Civil Rights Law


Welcome to Lawshelf’s video course on civil rights. This course focuses on the rights of all Americans under the federal and state Constitutions and laws. The course surveys the framework of these rights and goes into many specifics, including the rights to equal protection, due process and freedom of religion. Some other fundamental rights, including freedom of speech, are left for other LawShelf courses.

This is an intermediate-level course, focusing on some obscure Constitutional law concepts, but requires no previous experience or knowledge to participate.

The course starts with the structure of civil rights laws and the various sources of those protections. We’ll look at constitutional rights and federal and state civil rights laws.

The second module focuses on equal protection. We’ll look at the history of the equal protection clause and its passage in the wake of the civil war. We’ll look at landmark Supreme Court cases and the standards under which alleged equal protection violations are judged. We’ll also look at the interesting case of “benign” discrimination in the form of affirmative action programs.

Our third module looks at due process. We’ll focus both on procedural due process, which looks at whether the government gave a person a fair opportunity to defend before a deprivation of life, liberty or property, and substantive due process, which ensures that government cannot legislatively deprive people of rights without adequate justification.

Module 4 discusses religious discrimination, including a look at the establishment and free exercise clauses of the First Amendment. We’ll also look at federal laws that try to protect religious freedom, such as the Religious Freedom Restoration Act and the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act, and the long lines of cases those acts have spawned. Finally, we’ll look at accommodations and exceptions from the law that governments must make to accommodate religious freedom.

The last module turns to the practical side of things by discussing federal and state causes of action to vindicate civil rights. We’ll look at federal “Section 1983” actions and comparable state lawsuits. We’ll also focus on the roles of states in protecting civil rights.

By the end of this course, we’re confident that you’ll have a clearer picture of the framework in which our governments and court systems seek to protect our civil rights.

Best of luck and we welcome your feedback.

What is a video-course?

A LawShelf video-course is an in-depth series of presentations on a discreet legal topic. LawShelf video-courses focus on practical legal information and applications and are each designed to familiarize the viewer with a legal topic quickly and efficiently.

Who should take a video-course?

Our video courses are designed for professionals such as attorneys, paralegals, corporate officers and financial professionals, as well as laypeople looking to deepen their knowledge of particular areas of law. The courses allow you to acquire the specific knowledge and skills that you need without the expense and time commitment of going “back to school” for a degree. 

How do I learn?

Video courses are divided into 5 or 6 modules.  Each module contains a video lesson (usually about 15 minutes long) and a series of self-test questions that you can use to practice and make sure that you understand the material.

How do I complete a video-course?

To complete a video-course, you must pass a 10-question multiple-choice examination by scoring 70% or higher.  The questions on the exam are randomly selected from the self-test question sets for the various modules. You can retake an exam as many times as you need to, though you will not get the same questions each time since the questions are drawn from an exam bank.

How long will it take me to complete a video-course?

Between watching the modules, doing the self-test practice questions, reviewing the material and taking the final exam, we estimate that completing a video-course requires a time investment of 4-5 hours.  The courses are designed to get straight to the point. We’re cognizant that your time is valuable, and we condense the information you need to know to comprehensively cover a subject into as little time as practical.

Is there limit to how many video-courses I can take or complete?

No. A LawShelf subscription enables you to access any and all LawShelf content, including all video-courses. You can take courses as quickly or slowly as your time allows.

Do I receive any recognition for completing a video-course?

Once you complete the course by passing the final exam, you will be awarded a digital badge to display as evidence of your training and accomplishment.

How will a digital badge help me? 

Modern educational trends are moving away from traditional classroom-based course completion models and towards skills-based education. Employers today care more about skills than ever before. LawShelf digital badges conform to the Open Badge standard and are verifiable records of your skills that can easily be shared online.

How long do I retain access to the course materials?

You retain access the modules and take the final exam as long as you are a subscriber to LawShelf.

An Introduction to Civil Rights - Module 1 of 5

Equal Protection - Module 2 of 5

Due Process and Civil Rights - Module 3 of 5

Religious Discrimination - Module 4 of 5

Suing for a Civil Rights Violation - Module 5 of 5

Final Exam only needs to be taken by those seeking to earn the Digital Badge credentials for this course.