1. Describe how you understand the “Establishment Clause” and the related “Lemon Test”.
  • The “Establishment Clause”, as I understand it, is the first portion of the First Amendment of the US Constitution. It deals with religious freedom by protecting people from the government imposing a religion on them or preventing them from practicing their religion.
  • The “Lemon Test” was established by the Supreme Court to help with deciding if a law or other government action that might promote a religious practice should be allowed under the First Amendment. It has to pass 3 criteria to be found constitutional and allowed to remain in effect: 1. The action or law must not lead to excessive government entanglement. 2. The action or law should be neutral in its effects on religion. 3. The action or law must have some secular purpose.
  1. Is burning the US flag protected by the First Amendment? Explain by referring to the relevant court case discussed in the reading.
  • As controversial as the burning of the US flag might be, it IS protected as symbolic-speech under the First Amendment.
  • The Supreme Court made this ruling during Texas v Johnson, where Gregory Lee Johnson had burned a US flag as an anti-war protest. He was initially arrested and sentenced for the crime of “desecration of a venerated object”, but later freed once the Supreme Court found that the desecration of a flag fit under the symbolic-speech protected by The First Amendment.
  1. What does it mean when someone says “I’m taking the Fifth”?
  • When someone says “I’m taking the Fifth” they mean they are going to remain silent when faced with criminal charges.
  • This is a provision of The Fifth Amendment that protects an individuals rights against self-incrimination: the right to not speak with or give evidence to the police, the right to not testify in court in his/her defense. Neither can be taken as admissions of guilt.

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