Political science assignment

Topic: Establishment Clause/Lemon Test

1. Discuss how the Supreme Court has used the Establishment Clause 3-part Lemon Test to decide on two recent cases McCreary County v. ACLU and Van Oren v. Perry in 2005 concerning the issue of religious display. What happened in each of those cases that brought the issue to the courts? Why one of the displays was deemed a violation of the establishment clause and not the other?

Topic: Employment v. Smith

Alfred Smith and Galen Black, both members of the Native American Church, were fired from their jobs as drug rehabilitation counselors on the grounds that they had used peyote during a religious ritual. They were subsequently denied unemployment benefits because they had been discharged for “misconduct.” The question before the U.S. Supreme Court is whether the refusal of the state to grant unemployment benefits in this situation constitutes an abridgement of rights under the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment.

2.Discuss: if state laws should or should not override Native Americans and other religious groups rights to ingest, or smoke illegal controlled substances as part of the groups’ religious ritual.

Know [do not discuss]: How did and for what reasons the Court narrowed the interpretation of the Free Exercise Clause with the new 2-part Smith Test in reference to the case of Employment Division v. Smith (1990)? {Hint: right to freely exercise religion must not violate states’ laws}

Topic: Miller v. California

3. Explain what the case Miller v. California (1973) and the Supreme Court Justices’ 3- part test definition of obscenity have in common? Discuss if the Supreme Court ruled differently on the opinion on this case, how would it affect American writers, artists and filmmakers’ civil liberties in reference to freedom of speech today?

Topic: Roe v. Wade

The Supreme Court Roe v. Wade (1973) opinion defined a 3-part level for states interest; on how states are to handle abortions at three various trimester stages of the woman’s approach to term.

(1) During the 1st trimester [0 to 3 months] of a woman’s pregnancy, it is unreasonable and therefore unconstitutional interference with her liberty and privacy rights for a state to set any limits on her choice to have an abortion or on her doctor’s medical judgments about how to carry it out.

(2) During the 2nd trimester [4 to 6 months], the state’s interest in protecting the health of women becomes compelling, and a state may make a reasonable regulation about how, where, and when abortions may be performed; and

(3) during the 3rd trimester [7 to 9 months], when the fetus becomes capable of surviving outside the womb, the state’s interest in protecting the unborn child is so important that the state can prohibit abortion altogether , except when necessary to preserve life, health of the mother.

4. Pro-life supporters and anti-abortion interest groups are mobilized to abridge part 1 and part 2 of the Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision to the states so that women will have narrowed options in which to obtain an abortion. If the groups are successful, how would it affect civil liberties in regards to privacy rights today?

Topic: Miranda v. Arizona

5. Discuss/ Explain why and how the case Miranda v. Arizona (1966) manifested the creation of the Miranda Warning? Discuss if the Supreme Court ruled a different opinion on this case, how would it affect civil liberties in reference to rights of the accused today.

http://www.oyez.org/cases/1960-1969/1965/1965_759 (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.

Optional: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ernesto_Miranda (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.

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