56 terms

Civil Liberties


Terms in this set (...)

civil liberties
laws that protect people from the government; including freedom of speech
Bill of Rights
the first ten amendments in the constitution
First Amendment
Freedom of the press, speech, religion, and of assembly.
Incorporation Doctrine
The Bill of Rights is nationalized - provisions apply to the states through the 14th Amendment
establishment clause
Congress can not make any laws that are pro religion
free exercise clause
people should have the right to practice religion as they choose
prior restraint
a false written statement about an individual
symbolic speech
a form of freedom of expression without speaking
commercial speech
Communication in the form of advertising.
probable cause
The reason an officer has to arrest or search someone
search warrant
a written authorization from a court specifying the area to be searched and what the police are searching for
exclusionary rule
illegally obtained evidence can't be used in court
cruel and unusual punishment
court sentences prohibited by the Eighth Amendment, but the death penalty is not prohibited
right to privacy
personal information about individuals which can be collected by governments and other public
Lemon v. Kurtzman
SC case whose precedent established a three tier test to determine if the government is violating the 'establishment clause' of the first amendment
Gideon v. Wainwright
SC: "If you cannot afford an attorney, one will be provided for you."
Furman v. Georgia
SC: The death penalty is "cruel and unusual" (1972)
Gregg v. Georia
SC: The death penalty is not "cruel and unusual" (1976)
Roe v. Wade
SC: States may not restrict abortions during the 1st trimester.
14th Amendment (1868)
Grants citizenship to "all persons born or naturalized in the United States"; it forbids any state to deny any person "life, liberty or property, without due process of law" or to "deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of its laws."
Establishment Clause
a clause in the First Amendment to the Constitution stating that Congress shall make no law "respecting an establishment of religion."
"Wall-of-Separation" principle
a Supreme Court interpretation of the establishment clause in the First Amendment that prevents government involvement in religion, even on a non-preferential basis. Thomas Jefferson first coined this phrase.
Prior Restraint
According to this view the press is guaranteed freedom from censorship - that is, rules telling it in advance what it can publish. After publication, however, the government can punish the press for material that is judged to be libelous or obscene.
"Clear-and-Present-Danger" test
Proposed by Supreme Court justice Oliver Wendell Holmes in 1919, it held that Congress could punish only speech that created a "clear and present danger" of bring about the actions that Congress is authorized to prevent.
False speech intended to damage a person's reputation.
Symbolic Speech
an act that conveys a political message, such as burning a draft card to protest the draft.
Due process clause
protection against arbitrary deprivation of life, liberty, or property as guaranteed by the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments (especially the 14th Amendment).
Gitlow v. New York (1925)
established selective incorporation of the Bill of rights; states cannot deny freedom of speech; protected through the 14th amendment.
_________ distributed left-wing socialist propaganda, and convicted under a state anarchy law.
Engle v. Vitale (1962)
Ruled it is unconstitutional for state officials to compose an official school prayer and encourage its recitation in public schools.
No school prayers in public school. Establishment clause case.
Schenck v. United States (1919)
A 1919 decision upholding the conviction of a socialist who had urged young men to resist the draft during World War I. Justice Holmes declared that government can limit speech if the speech provokes a "clear and present danger" of substantive evils.
Freedom of speech guaranteed by the first amendment did not extend to words that constituted "a clear and present danger to the safety of the country." (1919)
Miller v. California (1973)
the Supreme Court said that if a work(play, film, book) is obscene if 1) it appeals to prurient interest 2) it portrays sexual content in patently offensive way 3) it lacks serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value; established the Miller Test; this is hard to define but if it is defined it is punishable.
Texas v. Johnson (1989)
A 1989 case in which the Supreme Court struck down a law banning the burning of the American flag on the grounds that such action was symbolic speech protected by the First Amendment
Probable cause
(law) evidence sufficient to warrant an arrest or search and seizure. See search warrant.
Unreasonable search and seizure
Obtaining evidence in a haphazard or random manner, a practice prohibited by the 4th amendment; probable cause and a search warrant are required for this to be legal
Search warrant
An order from a judge authorizing the search of a place: the order must describe what is to be searched and seized, and the judge can issue the warrant only if he or she is persuaded by the police that good reason (probable cause) exists that a crime has been committed and that the evidence bearing on the crime will be found at a certain location.
Exclusionary rule
a rule that holds that evidence gathered in violation of the Constitution cannot be used in a trial. The rule has been used to implement two provisions of the Bill of Rights - the right to be free from unreasonable searches or seizures (4th Amendment) and the right not to be compelled to give evidence against oneself (5th Amendment). See Mapp v. Ohio
Plea bargain
A bargain struck between the defendant's lawyer and the prosecutor to the effect that the defendant will plead guilty to a lesser crime (or fewer crimes) in exchange for the state's promise not to prosecute the defendant for a more serious (or additional) crime.
The situation occurring when an individual accused of a crime is compelled to be a witness against himself or herself in court. The Fifth Amendment forbids self-incrimination.
Cruel and unusual punishment
punishment prohibited by the Eighth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution; includes torture or other forms of punishment too severe for the crime committed
Due process
found in the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments to the U.S. Constitution, prohibits all levels of government from arbitrarily or unfairly depriving individuals of their basic constitutional rights to life, liberty, and property. A fundamental, constitutional guarantee that all legal proceedings will be fair
Procedural due process
Literal meaning of 5th & 14th Due Process Clauses: Government cannot deprive you of life, liberty or property without holding certain procedures (trial, lawyer, right to question witnesses). Many elements of PDP are specifically protected by 5th, 6th, 7th & 8th Amendments.
Substantive due process
a constitutional requirement that governments act reasonably and that the substance of the laws themselves be fair and reasonable; limits what a government may do
Double jeopardy
The act of trying an individual a second time after he has been acquitted on the same charges. This is prohibited by the 5th Amendment in the Constitution.
the temporary release of the accused who posts money or some other security to guarantee his or her court appearance
Eminent domain
Power of a government to take private property for public use; the U.S. Constitution gives national and state governments this power and requires them to provide just compensation for property so taken.
Good-faith exception
An exception to the Supreme Court exclusionary rule, holding that evidence seized on the basis of a mistakenly issued search warrant can be introduced at trial if the mistake was made in good faith, that is, if all the parties involved had reason at the time to believe that the warrant was proper.
Mapp v. Ohio (1961)
Supreme Court decided that evidence obtained in violation of the Fourth Amendment protection against "unreasonable searches and seizures" may not be used in criminal prosecutions in state courts, as well as federal courts. Established the exclusionary rule.
Miranda v. Arizona (1966)
Court confirmation of the obligation for authorities to inform a criminal suspect of his or her rights.
Supreme Court held that criminal suspects must be informed of their right to an attorney and of their right against self-incrimination prior to questioning by police.
Fourth Amendment
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.
Fifth Amendment
No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.
Sixth Amendment
In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defence.
Eighth Amendment
Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.
Lawrence v. Texas (2003)
State laws making sodomy (gay sex) a crime violate equal protection clause (fails rational basis test because only possible reason for law is homophobia)
Heller v. D.C.
Court held that the Second Amendment protects an individual right to possess a firearm unconnected with service in a militia, and to use that firearm for traditionally lawful purposes, such as self- defense within the home.
Griswold v. Connecticut (1965)
Established that there is an implied right to privacy in the U.S. Constitution