Government in America: Chapter 4 (Civil Liberties and Public Policy) Key Terms Flashcards

Terms Definitions
civil liberties
The legal constitutional protections against government. Although our civil liberties are formally set down in this, the courts, police, and legislatures define their meaning.
Bill of Rights
The first ten amendments to the U.S. Constitution, which define such basic liberties as freedom of religion, speech, and press guarantee defendants' rights.
First Amendment
The constitutional amendment that establishes the four great liberties: freedom of the press, of speech, of religion, and of assembly.
Barron v. Baltimore
The 1833 Supreme Court Decision holding that the Bill of Rights restrained only the national government, not the states and cities.
Gitlow v. New York
The 1925 Supreme Court decision holding that freedoms of press and speech are "fundamental personal rights and liberties protected by the due process clause of the Fourteenth Amendment from impairment by the states" as well as by the federal government.
Fourteenth Amendment
The constitutional amendment adopted after the civil war that states, "No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or the 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."
incorporation doctrine
The legal concept under which the Supreme Court has nationalized the Bill of Rights by making most of its provisions applicable to the states through the Fourteenth Amendment.
establishment clause
Part of the First Amendment stating that "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion."
free exercise clause
A First Amendment provision that prohibits government from interfering with the practice of religion.
Lemon v. Kurtzman
The 1971 Supreme Court decision that established that aid to church-related schools must (1) have a secular legislative purpose; (2) have a primary effect that neither advances nor inhibits religion; and (3) not foster excessive government entanglement with religion.
Zelman v. Simmons-Harris
The 2002 Supreme Court decision that upheld a state providing families with vouchers that could be used to pay for tuition at religious schools.
Engel v. Vitale
The 1962 Supreme Court decision holding that state officials violated the First Amendment when they wrote a prayer to be recited by New York's schoolchildren.
School District of Abington Township, Pennsylvania v. Schempp
A 1963 Supreme Court decision holding that a Pennsylvania law requiring Bible reading in schools violated the establishment clause of the First Amendment.
prior restraint
A government preventing material from being published. This is a common method of limiting the press in some nations, but it is usually unconstitutional in the United States, according to the First Amendment and as confirmed in the 1931 Supreme Court case of Near v. Minnesota.
Near v. Minnesota
The 1931 Supreme Court decision holding that the First Amendment protects newspapers from prior restraint.
Schenck v. United States
A 1919 decision upholding the conviction of a socialist who had urged young men to resist the draft during World War I. Justice Holmes declared that government can limit speech if the speech provokes a "clear and present danger" of substantive evils.
Zurcher v. Stanford Daily
A 1978 Supreme Court decision holding that a proper search warrant could be applied to a newspaper as well as to anyone else without necessarily violating the First Amendment rights to freedom of the press.
Roth v. United States
A 1957 Supreme Court decision ruling that "obscenity is not within the area of constitutionally protected speech or press.
Miller v. California
A 1973 Supreme Court decision that avoided defining obscenity by holding that community standards be used to determine whether material is obscene in terms of appealing to a "prurient interest" and being "patently offensive" and lacking in value.
The publication of false or malicious statements that damage someone's reputation.
New York Times v. Sullivan
Decided in 1964, this case established the guidelines for determining whether public officials and public figures could win damage suits for libel. To do so, individuals must prove that the defamatory statements were made with "actual malice" and reckless disregard for truth.
Texas v. Johnson
A 1989 case in which the Supreme Court struck down a law banning the burning of the American flag on the grounds that such action was symbolic speech protected by the First Amendment.
symbolic speech
Nonverbal communication, such as burning a flag or wearing and armband. The Supreme Court has accorded some symbolic speech protection under the First Amendment.
commercial speech
Communication in the form of advertising. It can be restricted more than many other types of speech but has been receiving increased protection from the Supreme Court.
Miami Herald Publishing Company v. Tornillo
A 1974 case in which Supreme Court held that a state could not force a newspaper to print replies from candidates it it had criticized, illustrating the limited power of government to restrict the print media.
Red Lion Broadcasting Company v. Federal Communications Commission
A 1969 case in which the Supreme Court upheld restrictions on radio and television broadcasting. These restrictions on the broadcast media are much tighter than those on the print media because there are only a limited number of broadcasting frequencies available.
NAACP v. Alabama
The Supreme Court protected the right to assemble peaceably in this 1958 case when it decided the NAACP did not have to reveal its membership list and thus subject its members to harassment.
probable cause
The situation occurring when the police have reason to believe that a person should be arrested. In making the arrest, police are allowed legally to search for and seize incriminating evidence.
unreasonable searches and seizures
Obtaining evidence in a haphazard or random manner, a practice prohibited by the Fourth Amendment. Probable cause and/or a search warrant are required for a legal and proper search for and seizure of incriminating evidence.
search warrant
A written authorization from a court specifying the area to be searched and what the police are searching for.
exclusionary rule
The rule that evidence, no matter how incriminating, cannot be introduced into a trial if it was not constitutionally obtained. The rule prohibits use of evidence obtained through unreasonable search and seizure.
Mapp v. Ohio
The 1961 Supreme Court decision ruling that the Fourth Amendment's protection against unreasonable searches and seizures must be extended to the states as well as to the federal government.
Fifth Amendment
The constitutional amendment designed to protect the rights of persons accused of crimes, including protection against double jeopardy, self-incrimination, and punishment without due process of law.
The situation occurring when an individual accused of a crime is compelled to be a witness against himself or herself in court. The Fifth Amendment forbids self-incrimination.
Miranda v. Arizona
The 1966 Supreme Court decision that sets guidelines for police questioning of accused persons to protect them against self-incrimination and protect their right to counsel.
Sixth Amendment
The constitutional amendment designed to protect individuals accused of crimes. It includes the right to counsel, the right to confront witnesses, and the right to a speedy and public trial.
Gideon v. Wainwright
The 1963 Supreme Court decision holding that anyone accused of a felony where imprisonment may be imposed, however poor he or she might be, has a right to a lawyer.
plea bargaining
A bargain struck between the defendant's lawyer and the prosecutor to the effect that the defendant will plead guilty to a lesser crime (or fewer crimes) in exchange for the state's promise not to prosecute the defendant for a more serious (or additional) crime.
Eighth Amendment
The constitutional amendment that forbids cruel and unusual punishment, although it does not define this phrase. Through the Fourteenth Amendment, this Bill of Rights provision applies to the states.
cruel and unusual punishment
Court sentences prohibited by the Eighth Amendment. Although the Supreme Court has ruled that mandatory death sentences for certain offenses are unconstitutional, it has not held that the death penalty itself constitutes cruel and unusual punishment.
Gregg v. Georgia
The 1976 Supreme Court decision that upheld the constitutionality of the death penalty, stating that "It is an extreme sanction, suitable to the most extreme of crimes." The court did not, therefore, believe that the death sentence constitutes cruel and unusual punishment.
McCleskey v. Kemp
The 1987 Supreme Court decision that upheld the constitutionality of the death penalty against charges that it violated the Fourteenth Amendment because minority defendants were more likely to receive the death penalty than were White defendants.
right to privacy
The right to a private personal life free from the intrusion of government.
Roe v. Wade
The 1973 Supreme Court decision holding that a state ban on all abortions was unconstitutional. The decision forbade state control over abortions during the first trimester of pregnancy, permitted states to limit abortions to protect the mother's health in the second trimester, and permitted states to protect the fetus during the third trimester.
Planned Parenthood v. Casey
A 1992 case in which the Supreme Court loosened its standard for evaluating restrictions on abortion from one of "strict scrutiny" of any restraints on a "fundamental right" to one of "undue burden" that permits considerably more regulation.
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