Happy birthday, U.S. Constitution. You look great for 225. Here's to many more years.
As we celebrate our nation's guiding document on Constitution Day, let's take a look at the many rights it grants us -- freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom from unreasonable search and seizure, the right to an attorney... The list is long, and the road to protect those rights has been long, too.
The ACLU of Montana produced a series of one-minute podcasts on 50 key U.S. Supreme Court cases about those freedoms, called "Your Constitutional Rights." Please take a moment today to check a few of them out in honor of this great day.
You will be familiar with some and learn about many you've never heard about, as well.
Here's a sampling:
Free Speech Tinker v. Des Moines School District Mary Beth Tinker wears a black armband to her junior high school to protest the Vietnam War. Her principal orders her to take it off. The Supreme Court says the right to free speech does not end at the schoolhouse door.
Freedom of Religion West Virgina Board of Education v. Barnette When 2,000 Jehovah's Witness children are expelled for refusing to salute the flag because that violates their religion, their parents go to court. The Supreme Court sides with them, saying schools cannot compel students to say the Pledge of Allegiance.
Freedom of Association NLRB v. Jones and Laughlin Steel Corp. When 10 steelworkers are fired in 1937 for being part of a union, the U.S. Supreme Court upholds their right to meet together and for unions to organize.
Right to a Legal Representation Gideon v. Wainwright "If you cannot afford an attorney, one will be appointed to you..." That wasn't the case until this decision.
Right to Equal Protection Under the Law Shelley v. Kraemer In 1948, the Shelleys buy a home in a St. Louis neighborhood. Their white neighbors sue to force the Shelleys to move because they are black and neighborhood covenants say all residents must be white. The Supreme Court rules that illegal.