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Book: The American Democracy (Ninth Edition) Prof: Carhart

civil liberties

the fundamental individual rights of a free society, such as freedom of speech and the right to a jury trial, which in the U.S. are protected by the Bill of Rights

Bill of Rights

the first ten amendments to the Constitution, which set forth basic protections for individual rights of free expression, fair trial, and property

freedom of expression

Americans' freedom to communicate their views, the foundation of which is the First Amendment rights of freedom of conscience, speech, press, assembly, and petition

clear-and-present-danger test

a test devised by the Supreme Court in 1919 in order to define the limits of free speech in the context of national security. According to the test, government cannot abridge political expression unless it presents a clear and present danger to the nation's security

symbolic speech

action for the purpose of expressing a political opinion

prior restraint

Governmental prohibition of speech or publication before the fact, which is presumed by the courts to be unconstitutional unless the justification for it is overwhelming

due process clause (14th amendment)

the clause of the Constitution that has been used by the judiciary to apply the Bill of Rights to the actions of state governments

selective incorporation

the process by which certain of the rights (ex. freedom of speech) contained in the Bill of Rights become applicable through the Fourteenth Amendment to actions by the state governments

imminent lawless action test

a legal test that says government cannot lawfully suppress advocacy that promotes lawless action unless such advocacy is aimed at producing, and is likely to produce, imminent lawless action


Publication of material that falsely damages a person's reputation


Spoken words that falsely damage a person's reputation

establishment clause

the First Amendment provision stating that government may not favor one religion over another or favor religion over no religion, and prohibiting Congress from passing laws respecting the establishment of religion

free-exercise clause

a First Amendment provision that prohibits the government from interfering with the practice of religion or prohibiting the free exercise of religion

right of privacy

a right implied by the freedoms in the Bill of Rights that grants individuals a degree of personal privacy upon which government cannot lawfully intrude. The right givers individuals a level of free choice in areas such as reproduction and intimate relations

procedural due process

the constitutional requirement that government must follow proper legal procedures before a person can be legitimately punished for an alleged offence

exclusionary rule

the legal principle that government is prohibited from using in trials evidence that was obtained by unconstitutional means (for example, illegal search and seizure)

Hugo Black

A judge of the twentieth century; he served on the Supreme Court from 1937 to 1971.
Black was a strong defender of the civil liberties of the individual against intrusion by the state.

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.

Gitlow v. New York

A supreme court case between Gitlow, a socialist, who pushed and called for the establishment of socialism in America. He was arrested for distributing left wing socialist pamphlets. It was ruled that no state can deny a citizen of their first amendment rights.

Griswold v. Connecticut

the Court held that there was a right to "privacy" implied in the First, Fourth, and Ninth Amendments to the Constitution. This right prevented the State of Connecticut from prohibiting the sale of contraceptives. The Court held that a married couple could not be prevented from obtaining contraceptives.

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.

Gideon v. Wainwright

a landmark case in United States Supreme Court history. In the case, the Supreme Court unanimously ruled that state courts are required under the Sixth Amendment of the Constitution to provide counsel in criminal cases for defendants unable to afford their own attorneys.

capital punishment

the death penalty for certain very serious crimes such as murder or treason

incarceration rate

A figure derived by dividing the # of people incarcerated by the population of the area & multiplying the results by 100,000; used to compare incarceration levels of units w/ different population sizes

Roe v. Wade

Supreme Court decision siding with a mother and her right to privacy, and individual right to have an abortion.

Federal Sentencing guidelines

written by Congress instructing the judge to impose a specific sentence unless there is a proven mitigating or aggravating factor in the case

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