Supreme Court 1st amendment Review of cases

  • Famous First Amendment SC Rulings

    Freedom of Expression in Schools: Tinker v. Des Moines  Independent Community School District, 1969 : In this seminal case considering the First Amendment right of students who were expelled after they wore black armbands to school in symbolic protest of the Vietnam War, the Supreme Court held that students "do not shed their constitutional rights at the schoolhouse gate" and that the First Amendment protects public school students' rights to express political and social views.

    Morse v. Frederick,   2007. Bong hits for Jesus case-- School authorities do not violate student first amendment free speech when they, written restrict or stop student words written  or spoken when students are promoting drug use. Bong Hits For Jesus—--Whether a HS principal violated the Free Speech clause of the 1st Amendment by restricting speech at a supervised school event when the speech is viewed a promoting drug use. The school’s principal ordered that the plaintiff-- a student --remove his banner saying “Bong Hits for Jesus”.  January, 2002 the student, Morse, was suspended because he was advocating illegal drug use. The case went to the SC. The SC decided that students’ free speech is limited and that any speech or words that advocated illegal drug use is inappropriate to ALL the students in the school and the administration has a moral obligation to stop speech that endorses drug use.

    Free Press Issues:

     New York Times Company v. United States, 1971 In the "Pentagon Papers" case, the U.S. government attempted to enjoin the New York Times and the Washington Post from publishing classified documents concerning the Vietnam. The Court ruled in favor of the press—the  publication of the documents would NOT interfere with foreign policy and prolong the war. Right to a free press.

    Hustler Magazine, Inc. v. Falwell, 1988 Hustler Magazine published a parody of a liquor advertisement in which Rev. Jerry Falwell described his "first time" as a drunken encounter with his mother in an outhouse. A unanimous Supreme Court held that a public figure had to show actual malice in order to recover for intentional infliction of emotional distress as a result of a parody in a magazine. The Court held that political cartoons and satire such as this parody "have played a prominent role in public and political debate. Right to a free press!

    Flag Burning:
    Right to Dissent/protest:
      Texas v. Johnson, 1989 In this case the Supreme Court held that burning the United States flag was a protected form of symbolic political speech, concluding that there is no legitimate government interest in protecting the U.S.flag where the sole act in question is destroying the flag in its symbolic capacity. "A bedrock principle underlying the First Amendment is that Government may not prohibit the expression of an idea simply because society finds the idea itself offensive or disagreeable."


    Right to an Abortion

    Roe v. Wade 1973-Issue Abortion, Right to privacy

    Jane Roe was an unmarried and pregnant Texas resident in 1970. Texas law made it a felony to abort a fetus unless “on medical advice for the purpose of saving the life of the mother.”  Roe filed suit against Wade, the district attorney of Dallas County, contesting the statue on the grounds that it violated the guarantee of personal liberty and the right to privacy implicitly guaranteed in the First, Fourth, Fifth, Ninth, and Fourteenth Amendments. In deciding for Roe, the Supreme Court invalidated any state laws that prohibited first trimester abortions.

    Search & seizure  in schools

     T.L.O v NJ 1985: student search is  permissible … A New Jersey high school student was accused of violating school rules by smoking in the bathroom, leading an assistant principal to search her purse for cigarettes. The vice principal discovered marijuana and other items that implicated the student in dealing marijuana. The student tried to have the evidence from her purse suppressed,…the Supreme Court decided that the search did not violate the Constitution and established more lenient standards for reasonableness in school searches.


    Important History Anniversaries this year. Possible thematic or DBQ Essays

    1964 Civil Rights Act

    Brown v Board of Education, Topeka, Kansas.1954

    1964 Lyndon Baines Johnson’s Great Society Programs

    June 6, 1944 D-Day

    President Nixon resigns over Watergate

    1934 Dust Bowl Begins

    1914- Clayton Anti-Trust Act-strengthens Sherman Anti-Trust Act.

    1974-USA v. Nixon




    Geography Theme: Geography—Development of the United States

    Many important events in United States history have been influenced by geography.

    Geographic factors or conditions include location, size, climate, natural resources, and

    physical features. These events in turn have had political, social, and economic impacts

    on the development of the United States.


    Task: Identify two important events in United States Geographical history and for each

    • Describe how a geographic factor or condition influenced the event

    • Discuss the political, social, and/or economic impacts of this event on the development

    of the United States

    You may use any important event that was influenced by geographic factors or conditions. Some suggestions you might wish to consider include the Louisiana Purchase, the construction of the Erie Canal, Home Stead Act, migration to California in the late 1840s, the Civil War, the purchase of Alaska, the building of the transcontinental railroad, the acquisition of the Philippines, the building of the Panama Canal, the creation of the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA), and the construction of the interstate highway system.