Social Policy

Tracing the path of rights, liberties, and privacy

Entry #1

Core vocabulary for protections in the Constitution:

Writ of habeas corpus: court order requiring explanation to a judge why a prisoner is being held in custody

Ex post facto law: retroactive criminal law that works to the disadvantage of a person

Bill of attainder: legislative act inflicting punishment, including deprivation of property, without a trial, on named individuals or members of a specific group

Timeline of court cases that protect first amendment rights

Foundations of Free Expression: Historic Cases

Schenck v. United States (1919)

Whitney v. California (1927)

Near v. Minnesota (1931)

Brandenburg v. Ohio (1969)

The Right to Read Freely

Evans v. Selma Union High School District of Fresno County (1924)

Rosenberg v. Board of Education of City of New York (1949

Todd v. Rochester Community Schools (1972)

Minarcini v. Strongsville (Ohio) City School District (1976)

Right to Read Defense Committee v. School Committee of the City of Chelsea (1978)

Salvail v. Nashua Board of Education (1979)

Loewen v. Turnipseed (1980)

Kreimer v. Bureau of Police for Morristown (1992)

Case v. Unified School District No. 233 (1995)

Campbell v. St. Tammany Parish School Board (1995)

Sund v. City of Wichita Falls, Texas (2000)

Counts v. Cedarville School District (2003)

Freedom of Expression in Schools

Tinker v. Des Moines Independent Community School District (1969)

Zykan v. Warsaw (Indiana) Community School Corporation and Warsaw School Board of Trustees (1980)

Board of Education, Island Trees Union Free School District No. 26 v. Pico (1982)

Smith v. Board of School Commissioners of Mobile (1987)

Mozert v. Hawkins County Board of Education (1987)

Hazelwood School District v. Kuhlmeier (1988)

Virgil v. School Board of Columbia County (1989)

Romano v. Harrington (1989)

Cohen v. San Bernardino Valley College (1996)

Minors' First Amendment Rights

American Amusement Machine Association, et al., v. Teri Kendrick (2001)

Interactive Digital Software Association, et al. v. St. Louis County (2003)

Free Press

New York Times Company v. United States (1971)

Hustler Magazine, Inc. v. Falwell (1988)

Simon & Schuster, Inc. v. Members of New York State Crime Victims Board (1991)

The Right to Dissent

West Virginia State Board of Education v. Barnette(1943)

Wooley v. Maynard (1977)

Texas v. Johnson (1989)

U.S. v. Eichman and U.S. v. Taggerty (1990)

City of Ladue v. Gilleo (1994)

R.A.V. v. St. Paul (1992)

The Right to Free Association and the Freedom of Religion

Concerned Women for America, Inc. v. Lafayette County (1993)

Right to Privacy and Anonymity

Stanley v. Georgia (1969)

McIntyre v. Ohio Election Commission(1995)

Tattered Cover, Inc. v. City of Thornton (2002)

Obscenity and Indecency

Butler v. Michigan (1957)

Ginsberg v. New York (1968)

Miller v. California (1973)

New York v. Ferber (1982)

National Endowment for the Arts, et al. v. Finley (1998)

John D. Ashcroft, Attorney General, et al. v. Free Speech Coalition (2002)


The New York Times v. Sullivan (1964)

Gertz v. Robert Welch (1974)

Broadcast and Cable Communications

FCC V. Pacifica Foundation (1978)

Denver Area Educational Telecommunications Consortium (1996)

United States, et al. v. Playboy Entertainment Group (2000)


Sable Communications of California (1989)

The Internet

American Library Association v. U.S. Department of Justice and Reno v. American Civil Liberties Union (1997)

Mainstream Loudoun, et al. v. Board of Trustees of the Loudoun County Library (1998)

United States, et al. v. American Library Association(2003)

Explanation of Clauses

Due Process: clause in the fifth amendment limiting the power of the national government; similar clause in the fourteenth amendment prohibiting state governments from depriving any person of live, liberty, or property without due process of law

Establishment: clause in the first amendment that states that congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, the supreme court has interpreted this to forbid governmental support to any or all religions

Free Exercise: clause in the first amendment that states that congress shall make no law prohibiting the free exercise of religion

Free Speech: How far does it stretch?

Tests to free speech: there are three historical constitutional tests, the bad tendency test, the clear and present danger test, and the preferred position doctrine

Protected types of free speech: today the supreme court holds that all speech is protected unless it falls into one of four narrow categories, libel, obscenity, fighting words, and commercial speech

Limits on obscenity: not entitled to constitutional protection, however, obscenity is hard to define

Fighting Words: fighting words are held to be constitutionally unprotected because “their very utterance may inflict injury or tend to incite an immediate breach of peace.

Hate speech: laws have been struck down that criminalize hate speech (insulting racial, ethnic, and gender slurs)

Free Press: Do they have a right to know?

Free Press vs. Fair Trials and Due Process: trials may be closed to the the press and the public if the case would so inflame the public that it is too difficult to find a fair panel of impartial judges.

Protections of other media: today the first amendment protects mail, motion pictures, billboards, radio, television, cable, telephones, fax machines, and the internet

The Internet: congress struggles with issues of cyberspace communication, there has been a moratorium issued on state taxation of commercial transactions on the internet

Freedom of Assembly

Public Forums: governments may not censor what can be said at public forums, however the can make “reasonable” time, place, and manner regulations for protests and parades

Local Rules on assembly: private property may be protected from assembly

Entry #2 - Right to Privacy

Do you have a right to Privacy?

What does the Constitution say about it? How has the Supreme Court ruled in the past?

1 Griswold v. Connecticut: Griswold v. Connecticut, 381 U.S. 479, is a landmark case in the United States in which the Supreme Court of the United States ruled that the Constitution protected a right to privacy

2 Stanley v. Georgia: Stanley v. Georgia, 394 U.S. 557, 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.

3 Roe v. Wade: Roe v. Wade, 410 U.S. 113, is a landmark decision by the United States Supreme Court on the issue of abortion. It was decided simultaneously with a companion case, Doe v. Bolton.

4 Bowers v. Hardwick: Bowers v. Hardwick, 478 U.S. 186, is a United States Supreme Court decision, overturned in 2003, that upheld, in a 5–4 ruling, the constitutionality of a Georgia sodomy law criminalizing oral and anal sex

5 Lawrence v. Texas: Lawrence v. Texas, 539 U.S. 558 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

Entry #3 - Property Rights/Equal Rights

Chapter 16

1 How do you acquire and lose citizenship in the USA: to gain US citizenship you must be naturalized, to lose your citizenship you must renounce your citizenship

2 How does the constitution protect private property? How does the government take it away: property has no rights, but people do, people can own, rent, use, invest in, buy and sell property, the government has the power of eminent domain, they can claim private property for public use

3 What is the due process protection of the rights of the accused: rules and regulations hat restrain those in government who exercise power, there are two kinds of due process, procedural and substantive

Chapter 17

1 Timeline of the quest for equality - changes throughout history of the USA: Native Americans (since day 1), African Americans (after the civil war), women’s equality (after prohibition), Asian Americans (after WWII), Hispanics (late 20th century)

2 Voting Rights/Suffrage: in America today, all citizens, including men and women of every racial and ethnic background, have to right to vote (they must register, and be over the age of 18)

3 Explain the need of equality for the Chicano, Asian American, and Native American movements: because these are minorities, they are treated unfairly and not focused on in the media

4 Is the a protection in place for equal education for all: Brown v. the Board of Education ended the separate but equal doctrine making all public schools integrate, giving everyone a chance at an equal education

5 Why is Affirmative Action controversial: affirmative action is controversial because some believe that it is a form of reverse racism