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Politics of the United States
Landmark Supreme Court Cases
Terms in this set (20)
US v. Nixon
The Supreme Court does have the final voice in determining constitutional questions; no person, not even the President of the United States, is completely above law; and the president cannot use executive privilege as an excuse to withhold evidence that is 'demonstrably relevant in a criminal trial
Florida v. Department of Health and Human Services
Due to its ability to tax and regulate interstate commerce, the federal government can mandate healthcare; The Anti-Injunction Act does not bar a challenge to the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act's "individual mandate" provision, which requires virtually all Americans to obtain health insurance or pay a penalty, even though the mandate has not yet gone into effect. Although the mandate is not authorized under the Commerce Clause, it is nonetheless a valid exercise of Congress's power under the Taxing Clause. Finally, the Medicaid expansion provision of the ACA violates the Constitution by threatening states with the loss of their existing Medicaid funding if they decline to comply with the expansion.
Brown v. Board of Education (1954; 1955)
(1954) Supreme Court decision holding that school segregation is inherently unconstitutional because it violates the Fourteenth Amendment's guarantee of equal protection; marked the end of legal segregation in the United States; though difficult for the Courts to enforce which is why there was follow up Civil Rights Legislation
Heart of Atlanta Motel v. US, 1964
Law at issue was Title II of the Civil Rights Act (1964), which limits the ability of private actors to discriminate based on skin color. Heart of Atlanta Motel challenges law because they wish to continue their racial discrimination. Court rules that racial discrimination has a substantial impact on interstate commerce. Court specifically says that the legislature can regulate areas of commerce so long as they concern more than one state and have "a real and substantial relation to the national interest."
UC Regents v. Bakke, 1978
This Supreme Court Case decided in 1978 that affirmative action is legal as long as race is not the only factor considered;, Also known as the The University of California vs. Alan Bakke, it was an issue that he had not be admitted into U.C. because the only preferred the minority races, it threatened the progress made by the Civil Rights Movement.
Grutter v. Bollinger; Gratz v. Bollinger, 2004
Gratz: The policy of UM giving undergrad. applicants 20 pts. just for being a member of an ethnic or racial group violates the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amend. Grutter: Policy of UM law school considering applicant's racial background as just one factor in admitting a diverse student body is unconstitutional.
US v. Windsor, 2013
Edith Windsor married in Canada. her wife died and left her inheritance to Edith but she had to pay over 300,000 in taxes because they were not actually considered married. Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act is unconstitutional as a deprivation of the equal liberty of persons that is protected by the Fifth Amendment.
Atkins v. Virginia, 2002
According to the Eighth Amendment excessive bail, excessive fines, and cruel or unusual punishment are prohibited in court decisions. Executing a mentally retarded person would be unjust due to their potential lack of self control or understanding. It is generally accepted that death is not a suitable punishment for a person suffering from any level of mental retardation.
Engle v Vitale, 1962
(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; Warren Court; mandatory school prayer is a violation of the establishment clause
Lemon v. Kurtzman, 1971
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.
Tinker v. DesMoines, 1969
A group of students decided to wear black armbands in protest of the Vietnam War. By wearing the arm bands the principals feared that it would cause a disruption in the school. Therefore resulting in the suspension of those who didn't take off their armbands. The case was later brought to the Supreme Court because they believed that this had violated their First Amendment rights; Warren Court
Texas v. Johnson, 1988
In front of the Dallas City Hall, Gregory Lee Johnson burned an American flag as a means of protest against Reagan administration policies. Johnson was tried and convicted under a Texas law outlawing flag desecration. the Court held that Johnson's burning of a flag was protected expression under the First Amendment. The Court found that Johnson's actions fell into the category of expressive conduct and had a distinctively political nature. Symbolic speech.
McConnell v. FEC, 2003
Upheld the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act, which permits donations to state political party, but reduces the role of soft money (money not directly related to a federal election) and prohibits unions and corporations from sponsoring ads that refer to federal candidates within 60 days of an election. requires disclosure of individuals or organizations spending $10,000 or more a year and individuals contributing $1,000 or more a year for broadcast advertisements referring to candidates in preelection periods
Citizens United v. FEC, 2003
A 2010 Supreme Court case holding that a provision of McCain-Feingold Act prohibiting corporations and unions from broadcasting "electioneering communications" within 60 days of a general election is an unconstitutional limititation on the First Amendment guarantee of free speech. It also held that corporations and labor unions can spend unlimited amounts of money in campaigns; created SuperPACs...I HATE this ruling!!!!!
Mapp v. Ohio, 1961
Ruled that the Fourth Amendment's protection against unreasonable searches and seizures must be extended to the states as well as to the federal government. Established exclusionary rule; illegally obtained evidence cannot be used in court; Warren Court's judicial activism.
Escobedo v. Illinois, 1964
1964. Justice Goldberg, in his majority opinion, spoke for the first time of "an absolute right to remain silent." The plaintiff had not been adequately informed of his consitutitonal right to remain silent rather than to be forced to incriminate himself. The case has lost authority as precedent as the arguments in police interrogation and confession cases have shifted from the Sixth Amendment to the Fifth Amendment, emphasizing whether the appropriate warnings have been given and given correctly, and whether the right to remain silent has been waived.
Miranda v. Arizona, 1966
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. Warren Court
Gregg v. Georgia, 1976
(8th and 14th amendment) PRECEDENT: The death penalty does not violate the 8th or 14th amendment as long as there is a statute that carefully guides the authority and provides ample information to make that decision. Basically, Georgia revised its death sentence statute and created controversy, Death penalty is not "cruel and unusual punishment" in cases of murder
Bush v. Gore, 2000
A United States Supreme Court case heard on December 11, 2000. In a per curiam opinion, by a vote of 7-2, the Court held that the Florida Supreme Court's scheme for recounting ballots was unconstitutional, and by a vote of 5-4, the Court held that no alternative scheme could be established within the time limits established by Florida Legislature. The per curiam opinion was argued on the basis of Equal Protection. , Case Background and SUPC Decision: The Florida Supreme Court ordered that every county in Florida must manually recount all under-votes (ballots which didn't clearly indicate a vote for president). Bush filed suit claiming that this order violated equal protection under the 14th amendment. The SUPC agreed in a "per curiam" (generally unanimous and anonymous) decision stating that the Florida Supreme Court's decision was unconstitutional. The SUPC felt that there was no way to ensure that everyone's votes were being counted equally and under the same standards and guidelines. This was a divisive issue for the court, as some felt it wasn't their jurisdiction (the instead thought it was a political question) and others felt it should have been left up to the state of Florida to decide without SUPC involvement.
McCulloch v. Maryland, 1819
An 1819 Supreme Court decision that established the supremacy of the national government over state governments. The Court, led by Chief Justice John Marshall, held that Congress had certain implied powers in addition to the powers enumerated in the Constitution. It is an implied power of Congress to created a national bank; states may not tax the federal government "the power to tax involves the power to destroy"
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