A legislative act that inflicts punishment on particular persons or groups without granting them the right to a trial.
Individual rights protected by the Constitution against the power of the government.
Advertising statements that describe products. Commercial speech receives less protection under the first Amendment than ordinary speech.
The prosecution of a person twice for the same criminal offense; prohibited by the Fifth Amendment in all but a few circumstances.
Due Process Clause
The constitutional guarantee, set out in the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments, that the government will not illegally or arbitrarily deprive a person of life, liberty, or property.
Due Process of Law
The requirement that the government use fair, reasonable, and standard procedures, whenever it takes any legal action against an individual; required by the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments.
The section of the First Amendment that prohibits Congress from passing laws "respecting an establishment of religion." Issues concerning the establishment clause often center on prayer in public schools, the teaching of fundamentalist theories of creation, and government aid to parochial schools.
A criminal procedural rule requiring that any illegally obtained evidence not be admissible in court.
Ex Post Facto Law
A criminal law that punishes individuals for committing an act that was legal when the act was committed.
Free Exercise Clause
The provision of the First Amendment stating that the government cannot pass laws "prohibiting the free exercise" of religion. Free exercise issues often concern religious practices that conflict with established laws.
A three-part test enunciated by the Supreme Court in the 1971 case of Lemon v. Kurtzman to determine whether government aid to parochial schools is constitutional. To be constitutional, the aid must (1) be for a clearly secular purpose; (2) in its primary effect, neither advance nor inhibit religion; and (3) avoid an "excessive government entanglement with religion." The Lemon test has also been used in other types of cases involving the establishment clause.
A published report of a falsehood that tends to injure a person's reputation or character.
A series of statements informing criminal suspects, on their arrest, of their constitutional rights, such as the right to remain silent and the right to counsel; required by the Supreme Court's 1966 decision in Miranda v. Arizona.
Indecency or offensiveness in speech, expression, behavior, or appearance. Whether specific expressions or acts constitute obscenity normally is determined by community standards.
Cause for believing that there is a substantial likelihood that a person has committed or is about to commit a crime.
An educational certificate, provided by the government, that allows a student to use public funds to pay for a private or a public school chosen by the student or his or her parents.
Speech that urges resistance to lawful authority or that advocates the overthrowing of a government.
Providing damaging information or testimony against oneself in court.
The public utterance (speaking) of a statement that holds a person up for contempt, ridicule, or hatred.
The expression of beliefs, opinions, or ideas through forms other than speech or print; speech involving actions and other nonverbal expressions.
Writ of Habeas Corpus
In order that requires an official to bring a specified prisoner into court and explain to the judge why the person is being held in prison.
A policy calling for the establishment of programs that give special consideration, in jobs and college admissions, to members of groups that have been discriminated against in the past.
The transportation of public school students by bus to schools physically outside their neighborhoods to eliminate school segregation based on residential patterns.
The deliberate and public act of refusing to obey laws thought to be unjust.
The rights of all Americans to equal treatment under the law, as provided for by the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution.
Civil Rights Movement
The movement in the 1950s and 1960s, by minorities and concerned whites, to end racial segregation.
De Facto Segregation
Racial segregation that occurs not as a result of deliberate intentions but because of past social and economic conditions and residential patterns.
De Jure Segregation
Racial segregation that occurs because of laws or decisions by government agencies.
Equal Protection Clause
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