Supreme Court Cases
Terms in this set (31)
Marbury v. Madison
Established the principle of judicial review; strengthened the power of the judicial branch by giving the Supreme Court the authority to declare acts of Congress unconstitutional.
McCulloch v. Maryland
Confirmed the right of Congress to utilize implied powers to carry out its expressed powers; validated the supremacy of the federal government over the states by declaring that the states cannot tax legitimate activities of the federal government.
Gibbons v. Ogden
Strengthened the power of the federal government to regulate interstate commerce; established the commerce clause's role as a key vehicle for the expansion of federal power.
Engel v. Vitale
Struck down state-sponsored school prayer in public schools. Ruled that the Regent's prayer was an unconstitutional violation of the Establishment Clause
Lemon v. Kurtzman
Struck down state funding for private religious schools. Ruled that state aid to church-related schools must meet three tests: (a) the purpose of the aid must be clearly secular, (b) the government's action must neither advance or inhibit religion, and (c) the government's action must not foster an "excessive entanglement" between government and religion.
Reynolds v. United States
Banned polygamy. Distinguished between religious beliefs that are protected by the Free Exercise Clause and religious practices that may be restricted. Ruled that religious practices cannot make an act legal that would otherwise be illegal.
Oregon v. Smith
Banned the use of illegal drugs in religious ceremonies. Ruled that the government can act when religious practices violate criminal laws.
Schenk v. United States
Ruled that free speech could be limited when it presents a "clear and present danger." Established the "clear and present danger" test to define conditions under which public authorities could limit free speech.
New York Times v. Sullivan
Ruled that public officials cannot win a suit for defamation unless the statement is made with "actual malice." Established the "actual malice" standard to promote "uninhibited, robust, and wide-open" public debate.
Roth v. United States
Ruled that obscenity is not constitutionally protected free speech. Created the "prevailing community standards" rule requiring a consideration of the work as a whole.
Tinker v. Des Moines
Protected some forms of symbolic speech. Ruled that students do not "shed their constitutional rights to freedom of speech or expression at the schoolhouse gate."
Texas v. Johnson
Ruled that flag burning is a form of symbolic speech protected by the First Amendment.
Barron v. Baltimore
Ruled that the Bill of Rights cannot be applied to the states.
Gitlow v. New York
Established the precedent for the doctrine of selective incorporation, thus extending most of the requirements of the Bill of Rights to the states.
Weeks v. United States
Established the exclusionary rule in federal cases. Prohibited evidence obtained from illegal searches and seizures from being admitted in court.
Mapp v. Ohio
Extended the exclusionary rule to the states. Illustrated the process of selective incorporation through the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.
Gideon v. Wainwright
Ruled that the Sixth Amendment right-to-counsel provision applies to those accused of major crimes under state laws. Illustrated the process of incorporation by which the Sixth Amendment was applied to the states through the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.
Miranda v. Arizona
Ruled that the police must inform criminal suspects of the constitutional rights before questioning suspects after arrest. Required police to read the Miranda rules to criminal suspects.
Dred Scot v. Sanford
Ruled that African Americans were not citizens and therefore could not petition the Supreme Court. Overturned by the Fourteenth Amendment
Plessy v. Ferguson
Upheld Jim Crow segregation by approving "separate but equal" public facilities for African Americans.
Brown v. Board of Education Topeka, Kansas
Ruled that racially segregated school violated the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. Reversed the principle of "separate but equal" established by Plessy V. Ferguson.
Regents of the University of California v. Bakke
Ordered the Medical School at the University of California at Davis to admit Bakke. Ruled that the medical school's strict quota system denied Bakke the equal protection guaranteed by the Fourteenth Amendment. Ruled that race could be used as a deciding factor among others in the competition for available places.
Grutter v. Bollinger
Upheld the affirmative action policy of the University of Michigan Law School. Upheld the Bakke ruling that race could be a consideration in admissions policy but that quotas are illegal.
Griswold v. Connecticut
Ruled that a Connecticut law criminalizing the use of contraceptives violated the right to marital privacy. Established an important precedent for Roe v. Wade.
Roe v. Wade
Ruled that the decision to obtain an abortion is protected by the right to privacy implied by the Bill of Rights.
Baker v. Carr
Ruled that the judicial branch of government can rule on matters of legislative apportionment. Used the principle of "one person, one vote." Ordered state legislative districts to be as equal as possible.
Wesbury v. Sanders
Established the principle of "one person, one vote" in drawing congressional districts. Triggered widespread redistricting that gave cities and suburbs greater representation in Congress.
Korematsu v. United States
Upheld the constitutionality of the relocation of Japanese Americans as a wartime necessity. Viewed by contemporary scholars as a flagrant violation of civil liberties.
United States v. Nixon
Ruled that there is no constitutional guarantee of unqualified executive privilege.
Buckley v. Valeo
Upheld federal limits on campaign contributions. Struck down the portion of the Federal election Campaign Act limiting the amount of money individuals can contribute to their own campaign. Ruled that spending money on one's own campaign is a form of constitutionally protected free speech. Complicated congressional efforts to enact significant campaign finance reform.
Citizens United v. Federal Elections Commission
U.S. Supreme Court ruled that corporations and unions have the same political speech rights as individuals under the First Amendment.
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