Gregory vs. Chicago. Background.
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Argued in Dec. 1968 and decided on Mar. 1969: Originated: In 1966, a protest was held in Chicago led by a man named Dick Gregory. People were protesting because of segregation in Chicago's schools. The Supreme Court had ruled segregation unconstitutional 12 years before in Brown vs. Board of Education, but Chicago schools were desegregating at a very slow pace. The protest went from city hall to Mayor Richard Daley's house (which was an all white neighborhood). Although the protest was nonviolent, many neighbors to the mayor began to yell and throw things at the protestors. This led to the arrival of Chicago police men, who removed the protestors after they refused to leave.
Do you believe that the Chicago police had any right at all to stop the protest since it was their first amendment right to be there?
Majority Opinion: 1st amendment protected their protest. Since their was no evidence showing the protestors were behaving disorderly, the police had no right to arrest them.
Argued March. 1971 and Decided June 1971: Originated: Case resulted from Pennsylvania law (which was passed through the Elementary & Secondary Act of 1968) that allowed the state to reimburse private schools for books, teacher salaries, and other materials. Law was set for all private schools, yet 96% of funds went to religious schools. The case filed by Alton Lemon, who felt the state violated US Constitution by passing the Pennsylvania law. Lemon felt this violated the 1st Amendment because the constitution doesn't allow establishment of state law that combine interests of religious people's with interest of state's population (Separation of Church and State).
Do you believe that it violated any of the 3 criteria?
Courts Decision: Unanimous 9:0 in favor of Lemon Majority Opinion: There are 3 criteria that should be used to asses Legislation
The case of Mapp vs Ohio took place May 23, 1957 in Cleveland Ohio. The court argued the case on March 29, 1961 Origin: An Ohio suburb received information that a suspect in a bombing case, as well as some illegal betting equipment might be found in the home of Mapp. 3 officers went to the home, and asked for permission to enter, but Mapp refused to admit them without a search warrant. They returned later on waving a piece of paper in her face claiming that it was there warrant, but it wasn't, so they moved her out of the way and illegally entered her home. They did not find what they suspected, however they did find lewd and lascivious books and pictures in her dresser and she was arrested for possession of pornography which was an Ohio state law.
Was her conviction valid even though they found the lewd and lascivious material? Should she still of faced jail time since it was obtained illegally in the search?
Court Decision: The United States supreme court decided that the obtained evidence was in violation of the Fourth Amendment, which protects against “unreasonable searches and seizures”. Ohio state Supreme Court denied her appeal, so she took it to the US Supreme Court who able to side with her. In a 6:3 vote favoring Mapp.
Argument: Over all evidence obtained by searches and seizures are in violation of the 4th Amendment without a legal warrant.
Year: 1980 – In 1978, a state law of Kentucky enacted a law requiring the posting of a copy of the Ten Commandments, but must be purchased with private contributions, on the wall of each public school classroom.
Some Citizens of Kentucky led by Sylee Stone argued that it violated the Establishment and Free exercise clauses of the First Amendment. -
Do you think the state law of Kentucky requiring the 10 commandments in every public school classroom a violation of the Constitution under the 1st amendment – Establishment clause?
Yes. The supreme court ruled in a 5-4 vote that the Kentucky state law was unconstitutional. - The majority opinion of the court stated that the law violated the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment because it lacked a nonreligious , legislative purpose, even though the copies of the Ten Commandments were purchased through private funding.
Year 1985: - In 1982, Ishmael Jaffree filed suit against his children's school in the Mobile County system of Mobile County, Alabama. An Alabama law authorized teachers to set aside one minute at the start of each day for “meditation or voluntary prayer”. Jaffree complained that his kids had been led in acts of religious indoctrination and that the defendant teachers had led their classes in saying certain prayers in unison on a daily basis; that as a result of not participating in the prayers his minor children had been exposed to ostracism from their peer group classmates; and that Jaffree had repeatedly but unsuccessfully requested that the prayers be stopped; in result, violating the First Amendment made applicable by the Fourteenth Amendment. -
Was the actions of the teachers Unconstitutional?
Yes. The Supreme Court ruled in a 6-3 vote that the one minute of “meditation or voluntary prayer” violated constitutional principle. - The majority opinion of the court stated that the statute must have secular legislative purpose and that the first Amendment requires that a statute must be invalidated if it is entirely motivated by a purpose to advance religion.
Origin: George Reynolds was arrested for bigamy under the Morrill Anti-Bigamy Act in the Utah Territory. Mormons brought the case to the Supreme Court saying it deprived them of their First Amendment.
Do you think freedom of religious action should be protected under the Constitution?
Majority Opinion: Court found that while laws cannot interfere with religious belief and opinions, laws can be made to regulate some religious practices. The decision is notable for distinguishing between the freedom of conscience, which is protected under the constitution, and freedom of religious action, which is not.
Origin: In Santa Fe, NM two anonymous people, referred to as Does, filed a suit against SFISD on basis of a violation of the Establishment Clause. Because they were against the public Christian prayers over the public address system at the football games.
Was praying over the PA system Unconstitutional?
Majority Opinion: It decided that these student-led prayers were only acceptable at graduation, not during football games. Ruled policy for student-led prayer at football games was unconstitutional.
Court took place in 1943 – West Virginia, Supreme Court held First Amendment protected students from being forced to salute the flag and say the pledge of allegiance in school.
Was the requirement of saluting the flag and saying the Pledge of Allegiance a violation of the 1st Amendment, and therefore unconstitutional?
Yes. In a 6-3 vote The court ruled against the requirement to pay respect to the flag on the basis it violates the First Amendment (Free Speech)
New York state officials violated the First amendment when they wrote a prayer to be recited by New York's school children. - 6-1 vote against reciting prayers – Most of the state was outraged by the ruling against the prayer recital. (Violates First Amendment) It then stated that school's prayer is a religious activity by the very nature of it being a prayer, and that prescribing such a religious activity for school children violates the Establishment Clause.
Do you think the Supreme court was right about how important to have a gap between church and state was?
Year court was heard in 1968 – Court case invalidated an Arkansas statute that prohibited the teaching of human evolution in the public schools. The Court held that the First Amendment to the United States Constitution prohibits a state from requiring, in the words of the majority opinion, "that teaching and learning must be tailored to the principles or prohibitions of any religious sect or dogma." The Supreme Court declared the Arkansas statute unconstitutional because it violated the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment – Court vote: 9 votes for Epperson 0 against – Majority Opinion – Justice argued that the Arkansas low was impermissible because it violated the establishment clause are prohibited the free rebellion
Was it right to prohibit the teaching of Evolution?
The Supreme Court heard the case in 1984. The case was argued on October 4, 1983 and Decided on March 5, 1984. The Lynch v. Donnelly case originated in Pawtucket R.I. District court. Donnelly was arguing that when the town of Pawtucket puts up their Christmas display that they should not put out the nativity scene. Donnelly said that putting the nativity scene up went against his freedom of speech, but the Nativity scene was part of the display for years and the town wanted to keep it, so in defense the Mayor Lynch went to court with Donnelly to settle the matter. The supreme courts decision on the case was 5-4 in favor of Lynch to keep the Nativity scene up in the town display. The court said the Nativity scene was a sign of religion that was constitutional. The court said the nativity did not violate the 1st or 14th amendments they said it applies to the freedom of religion that everyone has and the nativity scene was kept in the towns Christmas display.
Why did Donnelly not want the Nativity scene up in the city of Pawtucket?