The American Democracy, 10th Edition (Patterson)

Chapter 4: Civil Liberties: Protecting Individual Rights


Bill of Rights  The first ten amendments to the Constitution, which set forth basic protections for individual rights of free expression, fair trial, and property.
civil liberties  The fundamental individual rights of a free society, such as freedom of speech and the right to a jury trial, which in the United States are protected by the Bill of Rights.
clear-and-present-danger test  A test devised by the Supreme Court in 1919 in order to define the limits of free speech in the context of national security. According to the test, government cannot abridge political expression unless it presents a clear and present danger to the nation’s security.
due process clause (of the Fourteenth Amendment)  The clause of the Constitution that has been used by the judiciary to apply the Bill of Rights to the actions of state governments.
establishment clause  The First Amendment provision stating that government may not favor one religion over another or favor religion over no religion, and prohibiting Congress from passing laws respecting the establishment of religion.
exclusionary rule  The legal principle that government is prohibited from using in trials evidence that was obtained by unconstitutional means (for example, illegal search and seizure).
free-exercise clause  A First Amendment provision that prohibits the government from interfering with the practice of religion or prohibiting the free exercise of religion.
imminent lawless action test  A legal test that says government cannot lawfully suppress advocacy that promotes lawless action unless such advocacy is aimed at producing, and is likely to produce, imminent lawless action.
Lemon test  A three-part test to determine whether a law relating to religion is valid under the religious establishment clause. To be valid, a law must have a secure purpose, serve neither to advance nor inhibit religion, and avoid excessive government entanglement with religion.
libel  Publication of material that falsely damages a person’s reputation.
prior restraint  Government prohibition of speech or publication before the fact, which is presumed by the courts to be unconstitutional unless the justification for it is overwhelming.
procedural due process  The constitutional requirement that government must follow proper legal procedures before a person can be legitimately punished for an alleged offense.
right of privacy  A right implied by the freedoms in the Bill of Rights that grants individuals a degree of personal privacy upon which government cannot lawfully intrude. The right gives individuals a level of free choice in areas such as reproduction and intimate relations.
selective incorporation  The process by which certain of the rights (for example, freedom of speech) contained in the Bill of Rights become applicable through the Fourteenth Amendment to actions by the state governments.
slander  Spoken words that falsely damage a person’s reputation.
symbolic speech  Action (for example, the waving or burning of a flag) for the purpose of expressing a political opinion.
Patterson Tenth Edition Large Cover
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