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Supreme Court Cases
Terms in this set (49)
Marbury v. Madison
This person was appointed as a Justice by John Adams, but his job was never finalized. Him and others sued for their jobs.
Established the principle of "judicial review" to determine if a law passed by Congress or an action by the president was constitutional. HE got his appointment.
Also established that if a law conflicts with the Constitution, then the law is invalid.
McCulloch v. Maryland
The congress chartered the Second National Bank of the United States. In 1818, a state passed legislation to impose taxes on the bank. One banker refused to pay the tax.
States cannot not tax instruments of the national government employed in the execution of constitutional powers, specifically the bank.
Cohens v. Virginia
Congress authorized the lottery in D.C., and brothers decided to sell lottery tickets for D.C. in Virginia. They were tried and convicted, and the state said they were the final deciders of national and state disputes.
Established the right of the U.S. Supreme Court to review decisions by State Supreme Courts where federal powers were involved.
Gibbons v. Ogden
NY law gave monopoly on steamboat industry. A steamboat owner challenged this and was forced to get a permit to navigate through NY waters.
Reinforced the power of the federal government to regulate interstate commerce
Fletcher v. Peck
established the right of the Supreme Court to invalidate state laws that were in conflict with the federal constitution. Forbidding state laws to interfere with contracts.
Dartmouth College v. Woodward
New Hampshire legislature tried to change a College into a public university.
Reinforced the idea at contracts could not be altered by the states
Cherokee Nation v. Georgia
The Cherokee was a "domestic dependent nation" not a foreign state.
Worcester v. Georgia
A man and others, all non-Native Americans were indicted in the local court for living in the Cherokee nation without a license. He argued that the state could not maintain the prosecution because the statute violated the Constitution, treaties between the US and the Cherokee nation, and an act of Congress called "an act to regulate trade and intercourse with the Indian tribes."
Court ruled that within the state of Georgia, "the laws of Georgia can have no force." President Jackson reportedly quips, "John Marshall has made his decision. Now let him enforce it."
Dred Scott v. Sanford
A man was a slave, and he lived in Illinois (free state) and in a part of the Louisiana Territory. After going to Missouri, he sued for his freedom, his master said that under Article III in the constitution stated that no man of African decent was a citizen of the United states.
The Court ruled that a slave could not sue in Federal Court because Framers did not intend that people of African descent could be U.S. citizens. Congress could not deprive any person of property
(slaves) without due process of law. Missouri Compromise was unconstitutional. All western territories in theory were open to slavery.
U.S. v. Cruikshand and U.S. v. Reese
the Court ruled that the 14th and 15th amendments applied to states and not individuals, therefore the federal government could not prosecute individuals.
Munn v. Illinois
States could regulate businesses of a public nature such as railroads
Wabash, St.Louis & Pacific Railroad Co. v. Illinois
Limited the rights of states to control interstate commerce.
Individual states could not regulate interstate commerce nullifying state regulations achieved by the Grangers.
Led to the Interstate Commerce Commission
U.S. v. E.C. Knight Co.
Sherman Antitrust Act applied only to commerce, not manufacturing. In its early application it was used to curb the power of unions
Plessy v. Ferguson
Louisiana had passed a law saying that rail cars be separate for blacks and whites. This man was 7/8 white so he sat in the white section, and refused to move to the black car and was arrested.
Established the principle of "separate but equal" which allowed the South to pass Jim Crow laws establishing separate public facilities for blacks and whites.
Northern Securities v. United States
Court decides that stock transactions like those J.P. Morgan used to form a railroad merger are an illegal restraint of interstate commerce.
Lochner v. New York
invalidated a state law establishing a ten-hour day for bakers, but in 1917 the Court upheld a ten-hour law for factory workers.
Muller v. Oregon
A state enacted a law that limited women to ten hours of work in factories and laundries.
Established the right of states to pass laws recognizing the unique status of women by limiting the number of work hours per day/week. Louis Brandeis attorney for the state and first Jewish Supreme Court Justice
Schenck v. United States
He mailed out propaganda against World War I. They suggested that the draft was horrible and suggested petitioning in order to repeal the conscription act. He was charged with violating the Espionage Act.
Court affirmed the constitutionality of the Espionage and Sedition Acts passed during World War I - Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes articulated the constitutional principle of "clear and present
danger" where the First Amendment right of free speech can be limited in certain situations
Schechter v. United States
Declared National Industrial Recovery Act unconstitutional
Hammer v. Dagenhart
Found Keating-Owen Child Labor Act that prohibited shipment of manufactured products by children under 14 to be unconstitutional
US v. Darby Lumber Co.
The Supreme Court reversed its earlier ruling Hammer v. Dagenhart by upholding the child labor provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act
Korematsu v. United States
The Court upheld the constitutionality of the internment/concentration camps.
Justice Black argued that compulsory exclusion, though constitutionally suspect, is justified during circumstances of "emergency and peril."
Smith v. Allwright
The Democratic Party in Texas, allowed only whites to participate in Democratic primary elections.
The Court ruled that excluding blacks from a political party on the basis of race violates the 15th Amendment.
Overruled Grover v. Townsend
Dennis et al. v. United States
The Court upheld the Smith Act of 1940, which made it a crime to advocate the overthrow of the government by force.
Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka
Black children were denied access to a public school used by white children. The two different schools were almost equal in terms of curriculum, school building, and qualifications.
The Court agreed with Thurgood Marshall that segregated schools were inherently unequal thus violating the 14th Amendment. (Brown Two said that Southern states had to desegregate with
"All deliberate speed.") Eisenhower later said that his worst decision was appointing Earl Warren to be Chief Justice.
Mapp v. Ohio
This person was convicted of having obscene material after an illegal police search for her home for a fugitive. She appealed on the basis of freedom of expression.
Illegally seized evidence cannot be used.
Gideon v. Wainwright
A man was lacking funds in order to pay for a lawyer for his defense. He requested a lawyer, but the courts denied him this request. He defended himself, and the jury convicted him.
Right to counsel for indigent (poor) defendants.
Escobedo v. Illinois
required police to inform suspects of the right to remain silent
Miranda v. Arizona
The courts had to decide the constitutionality of a number of incidents where criminals were questioned without being read their rights.
Right to have a lawyer present when questioned. Suspects must be informed of their rights which includes the right to remain silent, the fact that anything they say can be used against them, and the right to counsel and that one will be provided if they cannot afford one
Baker v. Carr
Citizens alleged that a 1901 law designed to apportion the seats for the state's General Assembly was virtually ignored.
"One man, one vote" Reynolds v. Sims applied to state legislatures. Court said legislative appointment was a judicial issue.
Yates v. United States
First Amendment protected radical and revolutionary speech, even by Communists, unless it was a "clear and present danger..."
Engel v. Vitale
The school board authorized a short, voluntary prayer for recitation at each school day.
Ruled unconstitutional prayers and bible reading in schools.
New York Times v. Sullivan
ruled that public figures could sue for libel only if they could prove malice and wanton disregard for the truth
Griswold v. Connecticut
states could not prohibit use of contraceptives by adults - right to privacy
Roe v. Wade
states that a woman has the constitutional right to an abortion during the first trimester. The government has the right to regulate abortions in the second and third trimester
Milliken v. Bradley
ruled that busing programs that crossed school district boundary lines to end segregation patterns were not constitutional when there is no evidence of deliberate segregation
University of California Regents v. Bakke
A man had twice applied for admission to a University's Medical School at Davis and rejected both times. The school reserved sixteen places in each entering class of one hundred for "qualified" minorities, as part of the university's affirmative action program, in an effort to redress longstanding, unfair minority exclusions from the medical profession. His qualifications (college GPA and test scores) exceeded those of any of the minority students admitted in the two years his applications were rejected. He contended that he was excluded based on race.
Banned quotas but allowed racial factors to be considered in the admissions process
Webster v. Reproductive Health Services
The Court upheld the right of states to limit the use of public funds and institutions for abortions
Bush v. Gore
Supreme Court refuses to allow a Florida recount thus giving Florida and the Presidency to George W. Bush
Sweatt v. Painter
In 1946, a man applied to the University of Texas Law School and was automatically rejected because of his race. The university attempted to make the facility separate but equal. Court ruled that the black man be accepted into the University under the Equal Protection Clause, and the new facility they were preparing for blacks was very unequal and would not have encouraged the type of competition law students would face in their future.
Commonwealth v. Hunt
Prior to this decision, labor unions that attempted to unionize the work place could be charged with conspiracy. 1839, the Boston Journeymen Bookmakers society called a strike against all employees who hired non-union members. Mr. Hunt and others were charged with conspiracy. They were found guilty.
Court ruled that labor unions were not illegal.
Minor v. Happersett
The Supreme Court held that a state could constitutionally forbid a woman citizen to vote, despite her invocation of the citizenship and privileges and immunity clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment, the Guarantee Clause (Art. IV, sec. 4); the Due Process Clause of the Fifth Amendment, and the prohibition against bills of attainder (Art. I, sec. 9).
The Philippines, who was under US jurisdiction, questioned whether they had American citizens's rights since they were under the control of the US.
Court ruled that the Constitution does not follow the flag
Northern Security Cases
Busted up the Rail Road trusts. Convicted under the Sherman Anti Trust Act. Set precedents for later Anti-trust cases.
Adkins v. Children's Hospital
In 1918, Congress enacted a law which guaranteed a minimum wage to women and children employed in the District of Columbia. This case was decided.
The Court ruled it unconstitutional because upholding the statute would dangerously extend the police power of the state. However, in this case, the statute's implementation procedures were overly vague and did not act to regulate the character or method of wage payments, or the conditions and hours of labor, areas in which regulation to protect the public welfare were legitimate. The Congress basically enacted a "price-fixing law
Gitlow v. New York
1st amendment applies to states by virtue of the liberty protected by due process that no state shall deny (14th Amendment). However, a state may forbid both speech and publication if they have a tendency to result in action dangerous to public security, even though there is no clear and present danger. The rationale of the majority has sometimes been called the "dangerous tendency" test. The legislature may decide that an entire class of speech is so dangerous that it should be prohibited. Those legislative decisions will be upheld if reasonable, and the defendant will be punished even if her speech created no danger
Heart of Atlanta Motel v. US
The Civil Rights Act of 1964 banned racial discrimination in places that affected commerce. A motel was accused of violating this part of the act.
The court decided that places of public accommodation could not select their customers as they wanted, free from government regulation.
Tinker v. Des Moines
Students decided to protest the Vietnam War by wearing black arm bands to their school. The principal asked the students to remove the bands because of the fear of violence. They refused to and were suspended.
The wearing of armbands were protected by the 1st amendment and administrators would have to demonstrate constitutionally valid reasons for any specific regulation of speech in the classroom.
US v. Nixon
Nixon refused to turn over the "Watergate tapes" that would have shown he was involved, on the basis of executive privilege for the protection of national security.
The Court held that neither the doctrine of separation of powers, nor the generalized need for confidentiality of high-level communications, without more, can sustain an absolute, unqualified, presidential privilege. Nixon resigned shortly after the release of the tapes.