Social Studies - 2019-20

GOVT.11d - Balance between Individual Liberties and Public Interest

The student will apply social science skills to understand civil liberties and civil rights by 

d) investigating and evaluating the balance between individual liberties and the public interest; 

Adopted: 2015


Big Themes/Concepts: Change, Rights & Responsibilities

How has the Constitution lasted through changing times?

How can the judiciary balance individual rights with the common good?

Why are there ongoing struggles for civil rights?


The protection of civil liberties and civil rights, as guaranteed by the Constitution of the United States, is balanced by compelling public interest. 


Few rights are considered absolute. At times, individual rights must be balanced against public interest. 

Limitations of rights 

 Some forms of speech are not protected (e.g., libel, slander, obscenity). 

 Speech that is a “clear and present danger” is not protected (e.g., shouting “Fire!” in a crowded building). 

 The press can be restricted when publication will cause serious and irreparable harm (e.g., breach of national security).


Updated: Jul 11, 2017