Shared Flashcard Set


POL 353
Political Studies
Undergraduate 3

Additional Political Studies Flashcards




Coy v. Iowa (1988)
FACTS: Coy was charged with sexually assaulting 2 girls and a screen was placed between them at the trial so the girls couldn't see him.
QUESTION: Does the screen violate your 6th amendment right to confront your accuser?
MAJORITY (Scalia): Latin roots of "confront," Shakespeare, the Bible. Court has never doubted that the confrontation clause guarantees a face-to-face meeting. Witness may feel differently if looking at accused. Screen assumes he is guilty. They don't have to look at him.
CONCURRING (O'Connor): Confrontation rights are not absolute. Could give way in the future for other ways to protect child witnesses.
DISSENT (Blackmun): Minimal infringement on confrontation clause rights. Fear and trauma of child's testimony could cause psychological injury and could prevent them from being able to give effective testimony-therefore undermining truth.
Gregg v. Georgia (1976)
FACTS: Georgia revised its death penalty statute after Furman. Gregg was convicted and got the death penalty in a bifurcated trial.
QUESTION: Is the death penalty cruel and unusual punishment?
MAJORITY (Stewart): Death penalty is constitutional as applied in GA. 8th amendment is not static: "evolving standards of decency that mark the progress of a maturing society." Capital punishment was accepted by founders. A large number of Americans regard it as necessary. Jury is reliable. Serves retribution (fine objective) and deterrence (inconclusive results).
DISSENT (Brennan): Death isn't more effective than a lesser punishment. Treats people as nonhuman.
DISSENT (Marshall): Death penalty is excessive. If Americans were completely informed they would find it morally wrong.
Woodson v. North Carolina (1976)
FACTS: NC made death penalty mandatory for all 1st degree murder cases.
QUESTION: Does the NC law violate the 4th and 8th amendments?
MAJORITY (Stewart): Requiring the death penalty departs from contemporary standards about the death penalty. Historically, the public rejected mandatory capital punishment. Provides no standards to guide jury and doesn't allow jury discretion in sentencing. Fails to allow consideration of relevant aspects of character and record of individual. Treats all people the same-faceless mask. Needs to be a bifurcated trial process. Fundamental basis of the 8th amendment is dignity of the human being.
DISSENT ISn't in the BOOK.
Roberts v. Louisiana (1976)
FACTS: Louisiana made death penalty mandatory for those convicted of 1st degree murder. It was invalidated for the same reasons as Woodson.
White's DISSENT: Louisiana's law does not have the same constitutional problems as Georgia's did in Furman. State prosecutors know to file first degree murder charges only when the evidence warrants it. The discretion that the prosecutors have is no more than normal and is not a reason to assume capital crimes will be prosecuted arbitrarily and frequently enough to be invalid under Furman. A state is not forbidden to say that certain crimes establish that the criminal's character deserves death so there does not need to be 2 separate trials for mitigating factors. Making the death penalty mandatory for certain crimes will help deter the crimes.
McCleskey v. Kemp (1987)
FACTS: McCleskey, a black man, was convicted of murdering a police officer in Georgia and sentenced to death. McCleskey argued that a statistical study found that black defendants who kill white victims are the most likely to receive death sentences.
QUESTION: Did the study prove that McCleskey's sentence violated the Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments?
ANSWER: Refused to apply the study to this case.
MAJORITY (Powell): McCleskey had no evidence specific to his case that he received the death penalty b/c of discrimination. The study is insufficient to support his inference. He would have to prove that it was purposeful discrimination and it had a discriminatory effect, but GA's policy was found neutral in Gregg. The study would apply more to legislatures.
DISSENT (Brennan): The death penalty is cruel and unusual in all circumstances. Study shows empirical evidence, doesn't have to prove it in this case, just that it happens.
Stanford v. Kentucky (1989)
FACTS: 17 and 16 1/2 yr. olds get death penalty.
QUESTION: Is capital punishment for people under 18 a violation of the 8th amendment?
MAJORITY (Scalia): Looks at evolving standards of decency. No national consensus with states or public opinion polls. It is up to the states to decide if they should be held fully culpable.
CONCURRING (O'Connor): There could be a national consensus at some point.
DISSENT: Oppose death penalty. Retribution is not a good reason. Minors aren't rational. Can't trust a political majority.
Atkins v. Virginia (2002)
FACTS: Atkins got the death penalty and during sentencing a dr. testified that he was mildly mentally retarded.
QUESTION: Is executing mentally handicapped people cruel and unusual punishment?
MAJORITY (Stevens): There has been a direction of change and states have not been allowing it. Mentally retarded people might not have a fair trial. They don't need an exemption from criminal sanctions but their deficiencies diminish their culpability. They would be poor witnesses, could look guilty.
DISSENT (Scalia): History, text don't support this opinion-not a consensus. 18 states is not a consensus.
Roper v. Simmons (2005)
FACTS: Simmons got death penalty when he was 17. His appeal finally worked when the Missouri court applied Atkins, using the logic that a majority of Americans find it cruel.
QUESTION: Does the execution of minors violate cruel and unusual punishment applied to the states through the incorporation doctrine of the 14th Amendment?
ANSWER: Yes. (Overturns Stanford)
MAJORITY (Kennedy): Different mental capacity than adults. The necessity for retribution and deterrence is lessened b/c he isn't fully developed. Juvenile can't do a lot of things (vote, etc). Maturing societies have done away with this-international standard of decency. Should be case by case consideration.
DISSENT (Scalia): Shouldn't base opinion on foreign law-court is just trying to get too much power by 'ratifying' UN policy. Why should we conform? Ex: we're only ones w/ exclusionary rule. Minors can decide to have an abortion. Constitution hasn't changed in 15 yrs. All states w/ death penalty permit 16 & 17 yo to be tried as adults in other cases. Jury should decide.
NOTE: then we watched the video of Scalia & Breyer arguing the use of foreign law.
Payne v. Tennessee (1991)
FACTS: Payne was convicted of 1st degree murders (tons of knife wounds case). Victim impact evidence used during sentencing.
QUESTION: Is victim impact evidence during the penalty phase of a capital trial a violation of the 8th amendment?
ANSWER: No. Explicitly overrules Booth and Gathers. Back to states to decide if they want to allow it.
MAJORITY (Rehnquist): Always should look an individual circumstances. Booth and Gathers were based on 2 things: victim impact evidence doesn't reflect on blameworthiness and only blameworthiness evidence is relevant. BUT 2 equally blameworthy defendants may be guilty of different offenses b/c they causes different amounts of harm. Defendant can offer mitigating evidence, why not victim. Does not lead to arbitrary imposition of death penalty-legit purpose. If it was unfair due process is there. Court has never felt constrained to follow precedent when governing decisions are unworkably or badly reasoned.
CONCUR (O'Connor): Victim impact evidence does not HAVE to be admitted nor should it be. If a state decides to, the 8th amendment doesn't block it.
CONCUR (Scalia): Booth had no basis in constitutional text, history or logic. Court shouldn't leave decisions w/ inadequate rationale b/c they got 5 votes at once.
CONCUR (Souter): Every defendant knows that the person he killed was unique and will have survivors who will be harmed. It is morally defensible and appropriate to consider victim impact evidence-without it is unbalanced b/c of defendant's mitigating evidence.
DISSENT (Marshall): Majority decision based on power, not reason. OVerturning cases in 4 years is bad for Court-won't be taken seriously.
DISSENT (Stevens): Evidence w/ no purpose other than to appeal to emotion has never been permissible. Defendant can't be held responsible for harms he could not foresee and that he isn't blameworthy for.
Harmelin v. Michigan (1991)
FACTS: Following his conviction under Michigan law for possession of over 650 grams of cocaine, Ronald Harmelin was sentenced to life in prison without possibility of parole. Harmelin challenged his sentence as cruel and unusual, claiming it was disproportionate to the crime he committed and was statutorily mandated.
QUESTION: Is a statutorily mandated sentence that does not allow for consideration of mitigating factors a violation of the Eighth Amendment?
ANSWER: No. *This case proved there is no proportionality requirement in the 8th amendment*
MAJORITY (Scalia): To use 'cruel and unusual' to describe proportionality would have been exceedingly vague-the founders could have put it in there. What was cruel and unusual was to be determined w/o reference to the particular offense. History shows no reference to disproportionate or excessive sentences. Severe mandatory penalties may be cruel but they are not unusual.
CONCUR (Kennedy): 4 principles: 1. fixing prison terms for specific crimes should be a matter of the legislature 2. 8th amendment doesn't mandate adoption of any 1 penological theory 3. divergence in theories of sentencing and length of prison terms is inevitable 4. should be decided by objective factors-most objective factor is the type of punishment. 8th amendment does not require strict proportionality-it forbids only extreme sentences that are "grossly disproportionate" to the crime. Harmelin's is not.
DISSENT (White): Constitution forbids excessiveness. Scalia doesn't address the possibility of life in prison for parking violation. Inconsistent w/ death penalty cases, where they limit its application.
DISSENT (Marshall): Capital punishment is always wrong, otherwise agree with White.
DISSENT (Stevens): This punishment was irrational.
Ewing v. California (2003)
FACTS: California's 3 strike law requires people convicted of a 3rd felony to receive life in prison.
QUESTION: Are 3 strike laws constitutional?
MAJORITY (O'Connor): They serve state's interests and protect the public. They could be a deterrent.
CONCUR (Scalia): Proportionality is not a standard.
CONCUR (Thomas): DITTO Scalia.
DISSENT (Breyer): In effect, the dude gets 25 yeras for stealing golf clubs-disproportionality. Unique in harshness
Plessy v. Ferguson (1896)
FACTS: The state of Louisiana enacted a law that required separate railway cars for blacks and whites.
QUESTION: Is Louisiana's law mandating racial segregation on its trains an infringement on both the privileges and immunities and the equal protection clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment?
MAJORITY (Brown): Doesn't violate 13th amendment b/c it doesn't make you feel like a slave. Equal protection rejected b/c he can still travel on train. You can make distinctions based on race. It makes you more comfortable, custom, tradition. Its your fault if you feel inferior. You can't overcome social racism with legislation.
DISSENT (Harlan): Everyone knows its meant to exclude blacks, not whites. Its objective is unconstitutional. The Constitution is colorblind.
Brown v. Board of Education (1954)
FACTS: Black children were denied admission to public schools attended by white children under laws requiring or permitting segregation according to the races.
QUESTION: Does segregation in schools based on race violate the equal protection clause of the 14th amendment?
MAJORITY (Warren): Look at the effect of segregation on public education. Can't expect children to succeed w/o education. Even if the physical facilities are equal, it deprives minorities equal opportunity. Generates feelings of inferiority. Separate but equal has no place in education-separate is inherently unequal.
**Warren knew he couldn't have a dissenting opinion b/c Congress and Pres. wouldn't help.
In 2nd Brown case-Frankfurter: desegregation w/ all deliberate speed. Court will oversee implementation. Good faith compliance.
Bolling v. Sharpe (1954)
FACTS: On account of their race, black children in Washington D.C. were denied admission to the same public schools which white children attended.
QUESTION: Does this violate the due process clause of the 5th amendment?
ANSWER: Yes. Unanimous.
MAJORITY (Warren): Equal protection of 14th amendment prohibits states from segregating schools, but the 5th doesn't contain equal protection clause. Must be scrutinized with particular care b/c of race. Segregation in public schools is not reasonably related to a gov. objective and it violates the personal liberty of minorities.
Swann v. Charlotte-Mecklenburg Bd. of Ed. (1971)
FACTS: Schools weren't making progress in desegregating, including Charlotte-Mecklenburg in NC.
QUESTION: Were federal courts constitutionally authorized to oversee and produce remedies for state-imposed segregation?
ANSWER: Yes. Unanimous.
MAJORITY (Burger): The Court ruled that 1) remedial plans were to be judged by their effectiveness, and the use of mathematical ratios or quotas were legitimate "starting points" for solutions. 2) predominantly or exclusively black schools required close scrutiny by courts but does not guarantee segregation. 3) non-contiguous attendance zones were within the courts' remedial powers and they could be awkward and inconvenient. 4) no rigid guidelines could be established concerning busing of students to particular schools.
Milliken v. Bradley (1974)
FACTS: Bradley charged that Michigan's public schools were segregated. District court came up with a desegregation plan.
QUESTION: Did federal courts have the authority to impose a multi-district desegregation plan on schools outside the Detroit area?
MAJORITY (Burger): the Court held that "[w]ith no showing of significant violation by the 53 outlying school districts and no evidence of any interdistrict violation or effect," the district court's remedy was "wholly impermissible" and not justified by Brown v. Board of Education. The Court noted that desegregation, "in the sense of dismantling a dual school system," did not require "any particular racial balance in each 'school, grade or classroom.'" The Court also emphasized the importance of local control over the operation of schools.
DISSENT (Douglas): The creation of school districts maintained or added to segregation.
DISSENT (White): Deliberate acts of segregation will go unremedied b/c an effective remedy would cause what the Court considers to be undue administrative inconvenience to the state.
DISSENT (Marshall): Where state-imposed segregation has been demonstrated, it is the duty of the state to eliminate all vestiges of racial discrimination.
Shelley v. Kraemer (1948)
FACTS: The Shelleys were a black couple who moved into the Kraemers neighborhood, which had a covenant against black people.
QUESTION: Does the enforcement of a racially restrictive covenant violate the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment?
ANSWER: States can't enforce them so yes.
MAJORITY (Vinson): State courts could not constitutionally prevent the sale of real property to blacks even if that property is covered by a racially restrictive covenant. Standing alone, racially restrictive covenants violate no rights. However, their enforcement by state court injunctions constitute state action in violation of the 14th Amendment. *Once state/court is involved its not private anymore.
Moose Lodge No. 107 v. Irvis (1972)
FACTS: Irvis, a black man, goes to Moose Lodge with a white friend but is refused service at the bar b/c of his race.
QUESTION: Does this violate equal protection of the 14th?
MAJORITY (Rehnquist): It is a private enterprise, even though it has a state liquor license. The state is not a partner or joint venturer in any way. Could get alcohol elsewhere.
DISSENT (Douglas): Liquor is scarce.
DISSENT (Brennan): A liquor license makes it state action and Pennsylvania becomes an active participant in the operating of the bar.
Wards Cove Packing Co v. Atonio (1989)
FACTS: Atonio (nonwhite) sued that Wards Cove's hiring/promoting practices were discriminatory b/c the skilled jobs were dominated by whites and unskilled were nonwhites.
MAJORITY (White): Study is flawed b/c it doesn't show the number of applicants and numbers don't correspond. Discrimination isn't found here. The burden is on the plaintiff to show a disparate impact. RESULTS DON'T EQUAL A DISPARATE IMPACT.
DISSENT (Blackmun): Title 7
DISSENT (Stevens): Title 7 prohibits employment practices w/ discriminatory effects and those intended to discriminate from Griggs.
2 Bakke cases (1978)
FACTS: Bakke didn't get into UCal. Med School. 16 spots out of 100 were reserved for minorities. Bakke's qualifications (college GPA and test scores) exceeded those of any of the minority students admitted in the two years Bakke's applications were rejected.
QUESTION: Does this policy violate equal protection of 14th?
ANSWER: No and yes. No single majority opinion.
MAJORITY (Powell): Strict scrutiny. There is a compelling government interest to promote diversity-goal of diversity IS constitutional. Whites have 14th amendment rights too. You can use factors beyond academics BUT no quotas. Race is ok to look at.
BAKKE 2: applies again, rejected again. strict scrutiny again. can't have a dual admissions process.
CONCUR/DISSENT (Brennan): Other ways to get in w/o merit (i.e. athletes)
SO BASICALLY-you can use race but you can't have quotas.
Grutter v. Bollinger (2002)
FACTS: UM Law school denied Grutter (white) admission, admitting race is a factor in admissions.
QUESTION: Does this violate equal protection of 14th?
MAJORITY (O'Connor): strict scrutiny. student body diversity is a compelling state interest. a "critical mass" of underrepresented minorities is necessary for educational benefits of diversity. narrowly tailored plan-does not have to be race neutral. sunset provisions are a good thing. 25 yrs from now affirmative action won't be needed.
CONCUR (Ginsburg): Racial discrimination still exists, still not fully integrated.
DISSENT (Rehnquist): Attempt to achieve racial balancing. Fails strict scrutiny b/c it does not have a precise time limit.
DISSENT (Scalia): Will lead to arbitrary results.
DISSENT (Thomas): Frederick Douglas' message. Blacks can achieve w/o affirmative action. It gives minorities a badge of inferiority and may cause dependencies/entitlement.
Gratz v. Bollinger (2002)
FACTS: UM automatically gave minorities 20 pts. out of 100. Gratz was denied admission.
QUESTION: Does this violate equal protection?
MAJORITY (Rehnquist): Race becomes THE factor. Not narrowly tailored to achieve diversity. Doesn't provide for individualized consideration.
DISSENT (Souter): 20 pts. is not the deciding factor.
DISSENT (Ginsburg): Trying to achieve equality/make up for discrimination.
Parents Involved … v. Seattle School District No. 1
FACTS: Kids get to decide which h.s. they want. Tiebreakers are sibling, race and geography.
QUESTIONS: Do Grutter & Gratz apply to public high schools? Is racial diversity a compelling interest that can justify the use of race in selecting students for admission to public high schools? Does a school district that normally permits a student to attend the high school of her choice violate the Equal Protection Clause by denying the student admission to her chosen school because of her race in an effort to achieve a desired racial balance?
ANSWERS: No. No. Yes.
MAJORITY (Roberts): strict scrutiny-classifications are not narrowly tailored and it is racial balancing so it's unconstitutional. "The way to stop discrimination on the basis of race is to stop discriminating on the basis of race." Targeted to demographic goals not toward diversity.
CONCUR (Kennedy): there is a place to look at race even if there never was legal segregation. Public schools may sometimes consider race to ensure equal educational opportunity.
DISSENT: Numbers that are being managed are ok. History of discrimination.
Adarand Constructors, Inc. v. Pena (1995)
FACTS: Gonzales Construction company got a gov. contract b/c it was a minority business even though Adarand submitted a lower bid. Under the terms of the federal contract, the prime contractor would receive additional compensation if it hired small businesses controlled by "socially and economically disadvantaged individuals."
QUESTION: Is the presumption of disadvantage based on race alone and the favorable treatment a violation of due process in the 5th?
ANSWER: Yes. Overrules Metro Broadcasting.
MAJORITY (O'ConnoR): ALL RACIAL CLASSIFICATIONS MUST BE ANALYZED USING STRICT SCRUTINY. Would have been lower scrutiny if it was based on disadvantage instead of race.
CONCUR (Scalia): There is never a compelling gov. interest to discriminate based on race in order to make up for the past. "In the eyes of the government, we are just one race here. It is American."
CONCUR (Thomas): Declaration-gov. cannot make us equal. Patronizing. Badge of inferiority from Plessy.
DISSENT (Stevens): Burdens on majority are fine-benign racial preferences. Deference to states if they want affirmative action.
United States v. Virginia (1996)
FACTS: Girl wanted to go to VMI. Virginia created VWIL but it wasn't as good and had diff. teaching style.
QUESTION: Does VWIL satisfy equal protection of 14th?
MAJORITY (Ginsburg): "EXCEEDINGLY PERSUASIVE JUSTIFICATION" for gender based gov. action. Burden of justification rests on state. Must show that it serves important gov. objectives and the discrimination is necessary to achieve those objectives. Virginia's remedy does not match constitutional violation. Virginia hasn't shown justification. Nothing will be equal.
CONCUR (Rehnquist): It is unequal b/c it isn't as good. Could be a different remedy.
DISSENT (Scalia): Facts-The all male component is essential to VMI. Precedent-revises standards for sex-based classifications. History-ignores tradition. this is strict scrutiny w/o being called that.
Griswold v. Connecticut (1965)
FACTS: Conn. made it illegal to use birth control. Planned Parenthood got in trouble for dispensing it.
MAJORITY (Douglas): creates ZONES OF PRIVACY from 1st, 3rd, 4th, 5th and 9th amendments. birth control for married couples falls into a zone of privacy.
CONCUR (Goldberg): 9th amendment shows that fundamental rights exist that aren't expicit.
CONCUR (Harlan): violates due process of 14th amendment b/c it violates values implicit to liberty (Palko).
DISSENT (Black): There is no constitutional right to privacy.
DISSENT (Stewart): Law is unenforceable except in this case. It does not violate Constitution though.
Roe v. Wade (1973)
FACTS: Texas law made abortion illegal except in mother endangerment.
QUESTION: Is a woman's right to an abortion in the Constitution?
ANSWER: Yes-in zones of privacy.
MAJORITY (Blackmun): Right to privacy has been recognized by court and includes a woman's right to terminate a pregnancy. Guaranteed in 1st trimester but could be restricted after.
DISSENT (Rehnquist): Liberty is not guaranteed. Privacy is not involved. Court's invalidation of restrictions during 1st trimester etc. is more appropriate for legislature.
Levels of scrutiny
STRICT SCRUTINY: In RACE cases. --> "must serve a compelling government interest, and must be narrowly tailored to further that interest."
EXCEEDINGLY PERSUASIVE JUSTIFICATION: for gender based case. --> Must show that it serves important gov. objectives and the discrimination is necessary to achieve those objectives.
Supporting users have an ad free experience!