Author Archives: Maria Matasar-Padilla

Happy Birthday Bill of Rights!

Celebrate National Bill of Rights Day with us by learning all about the document that changed America and inspired the world. Watch our film, The Bill of Rights to learn about the fight behind this landmark founding document, and the rights it’s intended to protect.

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Dolly Mapp, the woman behind landmark 4th Amendment case, has died

We’re sad to announce that Dolly Mapp, the woman at the center of the landmark search and seizure case Mapp v. Ohio has passed away. Ms. Mapp insistance that her 4th Amendment rights were violated when Cleveland police entered her home without a search warrant changed American history and revolutionized policing across the country.

Hear Ms. Mapp–defiant, brash and brave–in our film, Search and Seizure: Mapp v. Ohio.

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The Constitution Project Encourages You to Vote

Before you head to the polls, The Constitution Project encourages you to learn more about the principle One Person, One Vote. This notion is synonymous with American democracy, but did you know that the decisions that ensured that right almost tore the Supreme Court and the country apart?

Watch our film One Person, One Vote and learn more about the series of landmark Supreme Court cases that guaranteed our right to fair and equal representation in our state legislatures. And make sure you vote!

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The Constitution Project Celebrates the Supreme Court’s New Term

This week marks the start of the Supreme Court’s new term. As always, the cases on the docket are varied and complex. Luckily, The Constitution Project helps provide context and historical background for a number of the issues appearing before the Court over the next several months.

So, why does the Supreme Court matter? While Alexander Hamilton may have called the Judiciary “the least dangerous branch,” it has evolved over the past 200 years into an exceedingly powerful force in our country. To learn more about why the Judiciary and the Supreme Court are important, watch our film, An Independent Judiciary.

A number of upcoming cases are debating issues spelled out in the Bill of Rights. Our film The Bill of Rights gives a general overview of the first 10 Amendments to the Constitution and the numerous rights they establish.

The first case the Court heard this term dealt with the Fourth Amendment’s protection against unreasonable search and seizure. To learn more about this fundamental right and one of the most important Fourth Amendment cases of the past 60 years, watch our film Mapp v. Ohio.

Several cases on the docket deal with how congressional districts should be determined. Historically, the Court has resisted dictating how state legislatures should be structured, fearing that to do so would infringe on the legislature’s powers and would undermine the Court’s authority. To learn about how the Court overcame this concern, watch our film One Person, One Vote about the landmark Supreme Court cases Baker v. Carr and Reynolds v. Simms.

As is often the case, the Court is hearing a number of cases concerning minority rights. Our films Yick Wo, An Independent Judiciary, and Jury Selection: Edmonson v. Leesville provide a historical overview of the numerous ways the Supreme Court has protected the rights of racial minorities.



Celebrate the 14th Amendment

Celebrate the anniversary of the ratification of the 14th Amendment by watching our film Yick Wo and the Equal Protection Clause. Yick Wo was a Chinese immigrant who ran a laundry service in  San Francisco in the 19th century. He took his case against the city’s discriminatory licensing laws all the way to the Supreme Court, and in the process changed American constitutional history. For the first time, the Supreme Court defined the 14th Amendment’s Equal Protection Clause, and established that the amendment granted equal protection to all persons, not just citizens of the United States. Since Yick Wo was decided in 1886, it has been cited over 160 times by the Supreme Court.

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Supreme Court Extends Fourth Amendment Protections to Cell Phones

In a unanimous decision , the Supreme Court declared that law enforcement cannot search a suspect’s cell phone without first obtaining a warrant. Previously, police officers were allowed to engage in warrantless searches of mobile phones when they arrested a suspect. Writing for the Court, Chief Justice Roberts explained that given the vast amount of information stored on cell phones, this practice should no longer be permitted. The decision signals another victory for Supreme Court litigator and Stanford Law professor Jeffrey Fisher, who will be featured in our upcoming film on the confrontation clause. To learn more about search warrants and our constitutional right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures, watch our award-winning film on the landmark 4th Amendment case, Mapp v. Ohio.

Mapp v. Ohio Wins Prestigious CINE Special Jury Award

Our film, Search and Seizure: Mapp v. Ohio has been selected to receive a 2014 CINE Special Jury Award as the best production in the category of Original Digital Documentary from all 2013 CINE submissions and Golden Eagle Award recipients. To watch our award-winning film, click here. More details on this prestigious honor and this year’s winners can be found here.


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Celebrate the 60th Anniversary of the Landmark Supreme Court Case Brown v. Board of Education

May 17th marks the 60th Anniversary of the landmark 1954 Supreme Court case that ended segregation, Brown v. Board of Education. The ruling was met with widespread, and sometimes violent, resistance throughout the country, and perhaps nowhere more vividly than in Little Rock, Arkansas. In Little Rock, 9 brave African-American teenagers were determined to assert their right to attend Little Rock High School. It took President Eisenhower, the 101 Airborne Division, and a whole lot of courage to help make their dream a reality. Watch their inspiring struggle in our film, An Independent Judiciary

Happy 130th Birthday President Truman!

Join us in marking the birthday of our 33rd President, Harry S. Truman, by watching our film on his showdown with the Supreme Court over Executive Power, Checks and Balances: Youngstown v. Sawyer.

Celebrate Law Day With America’s Most Inspiring Lawyers

May 1 is Law Day, a celebration to honor the “liberty, justice and equality under law which our forefathers bequeathed” to the United States. Although they are often the butt of some pretty bad jokes, the truth is that we wouldn’t have a country of laws without lawyers. Our films often tell the story of lawyers committed to promoting justice and equality. And they include interviews with some of the most socially committed lawyers of our times–from Bryan Stevenson, who fights for justice for America’s poor and incarcerated, David Boies and Ted Olson who are leading the legal efforts to legalize gay marriage, to Jim Doyle, a personal injury attorney who took  a personal injury case all the way to the Supreme Court to help end racial discrimination in the jury selection process. Learn more about Mr. Doyle and his client Thaddeus Edmonson’s fight for equality by watching our film, Jury Selection: Edmonson v. Leesville. Or be inspired by Bryan Stevenson, David Boies, and Ted Olson’s committment to social justice: Mr. Stevenson can be seen in our films on the right to counsel and jury selection; and Mr. Boies and Mr. Olson have appeared in our films on the  writing of the Constitution (in fact, 35 of the 55 delegates at the Constitutional convention were lawyers) and the Bill of Rights.


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