individual rights

Abortion

Abortion: an overview

In 1973, Roe v. Wade, 410 U.S. 113, changed the legal status of abortion by striking down a Texas law that criminalized abortion except as a means of saving the mother’s life. The case pitted individual privacy rights against...

Bailment

A 'bailment' is a non-ownership transfer of possession. Under English Common Law, the right to possess a thing is separate and distinct from owning the thing. In some jurisdictions, an owner of an object can steal his own property, a curious result of...

Bill of Rights

The first ten Amendments to the Constitution, which set out individual rights and liberties. Though these rights originally only applied to the federal government, through the legal doctrine of incorporation, most of the Bill of Rights is now applied...

Bivens Actions

Overview

A Bivens action generally refers to a lawsuit for damages when a federal officer who is acting in the color of federal authority allegedly violates the U.S. Constitution by federal officers acting.

Burden of Proof

The plaintiff...

Board of Education v. Earls (2002)

Definition from Nolo’s Plain-English Law Dictionary

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...

bona fide occupational qualification (BFOQ)

Overview

42 U.S. Code § 2000e-2 allows for an employer to discriminate against employees and potential employees "on the basis of his religion, sex, or national origin in those certain instances where religion, sex, or national origin is a bona fide...

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...

Covert Propaganda

Covert propaganda refers to media materials prepared by a government agency and then disseminated by a non-government outlet with the source undisclosed.[1] What defines covert propaganda materials is that they are “misleading as to their origin.”[2]...

Eighth Amendment

The Eighth Amendment of the United States Constitution states that: “Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.”

The Excessive Bail section provides constitutional protection...

Electronic Surveillance

Overview

Electronic surveillance is defined in federal law as the nonconsensual acquisition by an electronic, mechanical, or other surveillance device of the contents of any wire or electronic communication, under circumstances in which a party to the...

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