Category Archives: Constitutional Law

On This Date in Legal History

On January 26, 1987,  Justice Lewis Powell retired from the United States Supreme Court. Justice Powell served on the Court for 15 years.  He was appointed by President Nixon in October 1971. Listen to a very informative interview with John Jeffries, … Continue reading

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In The News

This past week the United States Supreme Court held that a federal law banning the registration of disparaging trademarks violates the Free Speech Clause of the First Amendment.  Take a look at this interesting case– Matal v. Tam– at https://goo.gl/LJoD8k.

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On This Date in Legal History

In 1958, a New York school district required the following prayer be recited each morning in its public schools: “Almighty God, we acknowledge our dependence upon Thee, and we beg Thy blessings upon us, our parents, our teachers and our … Continue reading

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On This Date in Legal History

On June 24, 1992, the United States Supreme Court decided Lee v. Weisman. Daniel Weisman sued his daughter’s public school to bar them from inviting clergy to offer invocation and benediction prayers at her graduation. Weisman claimed that the practice … Continue reading

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On This Date in Legal History

On July 23, 1936, Justice Anthony Kennedy was born in Sacramento, California. In November 1987, President Reagan nominated him to the United States Supreme Court. The Senate confirmed his nomination in a vote of 97 yeas to 0 nays. Take … Continue reading

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On This Date in Legal History

In 1984, protesters gathered in Dallas, Texas, to voice objections to policies adopted by the Reagan administration. During the demonstration, Gregory Lee Johnson doused an American flag with kerosene, and set it on fire. He was arrested for violating a … Continue reading

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On This Date in Legal History

On June 20, 2002, the United States Supreme Court held in Atkins v. Virginia that the Eighth Amendment prohibited the sentencing of an intellectually disabled person to death. Justice John Paul Stevens, who authored the majority opinion for the Court, explained–“We … Continue reading

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On This Date in Legal History

Fred Vinson was our 13th Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court. Prior to his appointment to the Court he practiced law, was a congressman, a judge on the United States Court of Appeals, and he served in both … Continue reading

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On This Date in Legal History

Louisiana passed the” Creationism Act,” also known as the “Balanced Treatment for Creation-Science and Evolution-Science in Public School Instruction Act.” The law forbade the teaching of evolution, unless creationism was taught as well, in public elementary and secondary schools. Parents, … Continue reading

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On This Date in Legal History

On June 18, 2015, the United States Supreme Court held (in a 5:4 decision) that Texas couldn’t be forced to issue license plates with the confederate flag. You can read the entire decision at http://1.usa.gov/1JWTN0G. Justice Breyer, who authored the majority … Continue reading

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On This Date in Legal History

On June 17, 1963, the United States Supreme Court decided School District of Abington Township, Pennsylvania v. Schempp. The case dealt with prayer in the public schools.  Under Pennsylvania law, at the beginning of each school day, at least ten … Continue reading

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On This Date in Legal History

On June 16, 1918, Eugene Debs gave a speech intending to encourage others not to join the military. Debs was indicted and convicted by a jury for violating the Espionage Act. The Act made it a crime to obstruct military … Continue reading

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On This Date in Legal History

On June 13, 1966, the United States Supreme Court decided  (in a 5-4 decision) the landmark case of Miranda v. Arizona. Chief Justice Earl Warren, who delivered the opinion of the Court, summarized the holding as follows– “we hold that an … Continue reading

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On This Date in Legal History

In 1958 Mildred Jeter, part Black and part Native American, and Richard Loving, a white man, married in Washington, D.C. Afterwards, they returned to Virginia where they planned to settle down. According to state law, interracial marriages were forbidden at … Continue reading

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On This Date in Legal History

On June 11, 2001, the United States Supreme Court decided Good News Club v. Milford Central School. The case arose after Milford Central School denied Good News Club’s request to conduct their weekly after-school meetings in their school cafeteria. The … Continue reading

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On This Date in Legal History

Charles Evans Hughes was a well-respected jurist. Robert H. Jackson once said of Justice Hughes– “[H]e looks like God and talks like God.” Between 1907 and 1910, he was the 36th Governor of New York. From 1910-1916, he was an … Continue reading

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This Week in History

On June 9, 1987, the United States Supreme Court decided O’Lone v. Estate of Shabazz. Muslim inmates sued the Administrator of the Leesburg State Prison claiming prison policies impinged on their First Amendment rights. Prisoners assigned to work off-site weren’t … Continue reading

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This Week in History

President Richard M. Nixon nominated Warren Burger for Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court. The Senate confirmed his appointment on June 9, 1969. Take a look at the Congressional Record at http://1.usa.gov/1I0aH8y. Justice Burger served as the 15th Chief … Continue reading

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On This Date in Legal History

Mary Church Terrell was an African-American civil rights activist. She fought to desegregate Washington D.C. In 1949, she and others visited a segregated popular restaurant, John R. Thompson Co., Inc.  The restaurant refused to serve those who weren’t white. A … Continue reading

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On This Date in Legal History

A physician and Estelle Griswold, the Executive Director of a Planned Parenthood clinic in Connecticut, were convicted of violating a state law that prohibited the prescribing of birth control to married couples. They appealed their convictions to the United States … Continue reading

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