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What United States court cases have clarified people's constitutional rights?            

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The Lochner vs. New York case influenced court decisions prior to the mid-1930s. The Due Process Clause of the 14th Amendment states that "No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law."

At the turn of the 20th century, Joseph Lochner sued the state of New York, arguing that the Bakeshop Act of 1897 was unconstitutional. Lochner was the sole proprietor of a small bakery in Utica and often employed bakers for more than 60 hours a week. It so happened that the Bakeshop Act (strongly supported by bakers unions) had established a 60-hour maximum workweek for all bakers in New York. Lochner argued that this violated the right to liberty of contract under the Due Process clause in the 14th Amendment. The Lochner case set a precedent for court rulings until the mid-1930s. Judges during the Lochner era often ruled against state economic regulation and championed an individual's right to economic freedom.

The Griswold vs. Connecticut involved an individual citizen's right to privacy, with Justice William Douglas presiding. In 1965, Estelle Griswold (Connecticut's Planned Parenthood executive director at the time) and Dr. Lee Buxton (physician and Yale professor) were arrested and fined $100 for offering contraception advice to married couples. Griswold and Buxton sued, arguing that a Connecticut law prohibiting the use of any contraceptives was unconstitutional. Griswold and Buxton won the case; Justice Douglas wrote that the Connecticut law violated an individual's right to privacy, and he also reiterated that this right was protected by penumbras (protective zones within the Bill of Rights), specifically the 1st, 3rd, 4th, and 5th Amendments to the Constitution.

Intermediate scrutiny is a type of judicial review used to determine the constitutionality of a law. Intermediate scrutiny is used to decide cases that pertain to gender, and it is also used in First Amendment cases.

In this section, a major topic appears to be the Roe vs. Wade and Planned Parenthood vs. Casey court cases. In Roe vs. Wade, the Supreme Court recognized a woman's right to privacy. It also recognized the compelling state interest to protect a woman's life and the life of her unborn child. To satisfy this interest, the Court upheld a trimester framework test to balance the interests of the state and the woman's right to privacy.

In the first trimester, the decision to abort was left up to the woman. In the second trimester, the Court decided that the state could only regulate abortion for the purposes of saving the woman's life. In the third trimester, the Court ruled that the state could restrict or prohibit abortion altogether unless the procedure was necessary to preserve the woman's life.

The Planned Parenthood vs. Casey case changed the trimester framework test to an 'undue burden' test. The Pennsylvania law in question required a) a woman to inform her spouse before she sought an abortion, b) minors to inform their parents before an abortion, c) doctors to inform women about the physical and emotional risks of an abortion, and d) a woman to wait 24 hours to have an abortion after the initial consultation.

The justices preserved most of the Pennsylvania law under the 'undue burden' test. The test stated that an undue burden was placed on a woman if she was prevented from having an abortion before her fetus was viable. The only provision of the Pennsylvania law to fail this test was the one requiring a woman to inform her spouse before she sought an abortion.

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