Chicago v. Morales 527 U.S. 41 (1999)
CHICAGO v. MORALES 527 U.S. 41 (1999)
During the 1980s and 1990s, cities experienced a marked increase in organized gang activity, often linked to the street sale of drugs. Cities and states, frustrated by the inability of ordinary criminal prohibitions to eliminate gangs, sought new ways to control the presence of gangs in urban areas.
Chicago, in an effort to crack down on—as described in its brief to the Supreme Court—"obviously brazen, insistent and lawless gang members and hangers-on on the public ways" who "intimidate residents" and "destabilize" neighborhoods, authorized its police to arrest anyone milling about "without any apparent purpose" in the company of a suspected gang member. Under the law, police could order any loiterers to disperse and, if they refused, arrest them, even absent any evidence of criminal wrongdoing.
In a 6–3 decision, the Supreme Court declared Chicago's ordinance unconstitutional because of its vagueness. The majority, in an opinion authored by Justice John Paul Stevens, explained that the law failed to give the ordinary citizen "adequate notice of what is forbidden and what is permitted" when using the public streets. Moreover, the majority held that "the freedom to loiter for innocent purposes is part of the 'liberty' " protected by the fourteenth amendment guarantee of due process of law.
In dissent, Justice antonin scalia, Justice Clarence Thomas, and Chief Justice william h. rehnquist accused the majority of improperly crafting a "constitutional right to loiter," despite a long history of anti-loitering laws in every state.
In fact, the majority opinion comports with sixty years of precedent—dating back to Lanzetta v. United States (1939)—invalidating vague and standardless laws that target vagrants, suspected criminals, or their associates by criminalizing innocent activity in public. Morales serves notice on cities that they cannot sacrifice civil liberties in their quest to eradicate street gangs.
"Chicago v. Morales 527 U.S. 41 (1999)." Encyclopedia of the American Constitution. . Encyclopedia.com. (January 21, 2019). https://www.encyclopedia.com/politics/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/chicago-v-morales-527-us-41-1999
"Chicago v. Morales 527 U.S. 41 (1999)." Encyclopedia of the American Constitution. . Retrieved January 21, 2019 from Encyclopedia.com: https://www.encyclopedia.com/politics/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/chicago-v-morales-527-us-41-1999
Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).
Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.
Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:
Modern Language Association
The Chicago Manual of Style
American Psychological Association
- Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
- In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.