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MT. 3, LT. 1 – Supreme Court Interpretations of the Bill of Rights. The First Amendment. Freedom of Religion. Establishment Clause. Free Exercise Clause. Religious Belief = complete freedom Religious Practice = may be restricted. Wall of Separation between Church & State.

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freedom of religion
Freedom of Religion



Free Exercise Clause

Religious Belief = complete freedom

Religious Practice = may be restricted

Wall of Separation between Church & State

Example = no mandatory prayer in schools

Example = refusing to say the Pledge of Allegiance


Public Religious Displays



Evolution vs.


freedom of speech
Freedom of Speech

“Symbolic” Speech

“Pure” Speech

Spoken or written thoughts, words, or ideas

Symbols, slogans, artwork, clothing, songs, gestures, etc.

EXCPET – slander or defamatory language = (false + harmful)

EXCEPT – speech creating a “clear and present” danger


Symbolic Speech

“Hate” Speech

freedom of the press
Freedom of the Press

No “Prior Restraint”

No censorship or restriction on what is published

EXCEPT = threats to national security (“leaking” information)

EXCEPT = libelous statements or false advertising (false + harmful)


No Censorship

False Advertising

National Security

right to assemble
Right to Assemble

Freedom of Association

Right to Protest

Protesting government actions (demonstrations, marches , etc.)

Right to join or form groups or organizations

EXCEPT = Time or place restrictions, public safety, private property, etc.

EXCEPT = terrorist or criminal organizations


Time & Place

Not Content

Public Access

interpretations of the first amendment
Interpretations of the First Amendment

First Amendment is usually given a “preferred position”

Freedom of expression is only limited when absolutely necessary

This is necessary for a free and democratic government

Unpopular beliefs and opinions must also be protected

Fundamental rights will often conflict with each other

Supreme Court has ultimate say in how rights are applied

mt 3 lt 1 supreme court interpretations of the bill of rights1

MT. 3, LT. 1 – Supreme Court Interpretations of the Bill of Rights

The Fourteenth Amendment


Treating a person or group unfairly solely based on race, religion, sex, etc.

equal protection
Equal Protection

Government cannot make unreasonable distinctions among groups of people

  • Government can make some distinctions
  • Inequalities can and do exist
  • For example, colleges only admit those who are qualified
rational basis
Rational Basis

Laws must show a good reason to justify a classification

  • A law requiring a vision test might discriminate against he blind, but it is necessary for public safety
  • A law prohibiting women from driving has no rational basis
  • (Women are actually safer drivers than men)
suspect classifications
Suspect Classifications

Classifications based on race or national origin are “suspect”

  • Laws requiring separate seating for African Americans were based on race and were therefore suspect
  • Laws designating certain areas for smokers are based on a behavior that can threaten public health
  • Therefore, it is not suspect
fundamental rights
Fundamental Rights

Classifications are less likely when a fundamental right is involved

  • The right to vote is a fundamental right
  • Limits on the right to vote (like poll taxes & literacy tests) have been found unconstitutional
  • Driving is considered a privilege
  • Driving tests, vision tests, and registration fees are okay under the law
intent to discriminate
Intent to Discriminate

Classifications must show an intent to discriminate

  • Physical requirements for firefighters might exclude more women than men
  • But there is no intent to discriminate against women
  • Laws that segregated schools and colleges were clearly meant to discriminate against African-Americans