Landmark Supreme Court Decisions
Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted. ?
Freedom of Speech and of the Press
The Ninth Amendment says the rights of the people are not limited to just those rights listed in the Constitution.
1919 SCHENCK V. UNI TED STATES The government can restrict freedom of speech if the speech creates a “clear and present danger” of violence or some other evil that the government has a right to prevent. 1989 TEXAS V. JOHNSON The government cannot punish a person for burning the flag of the United States as part of a peaceful protest.
Ninth Amendment The enumeration in the Constitution of certain rights shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.
Rights of People Accused of Crime
1966 MI RANDA V. AR I ZONA An accused person must be informed of his or her constitutional rights, including rights to remain silent and to have the assistance of a lawyer, before being questioned.
The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people. ✦
Rights of Women and Minority Groups
1857 DRED SCOTT V. SANDFORD Blacks could not be U.S. citizens, and Congress could not prohibit slavery in the U.S. territories. The first part of this ruling was overturned in 1868 by the 14th Amendment. The second part was changed in 1865 by the 13th Amendment. 1954 BROWN V. BOARD OF EDUCAT ION OF TOPEKA Separate but equal facilities for blacks in public schools do not meet the constitutional requirement for equal protection under the law. 1973 ROE V. WADE The states may not prohibit a woman’s right to have an abortion during the first three months of pregnancy and may do so only under certain conditions in the second three months. The states may prohibit the abortion of a fetus that is capable of living outside the mother’s body. 1986 Meritor Savings Bank v. Vinson Sexual harassment is a form of discrimination prohibited under the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Sexual harassment includes unwelcome sexual advances or comments from a person in a position of power.
1. Three of the 10 amendments in the Bill of Rights were a result of the English monarchy’s infringement on the colonists’ basic rights. List and describe two of these amendments, and explain why the American colonists felt these amendments were necessary to be included in the Bill of Rights. 2. Choose two of the five freedoms guaranteed in the First Amendment and describe the impact these freedoms have made on your personal life. Include specific examples to support your answer. 3. Read the sidebar (“Where Is the Right to Privacy in the Bill of Rights?”) on the previous page. Though the Bill of Rights was penned in the eighteenth century, some believe we should interpret it to mean that citizens’ digital privacy should be protected today. Do you agree? Why or why not? 4. Which amendments guarantee rights to people in criminal cases? Name each amendment and list the rights they are granted. Why do you think the founders made sure that those accused of a crime would be protected in the newly formed United States of America?
AMER I CA’ S LEGACY PRESENTED BY STUDENT GOVERNMENTAL AFFA I RS PROGRAM | 39
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