21 terms

Court Cases

Marbury v. Madison (1803)
Separation of powers. The judiciary. Established the Supreme Court's right of judicial review. Strengthened the judiciary in relation to other branches of government
McCulloch v. Maryland (1819)
Federalism. National power. The judiciary. 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)
Federalism. Property rights and economic policy. The judiciary. 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)
Federalism. National power. Separation of powers. Equality. 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 jurisdiciton of Cherokee people and land were void. President Jackson supported Georgia in defying this ruling, and Native American removal followed.
Scott v. Sandford (1857)
The judiciary. Equality. 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. Declared the Missouri Compromise unconstitutional; this decision was overturned by the Thirteenth and Fourteenth Amendments.
Civil Rights Cases (1883)
Equality. National power. Judged that racial discrimination by private persons did not place the "badge of slavery" on African Americans nor keep them in servitude. Ruled that neither Congress nor the Court has the power to deal with private acts of discrimination.
Wabash, St. Louis & Pacific RR v. Illinois (1886)
National power. Federalism. The Supreme Court forbade any state to set rates, even within its own borders, on railroad traffic entering from or bound for another state. This paved the way for the creation of the Interstate Commerce Commission in 1887.
United States v. E.C. Knight Co. (1895)
National power. Ruled that Congress has the right to protect trade and commerce against unlawful restraints and monopolies.
In Re Debs (1895)
National power. Reinforced that 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)
Equality. Rights of minority groups. Gave legal justification for racial segregation by ruling that separate facilities for different races were legal as long as those facilities were equal to one another. Overturned in 1954 by Brown v. Board of Education
Northern Securities Co. v. United States (1904)
National power. Property rights and economic policy. Federal suit brought as part of Theodore Roosevelt's trust-busting using Sherman Antitrust Act. Court in 5-4 decision ruled that the Northern Securities Company was formed only to elimiate competition and ordered it to be dissolved.
Lochner v. New York (1905)
Property rights and economic policy. Civil liberties. Established that the Supreme Court has the power to oversee state regulations. Ruled that a New York law limiting baker's hours was unconstitutional because it interfered with workers' Fourteenth Amendment right to sell their labor to their employers. Found "no reasonable ground" to limit bakers to 10-hour days and 60-hour weeks in order to protect public health. Overthurned in 1917 by Bunting v. Oregon.
Muller v. Oregon (1908)
Civil liberties. Federalism. Equality. Rights of women. Let stand an Oregon law that limited women to a 10-hour work day in laundries or factories in order to protect women's health. Stated that the need of the state to protect women's health outweighted the liberty to make a contract (a liberty that was upheld in Lochner).
Schenck v. United States (1919)
Civil liberties. 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.
Schechter Poultry Corporation v. United States (1935)
Separation of powers. Property rights and economic policy. Placed limits on the ability of Congress to delegate legislative powers to President. Narrowly defined interstate commerce. Declared the New Deal's NRA unconstitutional
Korematshu v. United States (1944)
Civil liberties. Rights of minority groups. Ruled that the forcible relocation of Japanese Americans to Wartime Relocation Agency camps during World War II was legal.
Brown v. Board of Education (1954)
Equality. Rights of minorty groups. Ruled that segreation in education creates inequality. Overturned Plessy v. Ferguson and nullified the concept of "separate but equal."
Watkins v. United States (1957)
Civil liberties. Ruled that the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC) could not punish at will those witnesses who refused to cooperate.
Mapp v. Ohio (1961)
Civil liberties. Ruled that citizens are protected against unlawful search and seizure by the states as well as by the federal government.
Baker v. Carr (1962)
Avenues of representation, federalism. Upheld the principle that population is the only acceptable basis for the apportionment of seats in a legislative body. Established that the Supreme Court has juridiction over state reapportionment cases when that reapportionment threatens voters' rights.
Engel v. Vitale (1962)
Civil liberties. Reinforced the separation of chruch and state. Ruled that use of the public schools to encourage prayer or other religious practices is a direct violation of the establishment clause.