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77 Cards in this Set

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political question doctrine
the resolution of certain disputes lies not with the judiciary but with 1 or both of the "political" branches of government.
a term used to support wider and more equal participation in political systems. In Supreme Court, this refers to decisions which ruled that legislative districts for the House of Representatives had to be roughly equal in population.
describes the action of one party unfarily advantages themselves in drawing state legislative district lines.
majority-minorty districts
a district in which racial minorities are the majority of people in a legislative district.
blanket primary
a system used for selecting party candidates in a primary election. In a blanket primary, voters may pick one candidate for each office without regard to their political registration.
Federal Election Campaign Act
the objective in this act was to minimize corruption or the appearance of corruption in federal elections.
Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act
Bans all "soft money" contributions to national party organizations.
soft money
money that is not made directly to a candidate's campaign. Soft money refers to contributions given, at least nominally, to a political party for "party building" activities rather than for the direct support of particular candidates and campaigns.
hard money
refers to donations made directly to political candidates. These must be declared with the name of the donor, which becomes public knowledge, and are limited by legislation.
police power
the police force within the US. May be general, residual, or regulatory authority retained by the states in the Constitution.
national police power
alongside the state police power, congress also possesses a police power to govern men and things.
court-packing plan
The Judiciary Reorganization Bill of 1937, frequently called the Court-packing Bill, was a proposal in 1937 by United States President Franklin Roosevelt for power to appoint an extra Supreme Court Justice for every sitting Justice over the age of 70 and six months. This was proposed in response to the Supreme Court overturning several of his New Deal measures that proponents claim were designed to help the United States recover from the Great Depression.
Constitutional Revolution of 1937
Refers to the Supreme Court beginning to rule in favor of FDR's New Deal legislation.
direct taxes
Traditionally a direct tax in the constitutional sense means a tax on property "by reason of its ownership" as well as a capitation (a "head tax"). In the United States, Article I, Section 9 of the constitution requires that direct taxes imposed by the national government be apportioned among the states on the basis of population
indirect taxes
In this U.S. constitutional law sense, an "indirect tax," or "excise," is an "event" tax. In this sense, a transfer tax (such as gift tax and estate tax) is an indirect tax.
enumerated powers
powers expressly given to Congress by the constitution. referring to Article 1 Section 8 of the United States Constitution which lists the specific powers of legislation granted to the United States Congress.
conditional spending
conditions that are attached when Congress gives money to state and local governments, organizations, etc to caryy out policy objectives.
contract clause
appears in the United States Constitution, Article I, section 10, clause 1. It states: No State shall ... pass any ... Law impairing the Obligation of Contracts.
implied contracts
refers to a contract that exists by virtue of non-verbal conduct, rather than by explicit words. Generally an implied contract is formed when one accepts something of value knowing that the other party expects compensation.
Brandeis Brief
a court brief containing legal arguments and data drawn from reports of government bureaus, legislative committees, commissions on hygiene, and factory inspections - all proving that long hours are, as a matter of fact, dangerous to women's health, safety, and morals, and that short hours result in general social and economic benefits.
takings clause
part of the 5th amendment which states "nor shall property be taken for public use, without just compensation."
Eminent domain
the government's authority to acquire control of private property. When that is done, "just compensation" must be paid.
public use
not only property maintained by a government agency and accessible to the general public but also the government's taking of property to use for the public good.
just compensation
the fair market value of the property the government is taking, not the cost of replacement facilities.
probable cause
a police officer must have a documented reason to search a particular place or seize a particular person.
the official authorization for the search or arrest. It must be particular in describing what is to be searched and what is expected to be found. Must also be issued by a judge.
exclusionary rule
bars the use of evidence obtained illegally by federal agents at federal trials.
to "pat down" those who the police stop because they believe they are behaving suspicioulsy and are trying to protect themselves.
reasonable suspicion
is a legal standard in United States law that a person; has been, is, or is about to be, engaged in criminal activity based on specific and articulable facts and inferences. Reasonable suspicion is evaluated using the "reasonable person" or "reasonable officer" standard, in which said person in the same circumstances could reasonably believe a person has been, is, or is about to be, engaged in criminal activity; such suspicion is not a mere hunch.
Miranda Warnings
is a police warning that is given to criminal suspects in police custody in the United States before they are asked questions relating to the commission of crimes. Compulsory confessions will not constitute admissible evidence unless suspects have been made aware of and waived their "Miranda rights".
habeas corpus
Latin for "you [should] have the body", is the name of a legal instrument or writ by means of which detainees can seek release from unlawful imprisonment. A writ of habeas corpus is a court order addressed to a prison official (or other custodian) ordering that a detainee be brought to the court so it can be determined whether or not that person is imprisoned lawfully and whether or not he or she should be released from custody.
Bush v. Gore
Facts: Following the U.S. Supreme Court's decision in Bush v. Palm Beach County Canvassing Board, and concurrent with Vice President Al Gore's contest of the certification of Florida presidential election results, on December 8, 2000 the Florida Supreme Court ordered that the Circuit Court in Leon County tabulate by hand 9000 contested ballots from Miami-Dade County. It also ordered that every county in Florida must immediately begin manually recounting all "under-votes" (ballots which did not indicate a vote for president) because there were enough contested ballots to place the outcome of the election in doubt. Governor George Bush and his running mate, Richard Cheney, filed a request for review in the U.S. Supreme Court and sought an emergency petition for a stay of the Florida Supreme Court's decision.
Question: Did the Florida Supreme Court violate Article II Section 1 Clause 2 of the U.S. Constitution by making new election law? Do standardless manual recounts violate the Equal Protection and Due Process Clauses of the Constitution?
Decision: Noting that the Equal Protection clause guarantees individuals that their ballots cannot be devalued by "later arbitrary and disparate treatment," the per curiam opinion held 7-2 that the Florida Supreme Court's scheme for recounting ballots was unconstitutional. Even if the recount was fair in theory, it was unfair in practice. The record suggested that different standards were applied from ballot to ballot, precinct to precinct, and county to county. Because of those and other procedural difficulties, the court held that no constitutional recount could be fashioned in the time remaining.
Baker v. Carr
Facts: Appellants objected to a Tennessee statue that apportioned seats for the state's 95 counties in the General Assembly. They claimed that the legislature's failure subsequently to redistrict the seats to take account of substantial growth and redistribution of the state's population debased their votes and thus denied them equal protection of the laws guaranteed by the 14th amendment.
Question: Did the SC ave jurisdiction over questions of legislative apportionment? Does the statue violate the equal protection clause of the 14th amendment?
Decision: Yes. There were no such "political questions" in the case and therefore legislative apportionment was a justiciable issue. There are past examples of court intervention to correct constitutional violations in matters pertaining to state adminsitration and thus deciding on the equal protection violation of the state statute merits judicial evaluation.
Reyonlds v. Sims
Facts: several citizens challenged the apportionment of the state legislature. The Alabama Constitution prescribed that each county was entitled to at least one representative and that there were to be as many senatorial districts as there were senators.
Question: Did Alabama's apportionment scheme violate the Fourteenth Amendment's Equal Protection Clause by mandating at least one representative per county and creating as many senatorial districts as there were senators, regardless of population variances?
Decision: Yes. The equal protectio nclause demanded "no less than substiantially equal state legislative representation for all citizens." The court held that both house had to be apportioned on a population basis. States were required to "honest and good faith" efforts to construct districts as nearly of equal population as practicable.
Miller v. Johnson
Facts: Under the 1990 census, Georgia's population entitled the state to an additional representative in Congress. The state approved a districting plan that contained 3 majority-minority districts after the Justice Department refused to preclear, under section 5 of the Voting Rights Act, 2 earlier plans that each contained only 2 majority-black districts. In '94 5 white voters challenged the constitutionality of a district on the ground that it was racial gerrymandering in violation of the equal protection clause (14th).
Question: Is racial gerrymandering during redistricting a violation of the equal protection clause of the 14th amendment?
Decision: In some instances yes. Racial districting cannot be understood in any other way. Applying Shaw v. Reno requires strict scrutiny whenever race is the overriding force in the redistricting process.
Hunt v. Cromartie
Facts: this case is the conclusion to legal challenges to North Carolina’s 1992 congressional redistricting plan. As a result of the 1990 census, the state was entitled to a 12th seat in the House. The 1st plan had 1 district with a majority of black voters. Acting under the pre-clearance provisions of section 5 of the Voting Rights Act, the Justice Department insisted on 2 districts. 5 residents then brought suit claiming that both districts amounted to racial gerrymanders in violation of the equal protection clause of the 14th amendment.
Question: was North Carolina violating the equal protection clause of the 14th in redrawing its 12th congressional district?
Decision: No it does not. This is because the plan is based on the race of the voter in their registration. Because it is not looking at the particular voting behavior of the district, it is therefore constitutional.
Gibbons v. Ogden
Facts: in 1811 New York granted a monopoly to Robert Livingston and Robert Fulton to operate steamboats on the waterways of New York. This monopoly required all persons navigating by steam in New York to obtain a license from either. Ogden of NJ began operating a licensed ferry between NY and NJ. Then Thomas Gibbons, who held a “coasting license” under a 1793 act of Congress but no license under the NY monopoly, began to run boats in competition with Ogden. Ogden brought suit against Gibbons.
Question: Did NY’s exercise of authority violate the powers given to Congress by the Commerce Clause (Art I, Sec. 8)?
Decision: Yes, NY’s licensing requirement for out-of-state operators was inconsistent with a congressional act regulating coasting trade. Therefore, NY’s law was invalid under the supremacy clause. And the act was constitutional because the coasting trade was deemed as interstate commerce which was a power reserved to and exercised by Congress.
South Pacific Co. V. Arizona
Facts: The Arizona Train Limit Law of 1912 made it unlawful to operate within the state a railroad train of more than 14 passenger or 70 freight cars. In 1940, when the state sought to collect penalties for violations of the act, the appellant company objected, claiming that the act was unconstitutional under the commerce clause.
Question: Was the Arizona law unconstitutional under the Commerce Clause (Art 1, Sec 8)?
Decision: Yes. It was unconstitutional because the law applied to trains from out-of-state. Therefore, because Congress has the power to regulate commerce, the federal law which allows for more cars on a railroad train, is supreme over the state law.
Philadelphia v. New Jersey
Facts: NJ law provided, “No person shall bring into this State any solid or liquid waste which originated or was collected outside the territorial limits of the State, except garbage to be fed to swine in the State…until the commissioner [of the state Department of Environmental Protection] shall determine that such action can be permitted without endangering the public health, safety, and welfare and has promulgated regulations permitting and regulating the treatment and disposal of such waste in the State.” The city of Philadelphia challenged the law on commerce clause grounds.
Question: Did NJ’s importation law violate the commerce clause (Art I, sec 8)?
Decision: Yes, the law violated the principle of nondiscrimination as it treated out-of-state waste different than inside the state waste. Since New Jersey could not demonstrate a legitimate reason for distinguishing between foreign and domestically produced waste, it was clear to the Court that the state had "overtly moved to slow or freeze the flow of commerce for projectionist reasons."
Hammer v. Dagenhart
Facts: The Keating-Owen Child Labor Act of 1916 forbade the shipment in interstate commerce of products of child labor. A father of 2 minor children who worked on a mill, obtain an injunction from the US district court against enforcement of the act, on the ground that it was unconstitutional.
Question: Did the act violate the commerce clause (Art I, sec 8)
Decision: No, production is not the same thing as commerce; therefore Congress has no right to legislate against such shipment. The regulation of production is a power given to the states under the 10th amendment.
Carter v. Carter Coal Company
Facts: In the Bituminous Coal Conservation Act of 1935, Congress attempted to stabilize the production and marketing of coal. The law provided for a National Bituminous Coal Commission with general supervisory powers over the industry through a Bituminous Coal Code. In each of 23 districts, boards were to be given the power to fix minimum coal prices. Producers were to be induced to accept these codes by a tax provision that allowed 90% of a tax of 15% on sales at the mines to be refunded to those producers who accepted the code provisions. 4 cases brought suit.
Question: Did the Bituminous Coal Conservation Act exceed congressional powers under the commerce clause (Art I, sec 8)?
Decision: Yes. “Commerce” is distinct from “production.” Employing workers, setting wages, and hours a process of production, are separate from trade.
National Labor Relations Board v. Jones and Laughlin Steel Corporation
Facts: The National Labor Relations Act of 1935 protects the right of workers to organize and to encourage collective bargaining procedures. In this case the National Labor Relations Board ordered the steel company to cease and desist from certain “unfair labor practices.” The corporation failed to comply. The board brought suit.
Question: Was the National Labor Relations Act consistent with the commerce clause (art I, sec 8)?
Decision: Yes, the act was narrowly constructed to regulate industrial activities which had the potential to restrict commerce. The effect on labor relations was only an indirect effect. Since collective bargaining is an “essential condition of industrial peace,” the federal government was justified in penalizing corporations engaging in commerce which refused to negotiate with their workers.
Heart of Atlanta Motel v. US
Facts: Title II of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 forbade racial discrimination by places of public accommodation if their operations affected commerce. The Heart of Atlanta Motel in Atlanta, Georgia, refused to accept Black Americans and was charged with violating Title II.
Question: Does title II exceed the commerce clause by depriving motels of the right to choose their customers?
Decision: No, title II was carefully limited to enterprises involved in interstate commerce. The Court thus concluded that places of public accommodation had no "right" to select guests as they saw fit, free from governmental regulation.
US v. Lopez
Facts: In the Gun-Free School Zones Act of 1990, Congress made it a federal crime “for any individual knowingly to possess a firearm at a…public, parochial or private school” or “within the distance of 1,000 feet from the grounds of a…school.” Lopez was found carrying a concealed weapon at a high school.
Question: Does the Gun-Free School Zones Act exceed the commerce clause powers (Art I, sec 8)?
Decision: Yes, possession of a gun in a school zone is not an economic activity that might have an affect on commerce. The law is a criminal statute that has nothing to do with "commerce" or any sort of economic activity.
Pollock v. Farmers’ Loan and Trust Company
Facts: In 1894 congress imposed a tax of 2% on income above $4,000 derived from various classes of property as well as that resulting from personal services. In this case the Court examined a national income tax passed by Congress in 1894.
Question: Was the income tax, a direct tax, in violation of Art I, Sec 9? (taxing power of congress)
Decision: Yes, the tax violated the constitution because it imposed taxes on personal income derived from real estate investments and personal property, i.e. stocks and bonds. This was a direct tax, and thus not apportioned properly among the states.
US v. Butler
Facts: As a part of the New Deal, Congress enacted the Agricultural Adjustment Act in 1933 to benefit farm producers by raising commodity prices and assuring farmers purchasing power comparable to their position before the depression. In order to bring supply in line with demand, the government made payments to farmers in return for their promise to reduce crop acreage. To finance the program, a processing tax was levied on the first processor of the commodity involved. Butler, the receiver for a processor, refused to pay the tax.
Question: Did Congress exceed its taxing and spending powers (art I, sec 9) with the act?
Decision: Yes, it attempted to regulate and control agricultural production, an arena reserved to the states by the 10th. The taxing and appropriation of funds activities in the act were “but means to an unconstitutional end.”
South Dakota v. Dole
Facts: In 1984 congress enacted the National Minimum Drinking Age Amendment. It directed the department of transportation to withhold 5% of federal highway funds to states “in which the purchase or public possession of any alcoholic beverage by a person who is less than 21 is lawful.” South Dakota asserted the law exceeded Congress’ spending power.
Question: Did Congress exceed its spending powers (art I, sec 9) by passing the act?
Decision: No, Congress indirectly encouraged uniformity in state’s drinking ages, making it constitutional. The legislation was in pursuit of “the general welfare.”
National Endowment for the Arts v. Finley
Facts: In 1990 Congress amended the National Foundation on the Arts and the Humanities Act. The amendment state that the Chair of the NEA “shall ensure” that “artistic excellence and artistic merit are the criteria by which applications are judged, taking into consideration general standards of decency and respect for the diverse beliefs and values of the American public.” The amendment represented a compromise in Congress on whether and how to impose greater public control. Finely’s art was rejected and she filed suit alleging that the amendment violated the free speech clause of the 1st and the due process of the 5th.
Question: Did the amendment to the NEA violate the 1st and 5th amendments?
Decision: No congress enjoys wide latitude when setting spending priorities which may indirectly affect certain forms of expression. The funding guidelines were not vague, since they involved selective subsidies rather than criminal or regulatory prohibitions.
Charles River Bridge v. Warren Bridge
Facts: In 1785 the Massachusetts legislature granted to the Charles River Bridge Co. the right to construct a bridge between Charlestown and Boston, with the power to collect tolls for 40 years. In 1828, some Charlestown merchants received a legislative charter for construction of the Warren Bridge, with the power to collect tolls until they had been reimbursed. At that point title to the Warren Bridge would pass to the state and passage would become free. Proprietors of the Charles River Bridge sought relief because they would be deprived of tolls.
Question: Did the Massachusetts legislature enter into an economic contract with Charles River Bridge Co. that was impaired by the Warren Bridge, thus violating Art I, Sec 10?
Decision: No, the state had not entered into a contract that prohibited the construction of another bridge. The State neither gave exclusive control over the river nor invaded corporate privilege by interfering with the company profit abilities. On balancing the rights of private property against the need for economic development the court found that the community interest in creating new channels of travel had priority.
League of Latin American Citizens v. Perry
Facts: In 2003, the Texas State Legislature passed a redistricting plan that replaced the one created by a federal judge following the 2000 census. Critics of the plan charged that it was unconstitutional and violated section 2 the Voting Rights Act because it diluted racial minority voting strength and was designed to maximize partisan advantage. A three-judge district court panel disagreed, finding that the plan was constitutional and that the legislature had the right to redistrict in 2003 using census data from 2000.
Question: Did the Texas legislature violate the Constitution (equal protection, 14th)when it used 2000 census data to redistrict in 2003 for partisan advantage, resulting in districts that did not conform to the one person, one vote standard?
Decision: The Supreme Court held that the Texas Legislature's redistricting plan did not violate the Constitution, but that part of the plan violated the Voting Rights Act. District 23 had been redrawn in such a way as to deny Latino voters as a group the opportunity to elect a candidate of their choosing, thereby violating the Voting Rights Act.
California Democratic Party v. Jones
Facts: In 1996 California approved Prop 198 that converted closed party primaries to blanket primaries. In the blanket primary, every voter's ballot listed every candidate regardless of party affiliation and allowed voters to choose among them. Each party filed suit asserting that the blanket primary violated their 1st amendment freedom of association.
Question: Does California's voter approved Proposition 198, violate political parties' First Amendment right of association?
Decision: Yes, "Proposition 198 forces political parties to associate with - to have their nominees, and hence their positions, determined by - those who, at best, have refused to affiliate with the party, and, at worst, have expressly affiliated with a rival. A single election in which the party nominee is selected by nonparty members could be enough to destroy the party." Proposition 198 takes away a party's "basic function" to choose its own leaders and is functionally "both severe and unnecessary."
Republican Party of Minnesota v. White
Facts: A canon of judicial conduct adopted by the Minnesota Supreme Court prohibited a "candidate for a judicial office" from "announcing his or her views on disputed legal or political cases." Wersal and others filed suit seeking a declaration that the announce clause violated the 1st amendment and an injunction against its enforcement.
Question: Does the First Amendment permit the Minnesota Supreme Court to prohibit candidates for judicial election in that State from announcing their views on disputed legal and political issues?
Decision: No, the Court held that the announce clause violates the First Amendment. The Court reasoned that the announce clause prohibits speech based on its content and burdens a category of speech that is at the core of First Amendment freedoms.
McConnell v. Federal Election Commission
Facts: The Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002 is a far-reaching campaign finance piece of legislation. Title I bans "soft money" contributions to political parties. Title II prohibits certain "issue ads," funded from a corporation's, a union's, or a nonprofit organization's general treasury that appear on a broadcast, cable, or satellite channel within 30 days of a primary or 60 days of an elecion in which candidates for federal office are on the ballot.
Question: 1. Does the "soft money" ban of the Campaign Finance Reform Act of 2002 exceed Congress's authority to regulate elections under Article 1, Section 4 of the United States Constitution and/or violate the First Amendment's protection of the freedom to speak?
2. Do regulations of the source, content, or timing of political advertising in the Campaign Finance Reform Act of 2002 violate the First Amendment's free speech clause?
Decision: With a few exceptions, the Court answered "no" to both questions. Because the regulations dealt mostly with soft-money contributions that were used to register voters and increase attendance at the polls, not with campaign expenditures (which are more explicitly a statement of political values and therefore deserve more protection), the Court held that the restriction on free speech was minimal. It then found that the restriction was justified by the government's legitimate interest in preventing "both the actual corruption threatened by large financial contributions and... the appearance of corruption" that might result from those contributions. The Court also rejected the argument that Congress had exceeded its authority to regulate elections under Article I, Section 4 of the Constitution. The Court found that the law only affected state elections in which federal candidates were involved and also that it did not prevent states from creating separate election laws for state and local elections.
Home Building And Loan Association v. Blaisdell
The Minnesota Mortgage Moratorium Law of 1993 was designed to prevent the foreclosure of mortgages during the Depression by extending the redemption period of mortgages under conditions set by a court. This was an emergency act and was intended to continue beyond May 1935. Blaisdell applied for an extension.
Question: Did Minnesota law violate Art I, Sec 10 (Contract clause) which prevents a state from "imparing the obligation of contracts" and due process and equal protection of the 14th?
Decision: No, the sanctity of contracts in the US and the contract clause had never been absolute or meant to be interpreted literally. Thus it is an attempt to "safeguard the vital interests of the people." A state could adopt legislation which ahd the effect of "modifying or abrogating contracts already in effect."
Lochner v. New York
Facts: Lochner was convicted of violating a state law that limited the hours of employent in bakeries and confectionery establishments to 10hrs a day and 60hrs a week.
Question: Did the NY law violate the liberty protected by due process (14th)?
Decision: Yes, the statute interfered with the freedom of contract (art I, sec 10) and hence due process and the right to liberty afforded to employer and employee. The statue was viewed as a labor law; the state had no reasonable ground for interefering with liberty by determining the hours of labor.
due process
is the principle that the government must normally respect all of a person's legal rights instead of just some or most of those legal rights when the government deprives a person of life, liberty, or property. Due process has also been frequently interpreted as placing limitations on laws and legal proceedings in order to guarantee fundamental fairness, justice, and liberty. In the 5th it applies to the federal government, in the 14th it applies to the states.
West Coast Hotel Company v. Parish
Facts: A Washington State act of 1913 authorized the fixing of minimum wages for women and minors by an administrative board. The hotel company argued that the statute was invalid on due process grounds because of its similarity to the laws set aside in other cases.
Question: Did the minimum wage law violate due process of the 14th?
Decision: No, the constitution did not speak of the freedom of contract and that liberty was subject to the restraints of due process. Employers and employees were not equally "free" in negotiating contracts, since employees were often constrained by practical and economic realities.
Ferguson v. Skrupa
Facts: A Kansas statute made it a misdemeanor to enter into contracts for "debt adjusting" (a practice in which a debtor agrees to pay a monthly fee to an adjustor who then makes payments to the debtor's creditor). Skrupa was in business as a "Credit Advisor" and engaged in this practice.
Question: Did the statue violate the due process of the 14th?
Decision: No, the question of whether the law was wise or resonable is legislative, not judicial. The writer states that the SC had moved out of the business of using the "vague contours" of the 14th to strike down laws deemed economically unwise. This is not an issue the court should address.
Nollan v. California Coastal Commission
Facts: In 1982 the California Coastal Commission granted a permit to Nollan to replace a small bungalow on their beachfront with a larger house. With the permit came the condition that the Nollans allow the public an easement to pass across their beach, which was located between 2 public beaches.
Question: Did the requirment constitute a property taking in violation of the 5th and as a result the due process of the 5th?
Decision: Yes, a legitimate interest may be served by maintaining a "continuous strip of publicly accessible beach along the coast." However, if CA wanted to use its power of eminent domain, it must provide just compensation to the Nollans and other owners for use of the land.
Saenz v. Roe
Facts: 1997 2 welfare recipients challenged California's residency requirment for welfare benefits. A sec of the law capped the maximum paymet to otherwise eligible recipients who had lived in CA for less than 1 year the amount paid by the state of the recipient's prior residence. The welfare reform act passed by Congress in 1996 expressly allowed for such differential payments.
Question: Does a state statute, authorizing states reciving TANF to pay the benefit amount of another state's TANF to its 1st year residents, violate the right to travel or due process under the 14th?
Decision: Yes, the 14th protects the right to travel in 3 ways:
1. Allowing citizens to move freely
2. Securing the right to be treated equally in all states
3. securing the rights of new citizens to be treated as long time citizens of a state.
Minnesota v. Carter
Facts: A police officer looked in a ground-level apartment window and observed Wayne Carter and Melvin Johns bagging cocaine with Kimberly Thompson, the lessee of the apartment. Carter and Johns were arrested after they left the apartment. They argued that the officer's initial observation was an unreasonable search in violation of the 4th.
Question: Do houehold visitors have protection from unreasonable search and seizures (4th)?
Decision: No, people who visit someone's home for a short time are not protected by 4th unlike overnight social guests.
Mapp v. Ohio
Facts: Cleveland police officers, acting on information that a bombing-case suspect and betting equipment might be found in Mapp's house, forced their way in after being refused admission and, without a search warrant, subjected the house and its contents to a thorough search. In a basement trunk they found literature that provided the basis for her conviction for possessing obscene materials.
Question: Can evidence gained from illegal searches be admitted in a criminal proceeding?
Decision: No, Mapp was convicted on the basis of illegally obtained evidence. As a result of this case the court now has to determine how and when to apply the exclusionary rule in each case when this rule is questioned.
US v. Leon
Facts: With information from an informant, police undertook surveillance of Leon and others for suspected drug trafficking. The state issued a warrant to search Leon's residence and the searche turned up large quantities of illegal drugs and other evidence.
Question: Is there a "good faith" (probable cause) exception to the exclusionary rule of evidence obtained in illegal search and seizures in violation of the 4th?
Decision: yes, evidence seized on the basis of a mistakenly issued search warrant could be introduced at trial. The exclusionary rule is not a right but a remedy justified by its ability to deter illegal policy conduct.
Chimel v. California
Facts: After arresting Ted Chimel in his home for burglary of a coin shop, police officers conducted a search of his house and certain items found through the search were admitted into evidence against him and he was convicted.
Question: was the warrantless search of Chimel's home justified under the 4th amendment as "incident to that arrest?"
Decision: No, unreasonable searches "incident to arrest" are limited to the area within the immediate control of the suspect.
Calfornia v. Acevedo
Facts: police observed Charles Acevedo leave an apartment carrying a brown paper bag. The bag, the police believed, contained marijuana which they knew had been delivered to him earlier. Aceved placed the bag in the trunk of his car. When driving away police stopped him and found marijuana. He claimed the police lacked probable cause to suspect the car itself.
Question: May police conduct a warrantless search of a container within a car if they have probable cause?
Decision: Yes. This is considered "the automobile exception" to the 4th. The police may search if they have probable cause to believe that contraband is contained.
Olmstead v. US
Facts: Olmstead was charged and convicted of conspiring to violate the national Prohibition Act. Evidence had been obtained through telephone tapping, without committing any trespass on the property.
Question: Did the use of wiretaping private telephone conversations, violate the 4th (unreasonable search) and 5th (self-incrimination)?
Decision: No does not violate the 5th because they were not forced to conduct these conversations. Does not violate the 4th because wiretapping does not constitute a search and seizure. Searches refer to a physical examination of tangible materials.
Katz v. US
Facts: Katz was convicted of transmitting wagering (bets) information by telephone which violated a federal statute. At the trial government used evidence obtained through the wiretapping of a public telephone booth.
Question: Does the 4th protect against illegal search and seizure in the case of wiretapping a public pay phone?
Decision: Yes, The Court ruled that Katz was entitled to Fourth Amendment protection for his conversations and that a physical intrusion into the area he occupied was unnecessary to bring the Amendment into play. "The Fourth Amendment protects people, not places."
Kyllo v. US
Facts: Suspicious that marijuana was being grown in Kyllo's home, police used a thermal imaging device to scan the house and determine if the amount of heat emanating from it was consistent with high-intensity lamps typically used for indoor marijuana growth. Based on the thermal report, the court issued a warrant.
Question: Does the use of a thermal-imaging device to detect relative amounts of heat emanating from a private home constitute an unconstitutional search in violation of the Fourth Amendment?
Decision: Yes, the Court held that "[w]here, as here, the Government uses a device that is not in general public use, to explore details of the home that would previously have been unknowable without physical intrusion, the surveillance is a 'search' and is presumptively unreasonable without a warrant."
Atwater v. City of Lago Vista
Facts: Texas law makes it a misdemeanor, punishable only by fine, either for a front-seat passenger in a car equipped with safety belts not to wear one or for the driver to fail to secure any small child riding in front. State law also expressly authorizes the warrantless arrest of anyone violating these provisions, but police, at their discretion, may issue citations in place of arrest. Turek observed Atwater driving with small child who was unrestrained. He arrested her.
Question: Does the 4th, by incorporation common law restrictions on misdemeanor arrests, limit an officer's authority to arrest without warrant for minor criminal offenses?
Decision: No, if police have probable cause to believe that an individual has committed even a minor offense, he can arrest.
Terry v. Ohio
Facts: Examines the constitutionality of the "stop and frisk" by police. The officer observed suspicious activity by Terry and stopped him and frisked him and found a concealed weapon and arrested him.
Question: was the search and seizure of Terry violating the 4th?
Decision: No, the seizure was reasonable. The officer acted on more tha a "hunch." "A reasonably prudent man would have believed Terry was armed and a threat."
Board of Education of Pottawatomie Couty v. Earls
Facts: the school board adopted the Student Activities Drug Test Policy that requires all middle school and high school students to conset to urinalysis testing for drugs in order to participate in any extracurricular activity.
Question: Is the drug test policy consistent with the 4th?
Decision: Yes, the policy reasonably serves the school's interest in deteting and preventing drug use among its students. The Court reasoned that the Board of Education's general regulation of extracurricular activities diminished the expectation of privacy among students and that the Board's method of obtaining urine samples and maintaining test results was minimally intrusive on the students' limited privacy interest.
Powell v. Alabama
Facts: In Alabama 7 black men were charged with the rape of 2 white women. The chief justice of the Alabama Supreme Court dissented from that court's affirmance of the convictions, chiefly because of the hostile atmosphere that surrounded the trial and the speed and casualness with which the trial judge had dealt with the question of counsel for defendants. The Communist International Labor Defense wrested control of the case from the NAACP.
Question: Did the trials violate the due process of the 14th in a capital case?
Decision: Yes, the defendents were not give reasonable time and opportunity to secure counsel in their defense. This decision implicated the right-to-counsel guarantee of the 6th.
Gideon v. Wainwright
Facts: Gideon was charged with breaking and entering a poolroom with the intent to commit a crime. This was a felony under Florida law. During the trial he requested the court appoint a lawyer for him because he could not afford retained counsel, and the judge refused.
Question: Did the court's failure to appoint counsel violate the right to fair trial (6th) and due process (14th)?
Decision: Yes, the guarantee of the right to counsel was a fundamental right, essential for a fair trial. "Lawyers in criminal courts are necessities, not luxuries."
Miranda v. Arizona
Facts: Miranda was arrested on rape and kidnapping charges. Without advising him of a right to have an attorney present, 2 officers question Miranda and obtained a signed confession from him. At the top of the statement was a typed paragraph explaining that the confession was made voluntarily, "with full knowledge of my legal rights, understanding any statement I make may be used against me." This was read to Miranda, but not till after he had confessed orally.
Question: Does police interrogration without notifying defendents of right to counsel and protection against self-incrimination violate the 5th?
Decision: Yes, police cannot use statements made by defendents unless they demonstrated the used of procedural safegurads "effective to secure the privilege against self-incrimination."
Dickerson v. US
Facts: Congress passed the Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act which attempted to sidestep Miranda by allowing use in federal courts of confessions voluntarily given, even if they were not preceded by the precise Miranda warnings. Dickerson confessed to FBI that he had been involved in robbing banks, without proper Miranda warnings.
Question: Does the act violate protection against self-incrimination of the 5th?
Decision: Yes, Miranda is embedded in police practice. Miranda is a consitutional rule that congress may not supercede legislatively.
Gregg v. Georgia
Facts: previous to this case capital punishment, as then administered, was "cruel and unusual punishment" in violation of the 8th. To meet the court's objections, the Georgia legislature then enacted a new death penalty law, which provided a bifurcated trial: only after rendering a verdict of guilty would the jury determine the sentence. A death sentence required a finding beyond a reasonable doubt that at least 1 of 10 specified "aggravating circumstances" was present as well as consideration of "mitigating circumstances" such as the offender's youth, cooperation with police, and emotional state when committing the crime.
Question: Is the death penalty prohibited under the 8th as "cruel and unusual punishment?"
Decision: No, in extreme criminal cases, the use of the death pnealty may be appropriate. Georgia's bifurcated trials is a good example.
Atkins v. Virginia
Facts: This case deals with the execution of a mentally retarded person.
Question: Is the execution of mentally retarded persons "cruel and unusual punishment" prhibited by the 8th?
Decision: Yes, retribution and deterrence of capital crimes does not apply to mentally retarded offenders because they have lessened culpability. They may not know the difference between wrong and right and such punishment is excessive.