Dred Scott v Sanford (1857)
The supreme court decision ruling that a slave who had escaped to a free state enjoyed no rights as a citizen and that congress had no authority to ban slavery in the territories.
Plessy v Ferguson (1896)
A supreme court decision that provided a constitutional justification for segregation by ruling that a Louisiana law requiring "equal but separate accommodations for the white and the colored races" was not unconstitutional.
Smith v Allwright (1944)
The supreme court declared white primaries unconstitutional.
Sweatt v Painter (1950)
a U.S. Supreme Court case that successfully challenged the "separate but equal" doctrine of racial segregation established by the 1896 case Plessy v. Ferguson. The case involved a black man, Heman Marion Sweatt, who was refused admission to the University of Texas School of Law on the grounds that the Texas State Constitution prohibited integrated education. At the time, no law school in Texas would admit blacks. The court decided that the specialized nature of law schools dictates that segregated law schools cannot possibly be equal; therefore they must integrate.
Brown v Board of Education (1954)
The supreme court decision holding that school segregation in Topeka, Kansas, was inherently unconstitutional because it violated the 14th amendment's guarantee of equal protection. This case marked the end of legal segregation in the United States.
Korematsu v United States (1944)
A supreme court decision that upheld as constitutional the internment of more than 100,000 Americans of Japanese descent in encampments during World War II.
Griffin v County School Board of Prince Edward County (1955) aka "Brown II"
A case decided by the Supreme Court of the United States in which it ruled that the County School Board of Prince Edward County, Virginia's decision to close all local, public schools and provide vouchers to attend private schools were declared constitutionally impermissible and violations under the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. (Enforced the ruling in Brown v Board of Education)
Swann v Charlott-Mecklenburg County Board of Education (1971)
A supreme court case that upheld (but did not require) that busing of students should achieve racially balanced schools.
Reed v Reed (1971)
The landmark case in which the supreme court for the first time upheld a claim of gender discrimination.
Craig v Boren (1976)
In this supreme court decision, the court determined that gender classification cases would have a "heightened" or "middle level" of scrutiny. (The courts were to show less deference to gender classifications than to more routine classifications, but more deference than to racial classifications.
Toyota Motor Manufacturing, Kentucky, inc. v Williams (2002)
A case in which the Supreme Court of the United States interpreted the meaning of the phrase "substantially impairs" as used in the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990. It reversed the decision by the Court of Appeals to grant a partial summary judgment in favor of the respondent, Ella Williams that qualified her inability to perform manual job-related tasks as a disability.
Regents of the University of California v Bakke (1978)
A supreme court decision holding that a state university could not admit less qualified individuals solely because of their race. The court, however, didn't rule that such affirmative action policies and the use of race as a criterion for admission were unconstitutional, only that they had to be formulated differently.
Adardand Contructors v Pena (1995)
A supreme court decision holding that federal programs that classify people by race, even for an ostensibly benign purpose such as expanding opportunities for minorities, should be presumed to be unconstitutional. Such programs should be subject to the most searching judicial inquiry and can survive only if they are "narrowly tailored" to accomplish a "compelling governmental interest."
Grutter v Bollinger (2003)
Allowed the use of race as a general factor in law school admissions at University of Michigan.
Gratz v Bollinger (2003)
A United States Supreme Court case regarding the University of Michigan undergraduate affirmative action admissions policy. In a 6-3 decision announced on June 23, 2003, the Chief Justice Rehnquist, writing for the Court, ruled the University's point system's "predetermined point allocations" that awarded 20 points to underrepresented minorities "ensures that the diversity contributions of applicants cannot be individually assessed" and was therefore unconstitutional.
Marbury V Madison (1803)
The case in which Chief Justice John Marshall and his associates first asserted the right of the supreme court to determine the meaning of the U.S. Constitution. The decision established the court's power of judicial review over acts of Congress.