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Religious Freedom Restoration Act

1993 Act that gave people the right to practice religious activities unless prohibited by laws that are narrowly tailored and the government can show a compelling interest

Four categories of nonprotected speech?

libel, obscenity, fighting words, and commercial speech


published defamation or false statements by government and individual.

seditious libel/action

libel that provokes the overthrow of gov/provokes the overthrow of gov through action.

Smith Act of 1940

law forbade the advocating the overthrow of the gov, distributing material advocating the overthrow of gov, and organizign for suhc purpose with violence

New York Times vs Sullivan

seditious libel = declared unconst.
It is not unconst now.

What must one do to convict someone of libel?

prove that statement was actual malice, meaning that it was indented to knowingly disregard the truth.

What did Miller vs CA determine?

def of obscenity

Three characteristics for something to be considered obscene?

1) appeals to a interest in sex
2)describs sex in a way that is illegal
3) work lacks serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value.

Are racial insults, ethic, and gender slurs considered fighting words?


Prior restraint

censorship imposed before a speech is made or a newspaper is published; usually presumed to be unconst.

What is the generally only prior restraint that is const?

When it deals with national security and military matters
and school newspapers


Court strike downs likes that are vague

civil liberties

freedoms to think and act without government interference or fear of unfair legal treatment

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

writ of habeas corpus

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

ex post facto law

a law that makes an act criminal although the act was legal when it was committed

bills of attainder

laws that punish a person without a jury trial

What are the two parts to the 14th amendment?

1) due process clause- no person shall be deprived by a state of liberty, life, or property without due process of the law (applies to state in this amendment)
2)equal protection clause

gitlow v. New York

freedom of speech is protected by 14 amendment for due process for the states

selective incorporation

The process by which provisions of the Bill of Rights are brought within the scope of the Fourteenth Amendment and so applied to state and local governments.

new judicial federalism

set minimum federal standards and leave protecting to the state bill of rights

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