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Politics of the United States
Honors Government Cases (Staton)
Terms in this set (80)
Morse v. Frederick (2007)
Student Joseph Frederick held up a sign outside his school that said "Bong Hits 4 Jesus". The principle of the school suspended Frederick for 10 days. He claimed it was a violation of his First Amendment rights.
What was the conclusion of Morse v. Frederick?
The Court ruled in favor of Principle Morse claiming that schoo officials can prohibits students fro displaying messages that promote illegal drug use.
Everson v. Board of Education of the Township of Ewing
A New Jersey law allowed reimbursements of money to parents who sent their children to school on buses operated by the public transportation system. Children who attended Catholic schools also qualified for this transportation subsidy.
Did the New Jersey statue in the Everson v. Board of Education case violate the Establishment Clause?
No because it was simply a law enacted as a "general program" to assist parents of all religions with getting their children to school.
Zelman v. Simmons-Harris (2002)
An Ohio Scholarship Program offers tuition aid in the form of vouchers for certain students in the Cleveland City School District to attend participating public or private schools of their parents choosing. Both religious and non-religious schools in the district may participate.
Does Ohio's school voucher program violate the Establishment Clause in Zelman v. Simmons-Harris?
No, because Ohio's program is part of Ohio's general undertaking to provide educational opportunities to children. It reaches religious institutions only by way of the deliberate choices of numerous individual recipients.
Lemon v. Kurtzman (1971)
Pennsylvania and Rhode Island adopted statutes that provided for the state to pay for aspects of non-secular and non-public education. The statute was passed and it provided funding for non-public elementary and secondary school teachers salaries, textbooks, and instructional materials for secular subjects. The appellants believed it violated the separation of church and state described in the First Amendment.
Do statutes that provide state funding for non-public, non-secular schools in Lemon v. Kurtzman violate the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment?
Yes the Court held that it must be one that neither promotes nor inhibit religion.
Lee v. Weisman (1992)
A school in Rhode Island invited a rabbi to speak at Daniel Weisman's daughter's graduation. Weisman filed for a permanent injunction barring Lee and other area public school officials from inviting clergy to deliver invocations at school ceremonies.
Does the inclusion of clergy who offers prayers at official public school ceremonies in Lee v. Weisman violate the Establishment Cause of the First Amendment?
Yes, the cornerstone principle of the Establishment Clause is that the government may not compose official prayers to recite as part of a religious program carried on by government.
Santa Fe Independent School District v. Doe (2000)
At a football game, a student elected at a council chaplain delivered a prayer describe as "overtly Christian". One Mormon and one Catholic family filed suit challenging this practice and others under the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment. Delivering a prayer before every home game is a tradition at the school. The District Court entered an order modifying the policy to permit only nonsectarian and nonproselytizing prayer.
Does the Santa Fe Independent School District's policy permitting student-led, student-initiated prayer at football games violate the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment?
Yes, the Court concluded that the football game prayers were public speech authorized by a government policy and taking place on government property at government-sponsored school-related events .
Church of Lukumi Babalu Aye, Inc v. City of Hialeah (1992)
The Church of Lukumi Babalu Aye practiced the religion of Santeria which uses animal sacrifice as a form of worship. After the announcement of the establishment of the church, the city council adopted several ordinances that prohibited possession of animals for sacrifice or slaughter.
Did the city of Hialeah's ordinance, prohibiting ritual animal sacrifices, violate the First Amendment's Free Exercise Clause?
Yes, the Court held that the ordinances were neither neutral nor generally applicable and that they had to be justified by a compelling governmental interest. The ordinances singled out the activities of the Santeria faith.
Wisconsin v. Yoder (1972)
Three parents were members of an Amish religion. They were persecuted under Wisconsin law that required all children to attend public schools until age 16. The parents refused to send their children to such schools and argued that high school attendance was contrary to their religious beliefs.
Did Wisconsin's requirement that all parents send their children to school at least until age 16 violate the First Amendment by criminalizing the conduct of parents who refused to send their children to school for religious reasons?
Yes the values and programs of secondary school were "in sharp conflict with the fundamental mode of life mandated by the Amish religion".
Snyder v. Phelps (2011)
The family of a deceased Marine filed suit against the Westboro Baptist Church whose members picketed at their son's funeral. In an 8-1 decision the Court ruled the First Amendment protected the church member's speech, "notwithstanding the distasteful and repugnant nature of the words."
Does the First Amendment protect protesters at a funeral from liability for intentionally inflicting emotional distress on the family of the deceased?
Yes, the Court held that the First Amendment shields those who stage a protest at the funeral of a military service from liability.
New York Times v. Sullivan (1964)
Concerns a full page ad which alleged that the arrest of the MLK Jr. was part of a campaign to destroy King's efforts to integrate public facilities and encourage blacks to vote L.B Sullivan who filed a libel action against the newspaper.
Did Alabama's libel law, by not requiring Sullivan to prove that an advertisement personally harmed him and dismissing the same as untruthful due to factual errors, unconstitutionally infringe on the First Amendment's freedom of speech and freedom of press protections?
The Court held that the First Amendment protects the publication of all statements, even false ones, about the conduct of public officials except when statements are made with actual malice k
Cohen v. California (1971)
A department store worker was charged because he was wearing a jacket in the hallway of a L.A. County courthouse with the words "F*** THE DRAFT. STOP THE WAR" on it. The Supreme Court reversed the decision because they ruled that the jacket was not directed towards anyone and the state presented no evidence that the words on Cohen's jacket would provoke people in substantial numbers to take physical action
Did California's statute, prohibiting the display of offensive messages such as "F$#% the Draft," violate freedom of expression as protected by the First Amendment?
Yes, the Court reasoned that the expletive, while provocative, was not directed toward anyone. There was no evidence that people would be provoked into some kind of physical action by the words on his jacket.
Miller v. California (1973)
Miller was convicted of violating a California statute prohibiting the distribution of obscene material after conducting a mass mailing campaign to advertise the sale of "adult" material. Unwilling recipients of Miller's brochures complained to the police.
Is the sale and distribution of obscene materials by mail protected under the First Amendment's freedom of speech guarantee?
The Court held that obscene materials did not enjoy First Amendment protection. The court modified the test for obscenity.
Chapinsky v. New Hampshire (1942)
Chapinsky, a Jehovah's witness, called a city marshal a "GD racketeer" and "a damned fascist" in a public place. He was arrested and convicted under a state for violating a breach of the peace.
Does the application of the statute violate Chaplinsky's freedom of speech protected by the First Amendment?
No, some forms of expression do not convey ideas and thus are not subject to First Amendment protection.
44 Liquormart v. Rhode Island (1996)
A state ban on advertising the strength of alcoholic beverages was an unconstitutional infringement on commercial speech. District court found the ban unconstitutional noting that it did not serve any interest Rhode Island might have had in promoting temperance.
Is Rhode Island's statute an infringement on the First Amendment right to commercial freedom of speech?
Yes, the Justice found RI's statutory ban on liquor price advertising to be an unconstitutional infringement of the liquor sellers' First Amendment right to freedom of speech.
Near v. Minnesota (1931)
Jay Near published a scandal sheet in Minneapolis, in which he attacked local officials, charging that they were implicated with gangsters. Minnesota officials prevented Near from publishing his newspaper.
Does the Minnesota "gag law" violate the free press provision of the First Amendment?
The Court held that the statute was unconstitutional as applied. The statutory scheme constituted a prior restraint.
R.A.V. v. City of St. Paul (1992)
Teenagers allegedly burned a cruelty fashioned cross on a black family's lawn. The police charged one of the teens under a local bias-motivated criminal ordinance. The state Supreme Court reversed R.A.V appealed to the U.S Supreme Court.
Is the ordinance overly broad and impermissible content-based in violation of the First Amendment free speech clause?
Yes the justices held the wordiness invalid on its face because "it prohibits otherwise permitted speech solely on the basis of the subjects the speech addresses"
Lynch v. Donnelly (1984)
The city of Pawtucket, RI annually erected a Christmas display including Santa Claus house, Christmas tree, and a banner reading "Season's Greetings" and a nativity scene. Daniel Donnelly objected to the display and took action against Dennis Lynch (the mayor).
Did the inclusion of a nativity scene in the city's display violate the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment?
No, the Court held that the city had not violated the Establishment clause because they thought it viewed in the context of the holiday season not to advocate a particular religious message.
County of Allegheny v. ACLU (1989)
Two public-sponsored holiday displays in Pittsburg were challenged by the ACLU. The first display involving a Christian nativity scent inside the Allegheny Courthouse and the second display was a large Chanukah menorah outside the building. The ACLU claimed the displays constituted state endorsement of religion.
Did public displays violate the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment?
The Court held that the créche inside the courthouse endorsed Christianity by prominently displaying the words "Glory to God for the birth of Jesus Christ. The court did not find a violation of the menorah on the outside.
McCreary County v. ACLU (2005)
The ACLU sued three KY countries in federal district court for displaying armed copies of the 10 Commandments in courthouses and public schools. The ACLU argued it violated the First Amendments Establishment clause.
Do 10 Commandments displays in public schools and in courthouses violate the establishment clause?
Yes the majority held that the displays violated the Establishment clause because their purpose had been to advance religion.
Texas v. Johnson (1989)
Gregory Lee Johnson burned an American flag in protest and was arrested under a law that banned flag desecration. The Supreme Court ruled the burning of a flag was a protected form of expression under the First Amendment and state laws that prohibited it were unconstitutional.
Is the desecration of an American flag, by burning or otherwise, a form of speech that is protected under the First Amendment?
The Court held that Johnson's actions were protected expression under the First Amendment. The Court felt his actions fell into the category of expressive conduct and had a distinctively political nature.
Tinker v. Des Moines (1969)
A group of students in Des Moines held a meeting to plan a public showing of their support for a truce in the Vietnam war. They decided to wear black armbands throughout the holiday season and to fast on December 16 and New Year's Eve. The principals of the school met to create a policy that stated that any student wearing an armband would be asked to remove it and failure to comply would result in suspension. Two students wore their armbands and were sent home. The students sued the school district through their parents in violating students right of expression.
Does a prohibition against the wearing of armbands in public school, as a form of symbolic protest, violate the students' freedom of speech protections guaranteed by the First Amendment?
Yes, the Supreme Court held that the armbands represented pure speech that is entirely separate from the actions or conduct of those participating in it. The Court also held that the students did not lose their First Amendment rights to freedom of speech when they stepped into school property.
West Virginia v. Barnette (1943)
The WV Board of Education required that the flag salute be part of the program of activity in all public schools. Refusal to salute was treated as insubordination and was punishable by expulsion.
Did the compulsory flag-salute for public schoolchildren violate the First Amendment?
The Court held its decision that compelling public schoolchildren to salute a flag was unconstitutional. The Court found that such a salute was a form of utterance and was a means of communicating ideas.
Schenck v. U.S. (1919)
Schenck mailed circulars to draftees and they suggested that the draft was a monstrous wrong motivated by the capitalist system. They urged "do not submit to intimidation" but advised only peaceful action such as petitioning to real the Conscription act.
Are Schenck's actions (words, expression) protected by the free speech clause of the First Amendment?
A unanimous Court held that Schenck is not protected in this situation.
Brandenburg v. Ohio (1969)
Brandenburg, a leader in the Ku Klux Klan, made a speech at a Klan rally and was later convicted under an Ohio criminal syndicalism law. The law made illegal advocating "crime, sabotage, violence, or unlawful methods of terrorism as a means of accomplishing industrial or political reform," as well as assembling "with any society, group, or assemblage of persons formed to teach or advocate the doctrines of criminal syndicalism."
Did Ohio's criminal syndicalism law, prohibiting public speech that advocates various illegal activities, violate Brandenburg's right to free speech as protected by the First and Fourteenth Amendments?
The Court held that the Ohio law violated Brandenburg's right to free speech.
Marsh v. Alabama (1945)
Grace Marsh attempted to distribute religious literature on the sidewalk near a post office in Alabama. After being informed she was on private property and told to stop distribution of her religious material, she refused. She was then arrested, tried, and convicted of trespass.
Did Alabama violate Marsh's rights under the First and Fourteenth
am endments by refusing to allow her to distribute religious material in the privately owned town of Chickasaw?
Yes there was no significant difference between the relationship between Chickasaw and private citizens and the relationship between any other town and its citizens. The Court ruled in Marsh's favor.
Griswold v. Connecticut (1965)
Griswold was the Executive Director of the Planned Parenthood League of Connecticut. Both she and the Medical Director for the League gave information, instruction, and other medical advice to married couples concerning birth control. Griswold and her colleague were convicted under a Connecticut law which criminalized the provision of counselling, and other medical treatment, to married persons for purposes of preventing conception.
Does the Constitution protect the right of marital privacy against state restrictions on a couple's ability to be counseled in the use of contraceptives?
Thought the Constitution does not explicitly state a general right to privacy, the various guarantees create zones that establish a right to privacy.
Roe v. Wade (1973)
A Texas resident sough to terminate her pregnancy by abortion. Texas Law prohibited abortions except to save the pregnant woman's life. After renting certiorari, the Court heard arguments twice
Does the constitution embrace a woman's right to terminate her pregnancy by abortion?
The Court held that a woman's right to an abortion fell within the right to privacy protected by the Fourteenth Amendment. As a result the laws of 46 states were affected by the Court's ruling.
Planned Parenthood v. Casey (1992)
Pennsylvania law created an abortion law that required a 24 hour waiting period prior to procedure and stated a minor seeking an abortion required consent of one parents and a married woman seeking an abortion had to indicate that she notified her husband of her intention to abort the fetus.
Can a state require women who want an abortion to obtain informed consent, wait 24 hours, and if minors, obtain parental consent,without violating their right to abortions as guaranteed by Roe v. Wade?
The Court again reaffirmed Roe, but it upheld most of the Pennsylvania provisions. After a new standar the only provision to fail the undue-burden test was the husband notification requirement.
Gonzales v. Carhart (2007)
In 2003, Congress and the President signed the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act. Dr. Carhart sued to stop the act from going into effect. The doctors argued that the Act could be applied to a more common abortion such as D&E. They also argued that the Act's lack of an exception for abortions is necessary to protect the health of the mother rendered it unconstitutional under the Courts decision in Stenberg v. Carhart.
Is the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act of 2003 an unconstitutional violation of personal liberty protected by the Fifth Amendment because the Act lacks an exception for partial-birth abortions necessary to protect the health of the mother?
No, the Court ruled that Congress's ban on partial-birth abortion was not unconstitutionally vague and did not impose an undue burden on the right to an abortion.
Terry v. Ohio (1968)
Terry and two other men were observed by a plain clothes policeman. The officer sopped and frisked the three men and found weapons on two of them. Terry was convicted of carrying a concealed weapon and sentenced to three years in jail.
Was the search and seizure of Terry and the other men in violation of the Fourth Amendment?
The Court held that the search undertaken by the officer was reasonable under the Fourth amendment that weapons seized could be introduced into evidence against Terry.
Mapp v. Ohio (1961)
Dollree Mapp was convicted of possessing obscene materials after an admittedly illegal police search of her home for a fugitive. She appealed her conviction on the basis of freedom of expression.
Were the confiscated materials protected by the First Amendment?
The Court brushed aside the First Amendment issue and declared that "all evidence obtained by searches and seizures in violation of the Constitution is inadmissible under the Fourth Amendment"
United States v. Leon (1984)
The exclusionary rule requires that evidence illegally seized must be excluded from criminal trials. Leon was the target of police surveillance and they applied to a judge for a search warrant of Leon's home based on the evidence from their surveillance. They searched his house and recovered large quantities of illegal drugs.
Is there a "good faith" exception to the exclusionary rule?
Yes the justices held that evidence seized on the basis of a mistakenly issued search warrant could be introduced at trial. The rule cannot deter the police in a case like Leon.
Miranda v. Arizona (1966)
Ernesto Miranda was arrested in his house and brought to the police station where he was questioned by police officers in connection with a kidnapping and rape. The police obtained a written confession which was admitted into evidence at trial despite the objection of the defense attorney.
Do the Fifth Amendment's protection against self-incrimination extend to the police interrogation of a suspect?
The Supreme Court held that the Fifth Amendment's protection against self-incrimination is available in all settings. Prosecution may not use statements arising from a custodial interrogation of a suspect unless certain procedural safeguards were in place.
Gideon v. Wainwright (1963)
Clarence Earl Gideon was charged in Florida state court with a felony: having broken into and entered a poolroom with the intent to commit a misdemeanor offense. When he appeared in court without a lawyer, Gideon requested that the court appoint one for him. Gideon represented himself and was found guilty and sentenced to five yeas in prison. He argued that the trial court's decision violated his constitutional rights to be represented by counsel.
Does the Sixth Amendment's right to counsel in criminal cases extend to felony defendants in state courts?
Yes, the Court held that the framers of the Constitution placed a high value on the right of the accused to have the means to put up a proper defense.
Gregg v. Georgia (1976)
Established that the death penalty does not necessarily violate the Constitution
Is the imposition of the death sentence prohibited under the Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments as "cruel and unusual" punishment?
No, the Court held that a punishment of death did not violate the Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments under all circumstances.
Roper v. Simmons (2005)
Execution of offenders for crimes committed while under the age of 18 is unconstitutional
Does the execution of minors violate the prohibition of "cruel and unusual punishment" found in the Eighth Amendment and applied to the states through the incorporation doctrine of the 14th Amendment?
Yes, the Court ruled that standards of decency have evolved so that executing minor is "cruel and unusual punishment" prohibited by the Eighth Amendment
Kennedy v. Louisiana (2008)
A Louisiana court found Patrick Kennedy guilty of raping his eight-year-old stepdaughter. Louisiana law allows the district attorney to seek the death penalty for defendants found guilty of raping children under the age of twelve.
Do states violate the Eight Amendment's ban on cruel and unusual punishment by imposing the death sentence for the crime of child rape?
Yes, the Court held that the Eighth Amendment bars states from imposing the death penalty for the rape of a child where the crime did not result.
Cruzan v. Director, Missouri Dept. of Health (1990)
Nancy Beth Cruzan was involved in an automobile accident which left her in a "persistent vegetative state". She was sustained for several weeks by artificial feedings through an implanted gastronomy tube. When her family attempted to terminate the life-support system the state hospital officials refused to do so without court approval.
Did the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment permit Cruzan's parents to refuse life-sustaining treatment on their daughter's behalf?
The Court held that while individuals enjoyed he right to refuse medical treatment under the Due Process Clause. The Court found the State of Missouri's actions designed to preserve human life to be constitutional.
Vacco v. Quill (1997)
Several doctors and three patients challenged the constitutionality of the NY State ban on physician-assisted suicide. NY's ban while permitting patients to refuse lifesaving treatment on their own.
Did New York's ban on physician-assisted suicide violate the Fourteenth Amendment's Equal Protection Clause by allowing competent terminally ill adults to withdraw their own lifesaving treatment, but denying the same right to patients who could not withdraw their own treatment and could only hope that a physician would do so for them?
No, employing a rationality test to examine the guarantees of the Equal Protection CLause.
Washington v. Glucksberg (1997)
Dr. Harold Glucksberg along with three other physicians contemplating physician assisted suicide, this brought this suit challenging the state of Washington's ban on Physician assistant suicide. The state of Washington has historically criminalized the promotion of suicide attempts by those who "knowingly cause or aid another person to attempt suicide". GLucksberg alleged that Washington's ban was unconstitutional.
Did Washington's ban on physician assisted-suicide violate the Fourteenth Amendment's Due Process Clause by denying competent terminally ill adults the liberty to choose death over life?
No the Court focuses on two primary aspects: the protection of our nation;s objective fundamental rights and Liberties, and the cautious definition of what constitutes a due process liberty interest.
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