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Engle v. Vitale (1962)
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This decision struck down a New York State nondenominational prayer. School-sanctioned prayer in public schools is unconstitutional.
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Engle v. Vitale (1962)
This decision struck down a New York State nondenominational prayer. School-sanctioned prayer in public schools is unconstitutional.
Abington School District v Schempp (1963)
This decision ruled that a PA state law that allowed a Bible passage to be read at the start of the school day was unconstitutional
Lemon v Kurtzman (1971)
Created a three-pronged standard that indicates the purpose of the legislation must be secular, not religious; its primary effect must neither advance or inhibit religion; and that it must avoid an "excessive entanglement of government with religion."
Westside School District v Mergens (1990)
The Court decided, based on the Equal Access Act, that the schools did not violate the establishment clause by allowing Bible study clubs to meet after school using school facilities where public funds were not being used to pay teachers acting as advisors to the club. The club also had to open its membership to students of all faiths.
Santa Fe Independent School District v Doe (2000)
A school policy permitting student-led prayer before the start of a football game was ruled unconstitutional because the school provided the equipment.
Elk Grove Unified School District v Newdow (2004)
The Court reversed a lower court's decision by ruling the father of Newdow lacked legal standing to bring the case to court because he did not have custody. The father had brought the case because "under God" in the Pledge of Allegiance may have violated the separation of church and state.
Everson v Board of Education (1947)
The Court upheld a New Jersey policy of reimbursing parents of Catholic school students for the costs of busing their children to school.
Wallace v Jaffree (1985)
The Court overturned a state law setting aside time for "voluntary prayer" in public schools. It concerned an Alabama law that authorized a one-minute period of silence in all public schools for meditation or voluntary prayer and whether it encouraged a religious activity in violation of the establishment clause.
Wisconsin v Yoder (1972)
The Court ruled that Wisconsin could not require Amish parents to send their children to public school beyond the eighth grade because it would violate long-held religious beliefs.
Employment Division of Oregon v Smith (1990)
The Court ruled that Oregon could deny unemployment benefits to workers fired for using drugs (peyote) as part of a religious ceremony.
Church of the Lukumi Babalu Aye v City of Hialeah (1993)
The Court ruled that laws banning animal sacrifice were unconstitutional because they targeted the Santeria religion.
Schenck v United States (1919)
Justice Holmes ruled for the majority that Schenck did not have the right to print, speak, and distribute material against United States efforts in World War I because a "clear and present danger" existed.
Chaplinsky v New Hampshire (1942)
A key incorporation case in which "fighting words" is defined as spoken words that "by their very utterance inflict injury or tend to incite an immediate breach of peace that governments may constitutionally punish." These words "have a direct tendency to cause acts of violence by the person to whom, individually, the remarks are addressed." However, the Court determined that the use of obscenities aimed at governmental policy or worn on clothing as a means of protest do not constitute fighting words in and of themselves.
New York Times v Sullivan (1964)
The decision created a base definition of what constitutes libel--material that is written with malice and a reckless disregard for the truth. Slander criteria are very similar, but much more difficult to prove when charges are made against public officials.
Texas v Johnson (1988)
Based on the arrest of Gregory Lee Johnson for burning a flag outside the Republican National Convention in protest of the president's foreign policy, the Supreme Court ruled that this action was a form of symbolic speech protected by the First Amendment.
Gitlow v New York (1925)
This case created the "Bad Tendency Doctrine," which held that speech could be restricted even if it only has a tendency to lead to illegal action. Though this element of the decision was quite restrictive, Gitlow also selectively incorporated freedom of speech to state governments.
Palko v Connecticut (1937)
Supreme Court rules that states must observe all "fundamental" liberties.
Miller v California (1973)
Obscenity defined as appealing to prurient interests of an average person with materials that lack literary, artistic, political, or scientific value.

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