What is the understanding of the first amendment


Case Briefing

Review the example and comments of the case briefing of Brown v. Board of Education. Then, read the case "44 Liquormart, Inc. v. Rhode Island (1996)" and write one page to brief a case by answering the following questions

1. Background:

- Briefly explain the facts of the case.

- Who are the parties and what is the constitutional question?

- Be sure to explain the individual liberty claim on the one hand, and the competing interest as to why that liberty is either not restricted or why it can be restricted.

2. Decision:

- What is the holding in the case? (i.e. who won?)

- Explain the Court's rationale, that is, WHY did the one party win?

- What is the understanding of the First Amendment offered by the majority?

- If there is a concurring or dissenting opinion, also explain the rationale of ONE other opinion.

3. Reaction:

- Which opinion do you agree with and WHY? Did the Court make the right decision? Explain why or why not. (1 point)

- Raise a further question that you would like to explore or have explained. (do not ask "yes" or "no" questions that doesn't require significant response)


1. Background:

The Topeka school district in Kansas had segregated schools, and Linda Brown (among others) were forced to attend race-specific schools. The school board doesn't say exactly what its interest is, but simply says that it is permitted to segregate as a social issue: the law only requires separate but equal facilities. Brown argues that the segregation policy is racial discrimination that violates the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment.

(Topeka had segregated schools, which violates the 14th Amendment. Problem: This response misses critical details, particularly the competing interests at stake.)

2. Decision

In a unanimous decision, the Court overturned the segregation policy. Chief Justice Warren explained that education is fundamentally important today and the fact of being segregated is harmful to children-being segregated harms their education and their psychology, so segregated schools are fundamentally unequal.

( "The Court unanimously overturned the school policy arguing that segregation does indeed violate the 14th Amendment." _Problem: this response doesn't explain WHY the policy was unconstitutional and further it misrepresents the scope of the argument.)

3. Reaction:

I agree with the holding, but the decision itself is ridiculously weak. Warren only mentions schools, not other instances of segregation, and he doesn't even say that segregation was always wrong, just that it violates current expectations of education. I think the ruling should have been stronger, such as Justice Harlan's dissent in Plessy v. Ferguson the state cannot create or endorse a view of second class citizens and it must treat all citizens equally.

(Partial response: "Yes, Warren was right. About time." _Problem: WHY was he right?!?)

Question: Given Warren's argument, was segregation outside of schools (e.g. in marriages) still permissible? If so, isn't this a flawed reading of the 14th Amendment?

Attachment:- Review the Liquormart Inc v Rhode Island.rar

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