wex definitions

School District of Abington Township, Pennsylvania v. Schempp (1963)

The U.S. Supreme Court case in which the Court held that laws requiring religious activity in public schools -- including Bible readings and the recitation of the Lord's Prayer -- violate the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment.

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.

New York Times v. Sullivan (1964)

The U.S. Supreme Court decision that prohibited public officials from suing news organizations for inaccuracies made by mistake. This ruling, based on the First Amendment guarantee of freedom of the press, made it more difficult for public officials to sue the press for libel, because they had to prove not only that the information was wrong, but that the news organization published it with malicious intent or reckless disregard for the truth.

Dred Scott v. Sandford (1857)

The U.S. Supreme Court decision in which the Court ruled that African Americans, whether enslaved or free, were not citizens of the United States and therefore did not have the right to sue in federal court. The Court also ruled that the federal government could not prohibit slavery in the territories. The decision was a prime factor leading to the Civil War, but was eventually rendered moot by the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution -- which provides that anyone born or naturalized in the United States is a citizen of the nation and of his or her state.

Economic Stimulus Act of 2008

A federal law that attempted to avoid or mitigate an economic recession. The Act authorized federal payments of $300 to $1,200 to approximately 130 million American individuals and families. In addition, households received $300 for each qualifying child under the child tax credit. The law also included tax cuts to help the auto industry and to encourage spending by businesses.

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