Kentucky Wesleyan Invites Public to Civil Rights and Liberties Class

Owensboro, Ky. (Aug. 20, 2015) – The Criminal Justice, Criminology and Law Program at Kentucky Wesleyan College will open a class to the community during the Fall Semester. The course, “Civil Rights and Liberties,” will meet on Monday nights from 6 – 8:30 p.m. in room 214 of the Administratin Building, and begins on Aug. 31.

The class, taught by Dr. Ken Ayers, is free and open to the public. Community members may attend any or all of the class sessions and join in the discussion.  Dr. Ayers remarked, “As we approach the presidential election year, we will look at major opinions of the U.S. Supreme Court, and many of the topics we will cover are in today’s headlines in the upcoming presidential race. The public will find the course interesting and the discussion stimulating. I always find that when we open courses to the public, there is a lively exchange between our students and the public and a positive experience for both.” Community attendees do not need to register to participate. For more information, contact Dr. Ayers at


Class schedule:


August 31: Introduction to civil rights and liberties, Bill of Rights and the U.S. Constitution.


September 7:  No Class – Labor Day


September 14:

  1. a) Civil rights and liberties, Bill of Rights and the U.S. Constitution
  2. i) Rights Recognized in the Original Constitution
  3. ii) The Bill of Rights

iii)     The Thirteenth Amendment

  1. iv) The Fourteenth Amendment
  2. v) Nationalization of the Bill of Rights
  3. vi) Amendments Protecting and Extending Voting Rights

vii)   Standards of Review in Civil Rights and Liberties Cases

viii)  The Importance of State Constitutions

September 21:

  1. b) Property Rights and Economic Freedom
  2. i) The Contracts Clause
  3. ii) Due Process

iii)     Equal Protection

  1. iv) Property Rights

September 28:

  1. c) Expressive Freedom and the First Amendment
  2. i) Expressive Freedom
  3. ii) The Prohibition of Prior Restraint

iii)     The Clear and Present Danger Doctrine

  1. iv) Fighting Words, Hate Speech, and Profanity
  2. v) Symbolic Speech and Expressive Conduct
  3. vi) Defamation

vii)   The Intractable Obscenity Problem

viii)  The Overbreadth Doctrine

  1. ix) Expressive Activities in the Public Forum
  2. x) Electronic Media and the First Amendment
  3. xi) Commercial Speech

xii)   First Amendment Rights of Public Employees and Beneficiaries

xiii)  Freedom of Association

October 5:

  1. a) Religious Liberty and Church-State Relations
  2. i) Religious Belief and the Right to Proselytize
  3. ii) Unconventional Religious Practices

iii)     Patriotic Rituals and Civic Duties

  1. iv) Freedom of Religion Versus Parens Patriae
  2. v) The Wall of Separation between Church and State
  3. vi) Religion and Public Education

vii)   Governmental Affirmations of Religious Belief

viii)  The Problem of Tax Exemptions

October 12 – MID-TERM EXAM and Chapter 5 – Lecture Only – The Constitution and Criminal Justice

October 19

  1. a) The Constitution and Criminal Justice – continued
  2. i) Search and Seizure
  3. ii) The Exclusionary Rule

iii)     Arrest

  1. iv) Police Interrogation and Confessions of Guilt
  2. v) The Right to Counsel
  3. vi) Bail and Pretrial Detention

vii)   Plea Bargaining

viii)  Trial by Jury

  1. ix) The Protection against Double Jeopardy
  2. x) Incarceration and the Rights of Prisoners
  3. xi) The Death Penalty

xii)   Appeal and Post-conviction Relief

xiii)  Juvenile Justice

October 26 and November 2

  1. a) Personal Autonomy and the Constitutional Right of Privacy
  2. i) Constitutional Foundations of the Right of Privacy
  3. ii) Procreation and Birth Control

iii)     The Abortion Controversy

  1. iv) The Right of Privacy and Living Arrangements
  2. v) Privacy and Gay Rights
  3. vi) Privacy and “Victimless Crimes”

vii)   The Right to Die


November 9 and 16: 

  1. a) Equal Protection and the Antidiscrimination Principle
  2. i) Levels of Judicial Scrutiny in Equal Protection Cases
  3. ii) The Struggle for Racial Equality

iii)     The Affirmative Action Controversy

  1. iv) Gender-Based Discrimination
  2. v) Other Forms of Discrimination
  3. vi) The Ongoing Problem of Private Discrimination


November 23 and 30

  1. a) Representation and Voting Rights
  2. i) Racial Discrimination in Voting Rights
  3. ii) The Reapportionment Decisions

iii)     Political Parties and Electoral Fairness

  1. iv) The Problem of Campaign Finance

December 7 – FINAL EXAM