Dartmouth College v. Woodward (1819)
Made the contract clause of the Constitution a powerful instrument to protect property rights against state challenges.
McCulloch v. Maryland (1819)
Established national supremacy of the Constitution over the power of the states.
Gibbons v. Ogden (1824)
Increased federal power over interstate commerce by implying that anything concerning interstate trade could potentially be regulated by the federal government.
Barron v. Baltimore (1833)
Determined that the Bill of Rights applied only to the national government, not the state governments.
Gitlow v. New York (1925)
Declared that state limits on speech and press should not exceed federal limits.
Smith v. Allwight (1944)
The denying of African Americans the right to vote in a primary election was found to be a violation of the 15th amendment.
Dennis v. United Stated (1951)
Found Smith Act unconstitutional; one can advocate the overthrow of the government as long as not actively seeking a way to do so.
Brown v. Board (1954)
Declared school segregation unconstitutional; "separate education facilities are inherently unequal."
Brown v. Board II (1955)
Ordered schools to desegregate "with all due and deliberate speed."
Mapp v. Ohio (1961)
Established the exclusionary rule for police searches under the 4th amendment and that illegally obtained evidence cannot be used in a criminal trial.
Engel v. Vitale (1962)
Prohibited state-sponsored recitation of prayer in public school through the establishment clause of the 1st amendment.
Baker v. Carr (1962)
Ordered state representative districts to be near as equal as possible: 'One man, one vote."
Abbington v. Schempp (1963)
Prohibited devotional bible reading by virtue of the establishment clause of the 1st amendment.
Gideon v. Wainright (1963)
Ordered states to provide legal defense in felony cases for those who cannot afford a lawyer.
New York Times v. Sullivan (1964)
The Court held that the 1st amendment protects the publication of all statements, even false ones that are considered libel or slander, about the conduct of public officials except when statements are made with actual malice.
Griswold v. Connecticut (1965)
Established the implied right of privacy in birth-control case through the 1st, 4th, 5th, 9th, and 14th amendments.
Miranda v. Arizona (1966)
Established the verbal Miranda warnings (right to counsel and protection against self-incrimination) that must be given to a suspect during arrest and detention.
Epperson v. Arkansas (1968)
Prohibited states from banning the teaching of evolution in public schools because that would violate the establishment clause and the free speech clause.
Brandenburg v. Ohio (1969)
A leader of the Ku Klux Klan, made a speech at a Klan rally and was later convicted under an Ohio criminal syndicalism law. The Court found the law unconstitutional; the defendant's right to freed speech as protected by the 1st and 14th amendments had been violated.
Swann v. Charlotte-Meckenburg (1970)
Ruled that the federal courts are constitutionally authorized to remedy state-imposed segregation with broad and flexible powers.
New York Times v. United States (1971)
The Pentagon Papers case ruled that the Nixon administration's efforts to prevent the publication—prior restraint—of what it termed "classified information" violated the 1st amendment.
Roe v. Wade (1973)
`Established national abortion guidelines by extending the inferred right of privacy from Griswold (a woman's freedom to make a private decision about her reproductive practices).
Buckley v. Valeo (1976)
Allowed legislatures to limit campaign contributions, but not how much a candidate can spend of their own money.
U.C. Regents v. Bakke (1978)
Eliminated strict racial quotas under affirmative action but allowed race to be one of the factors relating to admission status.
INS v. Lopez (1984)
The 14th amendment and the exclusionary rule do not apply in deportation proceedings.
Webster v. Reproductive Health Services (1989)
Did not overturn Roe v. Wade, but allowed states to restrict access to abortions.
Hazelwood v. Kuhlmeier (1988)
The Court held that the 1st amendment did not require schools to affirmatively promote particular types of student speech, which equated into censorship of a school paper.
Shaw v. Reno (1993), Miller v. Johnson (1995)
Race cannot be the sole or predominant factor in redrawing legislative district boundaries (cannot segregate voters based on race).
United States v. Lopez (1995)
Finds that firearms in schools have nothing to do with interstate commerce.
Adarand v. Pena (1995)
The presumption of disadvantage based on race alone, and consequent allocation of favored treatment is a discriminatory practice that violates the 5th amendment's Equal Protection Clause. The allocation of favored treatment "must serve a compelling government interest, and must be narrowly tailored to further that interest."
Clinton v. New York (1998)
Banned presidential use of line-item veto as a violation of legislative powers (an unconstitutional delegation of authority to the president).
Bush v. Gore (2000)
Use of the 14th amendment's equal protection clause to stop the Florida recount; the ballots cannot be devalued by "later arbitrary and disparate treatment."
Atkins v. Virginia (2002)
Death penalty for mentally retarded found unconstitutional, for it violates the "cruel and unusual punishment" clause of the 18th amendment.
Zelman v. Simmons-Harris (2002)
Public money can be used to send disadvantaged children to private schools on voucher programs; it does not violate the establishment clause.
Board v. Pottawatomie (2002)
School districts can give random drug tests only to those students who are involved in extracurricular activities.
Ashcroft v. ACLU (2002)
Struck down a federal ban on "virtual" child pornography; court found it was not the best means to protect children, that it covered too much protected material, and that blocking software installed on home computers would do as good a job without preventing free speech.