Protected barons’ rights to property, trial by their peers, and taxation only by consent
Magna Carta (1215)
Glorious Revolution (1689)
Placed Parliament above the monarchy
Gave Parliament freedom of speech
No quartering of troops in people’s homes
No punishment without cause
The First Amendment
“ Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.”
First Amendment: Freedom of Religion
“ Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof…”
Establishment clause: government cannot establish an official religion
Free-exercise clause: government cannot prevent anyone from practicing a religion
First Amendment: Origins of Religious Freedom
In many 17th-century European countries, Catholicism was the official religion. To worship in any other way was a considered a crime against the state, resulting in a loss of liberties and often punishable by death.
Established religious settlements with little tolerance for religious differences
The Puritans banished those who disagreed with their religious rule and, in some cases, put nonbelievers to death.
First Amendment: Religious Freedom in Colonial America
The novel concept of not having any official religion strongly influenced the Framers of the Bill of Rights
Framers’ views on separation of church and state
Protected religion from government influence
Protected individuals’ right to worship as they wanted
First Amendment: Establishment and Free-Exercise Clauses
Two ways the courts view the establishment and free-exercise clauses:
Broad view: No public aid for any religion by either federal or state governments
Narrow view: Government prohibited only from giving preference to one religion over another
List and describe the two clauses in the First Amendment’s freedom of religion.
Why do you think the Puritans became intolerant of other religious beliefs, even though they had been banished from England for their own beliefs?
What do you think was the Framers’ intent in writing the establishment and free-exercise clauses in the First Amendment?
4. Today, are people in America tolerant of all religions ?
5. Was the passage of Proposition 8 influenced by religion? If so, does this conflict with the establishment or free-exercise clause?
First Amendment: Government Limitations on Free Speech
Alien and Sedition Acts passed under John Adams - essentially outlaws criticism of the gov’t. Representative from VT convicted under it.
Dissenters during Civil War were jailed without a trial (later deemed unconstitutional)
World War I: Espionage Act of 1917 - prevented anyone from calling for resistance to the U.S. war effort.
First Amendment: Government Limitations on Free Speech (continued)
Schenk v. U.S. - Espionage Act did not violate First Amendment
“ Clear and present danger” requirement in order to limit speech
“ would not protect a man in falsely shouting fire in a theater and causing a panic.”
After WWI, many states passed laws that criminalized dissent
First Amendment: Free-Speech Court Decisions
Expanded from political speech to include symbolic speech
Tinker v. Des Moines School District (1967): free speech in schools
suspended from school for refusing to remove the black armbands worn to protest the war - ruled unconstitutional
First Amendment: Free-Speech Court Decisions (continued)
Texas v. Johnson (1989): burning the U.S. flag. The court held that the government may not prohibit the expression of an idea simply because it offends society
United States v. Eichman (1990): reaffirmed right to burn flag as free speech. The ruling reminded Congress that only a constitutional amendment—not the mere passage of a law—can reverse a Supreme Court decision
First Amendment: Supreme Court Tests of Press Freedom
Libel or informing the public?
New York Times Co. v. Sullivan (1964) small errors of fact did not justify a libel suit brought by a public official. An official must prove that the publication printed the errors with malice—that is, printing false statements knowingly or without care as to their truthfulness.
Threat to national security or the public’s right to know?
New York Times Co. v. United States (1971)—the “Pentagon Papers” case - a secret government analysis of the causes of the Vietnam War. Must prove clear and present danger.
During times of crisis such as war or natural disasters, should people be allowed to criticize the government? When has such expression been restricted in U.S. history?
Should other types of expression such as burning the flag be protected as free speech? Why or why not?
Should the government pass laws that criminalize making disparaging or insulting remarks about a particular race, gender, or religion?
If you believe what the government is doing is wrong, should you be able to protest?
The Second Amendment
“A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.”
Second Amendment: Varying Interpretations
“ A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state,…
… the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.”
Who has the right to bear arms?
Does the Second Amendment provide each individual with the right to own a gun, or merely allow each state to maintain a well-regulated militia?
Second Amendment: Court Decisions
U.S. v. Miller (1939): The federal government has the right to require that firearms be registered.
Quilici v. Morton Grove (1982): A city in Illinois made a law prohibiting the possession of handguns in the home. Court refused to hear the case.
A sawed-off shotgun, similar to the type under question in U.S. v. Miller. Ruled not part of a well regulated militia
The Third Amendment
“ No Soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house, without the consent of the Owner, nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law.”
Third Amendment: Today
Troops can be quartered in private homes during wartime.
No Supreme Court decisions directly concerning quartering troops in people’s homes
Courts have cited the Third Amendment as a further protection of the right to privacy from government intrusion
Union troops were quartered in private homes during the Civil War
The Fourth Amendment
“ 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.”
Fourth Amendment: Tests and Trials
Supreme Court cases have limited what searches may entail:
Katz v. United States (1967): the “reasonable expectation of privacy” doctrine. It’s reasonable to expect privacy while you’re on the phone.
California v. Greenwood (1988): garbage bags are fair game for seizure
Fourth Amendment: Exclusionary Rule
Supreme Court cases have further clarified the meaning of unreasonable search or seizure:
Weeks v. United States (1914): established the “exclusionary rule” - evidence gathered illegally cannot be used as evidence
Silverthorne Lumber Co . v. United States (1920): “fruit of the poisonous tree” doctrine - any confession obtained from using illegally seized evidence is inadmissible
Fourth Amendment: Exceptions to the Exclusionary Rule
United States v. Leon (1984): “ good faith” doctrine - if police were unaware they were violating a right
Nix v. Williams (1984): “inevitable discovery” doctrine - if it isn’t listed in a warrant but was in plan view - it’s okay
The exclusionary rule is not intended to let criminals go free, but to penalize police for misconduct
Fourth Amendment: *Other Exceptions to the Exclusionary Rule - no warrant needed Automobiles Border searches Exigent circumstances Can be searched with probable cause Perceived emergency (screams), crime committed in plan view
Fourth Amendment: Other Exceptions to the Exclusionary Rule (continued) Plain view Stop and frisk If you’re acting suspiciously, it’s okay to frisk without a warrent Student searches Don’t need probable cause to search your locker or backpack/purse - if they think it will turn up evidence of crime
What types of things does the Fourth Amendment protect from unreasonable searches? How does the amendment limit the power of the government?
What are some advantages and disadvantages of the exclusionary rule?
Do you think exceptions to the exclusionary rule are justified? Why or why not?
The Fifth Amendment
“ 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.”
Fifth Amendment: Common Legal Terms
Infamous crime: a serious criminal offense
Double jeopardy: being tried twice for the same crime
“ Taking the fifth”: invoking the right against self-incrimination
Due process of law
Substantive - the law needs to be fair
Procedural - the process needs to be fair
Just compensation for imposing “eminent domain”
Fifth Amendment: Supreme Court Decisions
Miranda v. Arizona (1966): right against self-incrimination
The Sixth 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.”
Sixth Amendment: Due Process and Rights
Preserves procedural due process
The six provisions
Right to a speedy and public trial
Right to a jury trial in the same locale as the crime
Right to be informed of all charges
Right to confront accusers in court
Right to produce supporting evidence or witnesses
Right to legal counsel
Sixth Amendment: Confrontation of Witnesses
“… to be confronted with the witnesses against him;…”
Facing opposing witnesses helps provide for honest testimony
Also enables the accused to challenge witnesses’ testimony
In certain sensitive matters, testimony may be given through electronic means
“ In suits at common law, where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars, the right of a trial by jury shall be preserved, and no fact tried by a jury, shall be otherwise reexamined in any court of the United States, than according to the rules of the common law.”
The Eighth Amendment
“ Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.”
Eighth Amendment: Changing Interpretations
Standards for “cruel and unusual” punishment have changed
Inconsistent application of capital punishment
The infamous “ball and chain”—once common, now considered “cruel and unusual punishment”