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Limits on Rights

All individual rights have limits. Some limits on rights can be imposed by law, and other limits should be imposed by the individual as one of the responsibilities of citizenship.

Since the time of ancient republics rights have been understood to have legal limits. The Magna Carta, the English Bill of Rights, and the Massachusetts Body of Liberties all set limits on rights. Supreme Court cases that addressed limits on rights include Schenck v. United States (1919), Minersville v. Gobitas (1940), Buckley v. Valeo (1976), New Jersey v. T.L.O. (1985), Bethel School District v. Fraser, Hazelwood v. Kuhlmeier (1988), Washington v. Glucksberg (1997), Board of Education of Pottawatomie County v. Earls (2002), and Kelo v. New London (2005).

Citizens also have the responsibility to exercise their rights within reasonable limits that do not abridge the equal freedom of others. Liberty exercised without responsibility is license. Citizens can practice civic values including respect (limiting ones right to speak freely so that others can have a chance to speak) and moderation (avoiding extremes or excesses in all things.)