32 terms

United States Supreme Court Cases

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Marbury v. Madison (1803)
Court established its role as the arbiter of the constitutionality of federal laws; the principle is known as judicial review
Fletcher v. Peck (1810)
The decision stems from the Yazoo land cases (1803) and upholds the sanctity of contracts
McCulloch v. Maryland (1819)
Court ruled that the states cannot tax the federal government (i.e. Bank of United States); the phrase "the power to tax is the power to destroy" confirmed constitutionality of BUS
Dartmouth College v. Woodward (1819)
New Hampshire had attempted to take over Dartmouth College by revising its colonial charter; Court ruled that charter protected under contract clause of Constitution that upholds the sanctity of contracts
Gibbons v. Ogden (1824)
Clarified the commerce clause and affirmed congressional power over interstate commerce
Worcester v. Georgia (1832)
Established tribal autonomy within their boundaries (i.e. the tribes were "distinct political cmmunities having territorial boundaries within which their authority is exclusive")
Scott v. Sanford (1857)
Speaking for a widely divided court, Chief Justice Taney ruled that Dred Scott wasn't a citizen and had no standing in court; Scott's residency in a free state and territory hadn't made him free since he returnedto MO; Congress had no power toprohibit slavery in a territory (based on 5th amendment-right of a person to be secure from seizure of property); voided the MO Compromise of 1820
Wabash (et al) v. Illinois (1886)
Declared state-passed Granger Laws that regulated interstate commerce unconstitutional
US v. E.C. Knight (1895)
Due to a narrow interpretation of the Sherman Anti-Trust Act, the Court undermined the authority of the federal government to act against monopolies
Plessy v. Ferguson (1896)
Legalized segregation in publicly owned facilities on the basis of "separate but equal"
Insular Cases (1901)
Confirmed the right of the federal government to place tariffs on goods entering the US from US territories on the ground that "the Constitution does not follow the flag"
Lochner v. New York (1905)
Declared unconstitutional a NY act limiting the working hours of bakers due to a denia of the 14th amendment rights
Muller v. Oregon (1908)
First case to use the "Brandies Brief"; recognized a 10 hour workday for women laundry workers on the grounds of health and community concerns
Schneck v. US (1919)
Unanimously helped the Espionage Act of 1917, which delcared that people who interfered with the war effort were subject to imprisonment; delcared that the 1st amendment right to freedom wasn't absolute; free speech could be limited if its excercise presented a "clear and present" danger
Adkins v. Children's Hospital (1923)
Declared unconstitutional a minimum wage law for women on the grounds that it denied women freedom of contract
Scopes v. Tennessee
Addressed evolution and the role of science and religion in public schools; outlawed the teaching of evolution
Schechter v. US (1935)
Sometimes called the "sick chicken case"; unanimously declared the NIRA unconstitutional on three grounds: that the act delegated legislative power to the executive; that there was a lack of constitutional authority for such legisation; and that it sought to regulate businesses that were wholly intrastate in character
Korematsu v. US (1944)
Court upheld the constitutionality of detention camps for Japanese Americans during WWII
Brown v. Board of Education (1954)
Unanimous decision declaring "separate but equal" unconstitutional
Brown v. Board of Education II (1955)
Ruled that desegregation (as per Brown v. Board of Education) much occur with "all deliberate speed"
Baker v. Carr (1962)
First time the federal courts had jurisdiction in a apportionment case
Engel v. Vitale (1962)
Court ruled that religious prayer in public schools was unconstitutional according to the 1st amendment principle of separation of church and state
Gideon v. Wainwright (1963)
Extends to the defendant the right of counsel in all state and federal criminal trials regardless of their ability to pay
Escobedo v. Illinois (1964)
Ruled that a defendant must be allowed access to a lawyer before questioning by police
Reynolds v. Sims (1964)
Court upheld the principle of "one person, one vote," and ruled that the equal protection clause required that representation in state legislation be based on population
Miranda v. Arizona (1966)
Court ruled that those subjected to in-custody interrogation be advised of their constitutional right to an attorney and their right to remain silent
Epperson v. Arkansas (1968)
Court invalidated an Arkansas statute that prohibited the teaching of evolution in the public schools; declared the Arkansas statute unconstitutional because it violated the Establishment Clause of the 1st amendment (mandates that creation science be taught would not be ruled unconstitutional by the court until the 1987 case Edwards v. Aguillard)
New York Times v. US (1971)
Court issued a per curiam opinion that prior restraint was not justified regarding the publishing of the Pentagon Papers and that the federal government must prove claims of national security before acting to censor
Roe v. Wade (1973)
Court legalized abortion by ruling that state laws could not restrict it during the first three months of pregnancy (based on 4th amendment rights of a person to be secure in their persons)
US v. Nixon (1974)
Court rejected Richard Nixon's claim to an absolutely unqualified privilege against any judicial process
University of California v. Bakke (1978)
Ambiguous ruling by a badly divided court that dealt with affirmative action programs that used race as a basis of selecting participants; court general upheld affirmative action, but with a 4/4/1 split; was a very weak decision
Bush v. Gore (2000)
Court ruled that the hand count of votes in Florida amounted to an unconstitutional breach of the equal protection clause, therefore awarding the election to George W. Bush