Engagement in Action

Though it is sometimes easy to forget, constitutional cases have real-world consequences. The pursuit of truth in the courtroom sets people free from arbitrary restrictions on the pursuit of their American dreams. The following cases show what real judging can do for real people.

District of Columbia v. Heller (2008): In Washington, D.C., security guard Dick Heller was allowed to carry a handgun when protecting the lives of government officials at work, but he was not allowed to use that same gun to protect his own life at home because of the District’s nearly unprecedented handgun ban… (read on)

Lawrence v. Texas (2003): A Texas law criminalized “deviate sexual intercourse” between people of the same sex. The government’s sole justification for the statute was that the Legislature found this conduct to be immoral… (read on)

Church of Lukumi Babalu Aye v. City of Hialeah (1993): The city of Hialeah, Fla., passed an ordinance forbidding the “unnecssar(y) kill(ing)” of “an animal in a public or private ritual or ceremony not for the primary purpose of food consumption.” The ordinance followed the announcement of plans to open a Santeria church in Hialeah—the Church of Lukumi Babalu Aye… (read on)

Loving v. Virginia (1967): Virginia’s Racial Integrity Act made it a criminal offense to marry outside of one’s race. Two Virginia residents, Richard Loving and Mildred Jeter, were married in Washington, D.C., and returned to their home state. Richard was white; Mildred was black… (read on)

Lochner v. New York (1905) An 1895 law called the Bakeshop Act prohibited New Yorkers from working in a bakery more than 10 hours in one day or 60 hours per week and made it a criminal offense to employ a worker for more than 60 hours a week. Although presented as a public safety measure, the law was the product of a zealous lobbying effort … (read on) 

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