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Civil Rights & Liberties Final Exam

Cantwell v. Connecticut (1940)
Newton Cantwell challenged Connecticut in Cantwell v. Connecticut (1940) for being arrested on the grounds of solicitation. In this case the Court struck down a state law that prohibited door-to-door solicitation for any religious or charitable cause without prior approval of a state agency.
Douglas v. City of Jeanette (1943)
The court held that police could not prohibit members of the Jehovah's Witnesses from peaceable and orderly proselytizing on Sunday's merely because other citizens complained.
Murdock v. Pennsylvania (1943)
The court held that a state law requiring the payment of a tax for the privilege of solicitation could not be constitutionally applied to religious solicitation.
Niemotko v. Maryland (1951)
The Supreme Court held unconstitutional a city council's denial of a permit to the Jehovah's Witnesses to use the city park for a public meeting. The city council had refused to grant the permit because the Jehovah's Witnesses' answers to questions about Catholicism, military service, and other issues were "unsatisfactory." A unanimous Supreme Court regarded this denial of the public forum to an unpopular religious group as blatant censorship.
Religion Clauses of the First Amendment
Were put in place to ensure that no religion was established as the "official" religion of government. The First Amendment to the Constitution provides that "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof." These clauses not only reflect the strong desire for religious freedom held by eighteenth century Americans, but they also protect and foster the religious diversity that exists in America today.
Belief vs. Conduct
School Prayer
McGowan v. Maryland (1961)
The Court upheld laws that prohibited certain businesses from operating on Sunday, despite the obvious religious underpinnings of such restrictions. In the court's view these Sunday closing laws had a secular purpose in that they represented the community's desire for of rest and relaxation, independent of any religious significance.
Free Exercise Clause
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof
Benevolent Neutrality
Conscientious Objector
a person who refuses to serve in the military because of moral or religious beliefs
United States v. Seeger:
A case in which four men claimed conscientious objector status in refusing to serve in the Vietnam War. This prompted the Universal Military Training and Service Act of 1940 in which Congress exempted from combat duty anyone "who, by reason of religious training and belief, is conscientiously opposed to participation in war in any form."
Religious Speech
receives the highest degree of protection.
Expressive Religious Conduct
receives the highest degree of protection.
Definitions of Religion
Four criteria to meet a religion:

1. There must be a belief in God or some parallel belief that occupies a central place in the believer's life.
2. The religion must involve a moral code that transcends individual belief - it cannot be purely subjective.
3. Some associational ties must be involved. There must be some community of people united by common beliefs.
4. There must be a demonstrable sincerity of belief.
Public Forum
In United States constitutional law, a public forum is a government-owned property that is open to public expression and assembly.
Oregon Peyote Case
Two Native Americans who worked as counselors for a private drug rehabilitation organization, ingested peyote -- a powerful hallucinogen -- as part of their religious ceremonies as members of the Native American Church. As a result of this conduct, the rehabilitation organization fired the counselors. The counselors filed a claim for unemployment compensation. The government denied them benefits because the reason for their dismissal was considered work-related "misconduct." The counselors lost their battle in state court. But the U.S. Supreme Court vacated the Oregon Supreme Court's judgment against the disgruntled employees, and returned the case to the Oregon courts to determine whether or not sacramental use of illegal drugs violated Oregon's state drug laws (485 U.S. 660 (1988)). On remand, the Oregon Supreme Court concluded that while Oregon drug law prohibited the consumption of illegal drugs for sacramental religious uses, this prohibition violated the free exercise clause. The case returned to the U.S. Supreme Court in this new posture.

Justice Antonin Scalia, writing for the majority, observed that the Court has never held that an individual's religious beliefs excuse him from compliance with an otherwise valid law prohibiting conduct that government is free to regulate. Allowing exceptions to every state law or regulation affecting religion "would open the prospect of constitutionally required exemptions from civic obligations of almost every conceivable kind." Scalia cited as examples compulsory military service, payment of taxes, vaccination requirements, and child-neglect laws.
Time, Place & Manner Regulations
Religious expression in the public forum is subject to reasonable time, place, and manner regulations. Airports, courthouses, and other public buildings may be declared off-limits to all First Amendment activities, as long as particular groups are not singled out. Similarly, religious proselytizing in congested areas may be limited to certain areas so as to maintain the safe and orderly flow of pedestrian and vehicular traffic.
Minersville School District v. Gobitis (1940)
The Supreme Court upheld a local school board requirement that all public school students participate in a daily flag salute program. The requirement had been challenged by a member of the Jehovah's Witnesses whose children were being forced to salute the American flag in violation of their religious training, which held the flag salute to be the worship of a "graven image".
West Virginia State Board of Education v. Barnette (1943)
The West Virginia Board of Education required that the flag salute be part of the program of activities in all public schools. All teachers and pupils were required to honor the Flag; refusal to salute was treated as "insubordination" and was punishable by expulsion and charges of delinquency.

In a 6-to-3 decision, the Court overruled its decision in Minersville School District v. Gobitis and held that compelling public schoolchildren to salute the flag was unconstitutional. The Court found that such a salute was a form of utterance and was a means of communicating ideas. "Compulsory unification of opinion," the Court held, was doomed to failure and was antithetical to First Amendment values. Writing for the majority, Justice Jackson argued that "[i]f there is any fixed star in our constitutional constellation, it is that no official, high or petty, can prescribe what shall be orthodox in politics, nationalism, religion, or other matters of opinion or force citizens to confess by word or act their faith therein."
Reynolds v. United States (1879)
The Court upheld application of the federal antipolygamy statute to a Mormon who claimed it was his religious duty to have several wives. The federal law in question merely adopted the long-standing common law prohibition against bigamy (the crime of having more than one spouse).
Goldman v. Weinberger (1986)
Goldman was a commissioned officer in the United States Air Force, an Orthodox Jew, and an ordained rabbi. He was not allowed to wear his yarmulke while on duty and in Air Force uniform. An Air Force regulation mandated that indoors, headgear could not be worn "except by armed security police in the performance of their duties."

The Court held that the Air Force regulation did not violate the Constitution. Justice Rehnquist argued that, generally, First Amendment challenges to military regulations are examined with less scrutiny than similar challenges from civilian society, given the need for the military to "foster instinctive obedience, unity, commitment, and esprit de corps." Since allowing overt religious apparel "would detract from the uniformity sought by dress regulations," the Air Force regulation was necessary and legitimate. In 1987, Congress passed legislation which reversed this decision and allowed members of the armed forces to wear religious apparel in a "neat and conservative" manner.
Fundamental Rights
Fundamental rights are a group of rights that have been recognized by the Supreme Court as requiring a high degree of protection from government encroachment. These rights are specifically identified in the Constitution (especially in the Bill of Rights), or have been found under Due Process. Laws limiting these rights generally must pass strict scrutiny to be upheld as constitutional. Examples of fundamental rights not specifically listed in the Constitution include the right to marry and the right to privacy, which includes a right to contraception and the right to interstate travel.
Wisconsin v. Yoder (1972)
The Supreme Court held that a state's compulsory high school attendance law could not be constitutionally applied to members of the Old Order Amish faith, which does not permit secular education beyond the eighth grade. Writing for the Court, Chief Justice Warren E. Burger placed great stress on the fact that the education of the Amish teenager continued in the home, with emphasis on practical skills as well as religious and moral values.
Minnesota v. Hershberger
The Court vacated a state supreme court decision exempting the Amish from compliance with State traffic laws. On the other hand, the Court has long recognized the rights of parents in matters pertaining to the education of their children.
Sherbert v. Verner (1963)
The Court said that freedom of religion is a fundamental right that could be abridged only if necessary to protect a compelling government interest.

Adeil Sherbert, a member of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, was fired from her job after she refused to work on Saturday, the Sabbath Day of her faith. The South Carolina Employment Security Commission denied her benefits, finding unacceptable her religious justification for refusing Saturday work.
The Court held that the state's eligibility restrictions for unemployment compensation imposed a significant burden on Sherbert's ability to freely exercise her faith. Furthermore, there was no compelling state interest which justified such a substantial burden on this basic First Amendment right.
Religious Displays on Public Land
Parens Patriae Doctrine
Our legal traditions recognize government as parens patriae, meaning literally "parent of the country." This term refers to the role of government as guardian of persons who are not legally competent to make their own decisions, such as children, the severely retarded, and the mentally ill. Occasionally, the state uses this power to take custody of children who are victims of neglect or abuse. The state's role as parens patriae has sometimes come into conflict with the Free Exercise Clause when parents refuse on religious grounds to allow their children to receive medical treatment.
Ex Post Facto Laws
right to refuse medical treatment
Although some State and Federal court decisions have recognized a competent adult's right to refuse medical treatment on religious and/or privacy grounds, courts are generally disinclined to uphold such free exercise claims where the health of children is involved. Judges generally assume that children are not sufficiently mature to make rational choices regarding medical treatment and, in some instances, must be protected against the consequences of their parents' unusual religious convictions.
Prince v. Massachusetts (1944)
The Supreme Court upheld a child labor law against an attack based on the Free Exercise Clause. The law prohibited boys under age 12 and girls under 18 from selling newspapers on the streets. The law was challenged by a member of the Jehovah's Witnesses whose children normally assisted her in the sale and distribution of religious literature. Dividing 8 to 1, the Court held that the state's role as parens patriae in protecting the safety of children overrode Prince's free exercise claim.
Bills of Attainder
Separation of Church & State
The Establishment Clause of the First Amendment was adopted in contradiction to the practice, prevalent not only in Europe but among the American colonies, of having official churches supported by taxation. Indeed, as previously noted, some states maintained their established churches well into the 19th century. Thus, the concept of "a wall of separation between church and state," as Thomas Jefferson referred to it, was an American invention whose application remained to be worked out in practice.
Habeas Corpus
Lemon Test
A three-pronged test for determining the constitutionality of policies challenged under the Establishment Clause.

Under the Lemon test, a challenged policy must meet the following criteria in order to pass muster under the Establishment Clause: (1) it must have a "secular legislative purpose"; (2) it must not have the principal or primary effect of "inhibiting or advancing religion"; and (3) it must avoid an "excessive government entanglement with religion."
search & seizure
reasonable expectation of privacy
child benefit theory
Engel v. Vitale (1962)
The Board of Regents for the State of New York authorized a short, voluntary prayer for recitation at the start of each school day. This was an attempt to defuse the politically potent issue by taking it out of the hands of local communities. The blandest of invocations read as follows: "Almighty God, we acknowledge our dependence upon Thee, and beg Thy blessings upon us, our teachers, and our country."

Does the reading of a nondenominational prayer at the start of the school day violate the "establishment of religion" clause of the First Amendment?

Yes. Neither the prayer's nondenominational character nor its voluntary character saves it from unconstitutionality. By providing the prayer, New York officially approved religion. This was the first in a series of cases in which the Court used the establishment clause to eliminate religious activities of all sorts, which had traditionally been a part of public ceremonies. Despite the passage of time, the decision is still unpopular with a majority of Americans.
Abington School District v. Schempp/Murray v. Curlett
In 1963, the Court reinforced the Engel decision in the companion cases by striking down the practice of Bible reading and the recitation of the Lord's Prayerin the Pennsylvania and Maryland public schools.
open fields exception
Wallace v. Jaffree (1985)
The Court struck down an Alabama law that required public schools to observe a moment of silence "for the purpose of meditation or voluntary power" at the start of each school day.
Lee v. Weisiman (1992)
The Court held unconstitutional the practice of inviting a member of the clergy to deliver a nonsectarian prayer at a public school graduation ceremony.
Santa Fe Independent School District v. Doe (2000)
The court split 5 to 4 in striking down a public high school's policy of allowing students to elect a chaplain to deliver invocations before football games.
warrant requirement
Scopes Trial
Scopes trial, Tennessee legal case involving the teaching of evolution in public schools. A statute was passed (Mar., 1925) in Tennessee that prohibited the teaching in public schools of theories contrary to accepted interpretation of the biblical account of human creation. John T. Scopes, a biology teacher, was tried (July, 1925) for teaching Darwinism in a Dayton, Tenn., public school. Clarence Darrow was one of Scopes's attorneys, while William Jennings Bryan aided the state prosecutor. Darrow argued that academic freedom was being violated and claimed that the legislature had indicated a religious preference, violating the separation of church and state. He also maintained that the evolutionary theory was consistent with certain interpretations of the Bible, and in an especially dramatic session he sharply questioned Bryan on the latter's literal interpretation. Scopes was convicted, partly because of the defense, which refused to plead any of the technical defenses available, fearing an acquittal on a technical rather than a constitutional basis. Scopes was, however, later released by the state supreme court on a technicality. Although the outcry over the case tended to discourage enactment of similar legislation in other states, the law was not repealed until 1967.
probable cause
Edwards v. Aguillard (1968)
A Louisiana law entitled the "Balanced Treatment for Creation-Science and Evolution-Science in Public School Instruction Act" prohibited the teaching of the theory of evolution in the public schools unless that instruction was accompanied by the teaching of creation science, a Biblical belief that advanced forms of life appeared abruptly on Earth. Schools were not forced to teach creation science. However, if either topic was to be addressed, evolution or creation, teachers were obligated to discuss the other as well

Did the Louisiana law, which mandated the teaching of "creation science" along with the theory of evolution, violate the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment as applied to the states through the Fourteenth Amendment?

Yes. The Court held that the law violated the Constitution. Using the three- pronged test that the Court had developed in Lemon v. Kurtzman (1971) to evaluate potential violations of the Establishment Clause, Justice Brennan argued that Louisiana's law failed on all three prongs of the test. First, it was not enacted to further a clear secular purpose. Second, the primary effect of the law was to advance the viewpoint that a "supernatural being created humankind," a doctrine central to the dogmas of certain religious denominations. Third, the law significantly entangled the interests of church and state by seeking "the symbolic and financial support of government to achieve a religious purpose."
Epperson v. Arkansas
The Arkansas legislature passed a law prohibiting teachers in public or state- supported schools from teaching, or using textbooks that teach, human evolution. Epperson, a public school teacher, sued, claiming the law violated her First Amendment right to free speech as well as the Establishment Clause. The State Chancery Court ruled that it violated his free speech rights; the State Supreme Court reversed.

Does a law forbidding the teaching of evolution violate either the free speech rights of teachers or the Establishment clause of the First Amendment?

Yes. Seven members of the Court held that the statute violated the Establishment clause. Writing for the Court, Justice Abe Fortas stated that the law had been based solely on the beliefs of fundamentalist Christians, who felt that evolutionary theories directly contradicted the biblical account of Creation. This use of state power to prohibit the teaching of material objectionable to a particular sect ammounted to an unconstitutional Establishment of religion. Justice Fortas wrote, "The State's undoubted right to prescribe the curriculum for its public schools does not carry with it the right to prohibit, on pain of criminal penalty, the teaching of a scientific theory or doctrine where that prohibition is based upon reasons that violate the First Amendment." The two other members of the Court concurred in the result, writing that it violated either the Due Process clause of the 14th Amendment (because it was unconstitutionally vague) or the Free Speech clause of the First Amendment.
search warrant
secular humanism
Secular humanism is a philosophy emphasizing the view that morality is a human intervention and that moral choices are largely matters of personal values
general warrants
neutral and detached judicial officer
search based on consent
confidential or anonymous informants
investigatory detention
totality of circumstances
stop and frisk
exigent circumstances
automobile search
search incidental to a lawful arrest
plain view search
evanescent evidence
emergency searches
reasonable suspicion
Terry doctrine
exclusionary rule
silver platter doctrine
good-faith exception
writs of assistance
closed container
Scottsboro boys case
Gideon v. Wainwright
right to counsel
public defender