Landmark Supreme Court Cases
Terms in this set (42)
McCulloch v Maryland
(Presided over by John Marshall, 9-0 decision, 1819) After the Second Bank of the United States began calling in loans owned by the states, Maryland passed a law taxing out-of-state banks. The federal bank refused to pay, so the state sued its Baltimore cashier, James McCulloch. The court ruled that the federal government had the right to establish the bank even though it was not expressly enumerated in the Constitution and also noted that since "the power to tax was the power to destroy," Maryland could not tax the bank without destroying federal sovereignty. The Supreme Court ruled that the power of the federal government was supreme over that of the states and that the states could not interfere. Strengthened Federal government in a case proving that Federalist presence still existed despite the party having been disbanded.
Rostketer v Goldberg
This landmark Supreme Court case upheld the constitutionality of a male-only draft registration law enacted by Congress in 1980.
Barron v Mayor Baltimore
The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution bound only the federal government and was thus inapplicable to actions taken by state and local governments.
Baker v Carr
1962, case that established the principle of one man, one vote. Decision created guidelines for drawing up congressional districts and guaranteed a more equitable system of representation to the citizens of each state.
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
Planned Parenthood of Se. Pa. v. Casey
PA law made women seeking abortions be told about fetal development and alternatives to ending their pregnancy - wait at least 24 hours after receiving above information and make doctors keep detailed records subject to public disclosure on each abortion - court upheld the law except for informing the husband - other provisions did not place an undue burden upon the woman.
Cruzan v. Dir., Mo. Dep't of Health
Family having requested the termination of life-sustaining treatment of their vegetative relative, the state may constitutionally oppose this request, for lack of evidense of a clear earlier wish by said relative. (The state later withdrew its objection)
Gonzales v. Oregon
2006 - The Controlled Substances Act does not prohibit physicians prescribing drugs for the assisted suicide of the terminally ill under state (Oregon) law.
Katz v. United States
1967 the Court ruled that the Fourth Amendment applied whenever a person had a "reasonable expectation of privacy." The case involved a man who was convicted using evidence gained from police wiretaps of a public telephone booth. The Court overturned the conviction, making the expectation of privacy a critical test for determining Fourth Amendment protection.
Vernonia School District 47J v. Acton
1995 - Random drug testing of high school students involved in athletic programs does not violate the Fourth Amendment right to unreasonable search and seizure.
Escobedo v. Illinois
1964--Ruled that a defendant must be allowed access to a lawyer before questioning by police.
Chaplinsky v. New Hampshire
A man used swear words to initimidate a public official and was arrested; "fighting words" are not protected under the First Amendment
Schenck v. United States
A 1919 decision upholding the conviction of a socialist who had urged young men to resist the draft during World War I. Justice Holmes declared that government can limit speech if the speech provokes a "clear and present danger" of substantive evils.
Brandenburg v. Ohio
Brandenburg, a leader of the Ku Klux Klan, made a speech at a Klan rally and was later convicted under an Ohio criminal syndicalism law. Law was found unconstitutional under the First and Fourteenth Amendments. States were not allowed to punish or prevent inflammatory speech unless it will lead to imminent lawless action
Roth v. United States
A 1957 Supreme Court decision ruling that "obscenity is not within the area of constitutionally protected speech or press."
Gitlow v. New York
(1925) The Supreme Court decision holding that freedoms of press and speech are "fundamental personal rights and liberties protected by the due process clause of the Fourteenth Amendment from impairment by the states" as well as by the federal government.
Near v. Minnesota
(1931) Court would not allow prior restrain on the press (preventing information to be published before the information has been printed simply on the assumption that the information will cause problems. Rather, the information may be revoked AFTER print if it is believed that it has cause problems.)
Abington School Dist. v. Schempp
1963; decided that Establishment Clause of First Amendment forbids state-mandated reading of the Bible, or recitation of the Lord's Prayer in public schools.
Lemon v. Kurtzman
The 1971 Supreme Court decision that established that aid to church-related schools must (1) have a secular legislative purpose; (2) have a primary effect that neither advances nor inhibits religion; and (3) not foster excessive government entanglement with religion.
Lee v. Weisman
(1992) the Court ruled that having a clergy-led prayer within the events of a public high school graduation violates the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment.
Gibbons v Ogden
This case involved New York trying to grant a monopoly on waterborne trade between New York and New Jersey. Judge Marshal, of the Supreme Court, sternly reminded the state of New York that the Constitution gives Congress alone the control of interstate commerce. Marshal's decision, in 1824, was a major blow on states' rights.
Reynolds v United States
(1879) The Court upheld the federal law that prohibited polygamy even though Reynolds, a Mormon from Utah, claimed it limited his religious freedom
Oregon v Smith
Banned the use of illegal drugs in religious ceremonies. Ruled that the government can act when religious practices violate criminal laws.
Weeks v United States
The exclusionary rule, which holds that illegally seized evidence is inadmissable in court, is applicable to federal criminal proceedings.
Miranda v Arizona
Supreme Court held that criminal suspects must be informed of their right to consult with an attorney and of their right against self-incrimination prior to questioning by police.
Wesberry v Sanders
The 1964 case in which the Supreme Court invalidated unequal congressional districts, saying that all legislative districts must contain about equal numbers of people. The ruling is popularly known as the principle of one person, one vote.
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.
Marbury v Madison
(1803) A midnight appointee of the Adams administration sued the Secretary of State for his commission. Chief Justice Marshall said the law that gave the courts the power to rule over this issue was unconstitutional.thus establisheing judicial review over federal law.
New York Times v Sullivan
1964; established 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 w/ "actual malice" and reckless disregard for the truth
Gideon v Wainwright
a landmark case in United States Supreme Court history. In the case, the Supreme Court unanimously ruled that state courts are required under the Sixth Amendment of the Constitution to provide counsel in criminal cases for defendants unable to afford their own attorneys.
Dred Scott v Sandford
1857 Supreme Court decision that stated that slaves were not citizens; that livig in a free state or territory, even for many years, did not free slaves; and declared the Missouri Compromise unconstitional
Engle v Vitale
(1st: ESTABLISHMENT CLAUSE) SCHOOL PRAYER: Ruled that reading of a nondenominational prayer at the start of the school day violated the "establishment of religion" clause of the First Amendment.
Brown v Board of Education
The Court found that segregation was a violation of the Equal Protection clause of the 14th amendment thus "separate but equal" has no place in public education.
Mapp v Ohio
A landmark case in the area of U.S. criminal procedure, in which the United States Supreme Court decided that evidence obtained in violation of the Fourth Amendment protection against "unreasonable searches and seizures" may not be used in criminal prosecutions in state courts, as well as federal courts thereby establishing t6he "exclusionary rule."
Griswold v Connecticut
A landmark case in which the Supreme Court of the United States ruled that the Constitution protected a right to privacy. The case involved a Connecticut law that prohibited the use of contraceptives. By a vote of 7-2, the Supreme Court invalidated the law on the grounds that it violated the "right to marital privacy".
Plessy v Ferguson
a 1896 Supreme Court decision which legalized state ordered segregation so long as the facilities for blacks and whites were equal
Roe v Wade
The 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.
United States v Nixon
The 1974 case in which the Supreme Court unanimously held that the doctrine of executive privilege was implicit in the Constitution but could not be extended to protect documents relevant to criminal prosecutions.
Tinker v Des Moines Independent School District
(1969)Issue: Freedom of SpeechDecision: 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 schoolhouse door.Background: John Tinker, 15 years old, his sister Mary Beth Tinker, 13 years old, and Christopher Echardt, 16 years old, decided along with their parents to protest the Vietnam War by wearing black armbands to their Des Moines schools during the Christmas holiday season
Texas v Johnson
A 1989 case in which the Supreme Court struck down a law banning the burning of the American flag on the grounds that such action was symbolic speech protected by the First Amendment.
Regents of University of California v Bakke
Schools cannot use race as only factor when admitting students. (Affirmative Action)
Koramatsu v US
ruled exclusion order (internment) was constitutional held that the need to protect against espionage outweighed Fred 's individual rights, and the rights of Americans of Japanese descent