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The racial, economical, and social makeup of a voting district will often determine which party or candidate will get the most votes from that district. But the boundaries of electoral constituencies are not set in stone, and the party in power will often manipulate those boundaries to its own benefit.

Known colloquially as gerrymandering, the altering of electoral districts does have its legal limits, and those limits are currently being testing by North Carolina lawmakers, who, after a trial court ruled the state's legislative map had been unconstitutionally gerrymandered based on race, challenged that court's ruling that special elections with new districts were required to fix November's results. And now the Supreme Court has delayed that special election until it can review the court's ruling.

After the Ebola outbreak in 2014 and Zika virus in 2015, the fear that a deadly, communicable disease will find its way from foreign countries into America is very real. In response, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) proposed a new rule giving it more authority to detain, test, and quarantine travelers entering or moving through the United States.

This might seem like a good idea on its face -- after all, we don't want people dying from preventable diseases. But many are worried about the potential impact that forced detention and medical testing could have on civil liberties and informed consent.

While there are numerous legal protections for pregnant employees, being fired while pregnant isn't always a violation of the pregnancy anti-discrimination laws. However, all too frequently, pregnant employees are fired, demoted, or treated adversely, just because they are pregnant, which usually will be a violation of the law.

Proving that the motivation for the termination or other adverse action was discriminatory is a challenging task. Frequently, employers will provide no reason at all, or provide a pre-textual reason (a legitimate-sounding reason that is just meant to cover up the true, illegal, discriminatory reason). Fortunately, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission provides a formal complaint process (which is mandatory if you are considering filing a lawsuit).

Despite what president-elect Trump now thinks, burning and desecrating the United States flag is completely legal. On Tuesday, November 29, president elect Trump tweeted out that he believed people who burn the flag should lose their citizenship and face a year in prison. Could he ever make that happen?

Fortunately, the First Amendment protects flag burners, and the United States Supreme Court has confirmed the same. While there have been numerous attempts over the years to prohibit flag burning, none have been successful as the Supreme Court returns to the First Amendment protections and explains that burning the flag or desecrating the flag is an act of symbolic speech.

The First Amendment Defense Act is a bill before the United States Congress that would serve to protect individuals and businesses from federal action when they deny a person service if they are acting according to religious beliefs about marriage. While this may sound like an important protection to provide, as many critics have explained, the bill actually protects religious discrimination.

This is that notorious bill that would allow a bakeshop to deny a same-sex couple services based on religious beliefs. It could allow same-sex couples, whether married or not, to be denied not just cakes, but also the right to visit their partners in religious hospitals, or receive employer health benefits, all under the guise of religious freedom.

The freedom of speech is one of the most frequently cited constitutional rights online. Too frequently, it is cited to justify a person's right to say something that others find offensive or upsetting. However, while most understand that there actually are limits to free speech, just as many are shocked to learn the freedom of speech doesn't actually apply to any of the websites they are likely using.

For starters, the First Amendment only protects people from the government restricting their speech unreasonably. For instance, it does not protect people in real life, or on the internet, who incite violence; nor does it protect people making credible threats of violence.

Since websites are privately owned, websites are free to develop their own policies regarding what is or isn't allowed. You will generally have no legal recourse if a website chooses to censor you (although if it is done discriminatorily or in violation of a contract, you may).

Despite the fact that the choice of gender on official or legal documents is almost always limited to two choices, male or female, many people feel they don't fully belong on either end of the spectrum, but somewhere in the middle. One of those is Jaime Shupe, who was born with male genitalia but identifies as female, and feels more like "a third sex."

Fortunately for Jaime and others, courts and state and federal administrative offices are catching up with the evolving definitions of gender identity. In June, an Oregon judge granted a petition to change Jaime's gender from female to "non-binary."

From the right to free speech and the right to vote to the right to a fair trial, our civil liberties are protected under the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. And beyond the enumerated rights in those documents, courts have protected other civil liberties like the right to privacy.

We often think of civil rights and civil liberties as interchangeable, but there can be distinctions between the two groups. Here's a look at civil liberties guaranteed by the Constitution and how they differ from civil rights.

Last week, the Los Angeles City Council approved a measure that would effectively prohibit individuals from sleeping in their cars in any residential area, or near schools and parks. Although the measure was approved by the city council, it still needs to be signed into law by Mayor Eric Garcetti.

The new measure, if approved by Garcetti, would replace a prior ban that was put into place in the 1980s that was stuck down by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals a couple years ago.

When we go to a hospital, it's normally for a medical emergency when we need competent care quickly. We expect to get the medical treatment we need, and we expect to be treated just like any other patient. Unfortunately, that's not always the case.

Some hospitals may deny certain treatments or procedures based on religious grounds, and others are struggling with providing adequate medical services to transgender patients. And some doctors are profiling their patients based on race and gender. Here's a look at how hospitals discriminate against patients and what you can do about it.