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Politics of the United States
US Supreme Court Cases
45 of the most important court cases
Terms in this set (45)
Marbury v. Madison (1803)
Under Chief Justice John Marshall, the Supreme Court of the United States held that ONLY the Supreme Court of the United States has the power to declare laws unconstitutional. Established judicial review.
McCulloch v. Maryland (1819)
Supreme court case where the state of Maryland passed a legislation to impose taxes on the Second Bank of the United States; the bank refused to pay the tax. The court ruled that Maryland (or any other state) could not tax instruments of the national government used in to carryout any of the constitutional powers listed in the constitution.
United States v. Nixon (1974)
Case in which the Supreme Court unanimously held that the right of executive privilege as listed in the Constitution could not be extended to protect documents relevant to criminal prosecutions
Barron v. Mayor of Baltimore (1833)
Court case ruled by John Marshall, stated that the Bill of Rights does not apply to the States. Thus, States can do anything they want as long as they do not violate their own Bill of Rights or interfere with congressional Power.
Baker v. Carr (1962)
The Supreme Court declared that the principle of "one person, one vote" must be following at both state and national levels. The decision required that districts be redrawn so the each representative represented the same number of people.
Rostker v. Goldberg (1981)
This decision holds that the practice of requiring only men to register for the draft was constitutional.
Bush v. Gore (2000)
The court ruled that manual recounts of presidential ballots in the Nov. 2000 election could not proceed because inconsistent evaluation standards in different counties violated the equal protection clause. In effect, the ruling meant Bush would win the election.
Scott v. Sandford (1857)
(Dred Scott case) Supreme Court decision ruling that a slave who had escaped to a free state enjoyed no rights as a citizen and that Congress had no authority to ban slavery in the territories
Plessy v. Ferguson (1896)
Upheld the constitutionality of state laws requiring racial segregation under the doctrine of "separate but equal".
Korematsu v. United States
Supreme Court case where the Supreme Court upheld the executive order calling for the relocation of Japanese Americans.
Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka
supreme court ruling reversing the policy of segregation, declaring that separate can never be equal and a year later ordered the integration of all public schools
Loving v. Virginia
Ruled that the 14th amendment allowed the notion of "freedom to marry;" ended 17 state racial restrictions; U.S. supreme court declares "the freedom to marry... one of the basic civil rights of man"
Regents of the University of California v. Bakke
Court ruling that colleges and universities could legitimately consider race as a factor in the admissions process.
Grutter v. Bollinger
Case in which Supreme Court held that University of Michigan's law school admission program was sufficiently "narrowly tailored" to consider race as a factor in admission decisions in order to achieve goal of a diverse student body
Griswold v. Connecticut
Ruled that a state law that banned the use of contraceptives, even by married couples, creating a "right to privacy" was unconstituitional
Roe v. Wade
Ruled that a women right to an abortion fell within the right to privacy; gave women total autonomy over the pregnancy during the 1st trimester and allowed states to limit/ban abortions during the 2nd and 3rd Trimesters
Planned Parenthood v. Casey
Reaffirmed the ruling in Roe v. Wade but upheld some restrictions
Cruzan v. Director, Missouri Department of Health
Court held that individuals had the right to refuse medical treatment under the Due Process Clause, an incompetent person is not able to exercise such right; Ruled that the actions to preserve human life was constitutional because there was no guarantee that the family members would act in the best interest of the person
Gonzales v. Oregon
Ruled that the Controlled Substance Act could not be used to halt Oregon's Death with Dignity Act; the CSA was enacted to prevent illicit drug dealing not for the attorney general to declare a state authorized medical practices illegitimate
Mapp v. Ohio
Ruled that all evidence that is obtained illegally may not be used against a person in court on all levels; this is known as the "exclusionary rule"
Katz v. United States
Ruled that Katz was protected by the Fourth Amendment; Expanded the protection of the Fourth Amendment to include conversations, not just things.
Vernonia School District 47J v. Acton
Supreme Court case that ruled that schools may implement random drug testing upon students participating in school-sponsored athletics without violating the rights of the student
New Jersey v. T.L.O.
Supreme court case in which it was decided that a student may be searched if there is "reasonable ground" for doing so.
Gideon v. Wainwright
Ruled that everyone had the right to an attorney, if one could not be afforded the state was required to provide one
Escobedo v. Illinois
Ruled that a defendant must be allowed to have access to a lawyer before being questioned by police, if the lawyer is requested.
Miranda v. Arizona
Supreme Court held that criminal suspects must be informed of their rights; the Miranda Rights.
Furman v. Georgia
Ruled that for certain incidences of crimes under certain conditions the capital punishment was considered unconstitutional.
Gregg v. Georgia
upheld the death penalty was NOT cruel and unusual punishment
Roper v. Simmons
Court ruled that execution of offenders for crimes committed while under the age of 18 is unconstitutional
Ford v. Wainwright
Supreme court case that stated no insane persons could be given the death penalty
Schenck v. United States
A Supreme Court decision that upheld the Espionage and Sedition Acts, reasoning that freedom of speech could be curtailed when it posed a "clear and present danger" to the nation.
Chaplinsky v. New Hampshire
Ruled that the 1st Amendment does not protect fighting words which could lead to injury of breach of peace
New York Times v. Sullivan
Supreme court case that established the guidelines for determining whether public officials and public figures could win damage suits for libel. To do so, individuals must prove that the defamatory statements were made with "actual malice" and reckless disregard for the truth.
Brandenburg v. Ohio
Supreme court case that ruled that the government cannot punish inflammatory speech unless it is directed to inciting and likely to incite imminent lawless action
Tinker v.Des Moines Independent Community School District
The wearing of arm bands by students to protest the war in Vietnam is protected speech and cannot be prohibited by school officials; students do not give up their constitutional rights at the school house door
Texas v. Johnson
Ruled that the burning of the American flag was protected under the first amendment
Roth v. United States
Supreme Court decision ruling that obscenity is not within the area of constitutionally protected speech or press. (though apparently this was kind of vague about what obscenity actually was)
Gitlow v. New York
Ruled that the first amendment applied to the states and that the states can forbid both speech and publication if they have proof and reason to believe the action may pose dangerous to public security
Near v. Minnesota
The Supreme Court ruled that the law against prior restraint was a form of censorship and it violated the 14th Amendment's Due Process Clause.
New York Times Co. v. United States
If the government wishes to censor information before it is printed or published, probable cause must prove that the publishing will endanger national security
Abington School District v. Schempp
Ruling overturned law requiring Bible reading and prayer as a violation of the First Amendment, court ruled that the schools cannot force students to exercise religious studies in the school.
Lemon v. Kurtzman
Supreme Court decision that established that aid to church-related schools must have a secular legislative purpose; have a primary effect that neither advances nor inhibits religion; and not foster excessive government entanglement with religion.
Wisconsin v. Yoder
Ruled that individuals can discontinue school due to religious purposes
Lee v. Weisman
Court ruled that the 1st amendment establishment clause denies inclusion of prayer at start of public school and graduation ceremony
Board of Education of Kiryas Joel Village School District v. Grumet
In creating a special school district for a religious enclave incorporated as a village to exclude all but its practitioners, New York violated the establishment clause of the first amendment.
Recommended textbook explanations
Magruder's American Government
United States Government: Our Democracy
Donald A. Ritchie, Richard C. Remy
Magruder's American Government (Florida Student Edition)
Daniel M. Shea
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