Supreme Court Cases

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Baker v. Carr

(1962) Guaranty Clause does not prevent courts from having the right to determine whether state legislative apportionment violates citizens' 14th A. rights

Barron v. Baltimore

(1883) Bill of Rights does not apply to the states [note the date of the case]

Bob Jones University v. US

(1983) the Government's fundamental, overriding interest in eradicating racial discrimination in education substantially outweighs whatever burden denial of tax benefits places on the exercise of religious beliefs (the university was denied tax-exempt status because it discriminates racially)

Brandenburg v. Ohio

(1969) speech that does not call for illegal action is protected, and even speech that does call for illegal action is protected if the action is not "imminent" or there is reason to believe that the listeners will not take action

Brown v. Board of Education

(1954, 1955) Overturned Plessy case. Racially segregated public facilities are unconstitutional

Buckley v. Valeo

(1976) Upheld FECA's limitations placed on campaign contributions but protected independent political expenditures as free speech.

Clinton v. City of New York

(1998) Line Item veto declared unconstitutional on the grounds that it gave legislative powers to the president.

Engle v. Vitale

(1962) prayer in public schools prohibited by First Amendment (which was made applicable to the states under the 14th A.)

Escovedo v. Illinois

(1964) Exclusionary rule case. Courts can't use evidence obtained from a suspect who has been denied opportunity to consult with counsel and has not been warned of his constitutional right to keep silent, because his 5th, 6th, and 14th A. rights have been violated

Gibbons v. Ogden

(1824) Steamboats on the Hudson River. The Constitution give the Federal Government power to regulate commerce. Opened door to the use of the commerce clause to control states.

Gideon v. Wainwright

(1963) The state's refusal to appoint counsel for an indigent accused of non-capital felony violated due process clause .

Gitlow v. New York

(1925) Supreme Court held that freedom of speech and of the press were among the "fundamental personal rights" protected by the due-process clause of the 14th A. from infringements by state (as well as federal) action. This case allowed the incorporation of the Bill of Rights to apply to State governments as well as the national government.

Griswold v. Connecticut

(1965) a Connecticut statute forbidding use of contraceptives violates the right of marital privacy which is within the penumbra of specific guarantees of the Bill of Rights

Halzewood School District v. Kuhlmeier

(1988) Freedom of the press is different for students. Principles can censor school newspapers.

Heart of Atlanta Motel v. US

(1964) Congress has the right the prohibit racial discrimination in places of public accommodation through the Commerce Clause because the interstate movement of people is "commerce." Even if the public accommodation is of a purely "local" character, Congress' power to regulate interstate commerce extends to local incidents thereof which might have a substantial and harmful effect on that commerce

INS v. Chadha

(1983) The legislative veto is unconstitutional

Korematsu v. US

California was right to intern Japanese-Americans in camps during crisis of World War II

Lau v. Nichols

(1974) the failure of San Francisco schools to provide English-language instruction to approximately 1,800 students of Chinese ancestry who do not speak English, or to provide them with other adequate instructional procedures, denies them a meaningful opportunity to participate in the public education program, and thus violates the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the 14th A.

Lemon v. Kurtzman

(1971) Concerns aid to sectarian schools; Lemon test created to interpret the establishment clause.

Mapp v. Ohio

(1961) Began exclusionary rule. Courts cannot use evidence attained by police illegally.

Marbury v. Madison

(1803) established the "very essence of judicial duty" is deciding what laws conform to the Constitution -- ("Judicial Review")

McCulloch v. Maryland

(1819) U.S. Constitution is "the supreme law of the land." This case began the process of expanding the power of the federal government through the necessary and proper clause. (Implied powers; since Congress has the power to tax and spend, the creation of a nation bank is implied (necessary and proper) to that end.)

Miranda v. Arizona

(1966) criminal suspect's rights include being informed of rights to counsel and to remain silent

Miller v. California

(1973) A first amendment case. The Court defined obscenity. To be obscene, the work, taken as a whole, must be judged by "the average person applying contemporary community standards" to appeal to the "prurient interest" or to depict "in a patently offensive way, sexual conduct specifically defined by applicable state law" and to lack "serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value."

Miller v. Johnson

(1995) States cannot draw congressional districts in which race is the primary consideration.

Near v. Minnesota

(1931) Court would not allow prior restraint on the press

New York Times v. Sullivan

(1964) A state cannot, under the 1st and 14th Amendments, award [libel] damages to a public official for defamatory falsehood relating to his official conduct unless he proves "actual malice" - that the statement was made with knowledge of its falsity or with reckless disregard of whether it was true or false

New York Times Co. v. US

(1971) "Pentagon Papers" case decided Nixon's attempted "prior restraint" was unconstitutional interference w/ press freedom.

Plessy v. Ferguson

(1896) upheld racial discrimination: "separate but equal"

Roe v. Wade

(1973) Certain state criminal abortion laws involve the Due Process clause of the 14th Amendment, which protects against state action the (impied) right to privacy in the Bill of Rights.

Roth v. US

(1957) obscene material is not protected by the 1st Amendment

San Antonio Independent School District v. Rodriguez

(1972) Education is not within the limited category of rights recognized by the Supreme Court as guaranteed by the Constitution.

Shaw v. Reno

(1993) North Carolina congressional district 12 was an unacceptable form of racial gerrymandering. This ruling was better defined in Miller v. Johnson.

Schenck v. US

(1919) The Supreme Court (in a unanimous opinion by Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes) announced the "clear-and-present-danger test": whether the words used as used in such circumstances and are of such a nature as to create a clear and present danger that they will bring about the substantive evils that Congress has a right to prevent (famous comment that the Constitution would not protect a person who falsely shouts fire in a theatre and starts a panic)

Texas v. Johnson

(1989) Flag burning case. State statutes against flag desecration are unconstitutional limits on freedom of speech. Symbolic speech is protected by the constitution.

Tinker v. Des Moines Community School District

(1969) Freedom of speech held to include students wearing black armbands at school to protest the Vietnam War.

US v. Nixon

(1974) Limited executive privilege. Nixon had to turn over personal tapes relating to Watergate case. The president's confidentiality was subordinate to due process of law and the administration of criminal justice.

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