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Constitutional Law Final Exam Terms

Terms in this set (177)

(1997) One reason is that it introduced a completely new test for deciding whether Congress had exceeded its section-five powers: the "congruence and proportionality" test, a test that has proven to have great importance in the context of the Eleventh Amendment. Another reason was that it explicitly declared that the Court alone has the ability to state which rights are protected by the Fourteenth Amendment. Yet another was that it had First Amendment consequences too, in that it spelled the end for any legislative attempts to overturn Employment Division v. Smith. The "congruence and proportionality" requirement replaced the previous theory advanced in Katzenbach v. Morgan that the Equal Protection Clause is "a positive grant of legislative power authorizing Congress to exercise its discretion in determining the need for and nature of legislation to secure Fourteenth Amendment guarantees." Before the decision, Katzenbach v. Morgan was often interpreted as allowing Congress to go beyond, but not fall short of, the Court's interpretation of the Equal Protection Clause. The holding said that only the Court could interpret the Constitution, in order to maintain the "traditional separation of powers between Congress and the Judiciary." Also, it relied on arguments for protecting the rights that pertain to state governments based on "enumerated powers." The intent of it was to prevent "a considerable congressional intrusion into the States' traditional prerogatives and general authority." The holding of it specifically mentioned the state action doctrine of the Civil Rights Cases as a Court interpretation of the Equal Protection Clause that limits the "remedial or preventive" power of Congress.
Nonpreferentialism (Rehnquist in Wallace v. Jaffree): The Framers intended the Establishment Clause to prohibit the designation of any church as a 'national' one. The Clause was also designed to stop the Federal Government from asserting a preference for one religious denomination or sect over others. Endorsement (O'Connor in Lynch v. Donnelly): The Establishment Clause prohibits government from making adherence to a religion relevant in any person's standing in the political community. Government can run afoul of that prohibition in two principal ways. One is excessive entanglement with religious institutions...The second and more direct infringement is government endorsement or disapproval of religion. Coercion (Kennedy in County of Allegheny v. ACLU): Our cases disclose two limiting principles: government may not coerce anyone to support or participate in any religion or its exercise; and it may not, in the guise of avoiding hostility or callous indifference, give direct benefits to a religion in such a degree that it in fact 'establishes a religion or religious faith, or tends to do so.' Social Conflict (Breyer in Zelman v. Simmons-Harris): In a society composed of many different religious creeds, it is feared that this present departure from the Court earlier understands risks creating a form of religiously based conflict potentially harmful to the Nation's social fabric. Because it is believed the Establishment Clause was written in part to avoid this kind of conflict. Neutrality and Private Choice (Rehnquist in Zelman v. Simmons-Harris): Where a government aid program is neutral with respect to religion, and provides assistance directly to a broad class of citizens, who, in turn, direct government aid to religious schools wholly as a result of their own genuine and independent private choice, the program is not readily subject to challenge under the Establishment Clause.
Students do not, the Court tells us in Tinker vs. Des Moines, "shed their constitutional rights when they enter the schoolhouse door." But it is also the case that school administrators have a far greater ability to restrict the speech of their students than the government has to restrict the speech of the general public. In Tinker, perhaps the best known of the Court's student speech cases, the Court found that the First Amendment protected the right of high school students to wear black armbands in a public high school, as a form of protest against the Viet Nam War. The Court ruled that this symbolic speech--"closely akin to pure speech"--could only be prohibited by school administrators if they could show that it would cause a substantial disruption of the school's educational mission. Papish considered the decision of the University of Missouri to expel a journalism student who distributed a controversial leaflet (including four-letter words and a cartoon showing the Statue of Liberty being raped) on campus. The Court held the expulsion violated Papish's First Amendment rights. Bethel and Hazelwood, on the other hand, were victories for school administrators over the First Amendment claims of students. In Bethel, the Court upheld the right of Washington state high school administrators to discipline a student for delivering a campaign speech at a school assembly that was loaded with sexual innuendo. The Court expressed the view that administrators ought to have the discretion to punish student speech that violates school rules and has the tendency to interfere with legitimate educational and disciplinary objectives. In Hazelwood, the Court relied heavily on Bethel to uphold the right of school administrators to censor materials in a student-edited school paper that concerned sensitive subjects such as student pregnancy, or that could be considered an invasion of privacy.
(1964), was a United States Supreme Court case that established the actual malice standard, which has to be met before press reports about public officials can be considered to be defamation and libel; and hence allowed free reporting of the civil rights campaigns in the southern United States. It is one of the key decisions supporting the freedom of the press. The actual malice standard requires that the plaintiff in a defamation or libel case prove that the publisher of the statement in question knew that the statement was false or acted in reckless disregard of its truth or falsity. Because of the extremely high burden of proof on the plaintiff, and the difficulty of proving the defendant's knowledge and intentions, such cases—when they involve public figures—rarely prevail. Before this decision, there were nearly US $300 million in libel actions outstanding against news organizations from the Southern states, and it had caused many publications to exercise great caution when reporting on civil rights, for fear that they might be held accountable for libel. After it prevailed in this case, news organizations were free to report the widespread disorder and civil rights infringements. It maintained that the case against it was brought to intimidate news organizations and prevent them from reporting illegal actions of public employees in the South as they attempted to continue to support segregation. The Court held that the First Amendment, as applied through the Fourteenth, protected a newspaper from being sued for libel in state court for making false defamatory statements about the official conduct of a public official, because the statements were not made with knowing or reckless disregard for the truth.
As one of the Reconstruction Amendments, the amendment addresses citizenship rights and equal protection of the laws, and was proposed in response to issues related to former slaves following the American Civil War. The amendment was bitterly contested, particularly by Southern states, which were forced to ratify it in order for them to regain representation in Congress. It, particularly its first section, is one of the most litigated parts of the Constitution, forming the basis for landmark decisions such as Roe v. Wade (1973), regarding abortion, and Bush v. Gore (2000), regarding the 2000 presidential election. The amendment limits the actions of all state and local officials, including those acting on behalf of such an official. Section 1. All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws. Section 2. Representatives shall be apportioned among the several States according to their respective numbers, counting the whole number of persons in each State, excluding Indians not taxed. But when the right to vote at any election for the choice of electors for President and Vice President of the United States, Representatives in Congress, the Executive and Judicial officers of a State, or the members of the Legislature thereof, is denied to any of the male inhabitants of such State, being twenty-one years of age, and citizens of the United States, or in any way abridged, except for participation in rebellion, or other crime, the basis of representation therein shall be reduced in the proportion which the number of such male citizens shall bear to the whole number of male citizens twenty-one years of age in such State. Section 3. No person shall be a Senator or Representative in Congress, or elector of President and Vice President, or hold any office, civil or military, under the United States, or under any State, who, having previously taken an oath, as a member of Congress, or as an officer of the United States, or as a member of any State legislature, or as an executive or judicial officer of any State, to support the Constitution of the United States, shall have engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the same, or given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof. But Congress may, by a vote of two-thirds of each House, remove such disability. Section 4. The validity of the public debt of the United States, authorized by law, including debts incurred for payment of pensions and bounties for services in suppressing insurrection or rebellion, shall not be questioned. But neither the United States nor any State shall assume or pay any debt or obligation incurred in aid of insurrection or rebellion against the United States, or any claim for the loss or emancipation of any slave; but all such debts, obligations and claims shall be held illegal and void. Section 5. The Congress shall have power to enforce, by appropriate legislation, the provisions of this article.
(1990), was a United States Supreme Court case argued on December 6, 1989 and decided on June 25, 1990. The Court affirmed the ruling of the Supreme Court of Missouri and ruled in favor of the State of Missouri, finding it was acceptable to require "clear and convincing evidence" of a patient's wishes for removal of life support. A significant outcome of the case was the creation of advance health directives. It was held that 1. The United States Constitution does not forbid Missouri to require that evidence of an incompetent's wishes as to the withdrawal of life-sustaining treatment be proved by clear and convincing evidence. Pp. 269-285. [497 U.S. 261, 262] 2. The State Supreme Court did not commit constitutional error in concluding that the evidence adduced at trial did not amount to clear and convincing proof of Cruzan's desire to have hydration and nutrition withdrawn. The trial court had not adopted a clear and convincing evidence standard, and Cruzan's observations that she did not want to live life as a "vegetable" did not deal in terms with withdrawal of medical treatment or of hydration and nutrition. 3. The Due Process Clause does not require a State to accept the "substituted judgment" of close family members in the absence of substantial proof that their views reflect the patient's. This Court's decision upholding a State's favored treatment of traditional family relationships, Michael H. v. Gerald D., 491 U.S. 110 , may not be turned into a constitutional requirement that a State must recognize the primacy of these relationships in a situation like this. Nor may a decision upholding a State's right to permit family decision making, Parham v. J.R., 442 U.S. 584 , be turned into a constitutional requirement that the State recognize such decision making.
Payment of a poll tax was a prerequisite to the registration for voting in a number of states. The tax emerged in some states of the United States in the late 19th century as part of the Jim Crow laws. After the right to vote was extended to all races by the enactment of the Fifteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, a number of states enacted poll tax laws as a device for restricting voting rights. The laws often included a grandfather clause, which allowed any adult male whose father or grandfather had voted in a specific year prior to the abolition of slavery to vote without paying the tax. These laws, along with unfairly implemented literacy tests and extra-legal intimidation, achieved the desired effect of disenfranchising African-American and Native American voters, as well as poor whites. The most prominent example was the National Voter Registration Act of 1993, also known as the "Motor Voter" law, which forced state governments to provide uniform registration services through drivers' license registration centers, disability centers, schools, libraries, and mail-in registration. Some states allow Election Day voter registration, where voters can register at polling places immediately prior to voting. In the context of American political history from the 1890s to the 1960s, refers to state government practices of administering tests to prospective voters purportedly to test their literacy in order to vote. In practice, these tests were intended to disenfranchise African-Americans. For other nations, literacy tests have been a matter of immigration policy. Voter intimidation is any concerted effort or practice by an individual or group on behalf of a party or candidate to coerce the voting behavior of a particular class or demographic of voters.