Term Definition
Bill of Rights The first ten amendments to the U.S. Constitution.
Checks and Balances The system by which each of the three branches of the national government exercises a check on the actions of the others.
Commerce Clause The provision in Article I, Section 8, of the U.S. Constitution that gives Congress the power to regulate interstate commerce.
Compelling Government Interest A test of constitutionality that requires the government to have convincing reasons for passing any law that restricts fundamental rights, such as free speech, or distinguishes between people based on a suspect trait.
Due Process Clause The provisions in the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments that guarantee that no person shall be deprived of life, liberty, or property without due process of law.
Equal Protection Clause The provision in the Fourteenth Amendment that guarantees that a state may not “deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.”
Establishment Clause The provision in the First Amendment that prohibits the government from establishing any state-sponsored religion or enacting any law that promotes religion or favors one religion over another.
Federal Form of Government A system of government in which the states form a union and the sovereign power is divided between the central government and the member states.
Filtering Software A computer program that is designed to block access to certain Web sites based on their content.
Free Exercise Clause The provision in the First Amendment that prohibits the government from interfering with people’s religious practices or forms of worship.
Meta Tag A key word in a document that can serve as an index reference to the document.
Police Powers Powers possessed by states as part of their inherent sovereignty.
Preemption A doctrine under which certain federal laws preempt, or take precedence over, conflicting state or local laws.
Supremacy Clause The requirement in Article VI of the U.S. Constitution that provides that the Constitution, laws, and treaties of the United States are “the supreme Law of the Land.”
Symbolic Speech Nonverbal expressions of beliefs.