Civil Rights (West's Encyclopedia of American Law)
Personal liberties that belong to an individual, owing to his or her status as a citizen or resident of a particular country or community.
The most common legal application of the term civil rights involves the rights guaranteed to U.S. citizens and residents by legislation and by the Constitution. Civil rights protected by the Constitution include FREEDOM OF SPEECH and freedom from certain types of discrimination.
Not all types of discrimination are unlawful, and most of an individual's personal choices are protected by the freedoms to choose personal associates; to express himself or herself; and to preserve personal privacy. Civil rights legislation comes into play when the practice of personal preferences and prejudices of an individual, a business entity, or a government interferes with the protected rights of others. The various civil rights laws have made it illegal to discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, age, handicap, or national origin. Discrimination that interferes with VOTING RIGHTS and equality of opportunity in education, employment, and housing is unlawful.
The term PRIVILEGES AND IMMUNITIES is related to civil rights. Privileges and immunities encompass all rights of individuals...
(The entire section is 3346 words.)
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