individual rights

Civil Forfeiture

Overview

Civil forfeiture occurs when the government seizes property under suspicion of its involvement in illegal activity. Such a proceeding is conducted in rem, or against the property itself, rather than in personam, or against the owner of the property; by contrast, criminal forfeiture is an in personam proceeding. For this reason, civil forfeiture case names often appear strange, such as United States v. Eight Rhodesian Stone Statues,

Board of Education v. Earls (2002)

The U.S. Supreme Court case in which the Court ruled that public schools could require students to submit to a drug test before participating in extracurricular activities. The Court said that drug testing did not violate the students' Fourth Amendment protection from unreasonable searches and seizures because students have a diminished expectation of privacy in the public school environment.

Roth v. United States (1957)

The U.S. Supreme Court case in which the Court defined obscenity as that which "appeals to the prurient interest," and not merely as sexual material. The Court ruled that obscenity has no redeeming social importance and therefore is not entitled to First Amendment free speech protection. The Court also ruled that contemporary community standards should be used to judge whether something is obscene.

Roe v. Wade (1973)

Definition

The Supreme Court case that held that the Constitution protected a woman’s right to an abortion prior to the viability of the fetus. 

Overview

Plessy v. Ferguson (1896)

Definition:

The Supreme Court case, since overturned by Brown v. Board of Education (1954), which upheld the constitutionality of “separate, but equal facilities” based on race.

Overview:

Louisiana had adopted a law in 1890 that required railroad companies to provide racially segregated accommodations. In 1892, the state of Louisiana prosecuted Plessy, a man who was 7/8 Caucasian and 1/8 Black, for refusing to leave a passenger car designated for whites.

Keywords: 

Miranda v. Arizona (1966)

The Supreme Court held that the custodial interrogation of an individual must be accompanied by an instruction that the person has the right to remain silent, any statements made can be used against the person, and that the individual has the right to counsel, either retained or appointed; absent these safeguards, statements made in this context will be inadmissible in court.  (Read the opinion here.)

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