Students and the Constitution

Pottawatomie v. Earls (2002)

Case background and primary source documents concerning the Supreme Court case of Pottawatomie v. Earls. Dealing with students’ Fourth Amendment protections when in schools, this lesson asks students to assess the Court’s evolving definition of “reasonable” searches with respect to public school students.

Founding Principles

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Due Process

The government must interact with all citizens according to the duly-enacted laws; applying these rules equally among all citizens.

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Equal Protection

The principle of equal justice under law means that every individual is equal to every other person in regards to natural rights and treatment before the law. There are no individuals or groups who are born with the right to rule over others.

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Property Rights

The natural right of all individuals to create, obtain, and control their possessions, beliefs, faculties, and opinions, as well as the fruits of their labor.

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Rule of Law

Government and citizens all abide by the same laws regardless of political power. Those laws respect individual rights, are transparently enacted, are justly applied, and are stable.

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