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Top 30 Supreme Court Cases

Top 30 cases according to the AP U.S. Government and Politics Crash Course.
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*Marbury v. Madison
Established judicial review, gave the judical branch lots of power by allowing it to declare acts of Congress unconstitutional
*McCulloch v. Maryland
Congress can utilize implied powers to carry out expressed powers, validated supremacy of national government over states by saying that they cannot interfere with the activities of the federal government.
Gibbons v. Ogden
Gave federal government more power to regulate interstate commerce, commerce clause was established as the key vehicle for the expansion of federal power.
Engel v. Vitale
No more state-sponsored prayer in public schools, the Regent's prayer was an unconstitutional violation of the Establishment Clause.
Lemon v. Kurtzman
No more state funding for private religious schools, State aid for church-related schools must: a) purpose of aid must be secular, b) government's action must neither advance nor inhibit religion, c) government's action must not foster entanglement between government and religion.
Reynolds v. United States
Banned polygamy, distinguished between religious beliefs that are protected by the Free Exercise Clause and religious practices that may be restricted, ruled that religious practices cannot make something legal that would otherwise be legal.
Oregon v. Smith
Banned illegal drugs in religious ceremonies, government can act when religious practices violate criminal laws.
Schenck v. United States
Free speech could be limited when it presents a clear and present danger, "clear and present danger" test to define conditions under which public authorities can limit free speech.
New York Times v. Sullivan
Public officials cannot win suit for defamation unless the statement has "actual malice", established "actual malice" standard to promote "uninhibited, robust, and wide-open" public debate.
Roch v. United States
Obscenity is not constitutional protected free speech, "prevailing community standards" requiring a consideration of the work as a whole.
Tinker v. Des Moines Independent School District
Protected some forms of symbolic free speech, Students do not shed their constitutional rights to freedom of speech or expression at the schoolhouse gate.
Texas v. Johnson
Flag burning is a form of symbolic speech protected by the First Amendment
Barron v. Baltimore
Bill of Rights cannot be applied to the states
Gitlow v. New York
Precedent for the doctrine of selective incorporation, extending most of the requirements of the Bill or Rights to the states
Weeks v. United States
Exclusionary rule in federal cases, Prohibited evidence obtained by illegal searches and seizures from being admitted in court
Mapp v. Ohio
Extended exclusionary rule to the states, illustrated process of selective incorporation through the Due Process Clause of the 14th Amendment. Had to do with unreasonable searches and seizures
Gideon v. Wainwright
6th Amendment right-to-counsel provision applies to those accused of major crimes under state laws, illustrated process of incorporation by which the 6th Amendment was applied to the states through the Due Process Clause of the 14th Amendment.
Miranda v. Arizona
Police must inform criminal suspects of their constitutional rights before questioning suspects after arrest, police must read Miranda rules to criminal subjects.
*Dred Scott v. Sandford
African Americans were not citizens and therefore couldn't petition to the Supreme Court, Overturned by 14th Amendment
*Plessy v. Ferguson
Upheld Jim Crow segregation by approving "separate but equal" public facilities for African Americans.
*Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka
Racially segregated schools violated the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment, reversed "separate but equal" from Plessy v. Ferguson.
Regents of the University of California v. Bakke
Ordered the Medical School at the University of California to admit Bakke, ruled that the medical school's strict quota system denied Bakke the equal protection guaranteed by the 14th Amendment, race could be used as one factor among others in the competition for available places.
Grutter vs. Bollinger
Upheld affirmative action policy of the University of Michigan Law School, upheld Bakke that race could be a consideration for admissions but quotas are illegal.
Griswold v. Connecticut
Connecticut law criminalizing the use of contraceptives violated the right to marital privacy, established precedent for Roe v. Wade.
*Roe v. Wade
Decision to obtain an abortion is protected by the right to privacy implied by the Bill or Rights.
Baker v. Carr
Ruled that the judicial branch of government can rule on matters of legislative apportionment, used the principle of "one person, one vote", ordered state legislative districts to be as equal as possible.
Wesberry v. Sanders
Established principle of "one person, one vote" in drawing congressional districts, triggered lots of redistricting that gave cities and suburbs more representation in Congress.
Korematsu v. United States
Upheld constitutionality of relocating Japanese Americans as wartime necessity, viewed as a flagrant violation of civil liberties.
United States v. Nixon
No constitutional guarantee of unqualified executive privilege.
Buckley v. Valeo
Upheld federal limits on campaign contributions, struck down portion of the Federal Election Campaign Act limiting the amount of money individuals can contribute to their own campaigns, ruled that spending money on one's own campaign is a form of constitutionally protected free speech, complicated congressional efforts to enact significant campaign financial reform.
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