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EC104: Legal Environment of Business: Cases Law

Guide to aid with the U.S. legal system and courts along with the role of law in business and personal decision-making.

Important Case and Law examples

Texas v. Johnson

    The Supreme Court case
Texas v. Johnson
(1989), extended the
First Amendment rights
to protect symbolic speech.

     During a political demonstration for the Republican National Convention in Texas, Gregory Lee Johnson set the American flag on fire. No one was injured or in immediate danger by his demonstration, but many witnesses were offended and Johnson was charged and convicted for desecration of a venerated object.

     The Supreme Court overruled the Texas Penal Code violation, and decided Johnson’s demonstration was a form of symbolic speech protected by the First Amendment.


Matthew Shepard
and
James Byrd, Jr.
Hate Crimes
Prevention Act

     The Matthew Shepard and
James Byrd, Jr.
Hate Crimes Prevention Act

(commonly called the Hate Crimes Act
or Matthew Shepard Act),
was passed in October 2009.

    The law was enacted in response to two brutal bias-motivated crimes. Matthew Shepard was tortured and killed because the killers believed he was gay. James Byrd, Jr., an African American man, was dragged behind a truck and eventually decapitated by white supremacists.

     Federal authorities were unable to prosecute either of these horrendous crimes under existing law. This Act expanded the 1969 Federal Hate Crime Law to cover these and other types of brutal murders.

 

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