Marbury v. Madison (1803)
Established the Supreme Court's right of Judicial Review. Strengthened the judiciary in relation to other branches of government
McCulloch v. Maryland (1819)
Supported the use of the elastic clause to expand federal power. Established the principle of national supremacy--that the Constitution and federal laws overrule state laws when the two conflict
Gibbons v. Ogden (1824)
Established the basis of congressional regulation of interstate commerce. Reinforced the supremacy of national law over state law when the two conflict.
Worcester v. Georgia (1832)
Stated that treaties between the United States government and Indian nations are the supreme law of the land. Declared that the federal government, not the state, had exclusive jurisdiction over Cherokee nation's territory; therefore, Georgia laws taking jurisdiction of Cherokee people and land were void. President Jackson supported Georgia in defying this ruling, and Native American removal followed.
Scott v. Sandford (1857)
Declared that slaves were property and that slaveholders could take them anywhere, without risk of the slaves being freed. Ruled that African Americans were not citizens. Also declared that the Missouri Compromise unconstitutional; this decision was overturned by the 13th and 14th Amendment
Civil Rights Cases (1883)
Judged that racial discrimination by private persons did not place the "badge of slavery" of African Americans, nor did it keep them in servitude. Ruled that neither Congress nor the Court has the powers to deal with private acts of discrimination.
In Re Debs (1895)
Reinforced the right of Congress to regulate interstate commerce extends to the commerce that is conducted by railroad and highway. Ruled that the federal government has the right to intervene forcibly to eliminate monopolies in transportation of people, property, and mail.
Plessy v. Ferguson (1896)
Gave legal justification for racial segregation for different races were legal as long as those facilities were equal to one another. Overturned in 1954 by Brown v. Board of Education
Schneck v. United States (1919)
Established limits on free speech holding that this right is not absolute. Set the 'clear and present danger' standard for when free speech can be restricted.
Korematsu v. United States (1944)
Ruled that the forcible relocation of Japanese Americans to Wartime Relocation Agency camps during WWII was legal.
Brown v. Board of Education (1954)
Ruled that segregation in education creates inequality. Overturned Plessy v. Ferguson and nullified the concept of separate but equal.
Mapp v Ohio (1961)
Upheld the principle that evidence found illegally could not be used against a criminal. Clarified the need for search warrants and the use of the exclusionary rule.
Engle v. Vitale (1962)
Reinforced the separation of church and state. Ruled that use of the public schools to encourage prayer or other religious practices is a direct violation of the establishment clause.
Gideon v. Wainwright (1963)
Ruled that to deny legal representation to defendants who can not afford to pay for it is a violation of those individual's constitutional rights.
Heart of Atlanta Motel v. United States (1964)
Found racial segregation of private facilities engaged in interstate commerce unconstitutional.
Miranda v. Arizona (1966)
Established the requirement to inform people accused of crimes that they have the right to remain silent and receive legal representation before they say anything that can be held against them in court.
Tinker v. Des Moines Independent Community School District (1969)
Ruled that certain kinds of nonverbal communication can be protected under the 1st Amendment
New York Times Co. v. United States (1971)
Gave the media more power against governmental secrecy.
Roe v. Wade (1973)
Ruled that state laws that criminalize abortion are unconstitutional
United States v. Nixon (1974)
Limited the President's right to confidentiality. Gave federal courts the right to decide when and how that confidentiality should be limited.
New Jersey . T.L.O. (1985)
Ruled that juveniles have the right to the same protection as adults against illegal search and seizure. More clearly defined what constituted a legal search and seizure.
Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pennsylvania Et Al. v. Casey (1992)
Struck down the portions of a Pennsylvania law requiring (1) that a woman seeking an abortion must wait 24 hours between being informed about the procedure and having it preformed and (2) that married women must inform her husband that she planned to have an abortion. Upheld the portion of the law requiring minors to inform their parents before having an abortion.