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Supreme Court Cases II. Miranda v. Arizona. 1966 Police arrested Miranda for kidnapping/rape Identified in lineup and confessed Never been advised of his right to an attorney present during interrogation

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Miranda v. Arizona


Police arrested Miranda for kidnapping/rape

Identified in lineup and confessed

Never been advised of his right to an attorney present during interrogation

Miranda had been questioned, had confessed, and had signed a written statement without being told that he had a right to a lawyer; his confession was used at trial.

Miranda rights/5th amendment

Issue: Rights of Suspected Criminals


The Court said that if police DO NOT inform people they arrest about certain constitutional rights including:

  • 5th amend: Right Against Self-Incrimination
  • then their confessions MAY NOT be used as evidence at trial.

The decision reversed the Arizona court's conviction of Ernesto Miranda on kidnapping and rape charges.

15 year old making indecent phone calls to neighbor

He is arrested

Parents were not called

Never interviewed the neighbor!

Juveniles have similar rights as adults.

OYEZ - In re Gault - Oral Argument

In re Gault

Issue: Rights of Juveniles


Tinker v. Des Moines Schools


Students protest Vietnam war with black arm bands

Get suspended

Supreme Court ruled that this violated their 1st amendment right of free speech and EXPRESSION!

Issue: Students and Free Speech

furman firm v georgia
Furman (FIRM) v Georgia
  • Facts of the Case: 
  • Furman was burglarizing a private home when a family member discovered him. He attempted to flee, tripped and fell. The gun that he was carrying went off and killed a resident of the home. He was convicted of murder and sentenced to death
  • Question: 
  • Does the imposition and carrying out of the death penalty in these cases constitute cruel and unusual punishment in violation of the Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments?
  • Answer:
  • YES.

Furman v. Georgia

Decision by Supreme Court stopped the death penalty under state laws in 1972!

Ruled that the death penalty amounted to cruel and unusual punishment (violates___ amendment)

39 states stopped it

Now, 38 states have rewritten death penalty laws to meet requirements of this case!

Issue: Legality of the Death Penalty

1970: Pres. Nixon named an UN-indicted co-conspirator in a criminal investigation

Ordered to turn over tapes of conversations about the break-in

He refused to turn over tapes

Ruling: PRESIDENT is not above the law

Ordered to give up the tapes

He resigned shortly after this

US v. Nixon

Issue: Powers of the President and Executive Privilege


Wallace v. Jaffree

Issue: Religion in schools

  • School day to begin with“moment of silent mediation or voluntary prayer”
  • student parent sued saying that prayer violated the
  • Establishment Clause by compelling students to pray
  • Prayer found to be unconstitutional
new jersey v tlo
Issue:students and searches


Teacher at a high school caught girls smoking in the bathroom

Allowed to smoke in some areas but not b-room

One said (tlo) she was smoking the other said she wasn’t.

Principal told TLO to give him her purse

Found cigs and rolling papers

Thought she was using…


Decided to search her purse even more!

Found weed, pipe, list of names -- assumed she was?

Upheld 4th amendment!

Appropriate Search and seizure applies to public schools too

New Jersey v. TLO

California v. Bakke

Bars quota systems in college admissions

Allows admissions of colleges to have affirmative action programs giving advantage to minorities

Bakke had been rejected 2 times by the medical school, even though he had a higher grade point average than a number of minority candidates who were admitted.

As a result of the decision, Bakke was admitted to the medical school and graduated in 1982.

Issue: Legality of Affirmative Action

Upheld the right to public high school administrators at Hazelwood high school to censor stories in the school newspaper (teen pregnancies and divorce)

Wasn’t violation of 1st amendment!

b/c it was a school sponsored activity

Hazelwood Schools v. Kuhlmeier (1987)

Issue: Free Speech of Students

Allowed to burn the flag.

In bad taste but…

Protected under 1st amendment speech and expression!

Texas v.Johnson

Issue: Free Speech and Flag Burning


Allowed to “bus” students to make it more racially equal in schools

To promote integration of public schools.

Felt it was a good fix for the problem of racial imbalance among schools!

Swann v. Charlotte Mecklenburg

Issue: Forced Busing of Students

escobedo v illinois 1964
Danny Escobedo was a suspect in the murder of his brother-in-law

was picked TWICE by police for questioning.

He asked for his lawyer to be present, & his lawyer asked to see him…

but BOTH were told to wait until the questioning was over!

During police questioning, he made some statements that incriminated himself.

A motion was made to suppress the statements as evidence, but he was still charged with murder


Escobedo v. Illinois (1964)
  • Police said he had given the info VOLUNATARILY and the courts upheld the conviction.
  • Issue?
  • Was the refusal by police to honor Escobedo’s request to consult with his lawyer a violation of his 6th amendment rights?
    • This case extended the right of the accused to have an attorney present during questioning.
    • Info obtained w/o this right is inadmissible in court
leandro v north carolina
Leandro v. North Carolina
  • (1997)
  • Six urban school districts stated that the state funding formula did not provide them with sufficient money to educate their at-risk students and students for whom English is not their first language.
  • NOT EQUAL!!!
  • North Carolina Supreme Court cases requiring that public school FUNDING must be EQUAL & FAIR!
  • “...every child of this state shall have an opportunity to receive a sound basic education in our public schools.”
heart of atlanta motel inc vs us
Heart of Atlanta Motel, Inc vs Us
  • 1964
  • Facts of the Case:
    • Title II of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 forbade (prevented) racial discrimination in places of public accommodation if their operations affected commerce.
    • The Heart of Atlanta Motel in Atlanta, Georgia, refused to accept Black Americans and was charged with violating Title II.

Did Congress, in passing Title II of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, exceed its Commerce Clause powers by depriving motels, such as the Heart of Atlanta, of the right to choose their own customers?


The Court held that the Commerce Clause allowed Congress to regulate local incidents of commerce

and the Court concluded that places of public accommodation had no "right" to select guests.

bethel school district vs frasier
Bethel School District vs. Frasier

1986 (free speech at school)

Student wrote a sexually explicit speech for commencement speech

student was suspended for 3 days for violating the school’s code of conduct and was removed from the list of those eligible to talk at graduation

His parents appealed the School District’s decision, and the Washington District Court upheld Frasier’s right to free speech


The U.S. Supreme Court took the case, disagreeing with the other courts, and ruled that the school board had acted appropriately.

Did Bethel School District violate the first amendment by punishing Matt and not upholding his freedom of speech?


“…The determination of what manner of speech in the classroom or in school assembly is inappropriate properly rests with the school board.”

  • - Chief Justice Burger
  • You do not have unlimited speech at school!
engel v vitale
Engel v. Vitale

1962- prayer and school: NO!

1951 the New York State Board of Regents (the State board of education) approved a 22-word “nondenominational prayer” for recitation each morning in the public schools of New York.

“Almighty God, we acknowledge our dependence upon Thee, and we beg Thy blessings upon us, our parents, our teachers and our Country.”

The Regents believed that the prayer could be a useful tool for the development of character and good citizenship among the students of the State of New York.

The prayer was offered to the school boards in the State for their use, and participation in the “prayer-exercise” was voluntary.

In New Hyde Park, New York, the Union Free School District directed the local principal to have the prayer “said aloud by each class in the presence of a teacher at the beginning of the school day.”

Some parents objected the prayer, citing separation of church and state

The State appeals court upheld the use of the prayer, “so long as the schools did not compel any pupil to join in the prayer over his or his parents' objection.”

constitutional issues
Constitutional Issues

The question before the Court involved the Establishment Clause of the 1st Amendment. Did the Regents of New York violate the religious freedom of students by providing time during the school day for this particular prayer?

Did the Establishment Clause of the 1st Amendment prevent schools from engaging in “religious activity”? Was the “wall of separation” between church and state breached in this case?


For Engel (the parents):The separation of church and state requires that government stay out of the business of prescribing religious activities of any kind. The Regents' prayer quite simply and clearly violated the 1st Amendment and should, therefore, be barred from the schools.

For the Regents of the State of New York:The New York Regents did not establish a religion by providing a prayer for those who wanted to say it. Countless religious elements are associated with governments and officials, reflecting the religious heritage of the nation. New York acted properly and constitutionally in providing an optional, nonsectarian prayer.


The Court found the New York Regents' prayer to be unconstitutional.

Justice Hugo Black wrote the opinion for the 6-1 majority: “We think that by using its public school system to encourage recitation of the Regents' Prayer, the State of New York has adopted a practice wholly inconsistent with the Establishment Clause. There can, of course, be no doubt that New York's program of daily classroom invocation of God's blessings…in the Regents' Prayer is a religious activity…”

The Court's decision was not, Black pointed out, antireligious. It sought, rather, only to affirm the separation between church and state. “It is neither sacrilegious nor antireligious to say that each separate government in this country should stay out of the business of writing or sanctioning official prayers…”