Marbury v. Madison
The court established its role as the arbiter of the constitutionality of federal laws, the principle is known as judicial review (see also Federalist Papers, 78).
Fletcher v. Peck
The decision stems from the Yazoo land cases, 1803, and upholds the sanctity of contracts.
McCulloch v. Maryland
The Court ruled that states cannot tax the federal government, i.e. the Bank of the United States; the phrase "the power to tax is the power to destroy"; confirmed the constitutionality of the Bank of the United States.
Dartmouth College v. Woodward
New Hampshire had attempted to take over Dartmouth College by revising its colonial charter. The Court ruled that the charter was protected under the contract clause of the U. S. Constitution; upholds the sanctity of contracts.
Gibbons v. Ogden
Clarified the commerce clause and affirmed Congressional power over interstate commerce.
Scott v. Sanford
Speaking for a widely divided court, Chief Justice Taney ruled that Dred Scott was not a citizen and had no standing in court; Scott's residence in a free state and territory had not made him free since he returned to Missouri; Congress had no power to prohibit slavery in a territory (based on the 5th Amendment right of a person to be secure from seizure of property), thus voiding the Missouri Compromise of 1820.
Plessy v. Ferguson
Legalized segregation in publicly owned facilities on the basis of "separate but equal."
Schenck v. U. S.
Unanimously upheld the Espionage Act of 1917 which declared that people who interfered with the war effort were subject to imprisonment; declared that the 1st Amendment right to freedom of speech was not absolute; free speech could be limited if its exercise presented a "clear and present danger."
Schechter v. U. S.
Sometimes called "the sick chicken case." Unanimously declared the National Industrial Recovery Act (NIRA) unconstitutional on three grounds: that the act delegated legislative power to the executive; that there was a lack of constitutional authority for such legislation; and that it sought to regulate businesses that were wholly intrastate in character.
Brown v. Board of Education
Unanimous decision declaring "separate but equal" unconstitutional.
Gideon v. Wainwright
Extends to the defendant the right of counsel in all state and federal criminal trials regardless of their ability to pay.
Escobedo v. Illinois
Ruled that a defendant must be allowed access to a lawyer before questioning by police.
Miranda v. Arizona
The court ruled that those subjected to in-custody interrogation be advised of their constitutional right to an attorney and their right to remain silent.
Roe v. Wade
The court legalized abortion by ruling that state laws could not restrict it during the first three months of pregnancy.
U. S. v. Richard Nixon
The court rejected Richard Nixon's claim to an absolutely unqualified privilege against any judicial process.
Bakke v. Regents of the University of California
Ambiguous ruling by a badly divided court that dealt with affirmative action programs that used race as a basis of selecting participants. The court general upheld affirmative action, but with a 4/4/1 split, it was a very weak decision.
Gitlow v. New York
was a historically important case argued before the United States Supreme Court in which the Court ruled that the Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution had extended the reach of certain provisions of the First Amendment—specifically the provisions protecting freedom of speech and freedom of the press—to the governments of the individual states.
Engel v. Vitale
was a landmark United States Supreme Court case that determined that it is unconstitutional for state officials to compose an official school prayer and require its recitation in public schools.
Abington Township School District v. Schempp
declared school sponsored Bible reading in public schools in the United States to be unconstitutional.
West Virginia State Board of Education v. Barnette
was a decision by the Supreme Court of the United States that held that the Free Speech Clause of the First Amendment to the United States Constitution protected students from being forced to salute the American flag and say the Pledge of Allegiance in school.
Near v. Minnesota
decision that recognized the freedom of the press from prior restraints on publication, a principle that was applied to free speech generally in subsequent jurisprudence.
New York Times v. The United States
The ruling made it possible for the New York Times and Washington Post newspapers to publish the then-classified Pentagon Papers without risk of government censure.
Tinker v. Des Moines School District
protected freedom of speech when three students were suspended from school for passively wearing black armbands to school protesting the vietnam war
Mapp v. Ohio
was a landmark case in criminal procedure, in which the United States Supreme Court decided that evidence obtained in violation of the Fourth Amendment, which protects against "unreasonable searches and seizures", may not be used in criminal prosecutions in state courts, as well as federal courts.
Korematsu v. the United states
ruled that imprisonment of japanese americans was constitutional