Civics students - there are more than 100 Supreme Court cases listed in this chapter. I have selected just a few for you to know for the Chapter 19 test. You will also be responsible for the following information, in addition to the cases, in preparation for the Chapter 19 test.
- First Amendment to the Constitution - (Must Memorize) "Congress shall make no law respecting the establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof, or abridging the freedom of speech or of the press or of the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances."
- Libel - written defamation of character
- Slander -spoken defamation of character
- Defamation - the use or words, maliciously - with vicious purpose -to injure a person´s character or reputation or expose that person to public contempt, ridicule, or hatred. Truth is generally an absolute defense against a libel or slander claim. The law is less protective of public officials, however. In New York Times v. Sullivan, 1964, the Supreme Court held that public officials cannot recover damages for a published criticism, even if exaggerated or false, unless "the statement was made with actual malice - that is with knowledge that it was false or with reckless disregard of whether it was false or not. This also has been extended to public figures. Hustler Magazine v. Falwell"
- FREEDOM OF RELIGION:
- Everson v. Board of Education - (1947) - first direct ruling on the establishment clause. The Supreme Court upheld a state law that provided for the public busing of parochial school students. It was a safety measure for the child.
- Board of Education v. Allen (1968) - Established the "Child-Benefit Theory" whereby the child must benefit more than the school when determining the constitutionality of public money being spent on private religious schools.
- Engel v. Vitale - (1962) - The Supreme Court outlawed the use of a nondenominational prayer written by the New York State Board of Regents. The Court held, "...it is no part of the business of government to compose official prayers for any group of the American people."
- Wallace v. Jaffree - (1985) - The Supreme Court found Alabama´s,"Moment of Silence"law unconstitutional because it provided for a one-minute period of silence for,"meditation or voluntary prayer." at the beginning of each school day. The Court objected to the words,"voluntary prayer." Other states have, "moment of silence" laws.
- Tilton v. Richardson (1971) - demonstrates a less restrictive attitude toward state money going to fund church-related colleges and universities.
- Reynolds v. United States - (1879) - practices in religious beliefs cannot violate the U.S. Constitution.
- Oregon v. Smith - (1990) - individuals cannot violate state drug laws as part of a religious ceremony.
- Lynch v. Donnelly (1984) - a city can display a nativity scene but it must ALSO contain non-religious symbols.
- Marsh v. Chambers (1983) - Congress and the State Legislatures can open with a prayer
- Epperson v. Arkansas (1968) - a state cannot forbid the teaching of the scientific theory of evolution.
- Edwards v. Aguillard (1987) - overturned a state law that said if a public school taught the science of evolution, it must also teach creationism.
- Walz v. NYC Tax Commission (1970) - the tax exempt status of churches is constitutional.
- Lemon v. Kurtzman (1971) - The 3 part excessive entanglement standard. Used to determine the constitutionality of tax dollars going to fund parochial schools. To be constitutional, a state´s school-aid law must meet the following requirements,
1. The purpose of the aid must be clearly secular, that is, not religious.
2. Its primary effect must neither advance nor inhibit religion.
3. It must avoid an "excessive entanglement" betewen government and religion.
FREEDOM OF SPEECH, PRESS AND EXPRESSION
- Miller v. California (1973) - -Defines the term obscenity and provides a guideline for state laws that prohibit such material. A book, film or piece of material is obscene if, 1. the average person, applying contemporary, local, standards, finds that the work, taken as a whole, "appeals to the prurient interest," that is tends to excite lust, 2. "the work depicts or describes, in a patently offensive way," a form of sexual conduct specifically dealt with in an anti-obscenity law, and 3. the work, taken as a whole, lacks serious literary, artistic, political or scientific value.
- Near v. Minnesota (1931) - no prior restraint on publication allowed.
- Branzburg v. Hayes (1972) - no special confidentiality privileges for reporters - they must answer questions for trials and grand juries
- Tinker v. Des Moines School District (1969) - a school cannot suspend students for symbolic speech unless it is disruptive to the learning process or the peace.
- Schenck v. United States - Established the "Clear and Present Danger Rule" which states, "words can be outlawed if they create an immediate danger of a criminal act following."