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All posts in GENERAL LAW

Race

Chapter 8 Race The equal protection guarantee emerged as a significant constitutional force when it was used to dismantle official segregation. Following the decision in Brown v. Board of Education (1954), the Court confronted widespread resistance to implementing its mandate to desegregate public schools. Over the course of nearly two . . . Read more

First Amendment: Freedom of Speech (Content Regulation)

Chapter 11 First Amendment: Freedom of Speech (Content Regulation) Freedom of speech has been referred to as the most essential liberty. As the Court put it in Palko v. Connecticut (1937), expressive liberty is “the matrix, the indispensable condition of nearly every other form of freedom.” This observation is consistent . . . Read more

The Power of the President

Chapter 2 The Power of the President The boundaries of presidential authority initially were tested in Marbury v. Madison (1803), when the Court determined that not even the chief executive was beyond its power “to say what the law is.” The Marbury decision, like the Court’s ruling in United States . . . Read more

Eighth Amendment: Cruel and Unusual Punishment

Chapter 21 Eighth Amendment: Cruel and Unusual Punishment The death penalty has been an extremely contentious issue in the United States for decades. The Supreme Court’s jurisprudence on the subject reflects this controversy. In a 1971 decision, McGautha v. California, 402 US 183 (1971), the Court ruled that the death . . . Read more

First Amendment: Freedom of Speech (Content-Neutral Regulation)

Chapter 12 First Amendment: Freedom of Speech (Content-Neutral Regulation) The concept of content neutrality, during the final decades of the twentieth century, has evolved as a particularly significant limiting principle. Insofar as a regulation is understood to regulate a concern unrelated to or secondary to speech, standards of review are . . . Read more

Fifth Amendment: Takings

Chapter 19 Fifth Amendment: Takings The Fifth Amendment prohibits government from taking private property without just compensation. A taking occurs in the plainest sense when government exercises its power of eminent domain. More difficult cases arise when property value is diminished pursuant to government action. Land use regulation that eliminates . . . Read more

Sixth Amendment: Right to Counsel

Chapter 20 Sixth Amendment: Right to Counsel A defendant’s ability to reckon with the criminal justice system depends not only upon the quality of his case but upon the ability to secure legal representation. Without counsel, the odds increase that innocent persons will be found guilty and the defendant will . . . Read more

Due Process: Confessions and Entrapment

Chapter 18 Due Process: Confessions and Entrapment Police practices prior to the twentieth century traded significantly upon tactics of intimidation and violence. Such tactics relate back to early English police methods that freely used torture and brutality to obtain confessions. Until the late eighteenth century, such statements were admissible at . . . Read more

Second Amendment: Right to Keep and Bear Arms

Chapter 16 Second Amendment: Right to Keep and Bear Arms The Second Amendment states that “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.” Prior to its two recent decisions, District of . . . Read more

The Power of Congress

Chapter 3 The Power of Congress Mistrust of centralized authority was an overarching influence upon the nation’s founding and has been a significant factor in the Constitution’s evolution. Early constitutional case law focusing upon congressional authority reflects this concern. In McCulloch v. Maryland (1819), for instance, the Court addressed the . . . Read more