Free speech rights under the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution – American Law
1. A local town in the United States enacts an ordinance [a local statute] that says, “Whoever places on public or private property a symbol such as a burning cross or Nazi swastika, which one knows or has reasonable grounds to know arouses anger, alarm or resentment in others on the basis of race,
color, creed, religion, gender, or sexual orientation, commits disorderly conduct and will be guilty of a misdemeanor.” Ms. Connor is a member of the local neo-Nazi group and, in defiance of the ordinance, places a large swastika on her front lawn. She is arrested and charged. She defends her placement of the swastika, saying that she is exercising her free speech
rights under the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. What is the likely outcome and why? (No more than 500 words)
2. A school board at a different local town is concerned that its 2 elementary schools (grades kindergarten-5) are imbalanced racially, even though the school administrators have no policy about segregating school children. Because many of the Black families are poor, they live in the west side of town where houses are less expensive; the west side elementary school is 87% Black, 5% white, and 7% other races. In contrast, the east side elementary school is 70% white, 20% Asian, 5% Black, and 5% other races. The school administration believes that “exposure to widely diverse people, cultures, ideas, and viewpoints” is important for the students. What, if any, plan may the school board put into place to achieve greater diversity at its 2 elementary schools? Make sure to cite U.S. Supreme Court cases in your answer. (No more than 500 words)
3. On June 9, 2016 a federal appeals court in California held that counties in California may restrict people from carrying concealed firearms in public, reasoning that people do not have a constitutional right to carry concealed guns in public. Based on United States v. Heller, how is the Court likely to rule and why? (No more than 500 words)
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