Barron v. Baltimore
Decision that limited the application of the Bill of Rights to the actions of Congress alone.
Gitlow v. New York
Incorporated the free speech clause of the First Amendment, ruling that the states were not completely free to limit forms of political expression.
Near v. Minnesota
By ruling that a state law violated the freedom of the press, the Supreme Court incorporated the free press provision of the First Amendment.
Palko v. Connecticut
Set the Court's rationale of selective incorporation, a judicial doctrine whereby most but not all of the protections found in the Bill of Rights are made applicable to the states via the Fourteenth Amendment.
Engel v. Vitale
The Court ruled that the recitation in public classrooms of a non-denominational prayer was unconstitutional and a violation of the establishment clause.
Lemon v. Kurtzman
The Court determined that direct government assistance to religious schools is unconstitutional In the majority opinion, the Court created what has become known as the "Lemon Test" for deciding if a law is in violation of the establishment clause.
Church of Lukumi Babalu Aye v. City of Hialeah
Court ruled that laws banning animal sacrifice were unconstitutional because they targeted the Santeria religion specifically.
Smith v. Oregon
The Court declared that a law banning peyote use was constitutional because it did not specifically target the Native American Church.
Schenck v. US
Case in which the Supreme Court interpreted the First Amendment to allow Congress to restrict speech that is "of such a nature as to create a clear and present danger that will bring about the substantive evils that Congress has a right to prevent."
Brandenburg v. Ohio
The Court fashioned the direct incitement test for deciding whether certain kinds of speech could be regulated by the government. This test holds that advocacy of illegal action is protected by the First Amendment unless imminent action is intended and likely to occur.
New York TImes Co. v. US
Also called the Pentagon Papers case; the Supreme Court ruled that any attempt by the government to prevent expression carried "a heavy presumption" against its constitutionality.
Nebraska Press Association v. Stuart
Prior restraint case; the Court ruled that a trial judge could not prohibit the publication or broadcast of information about a murder trial.
Stromberg v. California
The Court overturned the conviction of a director of a Communist youth camp under a state statute prohibiting the display of a red flag.
Tinker v. Des Moines
Upheld student's rights to express themselves by wearing black armbands symbolizing protest of the Vietnam War.
R.A.V. v. City of St. Paul
The Court concluded that St. Paul, Minnesota's Bias-Motivated Crime Ordinance violated the First Amendment because it regulated speech based on the content of the speech.
New York Times Co. v. Sullivan
Supreme Court ruling that simply publishing a defamatory falsehood is not enough to justify a libel judgment. "Actual malice" must be proved to support a finding of libel against a public figure.
Chaplinsky v. New Hampshire
Established the Supreme Court's rationale for distinguishing between protected and unprotected speech. Fighting words
Roth v. US
The Court held that in order to be obscene, material must be "utterly without redeeming social value."
Miller v. California
Case wherein the Supreme Court began to formulate rules designed to make it easier for states to regulate obscene materials and to return to communities a greater role in determining what is obscene.
US v. Williams
Court made it illegal to send or receive images online that are indistinguishable from that of a minor in a sexual act.
Dred Scott v. Sandford
Concluded that the U.S. Congress lacked the constitutional authority to bar slavery in the territories; this decision narrowed the scope of national power while it enhanced that of the states. Also declared that slaves couldn't sue since they weren't citizens. This case marks the first time since Marbury v. Madison that the Supreme Court found an act of Congress unconstitutional.
US v. Miller
The last time the Supreme Court addressed the constitutionality of the Second Amendment; ruled that the amendment was only intended to protect a citizen's right to own ordinary militia weapons.
Miranda v. Arizona
The Fifth Amendment requires that individuals arrested for a crime must be advised of their right to remain silent and to have counsel present.
Weeks v. US
Case wherein the Supreme Court adopted the exclusionary rule, which bars the use of illegally obtained evidence at trial.
Mapp v. Ohio
Incorporated a portion of the Fourth Amendment by establishing that illegally obtained evidence cannot be sued at trial.
Batson v. Kentucky
Peremptory challenges cannot be used to exclude all people of a given race (in this case, African Americans) from a jury pool.
Maryland v. Craig
The confrontation clause of the Sixth Amendment does not guarantee defendants an absolute right to come face to face with their accusers.
Furman v. Georgia
The Supreme Court used this case to end capital punishment, at least in the short run.
Gregg v. Georgia
Overturning Furman v. Georgia, the case ruled that Georgia's rewritten death penalty statute is constitutional.
McCleskey v. Zant
On this appeal of the 1987 McCleskey case, the Court produced new standards designed to make it much more difficult for death-row inmates to file repeated appeals.
House v. Bell
A Tennessee death-row inmate who had otherwise exhausted his federal appeals was provided an exception due to the availability of DNA evidence suggesting his innocence; the case recognized the potential exculpatory power of DNA evidence.
Griswold v. Connecticut
Supreme Court case that established the Constitution's implied right to privacy. (Birth control case)
Roe v. Wade
The Supreme Court found that a woman's right to an abortion was protected by the right to privacy that could be implied from specific guarantees found in the Bill of Rights and the Fourteenth Amendment.
Webster v. Reproductive Health Services
In upholding several restrictive abortion regulations, the Court opened the door for state governments to enact new restrictions on abortion.
Planned Parenthood v. Casey
This case was an unsuccessful attempt to challenge Pennsylvania's restrictive abortion regulations.
Stenberg v. Carhart
The Court ruled that a Nebraska "partial birth" abortion statute was unconstitutionally vague and unenforceable, calling into question the laws of twenty-nine other states.
Lawrence v. Texas
The Court reversed its 1986 ruling in Bowers v. Hardwick by finding a Texas statute that banned sodomy to be unconstitutional.
Bowers v. Hardwick
Unsuccessful attempt to challenge Georgia's sodomy law. The case was overturned by Lawrence v. Texas.
Gonzales v. Oregon
Held that the Justice Department does not have the authority to block physician assisted suicides.
Civil Rights Cases
Names attached to five cases brought under the Civil Rights Act of 1857. In 1883, the Supreme Court decided that discrimination in a variety of public accommodations could not be prohibited by the act because such discrimination was private discrimination and not state discrimination.
Plessy v. Ferguson
Challenged a Louisiana statute requiring that railroads provide separate but equal accommodations for blacks and whites. The Court found that separate but equal accommodations did not violate the equal protection clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.
Muller v. Oregon
Case that ruled Oregon's law barring women from working more than ten hours a day was constitutional; also an attempt to define women's unique status as mothers to justify their differential treatment.
Brown v. Board of Education
Supreme court decision holding that school segregation is inherently unconstitutional because it violates the Fourteenth Amendment's guarantee of equal protection; marked the end of legal segregation in the US.
Brown v. Board of Education II
Follow-up to Brown v. Board of Education, this case laid out the process for school desegregation and established the concept of dismantling systems "with all deliberate speed."
Cooper v. Aaron
Case wherein the Court broke with tradition and issued a unanimous decision against the Little Rock School Board, ruling that the district's evasive schemes to avoid the Brown II decision were illegal.
Swann v. Charlotte-Mecklenberg School District
The Supreme Court ruled that all vestiges of de jure discrimination must be eliminated at once.
Hoyt v. Florida
The Court ruled that an all-male jury did not violate a woman's rights under the Fourteenth Amendment.
Reed v. Reed
Turned the tide in terms of constitutional litigation, ruling that the equal protection clause of the Fourteenth Amendment prohibited unreasonable classifications based on sex.
Craig v. Boren
The Court ruled that keeping drunk drivers off the roads may be an important governmental objective, but allowing women aged eighteen to twenty-one to drink alcoholic beverages while prohibiting men of the same age from drinking is not substantially related to that goal.
Hernandez v. Texas
Supreme Court decision that said it was unconstitutional to keep Mexican-Americans off of juries.
San Antonio Independent School District v. Rodriguez
MALDEF failed to convince the Court that educational funds should be distributed equally among school districts.
LULAC v. Perry
The Court ruled that a redistricting plan in Texas did not intentionally limit Latino representation.
Yick Wo v. Hopkins
The Court found that a San Francisco law banning cleaners from operating in wooden buildings violated the Fourteenth Amendment in its application
Korematsu v. US
In this case, the Court ruled that the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II was not unconstitutional.
Romer v. Evans
A Colorado constitutional amendment precluding any legislative, executive, or judicial action at any state or local level designed to bar discrimination based on sexual preference was ruled not rational or reasonable.
Regents of the University of California v. Bakke
Supreme Court decision holding that a state university could not admit less qualified individuals solely because of their race.