Civil Liberties and Civil Rights Study Guide
Civil Liberties: The legal constitutional protections against government. Although our civil liberties are formally set down in the Bill of Rights, the courts, police, and legislatures define their meaning. ii.
Bill of Rights: The first 10 amendments to the US Constitution, which define such basic liberties as freedom of religion, speech, and press and guarantee defendants' rights. iii.
First Amendment: The constitutional amendment that establishes the four great liberties: freedom of the press, of speech, of religion, and of assembly. iv.
Fourteenth Amendment: The constitutional amendment adopted after the Civil War that states, No State shall make or enforce and law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States, nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws. v.
Due Process Clause: Part of the Fourteenth Amendment guaranteeing that persons cannot be deprived of life, liberty, or property by the United States or state governments without due process of law. vi.
Incorporation Doctrine: The legal concept under which the Supreme Court has nationalized the Bill of Rights by making most of its provisions applicable to the states through the Fourteenth Amendment. vii.
Establishment Clause: Part of the First Amendment stating that, "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion.” viii.
Free Exercise Clause: A First Amendment provision that prohibits government from interfering with the practice of religion. ix.
Prior Restraint: A government preventing material from being published. This is a common method of limiting the press in some nations, but is usually unconstitutional in the United States, according to the First Amendment and as confirmed in the 1931 Supreme Court case of Near v. Minnesota. x.
Libel: The publication of false or malicious statements that damage someone's reputation. xi.
Symbolic Speech: Nonverbal communication, such as burning a flag or wearing an armband. The Supreme Court has accorded some symbolic speech protection under the First Amendment. xii.
Commercial Speech: Communication in the form of advertising. It can be restricted more than any other types of speech but has been receiving increased protection from the Supreme Court. xiii.
Probable Clause: The situation occurring when the police have reason to believe that a person should be arrested. In making the arrest, police are allowed legally to search for and seize incriminating evidence. xiv.
Unreasonable Searches and Seizures: Obtaining evidence in haphazard or random manner, a practice prohibited by the Fourth Amendment. Probably cause and/or a search warrant are required for a legal and proper search for an seizure of incriminating evidence. xv.
Search Warrant: A written authorization from a court specifying the area to be searched and what the police are searching for. xvi.
Exclusionary Rule: The rule that evidence, no matter how incriminating, cannot be introduced into a trial if it was not constitutionally obtained. The rule prohibits use of evidence obtained through unreasonable search and seizure. xvii.
Fifth Amendment: A constitutional amendment designed to protect the rights of persons accused of crimes, including protection against double jeopardy, self-incrimination, and punishment without due process of law. xviii.
Self-Incrimination: The situation occurring when an individual accused of a crime is compelled to be a witness against himself or herself in court. The Fifth Amendment forbids self-incrimination. xix.
Sixth Amendment: A constitutional amendment designed to protect individuals accused of crimes. It includes the right to counsel, the right to confront witnesses, and the right to a speedy and public trial. xx.
Plea Bargaining: A bargain struck between the defendant's...
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