Scott v. Sandford (Dred Scott case)
Blacks, whether free or slave, cannot be U.S. citizens. Consequently, they cannot sue in federal courts. Also the Federal Government cannot forbid slavery in the Western Territories before they access statehood. Voided by the 13th and 14th Amendments.
Plessy v. Ferguson
Segregated facilities for blacks and whites are constitutional under the doctrine of separate but equal, which held for close to 60 years
Korematsu v. United States
American citizens of Japanese descent can be interned and deprived of basic constitutional rights; first application of the strict scrutiny test
Brown v. Bd. of Educ. of Topeka
Segregated schools in the several states are unconstitutional in violation of the 14th Amendment, overturning Plessy
Bolling v. Sharpe
Segregated schools in the District of Columbia violated the 5th Amendment (companion case to Brown)
Loving v. Virginia
Laws prohibiting marriage between races (anti-miscegenation statutes) are unconstitutional
Jones v. Alfred H. Mayer Co.
The federal government may prohibit discrimination in housing by private parties under the Civil Rights Act of 1968
Gates v. Collier
Brought an end to the trusty system and flagrant inmate abuse at Mississippi State Penitentiary. Decreed that Corporal Punishment against prisoners was considered cruel and unusual punishment and abolished racial segregation in prison
Regents of the Univ. of Cal. v. Bakke
Race based set-asides in educational opportunities violate the Equal Protection Clause of the Constitution. The case leaves the door open to some race usage in admission decisions.
Adarand Constructors, Inc. V. Pena
Race based discrimination, including discrimination in favor of minorities (affirmative action), is subject to strict judicial scrutiny
Grutter v. Bollinger
A narrowly tailored use of race in student admission decisions may be permissible under the Fourteenth Amendment's Equal Protection Clause, as a diverse student body is beneficial for all students
Frontiero v. Richardson
Sex-based discriminations are inherently suspect. A statute giving benefits to the spouses of male, but not female members of the uniformed services (on the assumption that only the former were dependent) is unconstitutional
Craig v. Boren
Setting different minimum ages according to sex (female 18, male 21) to be allowed to buy beer is unconstitutional sex-based discrimination, contrary to the equal protection clause
United States v/ Virginia
Found that sex-based "separate but equal" military training facilities violate the 14th Amendment's Equal Protection Clause
Bowers v. Hardwick
A state may declare the private practice in one's bedroom of certain sex acts to be a crime. Overturned in Lawrence v. Texas
Romer v. Evans
A law cannot prohibit anti-discrimination laws for homosexuals (founded on the Equal Protection Clause)
Lawrence v. Texas
Texas law that prohibits gays from engaging in consensual sodomy in private is an unreasonable invasion of privacy by the due process clause of the 14th Amendment
Griswold v. Connecticut
Married people are entitled to use of contraception and making it a crime to sell them to same is unconstitutional unconstitutional (later extended to unmarried adults)
Roe v. Wade
Most restrictions on first-trimester abortions are unconstitutional
Planned Parenthood of Se. Pa. v. Casey
Pennsylvania's abortion law is unconstitutional and Roe v. Wade is still a valid precedent
Cruzan v. Dir., Mo. Dep't of Health
Family having requested the termination of life-sustaining treatment of their vegetative relative, the state may constitutionally oppose this request, for lack of evidense of a clear earlier wish by said relative. (The state later withdrew its objection)
Washington v. Glucksberg
Washington's prohibition on assisting suicide is constitutional.
Vacco v. Quill
New York's prohibition on assisting suicide does not violate the Equal Protection Clause
Gonzales v. Oregon
United States Attorney General could not enforce the Controlled Substances Act against physicians prescribing drugs for the assisted suicide of the terminally ill as permitted by an Oregon law.
Heart of Atlanta Motel, Inc. v. United States
The Federal Civil Rights Act of 1964 can be applied to a place of accommodation, prohibiting discrimination against blacks
Katzenbach v. McClung
The power of Congress to regulate interstate commerce extends to a restaurant not patronized by interstate travelers, as it served food that has moved in interstate commerce. This ruling makes the Civil Rights Act of 1964 apply virtually all business
City of Boerne v. Flores
In the context of Constitutional rights, Congress cannot invoke substantive change in Constitutional protections (here, the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993), but can only enact legislation that remedies or prevents actual violations of existing rights
Mapp. v. Ohio
Evidence obtained by searches and seizures in violation of the United States Constitution is inadmissible in a criminal trial in a state court
Katz. United States
Evidence obtained by wiretapping a public phone booth without a warrant is not admissible in court, just as if a private phone line had been eavesdropped.
Vernonia School District 47J v. Acton
Schools may require random drug testing
Gideon v. Wainwright
Anyone charged with a serious criminal offense has the right to an attorney and the state must provide on eif they are unable to afford legal counsel
Escobedo v. Illinois
A person in police custody has the right to speak to an attorney
Miranda v. Arizona
Police must advise criminal suspects of their rights under the Constitution to remain silent, to consult with a lawyer and to have one appointed if he is an indigent. The interrogation must stop if the suspect stated he wishes to remain silent
Furman v. Georgia
The method then in effect for imposing the death penalty is unconstitutional
Jurek v. Texas
The "three-pronged" test for determining if the death penalty should be imposed is unconstitutional
Woodson v. North Carolina
North Carolina's mandatory death sentence statute violates the 8th and 14th Amendments
Gregg v. Georgia
Carefully drafted death penalty statutes may be constitutional. This ruling made executions possible again after Furman v. Georgia had stopped them
Proffitt v. Florida
Requirement of comparison of mitigating to aggravating factors to be used to impose death sentence is unconstitutional
Roberts v. Lousiana
Mandatory death sentences are unconstitutional
Roper v. Simmons
A sentence of death may not be imposed on juveniles
Marbury v. Madison
a case that established the Supreme Court's power to strike down acts of United States Congress that were in conflict with the Constitution (see judicial review).
Martin v. Hunter's Lessee
federal courts may review State court decisions when they rest on federal law or the federal constitution. This decision provides for the uniform interpretation of federal law throughout the various states.
McCulloch v. Maryland
The court stated the doctrine of implied powers, from the necessary and proper clause at Article I, section 8. To fulfill its goal, the federal government may use any means the constitution does not forbid (as opposed to only what the constitution explicitly allow or only what can be proved to be necessary). State government may in no way hinder the legitimate action of the federal government (here, Maryland cannot levy a tax on the Bank of the United States). The court has varied in time on the extents of the implied powers with a markedly narrower reading approximately from the 1840s to the 1930s.
United States v. Nixon
The President of the United States is not above the law.
South Dakota v. Dole
Withholding of Federal highway funds to force state to raise drinking age to 21 is permissible.
U.S. Term Limits v. Thornton
State law cannot set term limits on members of Congress.
United States v. Lopez
The Commerce clause of the Constitution does not give Congress the power to regulate guns in state-operated schools.
Clinton v. Jones
The President of the United States has no particular immunity, which could require civil law litigation against the President for a dispute unrelated to the office of President (e.g. having occurred before (s) he took office), to be stayed until the end of the President's term. Such delay would deprive plaintiffs, (and arguably the defendant), of the Sixth Amendment right to a speedy trial.
Printz v. United States
Brady Act requiring state official to execute a federal law (in doing background checks for gun ownership) is unconstitutional.
Schenck v. United States
Established the idea that "clear and present danger" in certain speech is not protected by the First Amendment. Schenck's attempts to obstruct recruitment processes were perceived as a "clear and present danger that will bring about the substantive evils that Congress has a right to prevent".
Chaplinsky v. New Hampshire
Established the "fighting words doctrine" that some words are not protected under the First Amendment because they are tantamount to violent actions.
Roth v. United States
Obscene material is not protected by the First Amendment.
New York Times v. Sullivan
Public officials, to prove they were libeled, must show not only that a statement is false, but also that it has been published with malicious intent
Brandenburg v. Ohio
Mere advocacy of the use of force, or of violation of law (in this case, by a Ku Klux Klan leader) is protected by the 1st Amendment free speech clause. Only inciting others to take direct and immediate unlawful action would be without constitutional protection.
Tinker v. Des Moines Independent Community School District
Wearing armbands is a legitimate form of protest under the First Amendment, even on public school grounds
Cohen v. California
One should not be convicted for wearing a jacket in a courtroom emblazoned with the phrase "F@#$ the Draft" (in the Vietnam War context), as this is communication, protected by the free speech clause of the 1st Amendment. The word "****" itself, clearly not directed at the hearer, is not in this particular instance a fighting word, and so not without constitutional protection.
New York Times v. United States
Government's desire to keep so-called "Pentagon Papers" classified is insufficient to overcome 1st Amendment hurdle.
Miller v. California
To be obscene, a work must fail several tests to determine its value to society, essentially having "no redeeming social value" to be so declared.
Hustler Magazine v. Falwell
A public figure shown in a parody must show actual malice to claim he is libeled.
Texas v. Johnson
Law prohibiting burning of the American flag is unconstitutional as violating the First Amendment
Barnes v. Glen Theatre, Inc.
Nude dancing is not protected by the 1st Amendment.
Reno v. ACLU
The Communications Decency Act, regulating certain content on the Internet, is so overbroad as to be an unconstitutional restraint on the 1st Amendment.
Erie v. Pap's A. M
Upholding the 1991 ruling that Nude dancing is not protected by the 1st Amendment.
Abington School Dist. v. Schempp (and Murray v. Curlett)
First Amendment non establishment clause forbids state mandated reading of the Bible, or recitation of the Lord's Prayer in public schools.
Lemon v. Kurtzman
For a law to be considered constitutional under the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment, the law must have a legitimate secular purpose, must not have the primary effect of either advancing or inhibiting religion, and must not result in an excessive entanglement of government and religion.
Wisconsin v. Yoder
Parents may remove children from public school for religious reasons.
Lee v. Weisman
Public schools inviting clergy to read prayer at an official ceremony (here a graduation ceremony) violates First Amendment non-establishment clause.
Church of Lukumi Babalu Aye v. City of Hialeah
Government must show a compelling interest to draw a statute targeting a religion's ritual (as opposed to a statute that happens to burden the ritual, but is not directed at it). Failing to show such an interest, the prohibition of animal sacrifice is a violation of First Amendment free exercise clause.
Rosenberger v. University of Virginia
University can't fund secular groups from student dues, then exclude religious ones that also qualify under the same funding scheme.
Agostini v. Felton
A government program sending government employees to parochial schools (and also, to other private schools) specifically to provide remedial education to disadvantaged children (and not to all children) does not violate the First Amendment non establishment clause.
Hurley v. Irish American Gay Group of Boston
private parade organizers have a right to exclude groups from participating with whose message they disagree.
Boy Scouts of America v. Dale
Private organizations' First Amendment right of expressive association allows them to choose their own membership and expel members based on their sexual orientation even if such discrimination would otherwise be prohibited by anti-discrimination legislation designed to protect minorities in public accommodations.
Fletcher v. Peck
first time the Court struck down a State law as unconstitutional. A State legislature (in this case, Georgia) can repeal a previous, corruptly made law (in this case, a land grant), but not void valid contracts made under this law.
The Paquete Habana
federal courts could look to customary international law because it is an integrated part of American law.
Lochner v. New York
asserted that the "right to free contract" or "liberty of contract" is implicit in the due process clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.
Missouri v. Holland
treaties made by the federal government are supreme over any state concerns about such treaties having abrogated any states' rights arising under the Tenth Amendment.
Goldberg v. Kelly
federal entitlement programs such as welfare conferred property rights on recipients, and their termination required procedural due process.
San Antonio Independent School District v. Rodriguez
use of property tax as means to finance public education is constitutional.
Chevron U.S.A., Inc. v. Natural Resources Defense Council, Inc.
government agencies' interpretation of its own mandate from Congress is entitled to judicial deference if the authority is ambiguous and the agency's interpretation is reasonable.
Sony Corp. of America v. Universal City Studios, Inc.
making of individual copies of complete television shows for purposes of time-shifting does not constitute copyright infringement, but is fair use.
Feist Publications v. Rural Telephone Service
originality, not sweat of the brow, is the touchstone of copyright protection.
Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals
expert evidence must be generally accepted in the scientific community (Daubert standard).
Breard v Greene
rejected jurisdiction of International Court of Justice in a capital punishment case dealing with a citizen of Paraguay.
Rice v. Collins
Habeas corpus relief may not be granted on the basis of debatable inferences used to overturn the trial court's finding vis-á-vis peremptory challenges
Rumsfeld v. Forum for Academic and Institutional Rights
law schools receiving federal funds may not ban military recruiters
United States v. Gonzalez-Lopez
trial court's erroneous deprivation of a criminal defendant's choice of counsel entitles him to reversal of his conviction
Hamdan v. Rumsfeld
Guantanamo Bay detainees may not be tried by a military commission under the Detainee Treatment Act of 2005, and said military commission violates the Uniform Code of Military Justice and the Geneva Conventions, both of which apply to the detainees, in that accused and their counsels may be excluded from their trial and knowing what evidence has been put against them
Lopez v. Gonzales
misdemeanor drug crimes as aggravated felonies
Philip Morris USA v. Williams
constitutional limitations on punitive damages
Gonzales v. Carhart
Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act
Microsoft v. AT&T
copying software in a foreign country cannot violate U.S. patent law
Hein v. Freedom From Religion Foundation
taxpayer standing to pursue an Establishment Clause claim against President Bush's faith-based initiative
Morse v. Frederick
free speech rights of high school students ("Bong Hits 4 Jesus")
Federal Election Commission v. Wisconsin Right to Life, Inc.
Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act's restriction on issue ads in election campaigns
Parents Involved in Community Schools v. Seattle School District No. 1
affirmative action; using race as a tie-breaker in assigning students to public schools. Meredith v. Jefferson County Board of Education (companion case)
Panetti v. Quarterman
executing the mentally ill
Watson v. United States
whether trading drugs for a gun constitutes use of a firearm under 18 U.S.C. § 924 and Bailey v. United States
Kimbrough v. United States
whether the 100:1 ratio between powder and crack cocaine imposed by the United States Sentencing Commission yields "reasonable" sentences
New Jersey v. Delaware
boundary dispute between New Jersey and Delaware involving the Twelve-Mile Circle
Baze v. Rees
constitutionality of lethal injection protocols under the Eighth Amendment
Crawford v. Marion County Election Board
constitutionality of requiring voters to show ID before voting
United States v. Williams
constitutionality of the PROTECT Act, a 2003 law intended to bolster federal restriction against child pornography, in the wake of Ashcroft v. Free Speech Coalition
Boumediene v. Bush
whether the Military Detainee Treatment Act of 2006 unconstitutionally suspends the writ of habeas corpus
Munaf v. Geren
habeas corpus statute extends to American citizens held overseas by American forces operating subject to an American chain of command
Indiana v. Edwards
may a criminal defendant be competent to stand trial yet simultaneously not competent to represent himself at that trial?
Exxon Shipping Co. v. Baker
legality of punitive damages award under federal maritime law for the Exxon Valdez oil spill
District of Columbia v. Heller
does the Second Amendment allows a state or local government to outlaw the private possession of handguns?
Davis v. Federal Election Commission
"Millionaire's amendment" to the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002 violates the First Amendment
Winter v. Natural Resources Defense Council
military preparedness outweighs environmental concerns, as Navy needs to train its crews to detect modern, silent submarines
Herring v. United States
evidence obtained during a search the police conducted as a result of an isolated act of negligence not related to the search is not subject to the exclusionary rule
Oregon v. Ice
the facts necessary for imposing consecutive prison terms need not be submitted to a jury in accordance with Apprendi v. New Jersey