Dallas Bar Association

2012 Classroom Topics and Lesson Plans

Social Media Presentation(First Amendment Rights)

Bill of Rights Institute, Past Lessons are available for download (click links below):

  • Occupy Protests and the Bill of Rights:  The Occupy protests began in New York City on September 17, 2011 and have spread across the country to Chicago, Nashville, Oakland, Washington, D.C., and many other cities. Many gatherings have been peaceful. In some areas, police have arrested protesters for trespassing, failing to disperse, breaking curfews, or not possessing the proper permits to assemble. In cities where protests became violent, some were arrested for offenses such as destruction of property and throwing items at police. As the protests continue, issues related to the Bill of Rights have come into play. Use this e-lesson to discuss the constitutional issues raised by the protests and the ways governments have responded to them.
  • Free Speech versus Privacy: Snyder v. Phelps (2011): The Supreme Court recently handed down a decision on the controversial First Amendment case, Snyder v. Phelps (2011), involving inflammatory protest signs at the funeral of a slain American soldier. Decisions like this one test our commitment to the protection of free speech guaranteed by the First Amendment.
  • WikiLeaks: Should Assange be charged under the Espionage Act?:  WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange was in hiding after his release of thousands of secret documents related to United States foreign policy. The U.S. Justice and Defense departments were determining whether they can charge the Australian citizen with a crime under the Espionage Act. Should Assange be prosecuted? What about the newspapers in the U.S. who published the stolen classified documents?
  • Supreme Court GPS Warrant Rulingtechnology:  The United States Supreme Court upheld a District of Columbia Appeals Court ruling on the case United States v. Jones (2012) on Monday, January 23, 2012.  The unanimous decision affirmed that police must obtain a search warrant before using Global Positioning System (GPS) devices to track the vehicles of suspected criminals.  The justices agreed that not obtaining a search warrant in this type of situation was a violation of the Fourth Amendment of the Bill of Rights.
  • Airport Scanners and the Fourth Amendmentcould provide a good role play:  Do new full-body scanners and TSA “enhanced pat-down” airport procedures violate the Fourth Amendment or other constitutional protections? This eLesson dives into the details of the new TSA security measures.
  • The U.S. Census and Personal Liberty – immigration:  This Current Events and the Constitution focuses on the U.S. Census. With the 2010 census now underway, some have concerns that the questions are too personal or that the federal government should not have access to this information. Do the questions on the 2010 census form exceed Congress’s constitutional mandate to count population every ten years “in such a manner as they shall by law direct”?
  • Bush v. Goreand the 2000 Presidential Election - The Presidential election of 2000, between major party candidates Governor George W. Bush of Texas and Vice President Al Gore of Tennessee, was one of the closest in our history. This elesson focuses on the events leading up to the Supreme Court ruling by which the election was decided, and the constitutional reasoning of that decision.
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