"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof, or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances." - Amendment I (LIVELY, 1999) "The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized." -- Amendment IV (LIVELY, 1999) "Any state shall not deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws." - Amendment XIV (Section 1. ) (LIVELY, 1999) A law abiding citizen of the United States of America is probably somewhat familiar with the principle idea of the three stated Amendments above. These and / or any laws within the Constitution are scrutinized when a court case is pertinent to its respective Amendment (s). It is up to the Supreme Court of the United States to define how the Constitution is to be interpreted. Each and every court case is relevant to the boundaries and scope of a particular Amendment (s).
Since its inception, the Supreme Court has been involved in many historical landmarks decisions. A brief overview of the Court's history will be covered -- -- along with the three Amendments mentioned. Within each Amendment, highlights of interrelated cases which are applicable will also be presented. After a general historical rundown, five major Supreme Court cases within the past twenty-five years will be viewed. These are five recent examples that incorporate Amendments I, IV, and XIV. A synopsis of each case and a concluding opinion will also be described.
The five cases are: 1997 -- RENO V. ACLU (Amendment I) 2001 - KYLLO V. U. S. (Amendment IV) 1990 - CRUZAN V. MISSOURI (Amendment XIV) 1997 - CITY OF BOERNE V.
FLORES (Amendment XIV) 2001 - GOOD NEWS CLUB V. MILFORD CENTRAL SCHOOL (Amendment I & XIV) An assertive position within each case will lean towards "neutrality." An unbiased report will reflect the "ambiguity" for each respective Amendment. Due to the fact many conflicts of interest are involved; an absolute opinion of either "pro" or "con" is difficult to establish. One must be sensitive to each and / or any party an Amendment can affect. For there are argumentative correlations between each "pro" and "con." Also one would have to be "sensitive" to the issues for each respective Amendment to impose a position of "pro" or "con." It's necessary to develop a level of "neutral" understanding to determine any "limits" that would define the Amendments. In order for limits to be established, degrees of "pro" and "con" can be weighed and deduced.
However, by maintaining a "neutral" perspective; the reader will have the probable ability to measure a broader field of understanding - especially on the "idea" of why one would consider choosing a "pro" or "con" stance. II. THE SUPREME COURT'S HISTORY By looking at the front entrance of the Supreme Court building, one would read an inscription -- "equal justice under law." (KRONENWETTER, 1996) The process in which the Supreme Court ordains its form of just equality has its origins from Article III, Section 1 of the Constitution. It states that "the judicial Power of the United States, shall be vested in one Supreme Court, and in such inferior Courts as the Congress may from time to time ordain and establish." (LIVELY, 1999) The United States Supreme Court was stemmed from this section and the Judiciary Act of 1789. This Act organized the Supreme Court and other key components within the U. S.
judicial system. On February 2, 1790, the Supreme Court was manifested. The bench was shared by six justices. Five of the six were appointed as associate justices - while the other one became the Chief Justice. The Supreme Court's administrative duties were vested to the Chief Justice.
At the time, this bench was deemed least effective of the three U. S. governmental branches. The judicial branch wasn't considered to be the strongest or most assertive within the governmental system. There was a sense of resilience on the part of this branch when it came to deciding upon any issues of controversy. Not until 1801, did the judicial branch and the U.
S. Supreme Court garner a level of respectability. The Court's authority and the judicial rights were represented with assertion when Chief Justice John Marshall joined the Supreme Court. Chief Justice Marshall remained in office for 34 years. Within that timeframe he was successful in strengthening the central government.
This allowed the Judiciary branch to be considered the strongest of our national governmental branches. A prime example of this escalation was rooted within the case of Marbury v. Madison (1803). It was within this case Chief Justice Marshall was able to assert the doctrine of judicial review. Because of this doctrine, the Court was permitted to review the constitutionality of congressional legislation - meaning: "the issue of whether the Supreme Court may order the president to deliver a judicial commission that was signed but not delivered by his predecessor in office." (web) Even though "the Court determined that it could not order the president to deliver the commission, it asserted that it had ultimate authority to interpret the Constitution." (same as previous source) The outcome of this case established momentum and a new role for the Supreme Court. The number of Associate Justices sitting on the Supreme Court is held within the power of Congress.
Over time that number has gradually changed. The court is currently composed of one Chief Justice and eight Associate Justices. This makeup was established under an act passed on June 25, 1948. The current Chief Justice is William H. Rehnquist. He has been on active duty since September 26, 1986.
John Paul Stevens, Anthony M. Kennedy, David H. Souter, Sandra Day O'Connor, Stephen G. Breyer, Clarence Thomas, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, and Antonin Scalia all comprise the current Associate Justices. For emergency purposes, each justice is also assigned to one of the Court of Appeals. "The Judges, both of the Supreme and inferior Courts, shall hold their Offices during good behavior, and shall, at stated times, receive for their services, a compensation, this shall not be diminished during their continuance in office." (same as previous source) Article III, section 1 of the Constitution With that notion, Justices are appointed for life.
However, if a Justice chooses, he or she may retire at the age of 70 after serving 10 years as a Federal judge; or at 65 after 15 years. The Supreme Court each year receives about 7, 000 petitions; also known as writs of certiorari. Parties which seek review of their cases submit these forms. Automatic appeals are not the result of these petitions. The Court will not always be obligated to hear a case just because a party wants the Supreme Court to solve the matter. Therefore, a screening process is implemented.
If a writ of certiorari is accepted by the Court, a case for oral arguments is scheduled. "Each year the court decides about 150 cases of great national importance and interest, and about three-fourths of such decisions are announced in fully published opinions." (same as previous source) Under Article III, sec. 2 of the Constitution, it states that "the judicial Power shall extend to all Cases, in Law and Equity, arising under this Constitution, the Laws of the United States, and Treaties made, or which shall be made, under their Authority; to all Cases affecting Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls; to all Cases of admiralty and maritime Jurisdiction; -- to Controversies to which the United States shall be a Party; to Controversies between two or more States; between a State and Citizens of another State; between Citizens of different States; between Citizens of the same State claiming Lands under Grants of different States, and between a State, or the Citizens thereof, and foreign States, Citizens or Subjects."In all Cases affecting Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls, and those in which a State shall be Party, the Supreme Court shall have appellate Jurisdiction, both as to Law and Fact, with such Exceptions, and under such Regulations as the Congress shall make." (LIVELY, 1999) In a nutshell, the Supreme Court has allotted powers of grandiose magnitude within the confines of the judicial branch. AN HISTORICAL OVERVIEW OF AMENDMENT'S I, IV, and XIV: ALONG WITH ITS RESPECTIVE LANDMARK CASES AMENDMENT I: FREEDOM OF SPEECH One of the fundamental rights of an American citizen is derived from the principle of freedom of speech. It is the most essential of our constitutional liberties. However, certain types of defamatory speech and commercial expression are less protected.
Fighting words and obscenity are some forms of expression that are not absolutely protected by the First Amendment. It is up to the Court to amplify the guarantee and define freedom of speech. This has made it evident that the First Amendment has different meanings within different settings. Not until the twentieth century, did the advent of litigation's involving the First Amendment's subject of constitutionality become a serious issue. Some landmark Freedom of Speech cases are: SCHENCK V. UNITED STATES (1919) (LIVELY, 1999) Issue: "Whether a conviction for distributing antiwar leaflets to military personnel violated the First Amendment guarantee of freedom of speech." Outcome: "Freedom of speech does not protect speech that creates a clear and present Danger that government has a valid interest in preventing." BRANDENBURG V.
OHIO (1969) (LIVELY, 1999) Issue: "Whether a state law that prohibited advocacy of political change by means of violence abridged freedom of speech." Outcome: "The freedom of speech clause prohibits government from punishing mere Advocacy of illegal action." NEW YORK TIMES CO. V. SULLIVAN (1964) (LIVELY, 1999) Issue: "Whether defamation of a public official is protected speech under the First Amendment." Outcome: "The First Amendment protects statements that defame a public official provided they are not made with 'actual malice'." ROTH V. UNITED STATES (1957) (LIVELY, 1999) Issue: "Whether obscene expression is protected by the First Amendment." Outcome: "Obscenity is not protected by the freedoms of speech and the press." MILLER V. CALIFORNIA (1973) (LIVELY, 1999) Issue: "Whether expression must be utterly lacking in redeeming social value to be found obscene." Outcome: "Expression is obscene when (1) the average person applying contemporary Community standards finds that it appeals on the whole to prurient interests; (2) it depicts in a patently offensive way sexual conduct specifically defined by state law; and (3) taken as a whole, it lacks serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific values." COHEN V. CALIFORNIA (1971) (LIVELY, 1999) Issue: "Whether the First Amendment prohibits regulation of expression that offends public morality." Outcome: "The First Amendment prohibits regulation of words merely because they offend." OBSCENITY The last three historical cases mentioned refer to levels of obscenity.
Obscenity is a key issue that will be relevant within the synopsis of the case RENO V. ACLU (1997) -- discussed in the one of the cases from the 25 year period. How does one define obscenity? Historically, like defamatory expression, obscenity can be considered vague. By means of defined categories, obscenity remains unprotected by the First Amendment. Laws prohibiting blasphemy and vulgar, profane, and obscene language were wide- spread during the colonial era and also during and after the creation and ratification of the Constitution. However, the enforcement of this principle was not quite on solid grounds.
The federal government was a primary source of anti-obscenity statutes by the late nineteenth century. In 1873, the Comstock Act was passed. This act made it a crime to disseminate obscene materials via the mail. Through this enactment, not only was commercial pornography confiscated, but any philosophical and scientific works and information on contraceptives was just as well deemed inappropriate. Contemporary obscenity standards are rooted from MILLER V. CALIFORNIA (1973) -- a case in which (mentioned above) serves as a general guideline for defining obscenity.
Nevertheless, Courts have labored in refining the ambiguity of the term "obscenity." AMENDMENT IV: SEARCH AND SEIZURE The Fourth Amendment was beckoned after abusive policies were conducted under English rule. During the colonial era, if there was any mere suspicion; one's dwelling could be searched. Because of this, citizens deemed it necessary to develop a safeguard against any abuse - thus the Fourth Amendment emerged. Therefore, the validity in which police could investigate one's private property was put to the test. Some land- mark Search and Seizures cases are: MAPP V. OHIO (1961) (LIVELY, 1999) Issue: "Whether an unauthorized search of a residence requires exclusion of evidence found there from a criminal trial." Outcome: "Evidence obtained from an illegal search is subject to exclusion from a criminal trial." KATZ V.
UNITED STATES (1967) (LIVELY, 1999) Issue: "Whether a telephone conversation in a public telephone booth was protected by the Fourth Amendment because the defendant had a justifiable expectation of privacy." Outcome: "The telephone conversation was protected by the Fourth Amendment because the defendant had a justifiable expectation of privacy." TERRY V. OHIO (1968) (LIVELY, 1999) Issue: "Whether the stopping and frisking of two men standing on a street corner was an unreasonable search and seizure that violated Fourth Amendment." Outcome: "The procedure was justified because it was relatively non intrusive and supported by reasonable suspicion." AMENDMENT XIV Because of the historical case (already mentioned) Marbury v. Madison (1803), the judiciary was established as the final authority for interpreting the Constitution. Even- though the Court gained the power of judicial review, that landmark case did not resolve "a crucial question regarding the sources of rights and liberties the judiciary may draw upon in negating executive or legislative action." (LIVELY, 1999) A controversy exists till this day on how the Constitution's rights and liberties are set forth only when the judiciary can cite these limitations.
Also the problem remains on the identification of "other rights as fundamental barriers to political action." (LIVELY, 1999) The main argument that can be derived is the notion of the Court creating rights out of its own interests instead of from what was intended so by the Constitution. ECONOMIC RIGHTS From any contradictor ies set forth from the judiciaries interpretation of the Constitution, the principle of economic rights emerged. This concept originally was presented within the context of slavery. The case Dred Scott v. Sandford (1857) created the assertion of "a right of property in a slave is distinctly and expressly affirmed by the Constitution." (LIVELY, 1999) However, advocates in favor of economic rights argued for freedom to make contracts and secured property rights as well.
Such liberties were considered necessary in order for limitations to be imposed on the government's power to interfere in marketplace freedom. The case Lochner v. New York (1905) allowed this doctrine to manifest. Legislative initiatives for social and economic reform were blunted. The Court had an unyielding stance with respect to economic rights up to the 1930's. Nevertheless, due to the emergency of the national economy and a political crisis which followed, the Court yield its ground - primarily because of the case United States v.
Carolene Products Co. (1938). Some landmark XIV " th Amendment cases are: LOCHNER V. NEW YORK (1905) (LIVELY, 1999) Issue: "Whether a state law that set maximum hours of employment violated the due Process clause of the Fourteenth Amendment." Outcome: "The regulation exceeded the state's police power and violated the due process clause." UNITED STATES V. CAROLENE PRODUCTS CO. (1938) (LIVELY, 1999) Issue: "Whether a federal law that prohibited shipment of 'filled milk' in interstate Commerce violated the due process clause of the Fifth Amendment.
Outcome: "The regulation had a rational relationship to its objective and thus was constitutional." GRISWOLD V. CONNECTICUT (1965) (LIVELY, 1999) Issue: "Whether a general right of privacy bars a state from prohibiting the sale of contraceptives to married persons." Outcome: "The right of privacy is protected by the Constitution even though it is not specifically mentioned therein." AMENDMENT I: FREEDOM OF RELIGION Another component within the First Amendment is the ideal of "respecting an es- tablishment of religion." (LIVELY, 1999) This part of the Amendment wasn't mentioned in accordance with the Freedom of Speech earlier. Instead it will be briefed in following conjunction with Amendment XIV; because of the case GOOD NEWS CLUB V. MILFORD CENTRAL SCHOOL. This case (covered later in synopsis) shares both Amendment's I and XIV issues. Freedom of Religion was founded on the reality of people who tried to escape from religious persecution.
British authority abused many of its powers when the U. S. was in its colonial era. Therefore, an establishment clause was put in to effect. Under this clause of free exercise, Congress could not prohibit "the free exercise" of religion.
This establishment clause ties in to the due process law derived from Amendment XIV. However, state laws create barriers - due to the fact church and state have a wall of separation. Through historic cases and state regulation, the complicated notion of defining religious freedom remains scrutinized. Some landmark Freedom of Religion cases are: EVERSON V. BOARD OF EDUCATION, TOWNSHIP OF EWING (1947) (LIVELY, 1999) Issue: "Whether a state law that reimburses parents for transportation costs of public and private school students violates the First Amendment." Outcome: "The First Amendment does not prohibit the state from reimbursing transportation costs incurred by all students." LEMON V. KURTZ MAN (1971) (LIVELY, 1999) Issue: "Whether state supplementation of salaries for parochial school teachers is unconstitutional." Outcome: "Partial subsidization of salaries for teachers at religious schools is un- constitutional." LYNCH V.
DONNELLY (1984) (LIVELY, 1999) Issue: "Whether a city-funded nativity scene in a park owned by a nonprofit organic- ation violated the establishment clause, which prohibits government from establishing any religion." Outcome: "The nativity scene did not violate the First Amendment." WISCONSIN V YODER (1972) (LIVELY, 1999) Issue: "Whether a state law requiring children to attend school until they reach the age of Sixteen violated the free exercise clause of the First Amendment." Outcome: "The compulsory-attendance law violated the free exercise clause insofar as it was applied to Amish families." RENO V. ACLU (1997) [AMENDMENT I] This case was an inevitable offspring of the Communications Decency Act of 1996 and the Telecommunications Act of 1996. Also, the case serves as a great representative case for all and any cases which dealt with defining and curbing obscenity. Obscenity has always been an issue within forms of media such as magazines, tv, film, phones, advertising, etc. Since the internet could be considered a conglomeration of the mentioned forms of media, the uprising of the internet's popularity garnered great attention from this case and its respective Acts. The internet has its origins from a 1969 military program called ARPANET.
At the time, it was a means of communication for defense-related research conducted by universities and defense contractors. Even though this military operation no longer exists, it was the development of this program which created the enablement for "tens of millions of people to communicate and access vast amounts of information around the world." (web) A tremendous growth occurred from 1981 to the time of this trial. Only "about 300 in 1981 to approximately 9, 400, 000 in 1996" (same as previous source) was the growth of "host" computer access. "About 40 million people used the Internet at the time of trial" (same as previous source) - while it was expected to grow at a greater exponential level from then. At the time of trial, there were about "12 million subscribers" to online services. (same as previous source) Internet access can be gained by many colleges and universities, corporations for their employees, libraries, and even local coffee shops.
There are online services such as Prodigy, Microsoft Network, CompuServe, and America Online. Through all these affiliated means of access, opportunities for information are vast. There are also many complex categorical ways one can retrieve information. Some examples are: "newsgroups", "chat rooms", "mail exploders", "e-mail", and the "World Wide Web." These are all sources in which pictures, sound, and even video images that move can all be transmitted.
Therefore, the Internet creates a gateway for a tremendous amount of information to be shared. Due to the fact the Internet is a realm of grand scope, provisions were considered necessary to monitor and create an appropriate standard for online users - especially the prevention of obscene material from any one under the age of 18. The Communications Decency Act (CDA) set up two provisions in order to protect these minors from material deemed harmful. This would include the criminalization of the "knowing" sending transmission or displaying "context that depicts or describes, in terms patently offensive as measured by contemporary community standards, sexual or excretory activities or organs." (same as previous source) Therefore, this material would have to be prohibited to minors along with their accessibility to it restricted as well. However, many plaintiffs questioned the constitutionality of this assertion. If speech is regulated under the CDA, First Amendment rights are infringed upon.
Adults have argued that the CDA suppresses a great amount of ("obscene") material that should be a privileged constitutional right. Current software has been effective for parents to curb and even prevent children from accessing inappropriate material. However, through its modifications, the CDA has evolved in to a constitutional debate - whether the Act is protecting minors or is it mainly preventing adults from access. Under three prior court decisions relating to the CDA, the Act is considered constitutional. These three cases were Ginsberg v.
New York (1968), FCC v. Pacifica Foundation (1978), and Renton v. Playtime Theatres Inc. (1986). In the first case, it was prohibited to sell minors under the age of 17 any material considered obscene, even though it didn't have to be considered obscene to adults. The second case, a broadcasted "monologue entitled 'Filthy Words' that had previously been delivered to a live audience 'could have been the subject of administrative sanctions.' " (same as previous source) And the third case involved a zoning ordinance which upheld to keep adult movie theatres out of residential neighborhoods.
A case which also applied for arguments within the constitutionality of the CDA is Southeastern Promotions, Ltd. V. Conrad (1975). It was noted that from this case: "each medium of expression... may present its own problems." (same as previous source) This meant that certain justifications of government regulation of any broadcasted media had to be recognized - yet it might not even apply to other speakers.
The major issue scrutinized within the CDA is its vagueness. Two prime reasons were mentioned. The first "problem" is that the CDA regulates speech on a content-basis. While the second "problem" poses as a greater threat - since the CDA is a criminal statute.
Any violation of the CDA causes one the opportunity for "penalties including up to two years in prison for each violating act." (same as previous source) Therefore, a stigma of a conviction is a consequence one would face. Even though "sexual expression which is indecent but not obscene is protected by the First Amendment," (same as previous source) the rights of adults with regards to Free Speech needs evaluation. Such terms as "patently offensive" and "indecent" could cover material that isn't pornographic - for example any educational information. This could include discussions of prison rape, the practice and promotion of safe sex, and any artistic images of nude subjects. Since internet access to sites is considered relatively straightforward by means of using a search address and / or simply typing an address; accessed sites that can cause any penalties upon an individual need clarification - direct or indirect errors could be a possibility as well.
Methods exist in which material deemed inappropriate for all ages can be screened. However, these methods pose problems just as well. Age verification is one of the dilemmas. To find a reliable and effective way to determine one's age and / or identity is not always possible. Credit card verification was and is an idea imposed for access to questionable sites. Yet, that resulted in a problem for a great number of recipients of the Internet that do not have an available credit card account.
Also, this requirement would probably dissuade members from using the Internet, if one could not gain an account. Under the Telecommunications Act of 1996, regulation was to be reduced and the "rapid deployment of new telecommunications technologies" (same as previous source) was to be encouraged. This is quite a contrast to the restrictive tones from the CDA. The CDA contains two provisions which set somewhat of a legal standard and precedent. Both provisions have penalties of fines and / or imprisonment of no more than two years. These provisions serve as ultimatums -- yet the question arises on the substantiality of restricting communication by means of a credit or debit account, adult access code, or an adult identification number.
Besides the argument of the First Amendment alone; error, fraud, or unsupervised guidance can pose as serious factors as well. Therefore, the Internet's "adult zones" has created many grey areas of complex debate - due to the clashing motives behind the Telecomm. Act and the CDA. It was revealed within the case that First Amendment rights were infringed upon. The Telecomm. Act promotes communication, while the CDA could be considered as discouraging it.
However, with respect to minors, laws and provisions were deemed necessary to uphold a social standard. Even though ways exist in which obscene material could be screened and filtered, many clustered arguments manifest from both business and moral perspectives. As far as the scope of the First Amendment, one should take in to consideration not so much its meaning to this case; but instead its consequences. If it is up to the law to uphold a standard for the transmission of communication, then adults with both "pro" and "con" views on "obscenity" need to compromise a mediated standard for the sake of minors. KYLLO V. U.
S. (2001) [AMENDMENT IV] This case involves the constitutionality of one's Fourth Amendment rights. In 1991 a thermal-imaging device was considered to be used at a private home by police. The device would detect certain degrees of heat necessary which would allow suspicion of what was being stored within to be revealed. Danny Kyllo lived in this triplex on Rhododendron Drive in Florence, Oregon. It was suspected by agent William Elliott of the United States Dept.
of the Interior that marijuana was grown within this home. Since indoor marijuana growth needs a high-level of heat; at 3: 20 a. m. on January 16, 1992, two Agents were issued to use their technology to see if their suspicions would suffice.
The thermal imagers used detected infrared radiation. That radiation would then be converted into images of black and white - black meaning cool; and white hot. In some sense the thermal imager served as some form of a video camera. Within a few minutes, the scan was completed. One Agent performed the task in his vehicle across the street from the front of the house, while the other Agent did his from across the street from the back of the house. The scan revealed that the rooftop of Kyllo's garage along with its side wall were relatively hotter than the other homes within the triplex.
Due to this discovery, along with utility bill info, and tips from informants, a warrant was authorized to search the home. More than 100 plants of marijuana were found in the home. The suspect was indicted on counts of manufacturing marijuana. Kyllo plead guilty on a conditional basis. With respect to the Fourth Amendment, the notion of a thermal imaging device became an issue of intrusiveness.
The device was deemed non-intrusive, because: it "did not show any people or activity within the walls of the structure"; "the device used cannot penetrate walls or windows to reveal conversations or human activities"; and "no intimate details of the home were observed." (web > 8508. ZS. HTML) Therefore, the warrant used to search the home was considered valid. Prior cases in the past were used to defend the legitimacy of a search without a warrant - such cases were Illinois v. Rodriguez (1990) and Payton v. New York (1980).
The case of California v. Cira olo (1986) was used to assert: "the Fourth Amendment protection of the home has never been extended to require law enforcement officers to shield their eyes when passing by a home on public thoroughfares." (same as previous source) However, in an argument which complies with the unconstitutionality of a warrantless search; the case of Katz v. United States (1967) was mentioned (see KATZ V. UNITED STATES in Am. overview).
In Carroll v. United States (1925), a prime defense argument arises just as well: "the Fourth Amendment is to be construed in the light of what was deemed an unreasonable search and seizure when it was adopted, and in a manner which will conserve public interests as well as the interests and rights of individual citizens." (same as previous source) The constitutionality of the technological search in this case stirred arguments from relevant root cases... Even though the warrant in this case subsided due to probable cause, the act in which the search was conducted was considered unlawful. The sanctity of privacy could really be questionable due to the potential and uprising of today's technology. Other forms of technology could also be pondered upon. This case poses an interesting perspective - the matter of discovering illegal activities is inconsequential.
Instead, it's the means on how investigators parlay their endeavors which causes great concern. CRUZAN V. MISSOURI (1990) [AMENDMENT XIV] One's Fourteenth Amendment rights are at stake in this case. However, the constitutionality applies to a person caught in between the plaintiffs and defendants. Nancy Cruzan was the victim of a tragic automobile accident. This tragic event caused her to be incompetent.
Her parents sought to withdraw Nancy's life-sustaining device; while the State of Missouri would not oblige to the parents wishes. January 11, 1983 was the night of the tragedy. Nancy was traveling down a road in Missouri and lost control of her vehicle. The car was found overturned - with Nancy lying face down in a ditch. There she was detected without cardiac and respiratory function. Under a neurosurgeons diagnosis, she sustained "probable cerebral contusions compounded by significant anoxia (lack of oxygen)." (web) Normally one would be considered to have permanent brain damage after 6 minutes due to an anoxic state - Nancy was probably without oxygen for about 12 to 14 minutes.
After the accident, she lied in a coma for about 3 weeks. She remained there in a vegetative condition - one "in which a person exhibits motor reflexes but evinces no indications of significant cognitive function." (same as previous source) The cost of her care is covered by the State of Missouri. Nancy's medical description was described as: " (1) Her respiration and circulation are not artificially maintained and are within the normal limits of a thirty-year-old female; (2) she is oblivious to her environment except for reflexive responses to sound and perhaps painful stimuli; (3) she suffered anoxia of the brain resulting in a massive enlargement of the ventricles filling with cerebrospinal fluid in the area where the brain has degenerated and (her) cerebral cortical atrophy is irreversible, permanent, progressive and ongoing; (4) her highest cognitive brain function is exhibited by her grimacing perhaps in recognition of ordinarily painful stimuli, indicating the experience of pain and apparent response to sound; (5) she is a spastic quadriplegic; (6) her four extremities are contracted with irreversible muscular and tendon damage to all extremities; (7) she has no cognitive or reflexive ability to swallow food or water to maintain her daily essential needs and... she will never recover her ability to swallow sufficient (sic) to satisfy her needs." Even (same as previous source) though she is in such a tragic condition, experts believe Nancy can live for about another 30 years. It was considered a fundamental constitutional right to refuse treatments for a prolonging procedure of death. Nancy's parents argued this point; because they saw that she was improbable of ever regaining her mental faculty.
Therefore, they requested for her hydration procedures and artificial nutrition to be terminated. Also a close friend of Nancy's brought up a conversation they had a few years prior to the accident. The friend was told by Nancy that if a serious injury had ever occurred, Nancy wouldn't want to live the rest of her life in a low-functioning-suffering state. Another arguing fact referring to common law was brought forth.
Even though right-to-refuse patient cases were at a relative low amount, one could consent to refusing treatment due to religious beliefs. However, advancing medical practices has prolonged life longer than in previous cases. Determining whether or not the patient should live creates a strong moral dilemma. Under this case's State law, it would have been a criminal act to assist in a suicide. The preservation of life was the main issue that was upheld. Even though this case served strong constitutional merit, any side parties's suffering was considered irrelevant compared to the sanctity of one's life.
To take in to consideration was also the idea if a patient were not to have loved ones to decide on such a climatic decision of not sustaining a life. The State's interests versus the suffering ordeal of the patient; along with affected loved ones, both create a controversy. Only answers that can be found lie within the beliefs of one's quality and effective quantity of life - yet to deduce any exact definition is difficult to ascertain without suffering. CITY OF BOERNE V. FLORES (1997) [AMENDMENT XIV] This case somewhat leans toward the First Amendment, yet it is primarily an issue of the Fourteenth Amendment.
A church was denied a building permit by local zoning authorities. Congress' power of superseding its authority over the Religious Restoration Act of 1993 (RFRA) was questioned and challenged. The St. Peter Catholic church, resides in the city of Boerne, Texas. It was built in 1923. Due to growth of attending parishioners attending, and the small seating capacity, the Archbishop granted permission for the enlargement of the building.
However, the City Council of Boerne referred to an ordinance for the authorization of the city's Historic Landmark Commission; which would preserve a plan for proposed districts and historic landmarks. Therefore, any construction would need to be deemed acceptable by the Commission. The Archbishop depended on the RFRA in defense against the Commission's resilience. With respect to the Fourteenth Amendment, the constitutionality on Congress enforcing its authority over the RFRA was the main point of the litigation. The RFRA has two stated purposes: " (1) to restore the compelling interest test as set forth in S herbert v. Verner (1963) and Wisconsin v.
Yoder (1972) and to guarantee its application in all cases where free exercise of religion is substantially burdened; and (2) to provide a claim or defense to persons whose religious exercise is substantially burdened by government." However, with respect to cases with a First Amendment tone, (web) the requirement that the Supreme Court justify burdens on religious exercise imposed by laws neutral toward religion was not considered necessary. Any guarantees from the Fourteenth Amendment in this case needed to be secured by Congress. Yet the discretion involved has its limits. Even though Congress' powers are broad under its Enforcement Clause to its respective Amendment, the RFRA posed contradictions from its vital principles - which would maintain federal balance and a separation of powers. In this case the religious factor plays a strong role in determining the outcome. However, if the case didn't involve a religious perspective, would it have received a lesser degree of merit? For every law, a contradictory law can arise.
Church and State need mediums in order for their "separation" to coexist. GOOD NEWS CLUB V. MILFORD CENTRAL SCHOOL (2001) [AMENDMENT I & XIV] Within this case, Amendment's I and XIV are both interrelated and argued upon. Two questions surface just as well. The first, is the notion of the violation of Freedom of Speech. While the second question involves the idea if there is a violation; does the permission of activities in this case violate the Establishment Clause.
This all arises from the fact that the Good News Club was excluded from meetings during after school hours by Milford Central School. Regulations are authorized to be adopted by the State of New York when the issue of governing school facilities is concerned. A community policy was enacted by Milford in 1992. This policy was to serve two purposes: " (1) District residents may use the school for 'instruction in any branch of education, learning or the arts.' (2) The school is available for 'social, civic and recreational meetings and entertainment events, and other uses pertaining to the welfare of the community, provided that such uses shall be non- exclusive and shall be opened to the general public." A Christian organization was to be (web) conducted for children of the ages 6 to 12 by the Good News Club. Since the "organizers" live within the community, those in charge of the club felt they were eligible.
However, the club was denied on the counts of "a fun time of singing songs, hearing a Bible lesson and memorizing scripture." Milford concluded that this was "the (same as previous source) equivalent of religious worship." Also with regards to the community use policy - it (same as previous source) prohibits "use by any individual or organization for religious purposes." (same as previous source) The Club was asked (by Milford) to submit a list the nature of their activities. Upon review, authorities of Milford asserted that "the kinds of activities proposed to be engaged in by the Good News Club were not a discussion of secular subjects such as child rearing, development of character and development of morals from a religious perspective, but were in fact the equivalent of religious instruction itself." It was deemed (same as previous source) by the Court that Milford's actions was "constitutional subject discrimination, not unconstitutional viewpoint discrimination." Milford felt their restrictions were necessary (same as previous source) in order not to violate the Establishment Clause. Yet that was refuted because it was concluded that the school had no valid interest in an Establishment Clause. This case somewhat mirrors the previous (City of Boerne v. Flores) case. However, its respective Amendments have opposite relevancy.
Since Milford never was able to raise a valid claim pertaining to an Establishment Clause, Amendment XIV is almost irrelevant. Because of the discreet nature in which the denial of the use of school grounds was defended upon by Milford; the Good News Club's religious rights were infringed upon according to the Free Speech Clause of the First Amendment. Whatever one might interpret under the ideal of Freedom of Religion, this case served as a prime example for that Amendment. When the denial of one's religious rights is suppressed by the best interests of the State, matters must be justified with respect to any laws and Amendments that apply. III.
In retrospect, by trying to examine the five cases within the past 25 years; it's very evident how previous relevant historical cases apply. The scope and interpretation for each and every respective Amendment which applies; causes arguing parties to decipher a meaning which under societies's standards, can be considered absolute and / or refined. For each case that serves as an arguing precedent to a complimentary case in the present, it will be interesting to see what the standard shall be in the future. Amendments will always serve as a foundation in which a case can be resolved. However, with consideration to the 5 cases discussed and even any other future cases; the only prime concern lies within our ignorance and prejudices.
Both terms, vague; and to many degrees, just like our Amendments. Never was the outcome or sympathy focused upon in any of the over viewed cases. Instead, a basic understanding of the Amendments and the relevant issues involved, manifested the complexity in which cases are argued. Therefore, to be "pro" or "con" to any issue can be considered somewhat "na " ive." To have a broadened view should show that the choice of "pro" or "con" needs a great level of understanding; and / or to be an affected person by a case - either directly or indirectly. In a nutshell, all future cases should prosper; if laws and Amendments are applied fairly; and any impeding prejudices can be eradicated.
Works Cited (1) KRUNENWETTER, MICHAEL. THE SUPREME COURT OF THE UNITED STATES. NEW JERSEY: ENS LOW, 1996. 4 (2) LIVELY, DONALD E. LANDMARK SUPREME COURT CASES. CONNECTICUT: GREENWOOD, 1999.
165-199, 256-275, 277-289, 311-343 (3) CRUZAN V. MISSOURI (2003, SEPT. 13) CRUZAN, BY HER PARENTS AND CO GUARDIANS V. DIRECTOR, MISSOURI DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH. RETRIEVED SEPT. 13, 2003 FROM WORLD WIDE WEB: web > (4) ELECTRIC PRIVACY INFORMATION CENTER.
(2003, SEPT. 13) RENO V. ACLU. RETRIEVED SEPT. 13, 2003 FROM WORLD WIDE WEB: web > (5) FINDLAW. (2003, SEPT.
13) A HISTORY OF THE SUPREME COURT. RETRIEVED SEPT. 13, 2003 FROM WORLD WIDE WEB: web > (6) LEGAL INFORMATION INSTITUTE (2003, SEPT. 13) GOOD NEWS CLUB V. MILFORD CENTRAL SCHOOL. CITY OF BOERNE V.
FLORES. KYLLO V. U. S.
RETRIEVED SEPT. 13, 2003 FROM WORLD WIDE WEB: web.