Gitlow v. New York
1925: S.C. says the First Amendment applies to states.
Palko v. Connecticut
1937: S.C. says states must observe all "fundamental" liberties.
Schenk v. United States
1919 Speech may be punished if it presents a clear and present danger test of illegal acts.
Chaplinsky v. New Hampshire
1942: "Fighting words" are not protected by the first amendment.
New York Times v. Sullivan
1964: To libel a public figure, there must be actual malice.
Tinker v. Des Moines
1969: Public school students have the right to wear black armbands to protest the Vietnam War when such display does not disrupt class
Miller v. California
1973: Obscenity defined as appealing to prurient interests of an average person with materials that lack literary, artistic, political, or scientific value.
Texas v. Johnson
1989: There may not be a law to ban flag burning.
Reno v. ACLU
1977: A law that bans sending "indecent" material to minors over the internet is unconstitutional because "indecent" is too broad a term.
McConnel v. Federal Election Commision
2003: Upholds 2002 campaign finance reform law
FEC v. Wisconsin Right to Live
2007: Prohibits campaign finance reform law from banning political advocacy.
Pierve v. Society of Sisters
1925: Though states may require public education, they may not require that students attend only public schools
Everson v. Board of Education
1947: The wall-of-separation principle is announced.
Zorauch v. Clauson
1952: States may allow students to be released from school attend religious instruction.
Engel v. Vitale
1962: There may not be a prayer, even a nondenominational one, in public schools.
Lemon v. Kurtzman
1971: Three tests are described for deciding whether the government is improperly involved with religion.
Lee v. Weisman
1992: Public schools may not have clergy lead prayers at graduation ceremonies.
Santa Fe Independent School District v. Doe
Students may not lead prayers before the start of a football game at a public school.
Zelman v. Simmons-Harris
2002: Voucher plan to pay for school bills is upheld.
Mapp v. Ohio
1961: Evidence illegally gathered by the police may not be used in a criminal investigation
Gideon v. Wainwright
1964: Persons charged with a crime have the right to an attorney even though they cannot afford one.
Miranda v. Arizona
1966: Court describes ruling that police must give to arrested persons
United States v. Leon
1984: Illegally obtained evidence may be used in a trial if it was gathered in good faith without violating the principles of the Mapp decision.
Dickerson v. United States
2000: The Mapp decision is based on the Constitution and it cannot be altered by Congress passing a law.
Rasul v. Bush and Hamdi v. Rumsfeld
2004: Terrorist detainees must have access to a neutral court to decide of they are legally held.
Dred Scott Case (Scott v. Sanford)
1857: Congress had no authority to ban slavery in a territory. A slave was considered property.
Plessy v. Fergueson
1896: Upheld separate but equal facilities for black and white people on railroad cars.
Brown v. Board of Education
1954: Said separate public schools are inherently unequal, thus starting racial desegregation
Green v. County School Board of New Kent County
1968: Banned a freedom-of-choice plan for integrated schools, suggesting blacks and whites must actually attend racially mixed schools.
Swann v. Charlotte-Mecklenburg Board of Education
1971: Approved busing and redrawing district lines as ways of integrating public schools
Reed v. Reed
1971: Gender discrimination violates the equal protection clause of the Constitution.
Craig v. Boren
1976: Gender discrimination can only be justified if it serves "important governmental objectives" and be "substantially related to those objectives."
Rostker v. Goldberg
1981: Congress can draft men without drafting women.
United States v. Virginia
1996: State may not finance an all-male military school.
Griswold v. Connecticut
1965: Found a "right to privacy" in the Constitution that would ban any state law against selling contraceptives
Roe v. Wade
1973; State laws against abortion were unconstitutional
Webster v, Reproductive Health Services
1989: Allowed states to ban abortions from public hospitals and permitted doctors to test to see if fetuses were viable
Planned Parenthood v. Casey
1992: Reaffirmed Roe v. Wade but upheld certain limits on its use.
Gonzales v. Carthart
2007: Federal law may ban certain forms of partial birth abortion.
Regents of the University of California v. Bakke
1978: a quota-like ban on Bakke's admission was unconstitutional but that diversity was a legitimate goal that could be pursued by taking race into account
United Steel Workers v. Weber
1979: this case upheld the use of race in an employment agreement between the steelworkers union and steel plant.
Richmond v. Croson
1989: Affirmative action plans must be judged by the strict scrutiny standard that requires any race-conscious plan to be narrowly tailored to serve a compelling interest.
Grutter v. Bollinger and Gratz v. Bollinger
2003: Numerical benefits cannot be used to admit minorities into college, but race can be a "plus factor" in making those decisions.
Parents v. Seattle School District
2007: Race cannot be used to decide which students may attend especially popular high schools because this was not "narrowly tailored" to achieve a "compelling" goal.
Lawrence v. Texas
2003: State law may not ban sexual relations between same-sex partners
Boy Scouts of America v. Dale
2000: A private organization may ban gays from its membership.