Palko V. Connecticut Case Study

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Palko v. Connecticut (1937)
1. What constitutional question is the Supreme Court being asked to decide?

Answer - Does Palko's second conviction violate the protection against double jeopardy guaranteed by the Fifth Amendment because this protection applies to the states by virtue of the Fourteenth Amendment's due process clause?

2. How did the Court answer the question?

Answer - The Supreme Court upheld Palko's second conviction. In his majority opinion, Justice Cardozo formulated principles that were to direct the Court's actions for the next three decades. He noted that some Bill of Rights guarantees such as freedom of thought and speech are fundamental, and that the Fourteenth Amendment's due process clause absorbed these fundamental
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These in their origin were effective against the federal government alone. If the Fourteenth Amendment has absorbed them, the process of absorption has had its source in the belief that neither liberty nor justice would exist if they were sacrificed….”

4. What constitutional principles does he use to resolve Palko’s claim?

Answer – The double jeopardy prohibition provision included in the Fifth Amendment is not applicable to the states through the Fourteenth Amendment.

5. What constitutional precedent was set by this case?

Answer – Double jeopardy protections are not applicable to the states.

6. What were the political/policy implications of the case?

Answer -

McDonald v. City of Chicago (2010)
1. What constitutional question is the Supreme Court being asked to decide?

Answer - Does the Second Amendment apply to the states because it is incorporated by the Fourteenth Amendment's Privileges and Immunities or Due Process clauses and thereby made applicable to the
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What specific criteria does it apply to reach its decision?

Answer – They looked at the intent of the framers. The court stated that “it is clear that the Framers and ratifiers of the Fourteenth Amendment counted the right to keep and bear arms among those fundamental rights necessary to our system of ordered liberty”. “The Fourteenth Amendment makes the Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms fully applicable to the States.” In a separate concurring opinion, Justice Thomas wrote that the 2nd Amendment is fully applicable to states because the right to keep and bear arms is guaranteed by the 14th Amendment as a privilege of American citizenship

6. How does the majority respond the the arguments presented by the city of Chicago?
Answer - By a five to four margin, the Court held that the second Amendment protects an individual right to possess firearms for lawful use, such as self-defense. According to the Court, the ban on handgun possession in the home amounted to a prohibition on an entire class of “arms” that Americans overwhelmingly choose for the lawful purpose of self-defense. Similarly, the requirement that any firearm in a home be disassembled or locked made “it impossible for citizens to use arms for the core lawful purpose of self-defense.” These laws were unconstitutional “under any of the standards of scrutiny the Court has applied to enumerated constitutional rights.” The second Amendment right to keep and bear firearms is not absolute, and a wide range

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