Upgrade to remove ads
Constitutional Law Final Exam Terms
Terms in this set (177)
Reynolds v. United States
(1878), was a Supreme Court of the United States case that held that religious duty was not a defense to a criminal indictment. It was the first Supreme Court opinion to address the Impartial Jury and the Confrontation Clauses of the Sixth Amendment.
With regard to Constitutional law, it refers to the distinction made between permitting a person to follow a particular belief and at the same time permitting the state to intervene whenever it finds necessary to protect others from the practices of that belief. This distinction was made by the Supreme Court in First Amendment law.
Valid secular policy test
From Minersville School District v. Gobitis (1940) which involved the Jehovah's Witnesses refusing to salute the flag or recite the pledge of allegiance. The Court ruled that they had to do these things because the state's reason was to foster patriotism. Four years later, however, the Court had to reverse this holding because of all the attacks on Jehovah's Witnesses who continued not to do it.
Jehovah's Witnesses cases: Cantwell, Gobitis, Prince
(1940), was a decision by the Supreme Court of the United States involving the religious rights of public school students under the First Amendment to the United States Constitution. The Court ruled that public schools could compel students to salute the American Flag and recite the Pledge of Allegiance despite the students' religious objections to these practices. This decision led to increased persecution of Witnesses in the United States. The Supreme Court overruled this decision a mere three years later, in West Virginia State Board of Education v. Barnette, 319 U.S. 624 (1943).
Sherbert v. Verner
(1963), was a case in which the Supreme Court of the United States held that the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment required that the government demonstrate both a compelling interest and that the law in question be narrowly tailored, before denying unemployment compensation to someone who was fired because their job requirements substantially conflicted with their religion.
Wisconsin v. Yoder
(1972), is the case in which the United States Supreme Court found that Amish children could not be placed under compulsory education past 8th grade. The parents' fundamental right to freedom of religion outweighed the state's interest in educating its children. The case is often cited as a basis for parents' right to educate their children outside of traditional private or public schools.
Employment Division, Dept. of HR of Oregon v. Smith
(1990), is a United States Supreme Court case that determined that the state could deny unemployment benefits to a person fired for violating a state prohibition on the use of peyote, even though the use of the drug was part of a religious ritual. Although states have the power to accommodate otherwise illegal acts done in pursuit of religious beliefs, they are not required to do so.
Lukumi v. Hialeah
(1993), was a case in which the Supreme Court of the United States held that an ordinance passed forbidding the "unnecessar[y]" killing of "an animal in a public or private ritual or ceremony not for the primary purpose of food consumption", was unconstitutional. The law was enacted soon after the city council of Hialeah learned that the Church, which practiced Santería, a religion whose rituals sometimes demand animal sacrifice, was planning on locating there. The church filed a lawsuit in United States district court, seeking for the ordinance to be declared unconstitutional.
Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA)
A 1993 United States federal law that ensures that interests in religious freedom are protected. It was held unconstitutional as applied to the states in the City of Boerne v. Flores decision in 1997, which ruled that it is not a proper exercise of Congress's enforcement power. However, it continues to be applied to the federal government—for instance, in Gonzales v. O Centro Espirita Beneficente Uniao do Vegetal—because Congress has broad authority to carve out exemptions from federal laws and regulations that it itself has authorized. In response to City of Boerne v. Flores and other related issues, twenty individual states have passed them that apply to state governments and local municipalities.
City of Boerne v. Flores
(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.
Three interpretations of the Establishment Clause
Broad, narrow, and literal. A broad interpretation would determine that the government is prohibited from providing any aid to any religion whatsoever; people should have freedom "from" religion, and Church and state must be separate - literally. A narrow interpretation would determine that the government is prohibited from giving any one religious group preferential treatment; and the government is not prohibited from supporting religion as long as it does so impartially. A literal interpretation would determine that the government is only prohibited from establishing an official religion; and the government is not prohibited from participating in any religious practice as long as it doesn't declare an official religion.
School cases: distinguish between transportation, books, prayer
In Lemon v. Kurtzman (1971), the Court struck down a Pennsylvania law reimbursing religious schools for textbooks and teacher salaries. The decision held that a program does not violate the Constitution if: (a) it has a primarily secular purpose; (b) its principal effect neither aids nor inhibits religion; and (c) government and religion are not excessively entangled. In Mueller v. Allen (1982), the Court upheld Minnesota's extension of tax credits to parents for money spent on tuition, books, transportation and other costs associated with private and religious schools. Because the tax credits did not have the effect of advancing religion, and government and religion were not excessively entangled, there was no Establishment Clause violation. In Marsh v. Chambers (1983), States had the right to hire a chaplain to open legislative sessions with a prayer or invocation. The traditional practice did not violate the Establishment Clause.
Bradfield v. Roberts
(1899) the Supreme Court first considered the question of financial assistance to religious organizations. The federal government had funded a hospital operated by a Roman Catholic institution. In that case, the Court ruled that the funding was to a secular organization—the hospital—and was therefore permissible.
Everson v. Board of Education
(1947) was a landmark decision of the United States Supreme Court which applied the Establishment Clause in the country's Bill of Rights to State law. Prior to this decision the First Amendment words, "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion" imposed limits only on the federal government, while many states continued to grant certain religious denominations legislative or effective privileges. This was the first Supreme Court case incorporating the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment as binding upon the states through the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. The decision marked a turning point in the interpretation and application of disestablishment law in the modern era. Neither a state nor the Federal Government can, openly or secretly, participate in the affairs of any religious organizations or groups and vice versa. The taxpayer contended that reimbursement given for children attending private religious schools violated the constitutional prohibition against state support of religion, and the taking of taxpayers' money to do so violated the constitution's Due Process Clause; but the court held that this did not violate the Establishment Clause.
Engel v. Vitale School District of Abington
(1962), was a landmark United States Supreme Court case that ruled it is unconstitutional for state officials to compose an official school prayer and encourage its recitation in public schools.
Township v. Schemp
(1963), was a United States Supreme Court case in which the Court declared school-sponsored Bible reading in public schools in the United States to be unconstitutional.
Wallace v. Jaffree
(1985), was a United States Supreme Court case deciding on the issue of silent school prayer. State endorsement of prayer activities in schools is prohibited by the First Amendment
Lee v. Weisman
(1992), was a United States Supreme Court decision regarding school prayer. It was the first major school prayer case decided by the Rehnquist Court. It ruled that schools may not sponsor clerics to conduct even non-denominational prayer. The Court followed a broad interpretation of the Establishment Clause that had been standard for decades at the nation's highest court, a reaffirmation of the principles of such landmark cases as Engel v. Vitale, 370 U.S. 421 (1962) and Abington v. Schempp, 374 U.S. 203 (1963).
Santa Fe Independent School District v. Doe
(2000), was a case heard before the United States Supreme Court. It ruled that a policy permitting student-led, student-initiated prayer at high school football games violates the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment. Oral arguments were heard March 29, 2000. The court announced its decision on June 19, holding the policy unconstitutional in a 6-3 decision. School prayer is a controversial topic in American jurisprudence.
1. The statute must not result in an "excessive government entanglement" with religious affairs. (also known as the Entanglement Prong) Factors of this include: (1) Character and purpose of institution benefited; (2) Nature of aid the state provides; and (3) Resulting relationship between government and religious authority. 2. The statute must not advance nor inhibit religious practice (also known as the Effect Prong). 3. The statute must have a secular legislative purpose. (also known as the Purpose Prong)
Lemon Test Alternatives
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.
Lemon v. Kurtzman
(1971), was a case argued before the Supreme Court of the United States. The court ruled unanimously in an 8-0 decision that Pennsylvania's Nonpublic Elementary and Secondary Education Act from 1968 transgressed the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment. The act allowed the Superintendent of Public Schools to reimburse private schools (mostly Catholic) for the salaries of teachers who taught in these private schools, from public textbooks and with public instructional materials.
Courts rule on the religious significance of the object on display, the size or visibility of the object on display, the inclusion of other symbols in the display, the historic background of the display, and the proximity of the object on display to the public property. Senior courts have repeatedly ruled that one or more symbols, such as the Ten Commandments, cross, menorah, nativity scene, pentacle, etc. cannot be constitutionally displayed by themselves on public property. To do so would be to violate the principle of separation of church and state because they would be promote: Religion as superior to secularism, and/or one religion or faith tradition as superior to another. However, one or more religious symbols may appear in a cultural display if it includes both religious and secular symbols.
Established through Lynch v. Donnelly, it asks whether a particular government action amounts to an endorsement of religion, thus violating the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment. According to the test, a government action is invalid if it creates a perception in the mind of a reasonable observer that the government is either endorsing or disapproving of religion. It is often subsumed into the Lemon Test.
Lynch v. Donnelly
(1984), was a United States Supreme Court case challenging the legality of Christmas decorations on town property. It was held that the city of Pawtucket's nativity scene does not violate the Establishment Clause.
County of Allegheny v. ACLU
(1989), was a United States Supreme Court case in which the Court considered the constitutionality of two recurring holiday displays located on public property in downtown Pittsburgh. The first, a nativity scene (crèche), was placed on the grand staircase of the Allegheny County Courthouse. The second of the holiday displays in question was an 18-foot (5.5 m) Hanukkah menorah, which was placed just outside the City-County Building next to the city's 45-foot (14 m) decorated Christmas tree. The legality of the Christmas tree display was not considered in this case. In a complex and fragmented decision, the majority held that the County of Allegheny violated the Establishment Clause by displaying a crèche in the county courthouse, because the "principle or primary effect" of the display was to advance religion within the meaning of Lemon v. Kurtzman, when viewed in its overall context. Moreover, in contrast to Lynch v. Donnelly, nothing in the crèche's setting detracted from that message. A different majority held that the menorah display did not have the prohibited effect of endorsing religion, given its "particular physical setting". Its combined display with a Christmas tree and a sign saluting liberty did not impermissibly endorse both the Christian and Jewish faiths, but simply recognized that both Christmas and Hanukkah are part of the same winter-holiday season, which, the court found, has attained a secular status in U.S. society.
Van Orden v. Perry
(2005), was a United States Supreme Court case involving whether a display of the Ten Commandments on a monument given to the government at the Texas State Capitol in Austin violated the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment. It was ruled that a Ten Commandments monument erected on the grounds of the Texas State Capitol did not violate the Establishment Clause, because the monument, when considered in context, conveyed a historic and social meaning rather than an intrusive religious endorsement.
(1918), an Act of the United States Congress that extended the Espionage Act of 1917 to cover a broader range of offenses, notably speech and the expression of opinion that cast the government or the war effort in a negative light or interfered with the sale of government bonds. It forbade the use of "disloyal, profane, scurrilous, or abusive language" about the United States government, its flag, or its armed forces or that caused others to view the American government or its institutions with contempt. Those convicted under the act generally received sentences of imprisonment for five to 20 years. The act also allowed the Postmaster General to refuse to deliver mail that met those same standards for punishable speech or opinion. It applied only to times "when the United States is in war." The U.S. was in a declared state of war at the time of passage, involved in the conflict at the time referred to as the Great War but generally later referred to as the First World War. It was repealed on December 13, 1920.
(1917), it was intended to prohibit interference with military operations or recruitment, to prevent insubordination in the military, and to prevent the support of U.S. enemies during wartime. In 1919, the U.S. Supreme Court unanimously ruled through Schenck v. United States that the act did not violate the freedom of speech of those convicted under its provisions. The constitutionality of the law, its relationship to free speech, and the meaning of its language have been contested in court ever since.
Clear and present danger test
A doctrine adopted by the Supreme Court of the United States to determine under what circumstances limits can be placed on First Amendment freedoms of speech, press or assembly. The question in every case is whether the words used are used in such circumstances and are of such a nature as to create a clear and present danger that they will bring about the substantive evils that Congress has a right to prevent.
Schenck v. United States
(1919), is a United States Supreme Court decision concerning enforcement of the Espionage Act of 1917 during World War I. A unanimous Supreme Court, in a famous opinion by Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr., concluded that defendants who distributed leaflets to draft-age men, urging resistance to induction, could be convicted of an attempt to obstruct the draft, a criminal offense. The First Amendment did not alter the well-established law in cases where the attempt was made through expressions that would be protected in other circumstances. In this opinion, Holmes said that expressions which in The Court continued to follow this reasoning to uphold a series of convictions arising out of prosecutions during war time, but Holmes began to dissent in the case of Abrams v. United States, insisting that the Court had departed from the standard he had crafted for them, and had begun to allow punishment for ideas. The "clear and present danger" standard remains the test of criminal prosecutions, but the Court has set another line of precedents to govern cases in which the constitutionality of a statute is challenged on its face.
Bad tendency test
A test which permits restriction of freedom of speech by government if it is believed that a form of speech has a sole tendency to incite or cause illegal activity. The principle, formulated in Patterson v. Colorado, (1907) was seemingly overturned with the "clear and present danger" principle used in the landmark case Schenck v. United States (1919), as stated by Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. Yet eight months later, at the start of the next Term in Abrams v. United States (1919) the Court again used the bad tendency test to uphold the conviction of a Russian immigrant who published and distributed leaflets calling for a general strike and otherwise advocated revolutionary, anarchist, and socialist views. Holmes dissented in Abrams, explaining how the clear and present danger test should be employed to overturn Abrams' conviction. The arrival of the test resulted in a string of politically incorrect rulings such as Whitney v. California (1927), where a woman was convicted simply because of her association with the Communist Party. The court ruled unanimously that although she had not committed any crimes, her relationship with the Communists represented this and thus was unprotected. The test was finally overturned in Brandenburg v. Ohio (1969) and was replaced by the "imminent lawless action" test. Freedoms may be curtailed if there is a possibility that such expression might lead to some "evil".
Abrams v. United States
(1919), was a decision by the Supreme Court of the United States upholding the 1918 Amendment to the Espionage Act of 1917, which made it a criminal offense to urge curtailment of production of the materials necessary to the war against Germany with intent to hinder the progress of the war. The 1918 Amendment is commonly referred to as if it were a separate Act, the Sedition Act of 1918. It held that defendants' criticism of U.S. involvement in World War I was not protected by the First Amendment, because they advocated a strike in munitions production and the violent overthrow of the government.
Gitlow v. New York
(1925), was a decision by the United States Supreme Court decided on June 8, 1925, which ruled that the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution had extended the reach of certain limitations on federal government authority set forth in the First Amendment—specifically the provisions protecting freedom of speech and freedom of the press—to the governments of the individual states. It was one of a series of Supreme Court cases that defined the scope of the First Amendment's protection of free speech and established the standard to which a state or the federal government would be held when it criminalized speech or writing. It held that The Fourteenth Amendment prohibits states from infringing free speech, but the defendant was properly convicted under New York's Criminal Anarchy Law because he disseminated newspapers that advocated the violent overthrow of the government.
Whitney v. California
(1927), was a United States Supreme Court decision upholding the conviction of an individual who had engaged in speech that raised a threat to society. It held that the defendant's conviction under California's criminal syndicalism statute for membership in the Communist Labor Party did not violate her free speech rights as protected under the Fourteenth Amendment, because states may constitutionally prohibit speech tending to incite crime, disturb the public peace, or threaten the overthrow of government by unlawful means.
Preferred freedoms doctrine
Established by U.S. v. Carolene Products, it changed the burden of proof in Bill of Rights Cases, stating that court must defend rights essential to political process, and it claimed the court had the responsibility to protect unpopular groups
Stromberg v. California
(1931), was a United States Supreme Court case in which the Court ruled that a 1919 California statute banning red flags was unconstitutional because it violated the First and Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution. This decision is considered a landmark in the history of First Amendment constitutional law, as it was one of the first cases where the Court extended the Fourteenth Amendment to include a protection of the substance of the First Amendment, in this case symbolic speech or "expressive conduct", from state infringement. It held that States cannot infringe on the First Amendment right to freedom of speech and expression.
United States v. Carolene Products
(1938), was an April 25, 1938 decision by the United States Supreme Court. The case dealt with a federal law that prohibited filled milk (skimmed milk compounded with any fat or oil other than milk fat, so as to resemble milk or cream) from being shipped in interstate commerce. The defendant argued that the law was unconstitutional on both Commerce Clause and due process grounds. It was held that the Filled Milk Act did not exceed the power of Congress to regulate interstate commerce, or violate due process under the Fifth Amendment. Southern District of Illinois District Court reversed.
United States v. Carolene Products: Justice Stone's footnote
A more exacting standard of judicial review would be warranted for legislation aimed at discrete and insular minorities which lacked the normal protections of the political process would be one exception to the presumption of constitutionality, justifying a heightened standard of judicial review. This idea has greatly influenced equal protection jurisprudence and judicial review. This recapitulated common law jurisprudence by which evidence of fraud or other significant legal defects in the transaction such as self-dealing or other impropriety may justify overturning a rule.
The principle or the exercise of complete and unrestricted power in government.
Clear and probable danger test
From Dennis v. U.S., it modified the "clear and present danger" test established in Schenck v. US (1919) by holding the identified threat (in this case the Communist Party's literature and plans to teach groups how to overthrow the US government by violence) need not be imminent, but may be judged by the probability that the speech would incite someone to violence in the future.
Ad Hoc Balancing
Established by the Branzburg Trilogy of Branzburg v. Hayes, when the First Amendment comes into conflict with another constitutional right, the two rights must be weighed and a decision made as to which takes priority.
Brandenburg v. Ohio
(1969), was a landmark United States Supreme Court case based on the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. The Court held that government cannot punish inflammatory speech unless that speech is directed to inciting, and is likely to incite, imminent lawless action. Specifically, it struck down Ohio's criminal syndicalism statute, because that statute broadly prohibited the mere advocacy of violence. In the process, Whitney v. California was explicitly overruled, and doubt was cast on Schenck v. United States, Abrams v. United States, Gitlow v. New York (1925), and Dennis v. United States.
Content-based speech regulations
A regulation of speech or expression that is based on the substance of the message being communicated, rather than just the manner or method in which the message being expressed.
Content-neutral speech regulations
A restriction on the manner in which an expression can be communicated or conveyed. These restrictions apply equally to all communications, regardless of the message or view being espoused.
Conditions under which government may restrict speech
Restrictions that are based on people's reactions to words include both instances of a complete exception, and cases of diminished protection. Speech that involves incitement, false statements of fact, obscenity, child pornography, threats, and speech owned by others are all completely exempt from First Amendment protections. Commercial advertising receives diminished, but not eliminated, protection. Along with communicative restrictions, less protection is afforded for uninhibited speech when the government acts as subsidizer or speaker, is an employer, controls education, or regulates the following: the mail, airwaves, legal bar, military, prisons, and immigration.
Restraints on government regulating speech
If the government tries to restrain speech before it is spoken, as opposed to punishing it afterwards, it must be able to show that punishment after the fact is not a sufficient remedy, and show that allowing the speech would "surely result in direct, immediate, and irreparable damage to our Nation and its people" (New York Times Co. v. United States). U.S. courts have not permitted most prior restraints since the case of Near v. Minnesota in 1931.
"The crucial question is whether the manner of expression is basically incompatible with the normal activity of a particular place at a particular time." Time, place, and manner restrictions must withstand intermediate scrutiny. Note that any regulations that would force speakers to change how or what they say do not fall into this category (so the government cannot restrict one medium even if it leaves open another). Ward v. Rock Against Racism (1989) held that time, place, or manner restrictions must: (1) Be content neutral; (2) Be narrowly tailored; (3) Serve a significant governmental interest; (4) Leave open ample alternative channels for communication.
The inhibition or discouragement of the legitimate exercise of natural and legal rights by the threat of legal sanction. The right that is most often described as being suppressed by this is the US constitutional right to free speech. It may be caused by legal actions such as the passing of a law, the decision of a court, or the threat of a lawsuit; any legal action that would cause people to hesitate to exercise a legitimate right (freedom of speech or otherwise) for fear of legal repercussions. When that fear is brought about by the threat of a libel lawsuit, it is called libel chill. A lawsuit initiated specifically for the purpose of creating this may be called a Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation, or more commonly called; a "SLAPP suit."
A legal term in United States law used to describe actions that purposefully and discernibly convey a particular message or statement to those viewing it. Symbolic speech is recognized as being protected under the First Amendment as a form of speech, but this is not expressly written as such in the document. One possible explanation as to why the Framers did not address this issue in the Bill of Rights is because the primary forms for both political debate and protest in their time were verbal expression and published word, and they may have been unaware of the possibility of future people using non-verbal expression. Symbolic speech is distinguished from pure speech, which is the communication of ideas through spoken or written words or through conduct limited in form to that necessary to convey the idea. Although the First Amendment only limited the Congress, symbolic speech has also restricted state governments starting with Gitlow v. New York (1925). It is verified as unconstitutional or constitutional by the O'Brien test, which states the law must: be within the constitutional power of the government to enact; further an important or substantial government interest; that interest must be unrelated to the suppression of speech (or "content neutral", as phrased in later cases); and prohibit no more speech than is essential to further that interest.
United States v. O'Brien
(1968), was a decision by the Supreme Court of the United States, which ruled that a criminal prohibition against burning a draft card did not violate the First Amendment's guarantee of free speech. Though the Court recognized that the man's conduct was expressive as a protest against the Vietnam War, it considered the law justified by a significant government interest unrelated to the suppression of speech and was tailored towards that end. It upheld the government's power to prosecute what was becoming a pervasive method of anti-war protest. Its greater legacy, however, was its application of a new constitutional standard. The test articulated in it has been subsequently used by the Court to analyze whether laws that have the effect of regulating speech, though are ostensibly neutral towards the content of that speech, violate the First Amendment. Though the test has rarely invalidated laws that the Court has found to be "content neutral", it has given those engaging in expressive conduct—from wearing of black armbands to burning of flags—an additional tool to invoke against prohibitions.
Texas v. Johnson
(1989), was a decision by the Supreme Court of the United States that invalidated prohibitions on desecrating the American flag enforced in 48 of the 50 states. Justice William Brennan wrote for a five-justice majority in holding that the defendant's act of flag burning was protected speech under the First Amendment to the United States Constitution. The court held that a statute that criminalizes the desecration of the American flag violates the First Amendment. It ruled the O'Brien test inapplicable.
Speech and the preservation of public order
Speech cannot incite a riot or violence otherwise there can be prior restraint.
Chaplinsky v. New Hampshire
(1942), is a United States Supreme Court case in which the Court articulated the fighting words doctrine, a limitation of the First Amendment's guarantee of freedom of speech. It held that a criminal conviction for causing a breach of the peace through the use of "fighting words" does not violate the Free Speech guarantee of the First Amendment.
Speech by students
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.
Tinker v. Des Moines
(1969) was a decision by the United States Supreme Court that defined the constitutional rights of students in U.S. public schools. The Tinker test is still used by courts today to determine whether a school's disciplinary actions violate students' First Amendment rights. The court held that the First Amendment, as applied through the Fourteenth, did not permit a public school to punish a student for wearing a black armband as an anti-war protest, absent any evidence that the rule was necessary to avoid substantial interference with school discipline or the rights of others. Its ruling governed student expression until Bethel School District. No. 403 v. Fraser (1986) and Hazelwood School District v. Kuhlmeier (1988) replaced it.
States that school officials may not silence student expression just because they dislike it. They must reasonably forecast, based on evidence and not on an "undifferentiated fear or apprehension of disturbance," that the student expression would lead to either (a) a substantial disruption of the school environment, or (b) an invasion of the rights of others.
Morse v. Frederick
(2007), was a United States Supreme Court case in which the Court held, that the First Amendment does not prevent educators from suppressing, at a school-supervised event, student speech that is reasonably viewed as promoting illegal drug use. Because schools may take steps to safeguard those entrusted to their care from speech that can be regarded as encouraging illegal drug use, the school officials in this case did not violate the First Amendment by confiscating the pro-drug banner and suspending him.
Laws that limit inciting or provocative speech, often called fighting words, or offensive expressions such as Pornography, are subject to Strict Scrutiny. It is well established that the government may impose content regulations on certain categories of expression that do not merit First Amendment protection. To illustrate this point, the Court stated in Chaplinsky v. New Hampshire, 315 U.S. 568, 62 S. Ct. 766, 86 L. Ed. 1031 (1942),"There are certain well-defined and narrowly limited classes of speech, the prevention and punishment of which have never been thought to raise constitutional problems." With the increase of activity in cyberspace, individuals can distribute questionable speech throughout the U.S. and the world. In Planned Parenthood of the Columbia/Willamette Inc. v. American Coalition of Life Activists, 290 F.3d 1058 (9th Cir. 2002), a federal appeals court ruled that an anti-abortion web site was not protected by the First Amendment.
R.A.V. v. City of St. Paul
(1992) was a United States Supreme Court case involving hate speech and the free speech clause of the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States. A unanimous Court struck down the Bias-Motivated Crime Ordinance, and in doing so overturned the conviction of a teenager, referred to in court documents, for burning a cross on the lawn of an African American family. It was held that the Motivated Crime Ordinance was struck down both because it was overbroad, proscribing both "fighting words" and protected speech, and because the regulation was "content-based," proscribing only activities which conveyed messages concerning particular topics.
Snyder v. Phelps
(2011), was a United States Supreme Court case in which the Court held that speech on a public sidewalk, about a public issue, cannot be liable for a tort of emotional distress, even if the speech is found to be "outrageous". At issue was whether the First Amendment protected protests of public protestors at a funeral against tort liability. It involved a claim of intentional infliction of emotional distress. The Court ruled that their speech related to a public issue, and was disseminated on a public sidewalk. The court held that speech on a public sidewalk, about a public issue, cannot be liable for a tort of emotional distress, even if the speech is found to be "outrageous."
Right not to speak
This principle has won the support of domestic courts; in Wooley v. Maynard for example, a group of Jehovah's Witnesses persuaded the US Supreme Court to strike down a New Hampshire law, which required cars to carry a license plate inscribed with the state's motto, "Live Free or Die". It cannot be absolute: citizens must still fill in their tax forms, pharmaceutical companies must disclose the side-effects of the medicines they market, and witnesses must testify in court. While no international court has pronounced itself on the issue, it seems reasonable to assume that the three-part test for restrictions on freedom of expression applies equally to state-imposed duties to disseminate information or ideas.
In Riley v. National Federation of the Blind of North Carolina, Inc., a North Carolina statute required professional fundraisers for charities to disclose to potential donors the gross percentage of revenues retained in prior charitable solicitations. The Supreme Court held this unconstitutional, writing: "There is certainly some difference between this and compelled silence, but in the context of protected speech, the difference is without constitutional significance, for the First Amendment guarantees "freedom of speech," a term necessarily comprising the decision of both what to say and what not to say." In the commercial speech context, by contrast, the Supreme Court held, in Zauderer v. Office of Disciplinary Counsel, constitutionally protected interest in not providing any particular factual information in his advertising is minimal. . . . [A]n advertiser's rights are reasonably protected as long as disclosure requirements are reasonably related to the State's interest in preventing deception of consumers. . . . The right of a commercial speaker not to divulge accurate information regarding his services is not . . . a fundamental right.
W. Virginia Board of Ed. v. Barnette
(1943), is a decision by the Supreme Court of the United States holding that the Free Speech Clause of the First Amendment to the United States Constitution protected students from being forced to salute the American flag and say the Pledge of Allegiance in school. It is remembered for its forceful defense of free speech and constitutional rights generally as being placed "beyond the reach of majorities and officials." It overruled a 1940 decision on the same issue, Minersville School District v. Gobitis (also involving the children of Jehovah's Witnesses), in which the Court stated that the proper recourse for dissent was to try to change the school policy democratically. However, in overruling Gobitis the Court primarily relied on the Free Speech Clause of the First Amendment rather than the Free Exercise Clause. The Court held that the Free Speech clause of the First Amendment prohibits public schools from forcing students to salute the American flag and say the Pledge of Allegiance.
A group that engages in some form of public or private expression above a de minimis threshold is an expressive association. The group need not be an advocacy group or exist primarily for the purpose of expression. Expressive association is the right to associate for the purpose of engaging in those activities protected by the First Amendment: speech, assembly, petition for the redress of grievances, and the exercise of religion. The courts have long understood as implicit in the right to engage in activities protected by the First Amendment a corresponding right to associate with others in pursuit of a wide variety of political, social, economic, educational, religious, and cultural ends.
Censorship imposed, usually by a government, on expression before the expression actually takes place. An alternative to prior restraint is to allow the expression to take place and to take appropriate action afterward, if the expression is found to violate the law, regulations, or other rules. It prevents the censored material from being heard or distributed at all; other measures provide sanctions only after the offending material has been communicated, such as suits for slander or libel. In some countries (e.g., United States, Argentina) prior restraint by the government is forbidden, subject to certain exceptions, by a constitution. Not all restrictions on free speech are a breach of the prior restraint doctrine. It is widely accepted that publication of information affecting national security, particularly in wartime, may be restricted, even when there are laws that protect freedom of expression. In many cases invocation of national security is controversial, with opponents of suppression arguing that government errors and embarrassment are being covered up; examples are given below. Publication of information on legal cases in progress may be restricted by an injunction. (Otherwise publishing of material which may affect a case is subject to penalties, but not prevented from the outset.)
Near v. Minnesota
(1931), was a landmark United States Supreme Court decision that recognized the freedom of the press by roundly rejecting prior restraints on publication, a principle that was applied to free speech generally in subsequent jurisprudence. The Court ruled that a Minnesota law that targeted publishers of "malicious" or "scandalous" newspapers violated the First Amendment to the United States Constitution (as applied through the Fourteenth Amendment). Legal scholar and columnist Anthony Lewis called Near the Court's "first great press case". It was later a key precedent in New York Times Co. v. United States (1971), in which the Court ruled against the Nixon administration's attempt to enjoin publication of the Pentagon Papers. It was held that a Minnesota law that imposed permanent injunctions against the publication of newspapers with "malicious, scandalous, and defamatory" content violated the First Amendment, as applied to the states by the Fourteenth.
Special rights for the press
A "reporter's protection under constitutional or statutory law, from being compelled to testify about confidential information or sources." It may be described in the US as the qualified (limited) First Amendment right many jurisdictions by statutory law or judicial decision have given to journalists in protecting their confidential sources from discovery. The First, Second, Third, Fifth, Eighth, Ninth, Tenth, Eleventh, and D.C. Circuits have all held that a qualified reporter's privilege exists. In the recent case of U.S. v. Sterling, the Fourth expressly denied a reporter's privilege exists under Branzburg. Furthermore, forty states and the District of Columbia have enacted shield laws protecting journalists' anonymous sources.
Branzburg v. Hayes
(1972), was a landmark United States Supreme Court decision invalidating the use of the First Amendment as a defense for reporters summoned to testify before a grand jury. Nonetheless this case is cited for the rule that in federal courts, a reporter may not avoid testifying in a criminal grand jury. It remains the only time the Supreme Court has considered the use of reporters' privilege. Overruled by U.S. v. Sterling.
Zurcher v. Stanford Daily
(1978), is a United States Supreme Court in which a student newspaper was searched by police after they suspected the paper to be in possession of photographs of a demonstration that took place at the campus' medical center in April 1971. The paper filed a suit claiming that under the protection of the First and Fourth Amendments of the Constitution, the warrants were unconstitutional and that the searches should have fallen under the context of subpoenas. The court ruled against it; however, Congress passed the Privacy Protection Act of 1980, which prohibits search and seizures related to journalism unless the writer is suspected of a crime or a life-threatening situation is present. It was held that the search of a newsroom does not violate the Fourth Amendment.
To publish in print (including pictures), writing or broadcast through radio, television or film, an untruth about another which will do harm to that person or his/her reputation, by tending to bring the target into ridicule, hatred, scorn or contempt of others.
(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.
Any statement or act that strongly offends the prevalent morality of the time. The word can be used to indicate a strong moral repugnance, in expressions such as "obscene profits" or "the obscenity of war". The classification of "obscene" and thus illegal for production and distribution has been judged on printed text-only stories starting with "Dunlop v. U.S., 165 U.S. 486 (1897)", which upheld a conviction for mailing and delivery of a newspaper called the 'Chicago Dispatch,' containing "obscene, lewd, lascivious, and indecent materials", which was later upheld in several cases.
It defines obscenity as whether to the average person, applying contemporary community standards, the dominant theme of the material, taken as a whole, appeals to the prurient interest. The basic guidelines for the trier of fact must be: (a) whether the average person, applying contemporary community standards would find that the work, taken as a whole, appeals to the prurient interest, (b) whether the work depicts or describes, in a patently offensive way, sexual conduct specifically defined by the applicable state law; and (c) whether the work, taken as a whole, lacks serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value. In 1896, the Supreme Court in Rosen v. United States, 161 U.S. 29 (1896), adopted the Hicklin test as the appropriate test of obscenity. However, in 1957, the Supreme Court ruled in Roth v. United States, 354 U.S. 476 (1957) that the Hicklin test was inappropriate. In Roth, Justice Brennan, writing for the majority, noted that some American courts had adopted the Hicklin standard, but that later decisions more commonly relied upon the question of "whether to the average person, applying contemporary community standards, the dominant theme of the material taken as a whole appeal to prurient interest." This Roth test became essentially the new definition of obscenity in the United States.
Roth v. United States
(1957), along with its companion case Alberts v. California, was a landmark case before the United States Supreme Court which redefined the Constitutional test for determining what constitutes obscene material unprotected by the First Amendment. The Court held that obscenity is not protected by the First Amendment; more strictly defined "obscene".
Jacobellis v. Ohio
(1964), was a United States Supreme Court decision handed down in 1964 involving whether the state of Ohio could, consistent with the First Amendment, ban the showing of a French film called The Lovers (Les Amants) which the state had deemed obscene. The Court held that the First Amendment, as applied through the Fourteenth, protected a movie theater manager from being prosecuted for possessing and showing a film that was not obscene. The Court's obscenity jurisprudence would remain fragmented until 1973's Miller v. California.
Memoirs v. Massachusetts (Roth test)
(1966), was the United States Supreme Court decision that attempted to clarify a holding regarding obscenity made a decade earlier in Roth v. United States (1957). The Court held that since the First Amendment forbids censorship of expression of ideas not linked with illegal action, Fanny Hill cannot be proscribed. The Court asked whether to the average person, applying contemporary community standards, the dominant theme of the material taken as a whole appeals to a prurient [lewd or lustful] interest.
Miller v. California (Miller test)
(1973) was a landmark decision by the United States Supreme Court wherein the court redefined its definition of obscenity from that of "utterly without socially redeeming value" to that which lacks "serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value." It is now referred to as the Three-prong standard or the Miller test. The Court held that obscene materials are defined as those that the average person, applying contemporary community standards, find, taken as a whole, appeal to the prurient interest; that depict or describe, in a patently offensive way, sexual conduct or excretory functions specifically defined by applicable state law; and that the work, taken as a whole, lack serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value. The Miller Test asked (1) whether the average person, applying contemporary community standards", would find that the work, taken as a whole, appeals to the prurient interest; (2) whether the work depicts or describes, in an offensive way, sexual conduct or excretory functions, as specifically defined by applicable state law; and (3) whether the work, taken as a whole, lacks serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value.
Ashcroft v. Free Speech Coalition
(2002), struck down two overbroad provisions of the Child Pornography Prevention Act of 1996 because they abridged "the freedom to engage in a substantial amount of lawful speech." The case was brought against the Government a "California trade association for the adult-entertainment industry;" along with Bold Type, Inc., a "publisher of a book advocating the nudist lifestyle." By striking down these two provisions, the Court rejected an invitation to increase the amount of speech that would be categorically outside the protection of the First Amendment. The Court held that the two above provisions were unconstitutional because they abridged "the freedom to engage in a substantial amount of lawful speech."
Griswold v. Connecticut
(1965), is a landmark case in which the Supreme Court of the United States ruled that the Constitution protected a right to privacy. The case involved a Connecticut statute that prohibits any person from using "any drug, medicinal article or instrument for the purpose of preventing conception." Although the law was barely ever practiced since the Waterbury clinic case in Connecticut, the sole existence of the law in the legal books of the state presented a barrier in the access to information regarding contraceptives. The Supreme Court invalidated the Comstock law on the grounds that it violated the "right to marital privacy", establishing the basis for the right to privacy in intimate practices.
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.
Due Process Clause
The Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution contain this. It deals with the administration of justice and thus the due process clause acts as a safeguard from arbitrary denial of life, liberty, or property by the Government outside the sanction of law. The Supreme Court of the United States interprets the clauses however more broadly because these clauses provide four protections: procedural due process (in civil and criminal proceedings), substantive due process, a prohibition against vague laws, and as the vehicle for the incorporation of the Bill of Rights. It ensures the rights and equality of all citizens.
Substantive Due Process
It is a principle which allows federal courts to protect certain fundamental rights from government interference under the authority of the due process clauses of the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments to the Constitution, which prohibit the federal and state governments, respectively, from depriving any person of "life, liberty, or property, without due process of law." That is, it demarcates the line between acts by persons of a public or private nature that courts hold are subject to public regulations or legislation and acts that courts place beyond the reach of governmental interference. Whether the Fifth and/or Fourteenth Amendments were intended to serve this function continues to be a matter of scholarly as well as judicial discussion and dissent.
A generally regarded set of legal protections in the context of a legal system, wherein such system is itself based upon this same set of basic, fundamental, or inalienable rights. Such rights thus belong without presumption or cost of privilege to all human beings under such jurisdiction. The concept of human rights has been promoted as a legal concept in large part owing to the idea that human beings have such "fundamental" rights, such that transcend all jurisdictions, but are typically reinforced in different ways and with different emphasis within different legal systems.
Location of the right to privacy
The U. S. Constitution contains no express right of this. The Bill of Rights, however, reflects the concern of James Madison and other framers for protecting specific aspects, such as the privacy of beliefs (1st Amendment), privacy of the home against demands that it be used to house soldiers (3rd Amendment), privacy of the person and possessions as against unreasonable searches (4th Amendment), and the 5th Amendment's privilege against self-incrimination, which provides protection for the privacy of personal information. In addition, the Ninth Amendment states that the "enumeration of certain rights" in the Bill of Rights "shall not be construed to deny or disparage other rights retained by the people." The meaning of the Ninth Amendment is elusive, but some persons (including Justice Goldberg in his Griswold concurrence) have interpreted the Ninth Amendment as justification for broadly reading the Bill of Rights to protect privacy in ways not specifically provided in the first eight amendments. One question that the Court has wrestled with through its privacy decisions is how strong of an interest states must demonstrate to overcome claims by individuals that they have invaded a protected liberty interest. Earlier decisions such as Griswold and Roe suggested that states must show a compelling interest and narrowly tailored means when they have burdened fundamental privacy rights, but later cases such as Cruzan and Lawrence have suggested the burden on states is not so high.
Roe v. Wade
(1973), is a landmark decision by the United States Supreme Court on the issue of abortion. Decided simultaneously with a companion case, Doe v. Bolton, the Court ruled that a right to privacy under the due process clause of the 14th Amendment extended to a woman's decision to have an abortion, but that this right must be balanced against the state's two legitimate interests in regulating abortions: protecting prenatal life and protecting women's health. Arguing that these state interests became stronger over the course of a pregnancy, the Court resolved this balancing test by tying state regulation of abortion to the third trimester of pregnancy. The Court later rejected Roe's trimester framework, while affirming Roe 's central holding that a person has a right to abortion until viability. The Roe decision defined "viable" as being "potentially able to live outside the mother's womb, albeit with artificial aid", adding that viability "is usually placed at about seven months (28 weeks) but may occur earlier, even at 24 weeks." It was held that Texas law making it a crime to assist a woman to get an abortion violated her due process rights. U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas affirmed in part, reversed in part.
Blackmun wrote of the majority decision he authored: "You will observe that I have concluded that the end of the first trimester is critical. This is arbitrary, but perhaps any other selected point, such as quickening or viability, is equally arbitrary." Douglas preferred the first trimester line, while Stewart said the lines were "legislative" and wanted more flexibility and consideration paid to the state legislatures, though he joined Blackmun's decision. Brennan proposed abandoning frameworks based on the age of the fetus and instead allowing states to regulate the procedure based on its safety for the mother.
Planned Parenthood v. Danforth
(1976), is a United States Supreme Court case on abortion. The plaintiffs challenged the constitutionality of a Missouri statute regulating abortion. The Court upheld the right to have an abortion, declaring unconstitutional the statute's requirement of prior written consent from a parent (in the case of a minor) or a spouse (in the case of a married woman).
Akron v. Akron Center of Repr. Health
(1983), was a case in which the United States Supreme Court affirmed its abortion rights jurisprudence. The case, decided June 15, 1983, struck down an Ohio abortion law with several provisions. The Court held that the city's then-current abortion law, whose provisions included a 24-hour waiting period and the requirement that a doctor inform the patient of the stage of fetal development, the supposed health risks of abortion, and the availability of adoption and childbirth resources, was unconstitutional.
Webster v. Reproductive Health Services
(1989), was a United States Supreme Court decision on July 3, 1989 upholding a Missouri law that imposed restrictions on the use of state funds, facilities, and employees in performing, assisting with, or counseling on abortions. The Supreme Court in Webster allowed for states to legislate in an area that had previously been thought to be forbidden under Roe v. Wade. The Court approved a Missouri law that imposed restrictions on the use of state funds, facilities and employees in performing, assisting with, or counseling on abortions. The Supreme Court thus allowed for states to legislate in an area that had previously been thought to be forbidden under Roe, reversing the Eighth Circuit.
Planned Parenthood of S.E. Pennsylvania v. Casey
(1992) was a case decided by the Supreme Court of the United States in which the constitutionality of several Pennsylvania state regulations regarding abortion were challenged. The Court's plurality opinion upheld the constitutional right to have an abortion and altered the standards for analyzing restrictions of that right, invalidating one regulation but upholding the other four. The Court held that a Pennsylvania law that required spousal awareness prior to obtaining an abortion was invalid under the Fourteenth Amendment because it created an undue burden on married women seeking an abortion. Requirements for parental consent, informed consent, and 24-hour waiting period were constitutionally valid regulations. Third Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed in part and reversed in part.
Constitutional tests of abortion laws: strict scrutiny, undue burden, rational basis
The Court deemed abortion a fundamental right under the United States Constitution, thereby subjecting all laws attempting to restrict it to the standard of strict scrutiny. The undue burden standard is a constitutional test fashioned by the Supreme Court of the United States. The test, first developed in the late 19th century, is widely used in American constitutional law. In short, the Undue Burden standard states that the Legislature cannot make a particular law that is too burdensome or restrictive of one's fundamental rights. Rational basis review is refers to the default standard of review that courts apply when considering constitutional questions, including due process or equal protection questions under the Fifth Amendment or Fourteenth Amendment. Courts applying rational basis review seek to determine whether a law is "rationally related" to a "legitimate" government interest, whether real or hypothetical. The higher levels of scrutiny are intermediate scrutiny and strict scrutiny. Heightened scrutiny is applied where a suspect or quasi-suspect classification is involved, or a fundamental right is implicated.
Katz v. United States
(1967), is a United States Supreme Court case discussing the nature of the "right to privacy" and the legal definition of a "search". The Court's ruling refined previous interpretations of the unreasonable search and seizure clause of the Fourth Amendment to count immaterial intrusion with technology as a search, overruling Olmstead v. United States and Goldman v. United States. It also extended Fourth Amendment protection to all areas where a person has a "reasonable expectation of privacy". The Court extended the Fourth Amendment protection from unreasonable search and seizure to protect individuals with a "reasonable expectation of privacy"
Stanley v. Georgia
(1969), was a United States Supreme Court decision that helped to establish an implied "right to privacy" in U.S. law, in the form of mere possession of obscene materials. The right to privacy to pornography is not absolute, however. For example, in Osborne v. Ohio (1990) the Supreme Court upheld a law which criminalized the mere possession of child pornography. The First Amendment as applied to the States under the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment prohibits making mere private possession of obscene material a crime.
A law that defines certain sexual acts as crimes. The precise sexual acts meant by the term sodomy are rarely spelled out in the law, but are typically understood by courts to include any sexual act deemed to be "unnatural" or immoral. Sodomy typically includes anal sex, oral sex and bestiality. In practice, sodomy laws have rarely been enforced against heterosexual couples. The remaining sodomy laws were invalidated by the 2003 U.S. Supreme Court decision Lawrence v. Texas.
Bowers v. Hardwick
(1986), is a United States Supreme Court decision, overturned in 2003, that upheld the constitutionality of a Georgia sodomy law criminalizing oral and anal sex in private between consenting adults when applied to homosexuals. A Georgia law classifying homosexual sex as illegal sodomy was valid because there was no constitutionally protected right to engage in homosexual sex.
Lawrence v. Texas
(2003) is a landmark decision by the United States Supreme Court. The Court struck down the sodomy law in Texas and, by extension, invalidated sodomy laws in 13 other states, making same-sex sexual activity legal in every U.S. state and territory. The Court overturned its previous ruling on the same issue in the 1986 case Bowers v. Hardwick, where it upheld a challenged Georgia statute and did not find a constitutional protection of sexual privacy. The Court held that a Texas law classifying consensual, adult homosexual intercourse as illegal sodomy violated the privacy and liberty of adults to engage in private intimate conduct under the 14th Amendment.
The right to die
An ethical or institutional entitlement of any individual to commit suicide or to undergo voluntary euthanasia. Possession of this right is often understood to mean that a person with a terminal illness should be allowed to commit suicide or assisted suicide or to decline life-prolonging treatment, where a disease would otherwise prolong their suffering to an identical result. In 1997 the Supreme Court heard two appeals arguing that New York and Washington statutes that made physician assisted suicide a felony violated the equal protection clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. In a unanimous vote, the Court held that there was no constitutional right to physician assisted suicide and upheld state bans on assisted suicide. While in New York this has maintained statutes banning physician assisted suicide, the Court's decision also left it open for other states to decide whether they would allow physician assisted suicide or no.
Cruzan v. Director, Missouri Dept. of Health
(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.
The part of the Bill of Rights that prohibits unreasonable searches and seizures and requires any warrant to be judicially sanctioned and supported by probable cause. The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.
Searches and seizures
A procedure used in many civil law and common law legal systems whereby police or other authorities and their agents, who suspect that a crime has been committed, do a search of a person's property and confiscate any relevant evidence to the crime
Olmstead v. United States
(1928), was a decision of the Supreme Court of the United States, in which the Court reviewed whether the use of wiretapped private telephone conversations, obtained by federal agents without judicial approval and subsequently used as evidence, constituted a violation of the defendant's rights provided by the Fourth and Fifth Amendments. In a 5-4 decision, the Court held that neither the Fourth Amendment nor the Fifth Amendment rights of the defendant were violated. This decision was later overturned by Katz v. United States in 1967. The Court ruled that the Fourth Amendment's proscription on unreasonable search and seizure did not apply to wiretaps.
Katz v. United States
(1967), is a United States Supreme Court case discussing the nature of the "right to privacy" and the legal definition of a "search". The Court's ruling refined previous interpretations of the unreasonable search and seizure clause of the Fourth Amendment to count immaterial intrusion with technology as a search, overruling Olmstead v. United States and Goldman v. United States. It also extended Fourth Amendment protection to all areas where a person has a "reasonable expectation of privacy".
United States v. Jones
(2012), was a United States Supreme Court case which held that installing a Global Positioning System (GPS) tracking device on a vehicle and using the device to monitor the vehicle's movements constitutes a search under the Fourth Amendment. The Court held that the Government's attachment of the GPS device to the vehicle, and its use of that device to monitor the vehicle's movements, constitutes a search under the Fourth Amendment.
Searches and warrants
A court order that a magistrate, judge or Supreme Court official issues to authorize law enforcement officers to conduct a search of a person, location, or vehicle for evidence of a crime and to confiscate any evidence they find. A search warrant cannot be issued in aid of civil process. Jurisdictions that respect the rule of law and a right to privacy constrain police powers, and typically require search warrants or an equivalent procedure for searches police conducted in the course of a criminal investigation.
Exceptions to search warrant requirement
The laws usually make an exception for hot pursuit: a police officer following a criminal who has fled the scene of a crime has the right to enter a property where the criminal has sought shelter. This contrasts with authoritarian regimes, where police typically can search property and people without having to provide justification or secure court permission.
Developed in Carroll v. United States, a legal rule in the United States which allows the search of a motor vehicle without the search warrant normally required by the Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution.
A legal principle in the United States, under constitutional law and held by Bram v. United States, which holds that evidence collected or analyzed in violation of the defendant's constitutional rights is sometimes inadmissible for a criminal prosecution in a court of law. This may be considered an example of a prophylactic rule formulated by the judiciary in order to protect a constitutional right. The exclusionary rule may also, in some circumstances at least, be considered to follow directly from the constitutional language, such as the Fifth Amendment's command that no person "shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself" and that no person "shall be deprived of life, liberty or property without due process of law". "It is grounded in the Fourth Amendment and it is intended to protect citizens from illegal searches and seizures." The exclusionary rule is also designed to provide a remedy and disincentive, which is short of criminal prosecution in response to prosecutors and police who illegally gather evidence in violation of the Fifth Amendment in the Bill of Rights compelled to self-incrimination. The exclusionary rule also applies to violations of the Sixth Amendment, which guarantees the right to counsel. It was not until Mapp v. Ohio in 1961 that it was also held to be binding on the states through the Fourteenth Amendment, which guarantees due process. Up until Mapp, it had been rejected by most states.
Weeks v. United States
(1914), was a United States Supreme Court case in which the Court unanimously held that the warrantless seizure of items from a private residence constitutes a violation of the Fourth Amendment. It also prevented local officers from securing evidence by means prohibited under the federal exclusionary rule and giving it to their federal colleagues. It was not until the case of Mapp v. Ohio, 367 U.S. 643 (1961), that the exclusionary rule was deemed to apply to state courts as well. The Court held that the warrantless seizure of documents from a private home violated the Fourth Amendment prohibition against unreasonable searches and seizures, and evidence obtained in this manner is excluded from use in federal criminal prosecutions.
Mapp v. Ohio
(1961), was a landmark case in criminal procedure, in which the United States Supreme Court decided that evidence obtained in violation of the Fourth Amendment, which protects against "unreasonable searches and seizures," may not be used in state law criminal prosecutions in state courts, as well, as had previously been the law, as in federal criminal law prosecutions in federal courts. The Supreme Court accomplished this by use of a principle known as selective incorporation; in Mapp this involved the incorporation of the provisions, as interpreted by the Court, of the Fourth Amendment which is applicable only to actions of the federal government into the Fourteenth Amendment due process clause which is applicable to actions of the states. The Court ruled that the Fourth Amendment prohibition against unreasonable searches and seizures, as applied to the states through the Fourteenth, excludes unconstitutionally obtained evidence from use in criminal prosecutions.
Good faith exception
A legal doctrine providing an exemption to the exclusionary rule. The exemption allows evidence collected in violation of privacy rights as interpreted from the Fourth Amendment to be admitted at trial if police officers acting in good faith (bona fides) relied upon a defective search warrant — that is, they had reason to believe their actions were legal (measured under the reasonable person test). The rule was established in the two companion cases decided by the U.S. Supreme Court in 1984: United States v. Leon (468 U.S. 897) and Massachusetts v. Sheppard (468 U.S. 981). The exception permits the courts to consider the mental state of the police officer. The ruling is in contrast to Horton v. California (1990) where the court opined: Evenhanded law enforcement is best achieved by the application of objective standards of conduct, rather than standards that depend upon the subjective state of mind of the officer.
United States v. Leon
(1984), was a Case about drugs in which the Supreme Court of the United States created the "good faith" exception to the exclusionary rule. The Court established that evidence obtained in good faith by police relying upon a search warrant that subsequently is found to be deficient may be used in a criminal trial.
Part of the Bill of Rights and protects a person against being compelled to be a witness against himself or herself in a criminal case. No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.
Escobedo v. Illinois
(1964), was a United States Supreme Court case holding that criminal suspects have a right to counsel during police interrogations under the Sixth Amendment. The case was decided a year after the court held in Gideon v. Wainwright, 372 U.S. 335 (1963) that indigent criminal defendants had a right to be provided counsel at trial. This holding was later implicitly overruled by Miranda v. Arizona, and the Supreme Court held that pre-indictment interrogations violate the Fifth Amendment, not the Sixth Amendment. As Escobedo was questioned during a custodial interrogation, the result for the appellant would have been the same. The Court held that where a police investigation begins to focus on a particular suspect who has been refused counsel, his statements to police are excluded.
Miranda v. Arizona
(1966), was a landmark decision of the United States Supreme Court. The Court held that both inculpatory and exculpatory statements made in response to interrogation by a defendant in police custody will be admissible at trial only if the prosecution can show that the defendant was informed of the right to consult with an attorney before and during questioning and of the right against self-incrimination before police questioning, and that the defendant not only understood these rights, but voluntarily waived them. Per the U.S. Supreme Court decision Berghuis v. Thompkins (June 1, 2010), criminal suspects who are aware of their right to silence and to an attorney, but choose not to "unambiguously" invoke them, may find any subsequent voluntary statements treated as an implied waiver of their rights, and which may be used in evidence. The Court held that the Fifth Amendment privilege against self-incrimination requires law enforcement officials to advise a suspect interrogated in custody of his rights to remain silent and to obtain an attorney.
1. The routine booking question exception; 2. The jail house informant exception; and 3. The public safety exception. The routine booking question exception states from Alford v. State that the police must have a record of a suspect's identity before they can jail an individual awaiting arraignment. Indeed, police departments must obtain, as mandated by statute, personal information on suspects, such as physical descriptions, photographs, and fingerprints, for investigative purposes in the crime for which the suspect has been arrested, as well as for investigating other crimes. This biographical data - name, address, age, weight, and physical description - is considered "routine booking information." The jail house informant exception, established by Messiah v. United States, applies to situations where the suspect does not know that he is speaking to a state-agent; either a police officer posing as a fellow inmate, a cellmate working as an agent for the state or a family member or friend who has agreed to cooperate with the state in obtaining incriminating information. Derived from New York v. Quarles, the public safety exception states that in order to be admissible in the government's direct case at a trial, the questioning must not be "actually compelled by police conduct which overcame his will to resist", and must be focused and limited, involving a situation "in which police officers ask questions reasonably prompted by a concern for the public safety".
The part of the United States Bill of Rights that sets forth rights related to criminal prosecutions. The Supreme Court has applied the protections of this amendment to the states through the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defense.
Right to counsel: first instance, appeal
A defendant has this right (i.e., lawyers), and if the defendant cannot afford a lawyer, requires that the government appoint one or pay the defendant's legal expenses. This right is generally regarded as a constituent of the right to a fair trial. A criminal defendant's Sixth Amendment right to assistance of counsel has been extended by the U.S. Supreme Court to include representation during the first appeal after conviction. This stage is sometimes called the "appeal as a matter of right." If You Cannot Afford to Hire an Attorney for a First Appeal. Just as with the right to assistance of counsel at earlier stages such as preliminary hearing and trial, the government appoints an attorney to represent any criminal defendant who cannot afford a lawyer for a first appeal. For any subsequent appeal, the person usually must pay to hire an attorney. In many states, however, public interest or civil rights groups sometimes represent convicted persons for free at subsequent appeals.
Powell v. Alabama
(1932) the United States Supreme Court reversed the convictions of nine young "ignorant and illiterate" black men for allegedly raping two white women on a freight train near Scottsboro, Alabama. The majority of the Court reasoned that the right to retain and be represented by a lawyer was fundamental to a fair trial and that at least in some circumstances; the trial judge must inform a defendant of this right. In addition, if the defendant cannot afford a lawyer, the court must appoint one sufficiently far in advance of trial to permit the lawyer to prepare adequately for the trail. Before Powell, the Court had reversed state criminal convictions only for racial discrimination in jury selection — a practice that violated the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.
Gideon v. Wainwright
(1963), is a landmark case in United States Supreme Court history. In it, the Supreme Court unanimously ruled that states are required under the Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution to provide counsel in criminal cases to represent defendants who are unable to afford to pay their own attorneys. The case extended the identical requirement that had been imposed on the federal government under the Fifth and Sixth Amendments. The Court held that the Sixth Amendment right to counsel is a fundamental right applied to the states via the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution's due process clause, and requires that indigent criminal defendants be provided counsel at trial.
While criminal procedure differs dramatically by jurisdiction, the process generally begins with a formal criminal charge and results in the conviction or acquittal of the defendant. After a defendant is formally charged with a crime, the case proceeds to the criminal trial phase (unless the defendant pleads guilty). This begins with jury selection, in which the prosecuting attorney and defense counsel select a jury from the randomly selected jury pool through the process of elimination. Once the jury is set, counsel for the prosecution and defense make their opening statements; present evidence; call witnesses to the stand for testimony and cross-examination; and then make their closing arguments. The jury then deliberates for as long as it takes to reach a verdict.
Any agreement in a criminal case between the prosecutor and defendant whereby the defendant agrees to plead guilty to a particular charge in return for some concession from the prosecutor. This may mean that the defendant will plead guilty to a less serious charge, or to one of several charges, in return for the dismissal of other charges; or it may mean that the defendant will plead guilty to the original criminal charge in return for a more lenient sentence.
Found in the Sixth Amendment to the United States Constitution, the Clause protects the defendant from delay between the presentation of the indictment or similar charging instrument and the beginning of trial. In Barker v. Wingo (1972), the Supreme Court developed a four-part test that considers the length of the delay, the reasons for the delay, the defendant's assertion of his right to a speedy trial, and the prejudice to the defendant. A violation of the Speedy Trial Clause is cause for dismissal with prejudice of a criminal case. The test examines (1) the length of delay, (2) the reason for the delay, (3) the time and manner in which the defendant has asserted his right, and (4) the degree of prejudice to the defendant which the delay has caused.
A legal proceeding in which a jury either makes a decision or makes findings of fact, which then direct the actions of a judge. It is distinguished from a bench trial, in which a judge or panel of judges make all decisions.
A legal phrase that refers to a variety of procedures connected with jury trials. It originally referred to an oath taken by jurors to tell the truth (Latin: verum dicere), i.e., to say what is true, what is objectively accurate or subjectively honest, or both. In the United States, it now generally refers to the process by which prospective jurors are questioned about their backgrounds and potential biases before being chosen to sit on a jury. "Voir Dire is the process by which attorneys select, or perhaps more appropriately reject, certain jurors to hear a case." It also refers to the process by which expert witnesses are questioned about their backgrounds and qualifications before being allowed to present their opinion testimony in court. As noted above, in the United States (especially in practice under the Federal Rules of Evidence), voir dire can also refer to examination of the background of a witness to assess their qualification or fitness to give testimony on a given subject.
Challenge for cause
A request that a prospective juror be dismissed because there is a specific and forceful reason to believe the person cannot be fair, unbiased or capable of serving as a juror.
A right in jury selection for the attorneys to reject a certain number of potential jurors without stating a reason. Other potential jurors may be challenged for cause, i.e., by giving a good reason why they might be unable to reach a fair verdict, but the challenge will be considered by the presiding judge and may be denied.
The Confrontation Clause of the Sixth Amendment to the United States Constitution provides that "in all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right...to be confronted with the witnesses against him." Generally, the right is to have a face-to-face confrontation with witnesses who are offering testimonial evidence against the accused in the form of cross-examination during a trial. The Fourteenth Amendment makes the right to confrontation applicable to the states and not just the federal government. The right only applies to criminal prosecutions, not civil cases or other proceedings.
Maryland v. Craig
(1990), was a case decided by the Supreme Court of the United States under the Sixth Amendment to the United States Constitution. The Court ruled that the Sixth Amendment's Confrontation Clause, which provides criminal defendants with the right to confront witnesses against them, did not bar the use of one-way closed-circuit television to present testimony by an alleged child sex abuse victim. The Court ruled that testimony by an alleged child sex abuse victim via closed-circuit television did not violate the defendant's Sixth Amendment right to confront witnesses.
Crawford v. Washington
(2004), is a United States Supreme Court decision that reformulated the standard for determining when the admission of hearsay statements in criminal cases is permitted under the Confrontation Clause of the Sixth Amendment. The Court held that cross-examination is required to admit prior testimonial statements of witnesses who have since become unavailable. The Court held that the use at trial of out of court statements made to police by an unavailable witness violated a criminal defendant's Sixth Amendment right to confront witnesses against him.
Davis v. Washington
(2006), was a case decided by the Supreme Court of the United States holding that hearsay statements made in a 911 call asking for aid were not "testimonial" in nature and thus their introduction at trial did not violate the Confrontation Clause as defined in Crawford v. Washington. The Court held that A 911 phone call describing an "ongoing emergency" is not testimonial in nature, and thus may be admitted at trial even if the caller is not available without violating the Sixth Amendment's Confrontation Clause.
Melendez-Dias v. Massachusetts
(2009), is a United States Supreme Court case in which the Court held that it was a violation of the Sixth Amendment right of confrontation for a prosecutor to submit a chemical drug test report without the testimony of the person who performed the test. While the court ruled that the then-common practice of submitting these reports without testimony was unconstitutional, it also held that so called "notice-and-demand" statutes are constitutional. A state would not violate the Constitution through a "notice-and-demand" statute by both putting the defendant on notice that the prosecution would submit a chemical drug test report without the testimony of the scientist and also giving the defendant sufficient time to raise an objection. The Court held that sworn affidavits are testimonial in nature, violate the Confrontation Clause under Crawford v. Washington, and do not meet the business records exception to the hearsay rule. The requirements of the Confrontation Clause may not be relaxed because they make the prosecution's task burdensome. "Notice and demand" statutes are Constitutional.
Michigan v. Bryant
(2011), was a United States Supreme Court case in which the Court considered a criminal defendant's Confrontation Clause right regarding statements made by a deceased declarant. The Court held that the statement was not testimonial and thus its admission did not violate the Confrontation Clause.
The act of exposing oneself (generally, by making a statement) "to an accusation or charge of crime; to involve oneself or another [person] in a criminal prosecution or the danger thereof." Self-incrimination can occur either directly or indirectly: directly, by means of interrogation where information of a self-incriminatory nature is disclosed; indirectly, when information of a self-incriminatory nature is disclosed voluntarily without pressure from another person.
A decree of punishment. In law, a sentence forms the final explicit act of a judge-ruled process, and also the symbolic principal act connected to his function. The sentence can generally involve a decree of imprisonment, a fine and/or other punishments against a defendant convicted of a crime. Those imprisoned for multiple crimes will serve a consecutive sentence (in which the period of imprisonment equals the sum of all the sentences), a concurrent sentence (in which the period of imprisonment equals the length of the longest sentence), or somewhere in between, sometimes subject to a cap. The Federal Sentencing Guidelines are rules that set out a uniform sentencing policy for individuals and organizations convicted of felonies and serious (Class A) misdemeanors in the United States federal courts system. The Guidelines do not apply to less serious misdemeanors.
The part of the United States Bill of Rights (ratified December 15, 1791) prohibiting the federal government from imposing excessive bail, excessive fines, or cruel and unusual punishments, including torture. The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that this amendment's Cruel and Unusual Punishment Clause also applies to the states. Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.
Cruel and unusual punishment
A phrase describing punishment that is considered unacceptable due to the suffering, pain, or humiliation it inflicts on the person subjected to it. There are generally tests that can serve as a guide to what cruel and unusual punishment is according to various legal textbooks in accordance with the law. These are: 1) the frequency at which the punishment occurs in society, 2) overall acceptance in society, 3) severity (i.e., the punishment fits the crime), and 4) if the punishment is arbitrary.
Solem v. Helm
(1983), was a United States Supreme Court case concerned with the scope of the Eighth Amendment protection from cruel and unusual punishment. A man who had written a check from a fictitious account and had reached his seventh nonviolent felony conviction since 1964, received a mandatory sentence, under South Dakota law at that time, to life in prison with no parole. The Court held that the Eighth Amendment's prohibition on cruel and unusual punishments prohibits not only barbaric punishments, but also sentences that are disproportionate to the crime.
Ewing v. California
(2003), is one of two cases upholding a sentence imposed under California's three strikes law against a challenge that it constituted cruel and unusual punishment in violation of the Eighth Amendment. As in its prior decision in Harmelin v. Michigan, 501 U.S. 957 (1991), the United States Supreme Court could not agree on the precise reasoning for upholding the sentence. Nevertheless, with the decision in this and the companion case Lockyer v. Andrade, 538 U.S. 63 (2003), the Court effectively foreclosed criminal defendants from arguing that their noncapital sentences were disproportional to the crime they had committed. The Court held that California's three strikes law does not violate the Eighth Amendment prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment.
Graham v. Florida
A decision by the Supreme Court of the United States, in 2010, in which it was held that juvenile offenders cannot be sentenced to life imprisonment without parole for non-homicide offenses, as it violates the Eighth Amendment. The court decided whether Roper v. Simmons (2005), which had abolished the death penalty for juvenile offenders, should also apply to sentences of life without the possibility of parole.
Crimes that can result in this are known as capital crimes or capital offences.
Furman v. Georgia
(1972) was a United States Supreme Court decision that ruled on the requirement for a degree of consistency in the application of the death penalty. The case led to a de facto moratorium on capital punishment throughout the United States, which came to an end when Gregg v. Georgia was decided in 1976. The Court held that the arbitrary and inconsistent imposition of the death penalty violates the Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments, and constitutes cruel and unusual punishment.
Gregg v. Georgia
(1976) reaffirmed the United States Supreme Court's acceptance of the use of the death penalty in the United States, upholding, in particular, the death sentence imposed on Troy Leon Gregg. The Supreme Court set forth the two main features that capital sentencing procedures must employ in order to comply with the Eighth Amendment ban on "cruel and unusual punishments". The decision essentially ended the de facto moratorium on the death penalty imposed by the Court in its 1972 decision in Furman v. Georgia 408 U.S. 238 (1972). The Court held that the imposition of the death penalty does not, automatically, violate the Eighth and Fourteenth Amendment. If the jury is furnished with standards to direct and limit the sentencing discretion, and the jury's decision is subjected to meaningful appellate review, the death sentence may be constitutional. If, however, the death penalty is mandatory, such that there is no provision for mercy based on the characteristics of the offender, then it is unconstitutional. The test established states that, first, the scheme must provide objective criteria to direct and limit the death sentencing discretion. The objectiveness of these criteria must in turn be ensured by appellate review of all death sentences. Second, the scheme must allow the sentencer (whether judge or jury) to take into account the character and record of an individual defendant.
Atkins v. Virginia
(2002), is a case in which the Supreme Court of the United States ruled that executing intellectually disabled individuals violates the Eighth Amendment's ban on cruel and unusual punishments, but states can define who is intellectually disabled. Twelve years later in Hall v. Florida the U.S. Supreme Court narrowed the discretion under which U.S. states can designate an individual convicted of murder as too intellectually incapacitated to be executed. The Court held that a Virginia law allowing the execution of mentally handicapped individuals violated the Eighth Amendment's prohibition of cruel and unusual punishments. Supreme Court of Virginia reversed and remanded.
Equal protection tests: rational basis, intermediate scrutiny, strict scrutiny
Rational basis refers to the default standard of review that courts apply when considering constitutional questions, including due process or equal protection questions under the Fifth Amendment or Fourteenth Amendment. Courts applying this seek to determine whether a law is "rationally related" to a "legitimate" government interest, whether real or hypothetical. Intermediate scrutiny is the second level of deciding issues using judicial review. In order to overcome the intermediate scrutiny test, it must be shown that the law or policy being challenged furthers an important government interest in a way that is substantially related to that interest. This should be contrasted with strict scrutiny, the higher standard of review which requires narrowly tailored and least restrictive means to further a compelling governmental interest. Strict scrutiny is the most stringent standard of judicial review used by United States courts. It is part of the hierarchy of standards that courts use to weigh the government's interest against a constitutional right or principle. The lesser standards are rational basis review and exacting or intermediate scrutiny. These standards are used to test statutes and government action at all levels of government within the United States.
Scott v. Sandford
(1857), was a landmark decision by the U.S. Supreme Court in which the Court held that African Americans, whether enslaved or free, could not be American citizens and therefore had no standing to sue in federal court, and that the federal government had no power to regulate slavery in the federal territories acquired after the creation of the United States. Dred Scott, an enslaved African American man who had been taken by his owners to free states and territories, attempted to sue for his freedom. The Court denied Scott's request. For only the second time in its history the Supreme Court ruled an Act of Congress to be unconstitutional. It was superseded by the Civil Rights Act of 1866 and the Fourteenth Amendment. The Court held that the judgment reversed and suit dismissed for lack of jurisdiction. 1. Persons of African descent cannot be, nor were ever intended to be, citizens under the U.S. Const. Plaintiff is without standing to file a suit. 2. The Property Clause is only applicable to lands possessed at the time of ratification (1787). As such, Congress cannot ban slavery in the territories. Missouri Compromise is unconstitutional. 3. Due Process Clause of the Fifth Amendment prohibits the federal government from freeing slaves brought into federal territories.
Plessy v. Ferguson
(1896), was a landmark United States Supreme Court decision upholding the constitutionality of state laws requiring racial segregation in public facilities under the doctrine of "separate but equal". It was overturned by Brown v. Board of Education. The Court held that the "separate but equal" provision of private services mandated by state government is constitutional under the Equal Protection Clause.
Separate but equal
A legal doctrine in United States constitutional law that justified and permitted racial segregation as not being in breach of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution which guaranteed equal protection under the law to all citizens, and other federal civil rights laws. Under the doctrine, government was allowed to require that services, facilities, public accommodations, housing, medical care, education, employment, and transportation be separated along racial lines, provided that the quality of each group's public facilities was equal. The phrase was derived from a Louisiana law of 1890, although the law actually used the phrase "equal but separate."
Charles Hamilton Houston
A prominent African-American lawyer, Dean of Howard University Law School, and NAACP Litigation Director who played a significant role in dismantling the Jim Crow laws, which earned him the title "The Man Who Killed Jim Crow". He is also well known for having trained future Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall.
Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka
(1954), was a landmark United States Supreme Court case in which the Court declared state laws establishing separate public schools for black and white students to be unconstitutional. The decision overturned the Plessy v. Ferguson decision of 1896, which allowed state-sponsored segregation, insofar as it applied to public education. Handed down on May 17, 1954, the Warren Court's unanimous decision stated that "separate educational facilities are inherently unequal." As a result, de jure racial segregation was ruled a violation of the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment of the United States Constitution. This ruling paved the way for integration and was a major victory of the civil rights movement.
Brown v. Board of Education (II)
In 1955, the Supreme Court considered arguments by the schools requesting relief concerning the task of desegregation. In their decision, the court delegated the task of carrying out school desegregation to district courts with orders that desegregation occur "with all deliberate speed."
Sex discrimination involves treating someone (an applicant or employee) unfavorably because of that person's sex. Sex discrimination also can involve treating someone less favorably because of his or her connection with an organization or group that is generally associated with people of a certain sex. Discrimination against an individual because that person is transgender is discrimination because of sex in violation of Title VII. This is also known as gender identity discrimination. In addition, lesbian, gay, and bisexual individuals may bring sex discrimination claims. These may include, for example, allegations of sexual harassment or other kinds of sex discrimination, such as adverse actions taken because of the person's non-conformance with sex-stereotypes.
Reed v. Reed
(1971), was an Equal Protection case in the United States in which the Supreme Court ruled that the administrators of estates cannot be named in a way that discriminates between sexes.
Craig v. Boren
(1976), was the first case in which a majority of the United States Supreme Court determined that statutory or administrative sex classifications had to be subjected to an intermediate standard of judicial review. The Court ruled that to regulate in a sex-discriminatory fashion, the government must demonstrate that its use of sex-based criteria is substantially related to the achievement of important governmental objectives.
Discrimination based on economic factors. These factors can include job availability, wages, the prices and/or availability of goods and services, and the amount of capital investment funding available to minorities for business. This can include discrimination against workers, consumers, and minority-owned businesses.
San Antonio Independent School District v. Rodriguez
(1973), was a case in which the Supreme Court of the United States held the San Antonio Independent School District's financing system, based on local property taxes, was not an unconstitutional violation of the Fourteenth Amendment's equal protection clause. The majority opinion, stated the appellees did not sufficiently prove that education is a fundamental right, that textually existed within the U.S. Constitution, and could thereby (through the 14th Amendment to the Constitution), be applied to the several States. The Court also found the financing system was not subject to strict scrutiny. The Court held that reliance on property taxes to fund public schools does not violate the Equal Protection Clause even if it causes inter-district expenditure disparities. Absolute equality of education funding is not required and a state system that encourages local control over schools bears a rational relationship to a legitimate state interest.
Discrimination based on sexual orientation
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission enforces the prohibitions against employment discrimination in Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Equal Pay Act of 1963, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967, Sections 501 and 505 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, Titles I and V of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA), Title II of the Genetic Information Non-discrimination Act (GINA), and the Civil Rights Act of 1991. These laws prohibit discrimination based on race, color, sex, religion, national origin, age, disability, and genetic information, as well as reprisal for protected activity. The Commission's interpretations of these statutes apply to its adjudication and enforcement in federal sector as well as private sector and state and local government employment.
Romer v. Evans
(1996), is a landmark United States Supreme Court case dealing with sexual orientation and state laws. It was the first Supreme Court case to address gay rights since Bowers v. Hardwick (1986), when the Court had held that laws criminalizing sodomy were constitutional. The Court ruled that a state constitutional amendment in Colorado preventing protected status based upon homosexuality or bisexuality did not satisfy the Equal Protection Clause. The majority opinion in this stated that the amendment lacked "a rational relationship to legitimate state interests", and the dissent stated that the majority "evidently agrees that 'rational basis' - the normal test for compliance with the Equal Protection Clause - is the governing standard". The state constitutional amendment failed rational basis review. The decision in this set the stage for Lawrence v. Texas (2003), where the Court overruled its decision in Bowers, and for the Supreme Court ruling striking down Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act in United States v. Windsor (2013).
United States v. Windsor
(2013), is a landmark civil rights case in which the United States Supreme Court held that restricting U.S. federal interpretation of "marriage" and "spouse" to apply only to heterosexual unions, by Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), is unconstitutional under the Due Process Clause of the Fifth Amendment; Justice Kennedy wrote: "The federal statute is invalid, for no legitimate purpose overcomes the purpose and effect to disparage and to injure those whom the State, by its marriage laws, sought to protect in personhood and dignity." The Court held that Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act, which federally defined marriage as a union between one man and one woman as husband and wife, is unconstitutional under the Fifth Amendment Due Process Clause's guarantee of equal protection. The federal government must recognize same-sex marriages that have been approved by the states. The judgment of the Second Circuit is affirmed.
The policy of favoring members of a disadvantaged group who suffer from discrimination within a culture.
Regents of the University of California v. Bakke
(1978) was a landmark decision by the Supreme Court of the United States. It upheld affirmative action, allowing race to be one of several factors in college admission policy. However, the court ruled that specific quotas, such as the 16 out of 100 seats set aside for minority students by the University of California, Davis School of Medicine, were impermissible. The Court held that he was ordered admitted to U.C.-Davis Medical School, and the school's practice of reserving 16 seats for minority students was struck down. Judgment of the Supreme Court of California reversed insofar as it forbade the university from taking race into account in admissions.
In employment and education, they are numerical requirements for hiring, promoting, admitting and/or graduating members of a particular racial group. They are often established as means of diminishing racial discrimination, addressing under-representation and evident racism against those racial groups. However, it has been argued that such quotas are in themselves a form of racial discrimination; and therefore they are a contentious subject.
Grutter v. Bollinger
(2003), was a landmark case in which the United States Supreme Court upheld the affirmative action admissions policy of the University of Michigan Law School. The Court ruled that the University of Michigan Law School had a compelling interest in promoting class diversity and didn't violate the Fourteenth Amendment. The court held that a race-conscious admissions process that may favor "underrepresented minority groups," but that also took into account many other factors evaluated on an individual basis for every applicant, did not amount to a quota system that would have been unconstitutional under Regents of the University of California v. Bakke.
Affirmative action principles
Executed properly, affirmative action programs should be used as strategic management tools to provide equal opportunity for female and minority employees while not excluding males and non-minority employees. As a strategic part of doing business, the analyses and processes should assist in removing any barriers that might exist for promotions and career-building opportunities as well as provide opportunities for individuals seeking employment.
Fisher v. University of Texas
(2013), is a United States Supreme Court case concerning the affirmative action admissions policy of a university. The Supreme Court voided the lower appellate court's ruling in favor of the University and remanded the case, holding that the lower court had not applied the standard of strict scrutiny, articulated in Grutter v. Bollinger (2003) and Regents of the University of California v. Bakke (1978), to its admissions program. The Court's ruling in Fisher took Grutter and Bakke as given and did not directly revisit the constitutionality of using race as a factor in college admissions.
Prohibits the federal and state governments from denying a citizen the right to vote based on that citizen's "race, color, or previous condition of servitude." It was ratified on February 3, 1870, as the third and last of the Reconstruction Amendments. Section 1. The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude. Section 2. The Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.
Prohibits any United States citizen from being denied the right to vote on the basis of sex. It was ratified on August 18, 1920. The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex. Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.
Prohibits both Congress and the states from conditioning the right to vote in federal elections on payment of a poll tax or other types of tax. The amendment was proposed by Congress to the states on August 27, 1962, and was ratified by the states on January 23, 1964. Section 1. The right of citizens of the United States to vote in any primary or other election for President or Vice President, for electors for President or Vice President, or for Senator or Representative in Congress, shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or any State by reason of failure to pay any poll tax or other tax. Section 2. The Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.
(End of) Reconstruction
By 1873, Republicans were losing their enthusiasm for protecting black rights. Despite the presence of federal troops, sent by President Grant to protect black voting rights, white Democrats effectively resumed campaigns of violence and intimidation to suppress the Republican vote, with clearly observable effects depicted in this map. The formal end to Reconstruction was brought about in the disputed 1876 Presidential election. In backroom negotiations, Democrats conceded the disputed election returns to Hayes in return for his agreement to withdraw the remaining 3000 federal troops, thereby putting a formal end to Reconstruction and assuring Democratic control, based on a platform of white supremacy and black disenfranchisement, throughout the South.
Limiting the 'black vote': poll taxes, difficult registration requirements, tests, intimidation
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.
Voting Rights Act of 1965
A landmark piece of federal legislation in the United States that prohibits racial discrimination in voting. It was signed into law by President Lyndon B. Johnson during the height of the American Civil Rights Movement on August 6, 1965, and Congress later amended the Act five times to expand its protections. Designed to enforce the voting rights guaranteed by the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution, the Act resulted in the mass enfranchisement of racial minorities throughout the country, especially in the South. According to the U.S. Department of Justice, the Act is considered to be the most effective piece of civil rights legislation ever enacted in the country.
Louisiana v. United States
(1965), was a case decided by the Supreme Court of the United States that dealt with an "interpretation test" permitted by the Louisiana Constitution of 1921 alleged to deprive Louisiana Negroes of voting rights in violation of 42 U.S.C. Section 1971(a) and the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments. The test gave complete discretion to registrars to deny an applicant the ability to register to vote if he could not "give a reasonable interpretation" of any clause in the Louisiana Constitution or the Constitution of the United States. The Court held that the Louisiana constitution's voter registration requirements are unconstitutional, standing in conflict with the Fifteenth Amendment.
Harper v. Virginia State Board of Elections
(1966), was a case in which the U.S. Supreme Court found that Virginia's poll tax was unconstitutional under the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment. The Twenty-fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution (1964) prohibited poll taxes in federal elections; five states continued to require poll taxes for voters in state elections. By this ruling, the Supreme Court banned the use of poll taxes in state elections. The Court held that a State's conditioning of the right to vote on the payment of a fee or tax violates the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.
South Carolina v. Katzenbach
(1966) is a United States Supreme Court case in which the Court rejected a challenge by the state of South Carolina to the preclearance provisions of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, which required that some states submit changes in election districts to the Attorney General of the United States. The Voting Rights Act was a valid exercise of Congress's power under the enforcement clause of the Fifteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution.
Shelby County, AL v. Holder
(2013), is a landmark United States Supreme Court case regarding the constitutionality of two provisions of the Voting Rights Act of 1965: Section 5, which requires certain states and local governments to obtain federal preclearance before implementing any changes to their voting laws or practices; and Section 4(b), which contains the coverage formula that determines which jurisdictions are subjected to preclearance based on their histories of discrimination in voting. On June 25, 2013, the Court ruled that Section 4(b) is unconstitutional because the coverage formula is based on data over 40 years old, making it no longer responsive to current needs and therefore an impermissible burden on the constitutional principles of federalism and equal sovereignty of the states. The Court did not strike down Section 5, but without Section 4(b), no jurisdiction will be subject to Section 5 preclearance unless Congress enacts a new coverage formula. The Court held that Section 4(b) of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 is unconstitutional.
Voter ID laws
a law that requires some form of identification in order to vote or receive a ballot for an election
Crawford v. Marion County Election Board
(2008), is a United States Supreme Court case holding that an Indiana law requiring voters to provide photo IDs did not violate the Constitution of the United States. The Court held that a statute requiring voters to show a picture ID is constitutional.
YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE...
Supreme Court Cases
AP GOPO Important Cases Review
OTHER SETS BY THIS CREATOR
Spanish Vocab Chapters 7-9
Spanish Vocab Chapters 4-6
OTHER QUIZLET SETS
Unit #13 Vocabulary
Early Republic - Part 2 Jefferson & Madi…
History of African-Americans Final Exam
Civil Right Movement study guide