by three-quarter-inch steel rod cages armed with outturned spikes. Policing has been targeted at confining the city's homeless population to Skid Row, a ten square block poorhouse, effecting what is referred to by city planners as "containment." Attempts to create safe havens and encampments for the city's homeless have been repeatedly broken up by the LAPD, at the request of downtown merchants and developers. Performing periodic sweeps, the police tear down shelters, confiscate possessions, and arrest any who resist. The head of the city's planning department explained, "It is not against the law to sleep on the street per se, only to erect any sort of protective shelter."(9) The police have also taken an active hand in the ongoing privatization of Los Angeles' few remaining public spaces, convincing the city to remove the few public toilets in Skid Row (the

The Egyptians have pyramids, the Chinese have a great wall, the British have immaculate lawns, the Germans have castles, the Dutch have canals, the Italians have grand churches. And Americans have shopping centers (Jackson, 274).

Shopping malls may well be "the common denominator of our national life, the best symbols of our abundance" (Jackson, 274), however, the question is 'Do shopping [centers], as an institution, play a positive or negative role in contemporary America?' The answer is a negative role. The United States' National Anthem, The Star Spangled Banner, describes America as "The land of the free and the home of the brave" (Francis Scott Key, 1814). That is, of course, unless 'the brave' happens to be on 'the land' inside one of the United States' 38, 966 shopping centers, then Mr. or Mrs. 'the brave' gets stripped of all his or her constitutional rights and civil liberties.

Public places, parks, markets, streets, public buildings, were spaces where different classes and ethnicities could mix, where according to Pahl "all people [came] together - rich and poor, old and young, black and white" (295). It was in public places that people interacted. It was where they learnt to be tolerant, where they learnt the art of public discussion, where they listened, persuaded, argued, compromised, and sought common ground. However, public spaces have been displaced from "the public town center to the private shopping center" (Cohen, 318). According to Cohen, "public space [is] more commercialized and more privatized within the regional shopping center than it [is] in the traditional downtown center" (319). Pahl states "[p]eople expect a mall to be a public place. Of course, it's not. It's a privately owned enterprise that can establish its own rules about who is in, who is not, and on what terms" (295). Therefore, explaining why shopping centers play a negative role in contemporary America. The decline in public spaces has had dramatic repercussions. It came accompanied with a decline in civil liberties - those rights given to people under the First Amendment to the Constitution - which include, among others , freedom of speech, freedom of lawful assembly and the right to equality in public places without interference from others, especially power holders and legal authorities.

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