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Bill of Attainder

a legislative act finding a person guilty of treason or felony without a trial

Bill of Rights

a statement of fundamental rights and privileges (especially the first ten amendments to the United States Constitution)

Civil Liberties

the legal constitutional protections against government

Clear and present danger test

started by Schenck case; government cannot interfere with speech unless the speech presents a clear and present danger that it will lead to evil or illegal acts; to shout "Fire" falsely in a crowded theater

due process clause

14th amendment clause stating that no state may deprive a person of life, liberty, or property without due process of law

establishment clause

the First Amendment guarantee that the government will not create and support an official state church

exclusionary clause

any evidence not obtained legally cannot be used in a trial

ex post facto laws

laws that take effect after the act takes place. Congress is prohibited from enacting this type of legislation.

free exercise clause

a first amendment provision that prohibits government from interfering with the practice of religion

freedom of expression

right to express oneself and one's views in spoken words, actions, printed materials, assemblies or gatherings and petitions submitted to the government. It refers to the collective rights guaranteed in the First Amendment to the US Constitution: religion, speech, press, assembly and petition.

freedom of religion

the First Amendment guarantee that citizens may freely engage in the religious activities of their choice

Gitolow v. New York

a decision by the United States Supreme Court, which ruled that the Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution had extended the reach of certain provisions of the First Amendment—specifically the provisions protecting freedom of speech and freedom of the press—to the governments of the individual states.
(due process clause)

hate crime

a criminal act against a person or a person's property by an offender motivated by racial or other bias

Lemon test- Lemon vs. Kurtzman

a case in which the Supreme Court of the United States ruled that Pennsylvania's 1968 Nonpublic Elementary and Secondary Education Act, which allowed the state Superintendent of Public Instruction to reimburse nonpublic schools (most of which were Catholic) for teachers' salaries who taught secular material in these nonpublic schools, secular textbooks and secular instructional materials, violated the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment


a tort consisting of false and malicious publication printed for the purpose of defaming a living person


unscrupulously accusing people of disloyalty (as by saying they were Communists)

Mapp v. Ohio

a landmark case in the area of U.S. criminal procedure, in which the United States 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.

Miranda v. Arizona

Supreme Court held that criminal suspects must be informed of their right to consult with an attorney and of their right against self-incrimination prior to questioning by police.


an offensive or indecent word or phrase

Patriot Act

This contraversial 2001 law allows anti-terrorism authorities to monitor e-mail and Internet traffic in order to prevent terrorist attacks. The government argues that cyberspace is public domain and that no warrants should be needed to access information.

prior restraint

government censorship of information before it is published or broadcast

probable cause

(law) evidence sufficient to warrant an arrest or search and seizure

Reno v. ACLU

1997. Decency Act = censorship of internet of obscenity. American citizens have the right to view this material by freedom of choice. Material of adult nature is protected online, however the violation of minors is against the law, direct violation.

search warrant

a warrant authorizing law enforcement officials to search for objects or people involved in the commission of a crime and to produce them in court

Sedition Act

Made it a crime to criticize the government or government officials. Opponents claimed that it violated citizens' rights to freedom of speech and freedom of the press, gauranteed by the First Amednment.

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.

symbolic speech

form of free speech interpreted by the Supreme Court as a guarantee under the First Amendment to the Constitution, such as wearing a black armband to protest a governmental action or burning an American flag in protest for political reasons.

wall-of-separation principle

(separation of church and state) Reflecting a concept often credited in its original form to the English political philosopher John Locke, the phrase separation of church and state is generally traced to the letter written by Thomas Jefferson in 1802 to the Danbury Baptists, in which he referred to the First Amendment to the United States Constitution as creating a "wall of separation" between church and state

writ of habeas corpus

a court order that requires police to bring a prisoner to court to explain why they are holding the person

affirmative action

a policy designed to redress past discrimination against women and minority groups through measures to improve their economic and educational opportunities

Bakke v. University of California

1978. ruled against reverse discrimination

Brown v. Board of Education

1954. court found that segregation was a violation of the Equal Protection clause "separate but equal" has no place

civil disobedience

a group's refusal to obey a law because they believe the law is immoral (as in protest against discrimination)

civil rights

right or rights belonging to a person by reason of citizenship including especially the fundamental freedoms and privileges guaranteed by the 13th and 14th amendments and subsequent acts of Congress including the right to legal and social and economic equ

Civil Rights Act of 1964

This act made racial, religious, and sex discrimination by employers illegal and gave the government the power to enforce all laws governing civil rights, including desegregation of schools and public places.

civil rights movement

movement in the United States beginning in the 1960s and led primarily by Blacks in an effort to establish the civil rights of individual Black citizens

de facto segregation

segregation (especially in schools) that happens in fact although not required by law

de jure segregation

segregation that is imposed by law

desegregation vs integration

the allowing vs. actively incorporating a racial or religious group into a community


unfair treatment of a person or group on the basis of prejudice

14th amendment

Declares that all persons born in the U.S. are citizens and are guaranteed equal protection of the laws

Martin Luther King, Jr.

U.S. Baptist minister and civil rights leader. A noted orator, he opposed discrimination against blacks by organizing nonviolent resistance and peaceful mass demonstrations. He was assassinated in Memphis, Tennessee. Nobel Peace Prize (1964)


National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, founded in 1909 to abolish segregation and discrimination, to oppose racism and to gain civil rights for African Americans, got Supreme Court to declare grandfather clause unconstitutional

Plessy v. Ferguson 1896

Seperate but equal facilities based upon race is constitutional


an opinion or strong feeling formed without careful thought or regard to the facts (against someone or some group)

reasonableness standard

the different treatment of two different groups of people must be reasonable and not arbitrary

reverse discrimination

Using race or sex to give preferential treatment to some people.

Roe v. Wade (1973)

Abortion rights fall within the privacy implied in the 14th amendment

selective incorporation

process that protects freedoms in the Bill of Rights within the scope of the 14th amendment; started by Gitlow v. New York

separate but equal doctrine

Principle upheld in Plessy v. Ferguson (1896) in which the Supreme Court ruled that segregation of public facilities was legal.

Swann v Charlotte-Mecklenburg Board of Education

1971. an important United States Supreme Court case dealing with the busing of students to promote integration in public schools. After a first trial going to the Board of Education, the Court held that busing was an appropriate remedy for the problem of racial imbalance among schools, even where the imbalance resulted from the selection of students based on geographic proximity to the school rather than from deliberate assignment based on race. This was done to ensure the schools would be "properly" integrated and that all students would receive equal educational opportunities regardless of their race.

Voting Rights Act of 1965

1965; invalidated the use of any test or device to deny the vote and authorized federal examiners to register voters in states that had disenfranchised blacks; as more blacks became politically active and elected black representatives, it rboguth jobs, contracts, and facilities and services for the black community, encouraging greater social equality and decreasing the wealth and education gap

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