Vocabulary Terms

Provisions of the U.S. Constitution's Bill of Rights are continually being interpreted to balance the power of government and the civil liberties of individuals.

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Bill of Rights
The first ten amendments to the US Constitution
Civil liberties
Legal protections for individuals against governments
Clear and present danger
If speech acts are likely to incite specific violence to others, they are not protected by the First Amendment
Cruel and unusual punishment
Prohibited in the Eighth Amendment; has evolved over the years to include many new forms of criminal punishment
Death penalty
Execution can take several forms, is very difficult legally speaking to administer, and is only offered in some states
Knowing lies about another person designed to damage their reputation
Eighth Amendment
Prohibits cruel and unusual punishment, as well as excessive bail and fines
Engel v. Vitale
Court case that ruled against mandatory school prayer as a violation of the Establishment Clause
First Amendment
Contains protections for speech, religion, press, assembly and petition
Fourth Amendment
Protects against unreasonable searches and seizures without warrants
Data collected about human communication like phone numbers called or times and locations of messages sent and received
Non-protected speech
Some communication acts are not protected by the First Amendment
Not protected by the First Amendment: must be without and in the prurient interest
Schenck v. United States
Court case that determined speech constituting a clear and present danger was not protected
Second Amendment
Provides for a right to bear arms for "the people," connected with a first clause about "a well regulated militia"
Tinker v. Des Moines
Court case that ruled in favor of students using peace armbands as symbolic speech
Wisconsin v. Yoder
Court case ruling in favor of an Amish group that wanted to opt out of mandatory school