AP US Government : Impact of Notable Court Cases

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for AP US Government

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Example Questions

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Example Question #1 : Impact Of Notable Court Cases

What was the basis of the verdict in Mapp v. Ohio?

Possible Answers:

The exclusionary rule

The Commerce Clause

The right to privacy

The Equal Protection Clause

The Necessary and Proper Clause

Correct answer:

The exclusionary rule

Explanation:

When Dollree Mapp was suspected of criminal activities, the police searched her home. During their search, they found obscene photos and subsequently arrested Mapp. Though she was sent to prison, Mapp appealed her case with the claim that the police violated her fourth amendment rights against unreasonable searches. The Supreme Court ruled in Mapp's favor, stating that evidence obtained when the police violated her fourth amendment rights was invalid. This is known as the exclusionary rule.

Example Question #2 : Impact Of Notable Court Cases

A certain court case established that a statute can only be constitutional when it "has a secular legislative purpose," "neither advances nor inhibits religion," and "does not foster excessive government entanglement with religion." Which case was this?

Possible Answers:

Engel v. Vitale

Near v. Minnesota

Brown v. Board of Education

Gitlow v. New York

Lemon v. Kurtzman

Correct answer:

Lemon v. Kurtzman

Explanation:

Lemon v. Kurtzman established the "Lemon Test," whose three criteria served to determine whether a law was constitutional or not as it related to religion. Engel v. Vitale dealt with prayer in school; Brown v. Board of Education involved the Equal Protection Clause; Near v. Minnesota involved freedom of the press; and Gitlow v. New York involved the Free Speech Clause.

Example Question #3 : Impact Of Notable Court Cases

Which Supreme Court case ruled that it was constitutionally sound to require only men to register for the draft and military service?

Possible Answers:

Gibbons v. Ogden

United States v. Virginia

Rostker v. Goldberg

United States v. Texas

Roe v. Wade

Correct answer:

Rostker v. Goldberg

Explanation:

The Supreme Court case, Rostker v. Goldberg (1981), held that the law requiring only men to register for the draft and for military service was constitutionally sound and could stand. The issue arose after President Carter reinstituted the draft in 1980, following the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, and recommended that women be included as possible draftees.

Example Question #4 : Impact Of Notable Court Cases

Which of these congressional powers has been most frequently contested in the courts throughout American history?

Possible Answers:

Taxation

Regulating trade with foreign nations

Interstate commerce

Maintaining a standing army

The establishment of post offices and banks

Correct answer:

Interstate commerce

Explanation:

The Congressional power to regulate interstate commerce has been challenged consistently and often throughout American history. As new technology emerges that allows commerce to be conducted in different ways it is pretty much guaranteed that a court ruling will become necessary to reaffirm Congress’ sole right to regulate interstate commerce. Such as Gibbons v. Ogden (1824) after the invention of the steamboat required a ruling on Congress’ right to regulate interstate commerce along a river.

Example Question #5 : Impact Of Notable Court Cases

Which of these Supreme Court cases redefined the legal interpretation of obscenity?

Possible Answers:

Gideon v. Wainwright

Miller v. California

Texas v. Johnson

New York Times v. Sullivan

New York Times v. United States

Correct answer:

Miller v. California

Explanation:

The Supreme Court case, Miller v. California (1973), centered around the distribution of pornographic material as means to advertise a business. The Court ruling was quite complicated. The Court first ruled that the publishing of extremely obscene material was not protected under the First Amendment, but the Court was uncomfortable undertaking any regulation of any form of expression, so tried to define the legal interpretation of obscenity. Probably the most important factor of it is whether the obscene material has “serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value" (Miller v. California, 413 U.S. 15 (1973)).

Example Question #6 : Impact Of Notable Court Cases

The Simpson-Mazzoli Act reformed __________.

Possible Answers:

requirements for conscription

United States immigration laws

military spending

the nature of tenure for Supreme Court Justices

the campaign process for federal elections

Correct answer:

United States immigration laws

Explanation:

The Simpson-Mazzoli Act, passed in 1986 during the presidency of Ronald Reagan, was designed to reform immigration laws in the United States. It intended to make it more challenging for immigrants to enter the United States illegally and acted to extend legal residence to any immigrant who had arrived illegally prior to 1982, provided they pay back-taxes and demonstrate competent understanding of American society. The success of the act is debated, particularly between liberals and conservatives.

Example Question #51 : Court Cases

The Supreme Court case Tinker v. Des Moines established that __________.

Possible Answers:

The First Amendment applies to the rights of students in American public schools as long as those rights do not distract from educational purposes

accused individuals must be reminded of their rights by arresting police officers

speech intended to instill fear is unconstitutional

the internment of certain individuals is permissible during war if those individuals represent a threat to the security of the rest of the population

a lawyer must be provided by the state or local government if an individual is unable or unwilling to pay for one

Correct answer:

The First Amendment applies to the rights of students in American public schools as long as those rights do not distract from educational purposes

Explanation:

The Supreme Court case, Tinker v. Des Moines (1969), centered around several school children from the Tinker family who wore black wristbands to school to show solidarity for the end of the Vietnam War. Those students were suspended by the school, and their case eventually came before the Supreme Court of The United States. The Court ruled that schools could not violate the First Amendment rights to freedom of speech and expression of students in public schools unless those rights constituted an overt distraction from educational pursuits.

Example Question #52 : Court Cases

The Supreme Court case, Regents of the University of California v. Bakke __________.

Possible Answers:

upheld the right of private citizens to sue the United States government in court

reaffirmed the constitutionality of affirmative action as it applies to college admissions

established that the Bill of Rights applies equally to the states as it does to the Federal government

prohibited same-sex marriage throughout the union

abolished the right of public schools to hold mandatory prayer sessions

Correct answer:

reaffirmed the constitutionality of affirmative action as it applies to college admissions

Explanation:

In the Supreme Court case, Regents of the University of California v. Bakke (1978), reaffirmed that affirmative action was constitutional, particularly as it applies to college admissions, although the court did also rule that setting aside a specific quota for minority students was not permissible. It helped define what exactly constitutes legal affirmative action and what does not.

Example Question #53 : Court Cases

Which Supreme Court case states that unions and other nonprofit organizations can spend unlimited amounts of money promoting their political views in specific, independent, circumstances?

Possible Answers:

Buckley v. Valeo

Johnson v. Texas

Regents of the University of California v. Bakke

Lemon v. Kurtzman

Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission

Correct answer:

Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission

Explanation:

The Supreme Court case, Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission (2010), ruled that the First Amendment prohibits the United States government from preventing unions and nonprofit organizations from funding the promotion of their political views. The case centered around the lobby group, Citizens United, and its attempts to publish a propaganda video that was critical of Hillary Clinton.

Example Question #54 : Court Cases

Which of these Supreme Court cases required each state to draw its congressional districts so they are approximately equal in population size?

Possible Answers:

Wesberry v. Sanders

Gibbons v. Ogden

Chimel v. California

United States v. Ross

Illinois v. Gates

Correct answer:

Wesberry v. Sanders

Explanation:

The Supreme Court case, Wesberry v. Sanders (1964), ruled that each state had to draw its congressional districts so that the were roughly equal in population distribution. The Court ruled that there was sufficient language in the Constitution that each individual should have fair and equal representation to justify the ruling.

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