39 terms

Chapter 4: Civil Liberties

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bill of attainder
A law that declares a person guilty of a crime without a trial. Prohibited in Article I, Section 9 of the U.S. Constitution.
ex post facto laws
Laws that declare an action to be illegal after it has been committed. Prohibited in Article I, Section 9 of the U.S. Constitution.
Bill of Rights
The first 10 amendments to the U.S. Constitution, ratified in 1791. They protect state power and guarantee civil liberties.
civil liberties
Areas of personal freedom constitutionally protected from government interference.
selective incorporation
The process by which different protections in the Bill of Rights were incorporated into the 14th Amendment, thus guaranteeing citizens protection from interference by state as well as national government. The process applies the Bill of Rights to the states on a case-by-case basis.
establishment clause
The 1st Amendment clause that says Congress will not make laws establishing (promoting) religion. The basis for a separation between church and state.
Lemon v. Kurtzman (1971)
Supreme Court decision that formulated the "Lemon test" to determine if government financial assistance to religious schools was permissible. The decision states that government action toward religion is permissible if it is secular in purpose and neither promotes nor inhibits the practice of religion.
Engel v. Vitale (1962)
Supreme Court decision that incorporated the establishment clause (applied it to state governments) and thereby made public school prayer unconstitutional.
free exercise clause
The 1st Amendment clause that says Congress will not make laws preventing individuals from practicing their religion.
West Virginia Board of Education v. Barnette (1943)
Supreme Court decision that protected the right of Jehovah's Witnesses' to not say the Pledge of Allegiance due to their conviction that the civic pledge was a form of idolatry. The case overturned a previous decision ruling that students could be compelled to recite the Pledge of Allegiance and expelled from school for not doing so.
Wisconsin v. Yoder (1972)
Supreme Court decision that permits Amish parents to withdraw their children from public school after the 8th grade for religious purposes. The Amish argue that a high school education makes adherence to their religious beliefs difficult and that compulsory attendance violates their religious freedom.
Tinker v. Des Moines School District (1971)
Supreme Court decision that protected symbolic speech under the 1st Amendment by denying the public schools the ability to prevent students from wearing black armbands in school to protest the Vietnam War.
Texas v. Johnson (1989)
Supreme Court decision that protected symbolic speech under the 1st Amendment by overturning state laws forbidding flag burning. The case protected an individual's right to burn the American flag.
speech plus
Speech accompanied by conduct such as sit-ins, picketing, and demonstrations. Protection of this form of speech under the 1st Amendment is conditional and restrictions may be permissible.
Snyder v. Phelps (2011)
Supreme Court decision that protected the right of the Westboro Baptist Church to picket military funerals and express their disapproval of same-sex marriage and homosexuality. The "church" (hate group) believes that American soldiers are killed overseas as divine punishment for America's acceptance of homosexuality.
Schenck v. United States (1919)
Supreme Court decision that upheld convictions under the Espionage Act of 1917 arguing that the 1st Amendment did not protect speech that posed a "clear and present danger" to society.
"clear and present danger" test
Test formulated by the Supreme Court in 1919 to determine when government can limit or censor free speech. Ultimately replaced by the "direct incitement" test in 1969.
Brandenburg v. Ohio (1969)
Supreme Court decision that ruled freedom of speech is protected by the 1st Amendment as long as it does not directly incite violence. The decision expanded free speech rights by formulating the "direct incitement" test.
"direct incitement" test
Test formulated by the Supreme Court in 1969 to determine when speech actually poses a "clear and present danger " to society. If speech does not directly incite acts of violence, then it is permissible and poses no direct threat to society.
Buckley v. Valeo (1976)
Supreme Court decision that established the precedent that spending money by or on behalf of a political candidate is a form of free speech protected by the 1st Amendment. The decision enabled individuals to contribute unlimited amounts of money to their own political campaigns.
McConnell v. Federal Election Commission (2003)
Supreme Court decision that upheld the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act (2002), which enabled Congress to regulate campaign spending by independent groups.
Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission (2010)
Supreme Court decision that reversed the precedent upheld in the McConnell (2003) that Congress has the authority to regulate campaign finance. The decision overturned many of the regulations established by the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act (2002) and allowed wealthy individuals and groups to spend unlimited amounts of money on political advertisements.
Near v. Minnesota (1931)
Supreme Court decision that incorporated the 1st Amendment's protection against prior restraint (censorship).
New York Times v. United States (1971)
Supreme Court decision that upheld the precedent of protecting the press from prior restraint. The case involved an attempt by the Nixon Administration to prevent the New York Times from publishing the Pentagon Papers and the Supreme Court sided with the Times.
libel
A written statement made in "reckless disregard of the truth" that is considered damaging to a victim.
New York Times v. Sullivan (1964)
Supreme Court decision that defined libel as a written statement that is not just false, but also made from malice and intention to harm. It is very difficult to prove that a journalist knowingly wrote something false about a public figure for malicious reasons, which makes it difficult to sue for libel.
slander
An oral statement made in "reckless disregard of the truth" that is considered damaging to a victim.
D.C. v. Heller (2008)
Supreme Court decision that created the precedent that individual's have a constitutional right to own firearms unconnected from service in a state militia. The decision interpreted the 2nd Amendment to formally protect an individual's right to bear arms.
McDonald v. Chicago (2010)
Supreme Court decision that incorporated the Heller decision protecting an individual right to bear arms. Prior to the McDonald decision, the 2nd Amendment did not apply to state and local government.
due process of law
The right of every individual against arbitrary action by national or state government. (Ex: protection against arbitrary arrest and imprisonment).
Mapp v. Ohio (1961)
Supreme Court decision that incorporated the "exclusionary rule" which forbids unlawfully obtained evidence from being used in court. The "exclusionary rule" requires law enforcement to obtain evidence following certain procedures in order to protect individuals' privacy.
grand jury
Jury that determines whether sufficient evidence is available to justify a trial; grand juries do not rule on the accused's guild or innocence.
double jeopardy
The 5th Amendment right protection that a person cannot be tried twice for the same crime.
Miranda v. Arizona (1966)
Supreme Court decision that protects criminal defendants by requiring law enforcement to inform individuals of their due process rights. The requirement is called the "Miranda rule" and requires individuals to be informed of their rights prior to police interrogation.
eminent domain
The right of government to take private property for public use.
Gideon v. Wainwright (1963)
Supreme Court decision that incorporated the 6th Amendment's right to counsel (legal representation). The decision extended the right to an attorney to the federal court system.
Griswold v. Connecticut (1965)
Supreme Court decision that created the precedent of a "right to privacy" that is based on the 1st, 3rd, and 4th Amendments. The decision overturned a state law forbidding the sale of contraception. The Court ruled that the "right to privacy" guarantees access to contraception information and products.
Roe v. Wade (1973)
Supreme Court decision that extended the "right to privacy" to guarantee access to legal abortion. The decision legalized abortion nationwide and prevented government from restricting access to abortion in the first trimester.
Planned Parenthood v. Casey (1992)
Supreme Court decision that formulated the "undue burden" test to determine when a regulation or restriction on abortion is permissible. The Casey decision upheld the precedent established in Roe that abortion is legal, but made it easier to regulate abortion as well.
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