Bill of rights
a statement of fundamental rights and privileges (especially the first ten amendments to the United States Constitution)
freedoms to think and act without government interference or fear of unfair legal treatment
Clear and present danger
phrase used in the Supreme Court decision, Schenck v. United States (1919). It refers to the idea that the government has the right to punish individuals who engage in speech or actions which can be shown to present a serious and immediate danger to the nation or the interests of the government. Schenck had been convicted for having distributed leaflets urging people not to register for the draft during World War I. Although such "speech" would have been within his rights in peacetime, the Supreme Court ruled that the fact that he engaged in that activity in a time of war made his actions pose a "clear and present danger" to the nation.
Cruel and unusual punishment
punishment prohibited by the 8th amendment to the U.S. constitution
the prosecution of a defendant for a criminal offense for which he has already been tried
the First Amendment guarantee that the government will not create and support an official state church
a rule that provides that otherwise admissible evidence cannot be used in a criminal trial if it was the result of illegal police conduct
Fighting words doctrine
established in Chaplinsky v New Hampshire (1942), the decision incorporated into state law the concept that the government can limit free speech if it can be proved that the result of speech will cause physical violence.
Free exercise clause
the First Amendment guarantee that citizens may freely engage in the religious activities of their choice
Gitlow V New York 1925
established selective incorporation of the Bill of rights; states cannot deny freedom of speech; protected through the 14th amendment
Incorporation of the 14th amendment
doctrine that made the Bill of Rights apply to the states as a result of Supreme Court decisions
an accusation of wrongdoing
The practice of some courts using the bill of rights in their state constitutions to provide more protection for some rights than is provided by the Supreme Court's interpretation of the Bill of Rights in the Constitution.
a tort consisting of false and malicious publication printed for the purpose of defaming a living person
a document written by someone still legally capable requesting that they should be allowed to die if subsequently severely disabled or suffering terminal illness
Rights possessed by persons who are arrested by the police. (Remain silent, Attorney, etc.)
government censorship of information before it is published or broadcast
Procedural due process
Constitutional requirement that governments proceed by proper methods; limits how government may exercise power.
Separation of church and state
idea that the government and religion should be separate, and not interfere in each other's affairs. In the United States, this idea is based on the First Amendment to the US Constitution, which states that the government cannot make any laws to establish a state religion or prohibit the free exercise of religion.
an abusive attack on a person's character or good name
Substantive due process
Constitutional requirement that governments act reasonably and that the substance of the laws themselves be fair and reasonable; limits what a government may do.
nonverbal communication, such as burning a flag or wearing an armband. The Supreme Court has accorded some symbolic speech protection under the first amendment.
Writ of habeas corpus
a writ ordering a prisoner to be brought before a judge