Monday, 4 November 2013

Human Rights


Fights over various human rights issues are nothing new or unusual. Human rights are things that each individual is entitled to. Someone’s human rights can be violated in many ways, all over the world. However, in the United States, some human rights issues are more common than others.

•    A major human rights issue is racism. Although the fight against racism has come a long way in the past 50 years, many individuals have their human rights trampled on because of racism. A common example of this is police brutality. When a police officer brutalizes an individual, it is usually because of racism. There have been many incidents of police officers beating black men unprovoked. Racism is a type of discrimination that is still one of the most common human rights issues in the United States.

•    Another human rights problem is sexism. Being sexist means that individual feels that one gender is superior to the other. Many times, men rather than women are considered to be sexist. However, sexism is a human rights issue that can affect everyone. In the workplace, sexism can come in many forms. One form of sexism is sexual harassment. Sexual harassment is illegal in the workplace as per Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act. This human rights issue is any unwanted sexual advance made on a person. Both men and women can be victims of sexual harassment.

•    While many sexual harassment incidents go unreported, there are some statistics on this human rights issue. Roughly 35% of women have reported being sexually harassed at work and 17% of men have made the same claim. But while 100% of the women’s sexual pursuers were men, only about half of the men’s sexual pursuers were women. The rest was men. Most of the women, 43% had been harassed by their supervisor. It is a common human rights issue when an individual in power abuses it. However, women in power are much more likely to be sexually harassed than women in low-level position.

•    In 1998, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission cracked down on employers, holding them responsible for sexual harassment at work. To try to correct this violation of human rights, many employers began holding sexual harassment workshops and prevention training programs. Many times, employees are required to take these, as well as reading the company’s sexual harassment policy in the company handbook.

While there are many other human rights that people have that are violated, two of the United States biggest problems are racism and sexism. Despite progress that has been made over the years, there is still work that must be done.

Equal Rights and Gender Discrimination

For years, women have fought for the equal opportunity and equal rights that men have. In the 1920, women known as suffragettes launched a major campaign to allow women an equal opportunity to vote in elections. It was this achievement that truly began to pave the way for women to have equal rights as men, although women still have to fight for equal opportunity in many situations.

•    One place in which women fight for equal opportunity in is in the workplace. In the 1950s, equal opportunity did not exist and most women worked as secretaries or nurses. Only one in every three women had a job. Men had positions of power in the workplace. Some brave women began fighting for equal rights early by trying to achieve success within their careers. Even as late as the 1980s, seeing a business woman was rare. As of 2008, the workforce as a whole was made up of 48% women and 52% men.

•    Equal opportunity is still not so equal though. Women still statistically earn lower salaries than men do. Jobs that pay a lower salaries tend to have more equal opportunity available for women. At the top of the business game however, women generally earn less money than their male counterparts. Jobs that pay large salaries do not have a reputation for giving equal opportunity to men and women. In fact, many jobs paying upwards of $100,000 pay men a higher salary than women. This problem is being fought by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. This is a federal organization that made equal rights and pay in the workplace a law. The law is called the Equal Pay Act and it specifies men and women must be paid the same rate if they have the same job title in the same work place. Many states also have their own state and federal agencies that look into possible discrimination cases to try to restore equal opportunity in the work place.

•    Another type of gender discrimination is sexual harassment. Although sexual harassment is usually associated with men harassing women, anyone can be the victim of sexual harassment. Sexual harassment is defined as any unwanted sexual advances, whether physically or verbally. When it comes to sexual harassment, men and women have equal rights and can both file claims if they feel the need to.

Women continue to fight for equal rights and equal opportunities in the work force. Within the last century, women went from not being able to vote to running for President of the United States. Because of incidents like this, women’s organization think that they are making progress.

Being a Human Rights Lawyer

Of all the different types of laws to practice, many lawyers think that working as a human rights lawyer is the most gratifying area of law to work in. Human rights laws were made to protect individuals from the various types of discrimination that they may face. Being a human rights lawyer can be a rewarding job if one is willing to take the time that is required to become one.

•    Becoming a human rights lawyer begins with obtaining a bachelor’s degree. Studying human rights laws in college is a good idea; many people major in history or political science before they go to law school. These topics offer studies in human rights and human rights laws. After obtaining a bachelor’s degree, an individual must take the Law School Admission Test, also known as the LSAT. This test asks standard logic questions. Finding a law school to go to will depend on the undergraduate degree obtained and the scores on the LSAT test. Since many individuals want to be human rights lawyers, it is a competitive field to work in. Because of this, attending a top law school is preferable.

•    Once in law school, students should prepare themselves for entering the human rights field by volunteering at agencies that specialize in fighting for an individual’s human rights laws. A good organization to volunteer with is Amnesty International, which concentrates on getting political prisoners released from jail. Taking classes in law school that specializes on human rights are especially important. A human rights lawyer should know the basics of law in general, but they should be experts in human rights laws.

•    After law school, an individual should study hard so that they can pass the state Bar exam. An individual cannot become a human rights lawyer, nor can they be licensed to practice any other types of law unless they pass the Bar exam. There are many study groups that exist for individuals studying to take the Bar exam. The Bar exam will cover a large variety of legal questions: no matter what type of lawyer one wishes to be, they will have to know aspects of every field of the law, not just human rights laws. Some states may require an individual to take other courses in human rights as well as they Bar. Finding out this piece of information is important.

After graduating from law school with a strong knowledge of human rights laws, finding a job can be difficult. Applying for jobs at law firms that specialize in handling human rights cases is a good idea for individuals starting out. Networking with other lawyers and individuals in human rights organization can greatly help with the process of becoming a human rights lawyer.

Thursday, 17 October 2013

The United States Constitution

More than any other document or treaty, the United States Constitution is the most powerful, highest law within the United States. The US Constitution is the oldest constitution by the federal government that is in use today, put into official writing in 1787. Since the time of its conception, the US Constitution has been changed 27 different times, with the help of the United States Constitution’s amendments. An amendment is a formal change made to law or contract. The United States Constitution, like any other constitution is usually changed because the people change their minds about what they think the government should be doing.

•    The US Constitution is made up of a preamble and seven articles, or sections. The preamble does not count as a law like the rest of the articles in the United States Constitution do. Instead, it actually explains the reasons that the US Constitution was written. It is the most well known part of the US Constitution.

•    The seven articles in the United States Constitution are the Legislative power, the Executive power, the Judicial power, the State’s Power and Limits, the Process of Amendment, the Federal Power, and the Ratification. All these parts in the United States Constitution make laws about certain things; for instance, the Ratification section of the US constitution states that the new amendments under the United States Constitution would not start until representatives from at least nine states approved the US Constitution.

•    Since its beginning, Congress wrote 33 amendment proposals to try to change the United States Constitution but due to the lack of state power, only 27 of those amendments were ratified, or approved. The first ten amendments in the United States Constitution are called the Bill of Rights. Created in 1791, they were made to limit the power of the federal government when it came to controlling individuals.

•    There are many facts about the United States Constitution that some people consider to be interesting. For starters, although it is the most powerful legal document that exists in the United States, the US Constitution is also the shortest governmental Constitution ever written at only 4400 words. Another interesting fact is that when it came time for the states to agree on the final draft of the US Constitution, it was the lack of any bill of rights that held up the process. This explains why a bill of rights was quickly ratified into the United States Constitution. Also, when the United States Constitution was signed, there were 4 million people living in the United States. There are now over 300 million.

The United States Constitution has governed the laws of America for over 200 years now. Even though the word democracy does not actually appear in the United States Constitution, many people credit the US Constitution for being one main reason that the United States are generally a thriving country and is run as a democracy.

The Power of the First Amendment

The fact that Americans are legally allowed to use freedom of speech is one thing that make the United States a popular country to try to live in. Freedom of speech means that an individual has the right to speak their mind socially, religiously and politically about any topic they choose. The right of freedom of speech is protected under the First Amendment in the Bill of Rights, a part of the United States Constitution.

•    The right of freedom of speech is one of a American’s most basic human rights. Many other countries do not allow its residents to have the freedom of speech, and many have been jailed or even killed because of things they have said. However, the First Amendment is often misunderstood by individuals. Freedom of speech extends beyond an individual verbally saying something. Now, non-verbal, visual and symbolic expressions fall under the protection of the First Amendment. The first amendment doesn’t only protect freedom of speech. The first amendment also protects an individual’s religious freedom, their right to petition, freedom of the press, and the right to assembly. The right to assembly refers to the right to gather and protest peacefully in any public place.

•    The actual wording of the first amendment is “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.” This first amendment was established to protect the basic liberties of American citizens.

•    However, with the freedom of speech comes some rules. There are some exceptions to the things that can be said, both verbally and non-verbally, under the First Amendment. The law has decided that any speech that is obscene, incites violence, threatens national security or defames someone is not protected under the freedom of speech amendment. Somewhat controversial is the fact that what is considered to be hate speech is actually protected under the first amendment. For instance speaking out as a representative of the Ku Klux Klan is not illegal and is protected by the first amendment.

The first amendment is considered to be one of the most important amendments in the United States Constitution. Although there are other countries who have the right to freedom of speech, the United States are the country in which the first amendment is tried to be strictly protected by the government.

Wednesday, 16 October 2013

Do I Really Have Freedom of Speech?

Many Americans pride themselves with the fact that the United States government has addressed the notion of our Freedom of Speech; however, they feel that the word freedom is a bit misleading in this regard. Many feel as though they do not, truly, have Freedom of Speech, due to the boundaries that have been placed on them through the conditions of the 1st Amendment. They feel that their speech is mildly tainted since there are so many restrictions placed on their freedom. Some feel as though they just do not have the full creative rights that they need and deserve. Now, let’s be honest to ourselves and each other. If these restrictions were not in place, there would be a great deal of quite more harmful messages sent out into the world. These boundaries are not set in place to harm you, but to see to it that no harm comes to you. To whom much is given, much is expected… so therefore, with your Freedom of Speech, also comes the right to act responsibly.

1. A restriction that is placed on your right to Freedom of Speech is the notion of “Clear and Present Danger.” This means that with your Freedom of Speech, you do not have the right to publish any material that is going to jeopardize the state of the nation’s security. It can not pose any threat to the safety concerns of the inhabitants of the United States.

2. Another restriction that you have in terms of your Freedom of Speech is that you are not to commit the act of defamation. This means that you are not to state anything that you know to be false about someone, that you know could cause harm to their reputation. You are not to say anything, knowingly false, that is going to cause others to choose not to associate themselves with that person based on the falsehoods that you have stated or published. Although you do have Freedom of Speech, you are not allowed to make any false claims that are going to cause that person to have a negative image.

3. An additional restriction that is placed on your right to Freedom of Speech is the zero tolerance for obscenity. Obscenity is characterized as any expression of lewd expression that is offensive to others. Although this part of the restriction placed on your Freedom of Speech is very subjective, we all know how to determine whether or not a form of creative expression is deemed to be obscene. Even as the artist, you are able to make the fairest assessments as to whether or not your art form is obscene. We must use our better judgment in all our expressive art forms to make those key distinctions between Freedom of Speech, and pure obscenity.

You Have the Right to the Freedom of Speech At School…

Your Freedom of Speech does not stop before you enter the door of the classroom. From when you are a young child, you are made aware of your Freedom of Speech. Before you even get comfortable in your seat, you are asked to speak. In fact, you will learn that you are going to be constantly called on in class. As you continue to age in the school system, you find that you are actually encouraged to speak. You are encouraged to utilize your Freedom of Speech. A few years down the line, you learn that if you do not speak in class, this could hurt your overall grade. That’s right your “participation” grade is one of the grades of measure that contribute to your overall grade. Needless to say, your Freedom of Speech is definitely recognized in the classroom.

1. The key basis of utilizing your Freedom of Speech in school is that you must do so in a way that is respectful. You are allowed to express yourself in a way that exudes passion, but you have to be mindful to others in the classroom. In the classroom setting, you must be considerate of those that are in the room. You are able to use forward thinking and speaking, but you are to do so in a way that is not going to jeopardize the integrity of others. Using your Freedom of Speech in school is about being responsible for your actions, and using language that is going to be in consideration to those around you.

2. Another key element to your Freedom of Speech in school is that your instructors are to give you the right to let your voice be heard. They have to give you the right to speak. They can not prohibit you from contributing to a class discussion as long as you are conducting yourself in a respectable manner. You are to be given the opportunity to state your cause on any given issue that the class is presented with.

3. As far as Freedom of Speech in school, it is important that instructors are encouraging their students, from when they are a young child, to develop opinions. This does not mean that they have the right to pollute your mind with the traditions and beliefs that they follow, and therefore would like you to follow. This simply means that they are to supply you with valued, unbiased information that is going to encourage you to create your own opinions. As these opinions begin to form, you are given the Freedom of Speech to be able to express them, eloquently, yet respectfully.