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Civil Liberties, Civil Rights, and the Supreme Court

1. What are amicus curiae briefs and who submits them? Groups
that are interested in the outcome of a case “friends”
2. What are the different types of “opinions” and what do they
mean? Written: statement of reason behind decision;
Concurring: agree with the outcome, but for a different
reason; Dissenting: disagree and why
3. What happened as far as implementation following the Brown vs.
Board of Education decision The President and Congress
refused to enforce speedy compliance with the ruling
4. What does “stare decisis” mean? Decided on the basis of
5. The most liberal court of the modern era has been the Warren
6. Where do most cases heard by the Supreme Court come from?
Civil actions and lower federal courts
7. Who represents the US government in civil cases in district
courts? U.S. Attorney
8. What percentages of nominees to the Supreme Court fail to be
confirmed? 20%
9. During which periods have Presidents faced heavy battles over
Senate confirmation of their Supreme Court nominees? From
the mid 1920s to the mid 1940s and during the late 1950s
10. First African-American to serve of the Supreme Court: Thurgood
11. President FDR’s appointees to the Supreme Court liberalized
the Court. (Liberalized or conservative focus)
12. How many justices have to agree to hear a case? 4
13. Who are litigants? The plaintiff and the defendant
14. Standing to sue: whether or not the litigants have a serious
interest in a case
15. What established lower federal courts of general jurisdiction?
The Judiciary Act of 1789
16. What is the entry point for most litigation in the federal courts?
Which court? district
17. How are most cases (criminal and civil) settled? Plea bargain
18. What is senatorial courtesy? Senate disposes of federal
judicial nominations in their home state
19. Whose discretion did the Constitution leave to establish lower
federal courts? Congress
20. How do critics of affirmative action feel? Reverse
21. Where is the great majority of America’s judicial business
transacted? State courts
22. Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990: prohibited
employment discrimination against the disabled
Civil Liberties, Civil Rights, and the Supreme Court

23. What does the “gray liberation” movement refer to? Those
fighting for rights of the elderly
24. Regents of the University of California v. Bakke: Supreme Court
ruled against some of the basic principles of affirmative
action programs (quotas)
25. Tailhook Association Convention: Sexual harrasment
26. Why did the Equal Rights Amendment fail? Because it fell 3
states short for ratification
27. What book in 1963 encouraged women to question traditional
assumptions and to assert their rights? The Feminine
28. What was the feminist movement like between 1920 until 1960?
29. What launched the women’s rights movement? Signing of
Seneca Falls Declaration
30. Korematsu v. United States: upheld the removal of Japanese-
Americans to internment camps
31. How does de jure educational segregation occur? By law
32. 24th Amendment: prohibited poll taxes
33. How does de facto segregation occur? By the reality of
neighborhood schools
34. What institution was most responsible for putting civil rights
goals on the nation’s policy agenda? The Courts
35. What did the Supreme Court rule in Brown v. Board of Education?
Ruled that school segregation was not equal
36. Outlawed slavery: 13th Amendment
37. Define Civil Rights: policies that extend basic rights to
discriminated groups
38. What does “equal protection of the laws” mean? Does not deny
states treating classes of citizens differently if
39. Dred Scott v. Sanford: ruled that a black man had no rights
under a white man’s government
40. When was the 14th Amendment passed? (not the year) following
the Civil War
41. How many members must be on a jury according to the
Constitution? No set number
42. When must a court provide a lawyer for a defendant? Whenever
imprisonment could be imposed
43. What does the 5th Amendment forbid? Forced self-
44. 4th Amendment: forbids unreasonable searches and
45. What does most of the wording of the Bill of Rights concern? The
rights of people accused of crimes
Civil Liberties, Civil Rights, and the Supreme Court

46. NAACP v. Alabama: the state of Alabama was unlawfully

restricting the NAACP’s freedom of association
47. Examples of symbolic speech: wearing an arm band, burning
a US flag, etc…….
48. Slander: Saying false and malicious statements about
49. Libel: Printing false and malicious statements about
50. Near v. Minnesota: state governments could not use prior
restraint to shut down an outspoken newspaper
51. How do you define what is obscene? Not protected under the
52. Schenck v. United States: speech can be restricted when it
provokes a “clear and present danger”
53. Barron v. Baltimore: ruled that the Bill of Rights restrained
only the national government, not states
54. Lemon v. Kurtzman: aid to church-related schools must be
for secular purposes only
55. Where would you find American’s civil liberties? Bill of Rights
56. Free exercise clause: Government will not interfere with the
practice of religion (always a but if)
57. Due Process clause: People cannot be denied their “life,
liberty, and property” without their due process rights
being exercised
58. Establishment clause: The government will not make any
national religion or church
59. 14th Amendment: The Supreme Court has relied on the Due
Process Clause of the 14th Amendment to incorporate
select amendments of the Bill of Rights into the states.
Originally intended for newly freed slaves only.
60. Explain in complete detail the concept of selective incorporation:
A piecemeal process where select amendments from the
Bill of Rights have been incorporated into states using
the 14th Amendment’s Due Process Clause as justification.