With an historic vote on June 21, 1788, New Hampshire ratified the US Constitution. In the more than two hundred years since that time, New Hampshire citizens have had many encounters with the US Supreme Court over the interpretation of that document. This text highlights many N.H. cases, which established legal principles that have affected the relationship between citizens and government and, as a result, made legal history. View the publication
. NOTE: The full document will be available soon. The linked PDF contains a sampling.
Rights & Reds: Cold War in New Hampshire
(video and teacher guide)
In the 1950's, Communism was perceived by many Americans as the single greatest "threat to freedom and democracy." For these people, communism came to represent anything alien to American values. This 60 minute video reviews the history of the "Red" threat in the United States and in particular within New Hampshire. It deals with the problems created in the rush to purge Communism and its resulting impact upon constitutional freedoms and liberties. The publication is available through the ERIC Clearinghouse.
Never Say Die
(license plate cover up case)
Mr. and Mrs. George Maynard, former residents of the State of New Hampshire and followers of the Jehovah's Witness faith, thought they were exercising their religious freedom when they covered up the motto, "Live Free or Die" on their license plates. The motto offended Mr. and Mrs. Maynard because they believed it suggested allegiance to the government of man, while the Maynards believe only in the government of God or "Jehovah's Kingdom." The State of New Hampshire, however, made it a misdemeanor to obscure the motto. This is the story of the Maynards, who challenged the constitutionality of a state law, which they believed intruded upon their First Amendment right of religious and conscientious freedom. The curriculum is available for loan through the LRE Library at the NHBA.
The Trials of Abraham Prescott
(1835 NH murder case)
On June 23, 1833, eighteen year old Abraham Prescott bludgeoned Sally Cochran to death while the two were picking strawberries. Prescott confessed to the killing. Nevertheless, the State of New Hampshire still had to prove that Prescott committed the crime beyond a reasonable doubt and was responsible for it. Prescott had a history of sleep walking and his defense lawyers decided upon defending Prescott on the grounds that he was not responsible for his actions. This vidoetape and guide addresses the difficult questions regarding confessions, competency, sanity and trial procedure. The curriculum is available for loan through the LRE Library at the NHBA.
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Law Related Education Useful Links
ACLU Freedom Network
: A great site with a lot of information from the ACLU perspective. Lots of information on free speech, church & state, the death penalty & other topics of interest.
American Bar Association
: Great lawlinks page--you can find federal, state or even international information here.
Center for Civic Education
: Link to one of the major national LRE organizations.
Constitutional Rights Foundation - Chicago
: This site has many lesson plans available at a click of the mouse! Also offers many publications for a nominal fee.
Interactive program from the Georgia Civil Justice Foundation
: A great way to find full text Supreme Court Opinions.
NH Public Television
: A great place to locate local information.
Nolo Press Self-Help Law Center
: An interesting & generally informative site for non-lawyers. Many interesting tips, articles : An interesting & generally informative site for non-lawyers. Many interesting tips, articles & of course, lawyer jokes.
: Another great Supreme Court site. Gives summaries of many cases. Also includes oral arguments if you have "real audio." Allows search by subject matter too.
Project Vote Smart
: An excellent site to get information on elected representatives & candidates. Positions on issues, voting records, opinions of advocacy groups : An excellent site to get information on elected representatives & candidates. Positions on issues, voting records, opinions of advocacy groups & campaign finance, among other things.
Street Law, Inc.
: A great interactive site for information on human rights, property and the latest Supreme Court cases.
Thomas Legislative information on the Internet
: A great site for information on Congress & lawmaking.
: NH state government and court links and resources.
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