Constitutional Law

The Supreme Court can strike down laws or other government actions that violate the Constitution.

This doctrine has expanded beyond procedural limits on taking away life, liberty, or property.

This doctrine prevents the government from discriminating against long-standing minority groups.

Government restrictions on speech generally must be content-neutral under the First Amendment.

Frequently Asked Questions
  • Can I take a case to the US Supreme Court?
    The US Supreme Court does not automatically hear any case on appeal. Someone who wants to appeal a case to the Supreme Court must petition for a writ of certiorari. The Supreme Court has discretion to decide whether to hear the case, and it rejects most of these petitions.
  • What is strict scrutiny?
    Strict scrutiny is the most demanding standard of review for judging the constitutionality of a law. It requires the government to prove that the law is necessary to further a compelling government interest. The law must be narrowly tailored and use the least restrictive means to further this interest.
  • When can the government regulate speech?
    In general, the government can regulate speech through content-neutral restrictions, but content-based restrictions likely will violate the First Amendment. The government has greater discretion to regulate speech in certain settings where it has a special authority, such as public schools and government workplaces.
  • What are the limits on abortion restrictions?
    Abortion restrictions must not impose an undue burden on the ability of a woman to pursue an abortion. Determining whether a law meets this standard is highly fact-specific, but informed consent and waiting periods before abortions are generally not considered undue burdens, while requiring a married woman to notify her husband is an undue burden.
  • Why do same-sex couples have a constitutional right to marry?
    Same-sex couples have a constitutional right to marry under the Due Process and Equal Protection Clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment. According to the Supreme Court in Obergefell v. Hodges, the right to marriage is a fundamental right, and the authors of the Constitution could not have foreseen how liberty interests have developed over time.
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Popular Topics
  • Religious Freedom Under the Constitution
    The First Amendment prevents the government from endorsing a certain religion, becoming entangled in religious activities, and prohibiting the free exercise of religious beliefs or practices.
  • Abortion and Reproductive Rights Under the Constitution
    The Supreme Court has created a constitutional right to abortion as an extension of the right to privacy, but it has loosened restrictions on state regulations of abortion since Roe v. Wade.
  • Gun Rights Under the Constitution
    The prevailing view is that the Second Amendment supports an individual right to bear arms, but the government still can regulate gun possession in certain situations or for certain groups.
  • LGBTQ Rights Under the Constitution
    A series of constitutional cases decided by the Supreme Court have greatly expanded LGBTQ rights, culminating with a decision finding that the Fourteenth Amendment mandates marriage equality.
  • The Death Penalty Under the Constitution
    The Eighth Amendment does not prohibit the death penalty as cruel and unusual punishment, but it must be proportionate to the crime, and sentencing procedures must be individualized.
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