Supreme Court Cases

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US History

The Function of the Supreme Court

To interpret laws -a process called Judicial Reviews
To determine whether or not an act violate the US Constitution

Judicial Activism

The belief that federal judges use their power of judicial review to shape laws that will solve problems of society.

The function of the courts & judges is to INTERPRET law, NOT to make law.

Strict Vs. Loose Interpretation of the Constitution

A Strict Constructionist believes that the constitution she be followed exactly

A Loose Constructionist believes that the constitution can interpreted in different ways

Mar-bury v. Madison (1803)

Established the Supreme Court's power of Judicial Review To review the constitutionality of laws and actions

McCulloch v. Maryland (1819)

The Constitution and federal laws overrule state laws when they are in conflict

Dred Scott v. Sanford (1857)

African - Americans are not citizens- they are property and owned by their masters

Plessy v. Ferguson (1896)

Separate accommodations for colored people and whites was legal as long as they were separate (Separate but equal is ok).
Allowed for segregation of the races in public places

Brown v. Board of Education (1954)

Reversed Plessy vs. Ferguson
Separate is NOT equal
Gave way to desegregation of public facilities

Tinker v. Des Moines (1969)

Students & teachers do not completely shed their constitutional rights to free speech and expression at the school house gate

West Virginia v. Barnett (1943)

The government, or its agent(s) such as a school, cannot force a student to confess to a set of beliefs such as the Pledge Of Allegiance
Expanded rights of students in public schools

Schenck v. U.S. ( 1919)

At times of clear and present danger the government can limit a person's right to free speech. Also if the speech of a person creates a clear and present danger to the US, the speech may be limited
Free speech is NOT an absolute right when there is a clear and present danger present.

Korematsu v. U.S. (1944)

Upheld the governments decision to put Japanese Americans into "relocation " camps during WWII
The gov't can limit a group/person's civil rights during wartime

Miranda v. Arizona (1966)

The police must inform an accused person of their constitutional rights to silence, an attorney, and self incrimination, BEFORE being questioned about a crime
Evidence obtained with being informed of these rights cannot be used in court as evidence; this is known as the - Exclusionary Rule
Expanded the rights of people accused of a crime

Gideon v. Wainwright ( 1963)

A person who can not afford an attorney has a constitutional right to have an attorney, and the gov't must provide/pay for his/her attorney
Expanded the rights of people accused of a crime

U.S. v. Nixon (1974)

The President of the US is not above the law
Executive Privilege is not absolute
Separation of powers does not protect a President from the judicial process

Roe v. Wade (1973)

The individual states cannot make laws that ban a women's right to choose an abortion.
The right for a woman to choose an abortion is protected under the constitution

Gibbons v. Ogden

"commerce clause'' - the federal government's right to regulate interstate commerce

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