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Politics of the United States
Required Supreme Court Cases (Federalism/Selective Incorporation)
Terms in this set (28)
McCulloch v. Maryland - Background (1819)
In 1816, Maryland questioned the legality of a congressionally created bank in Baltimore, where James McCulloch was the chief cashier. The Constitution doesn't explicitly mention that Congress has the power "to create a bank." So, Maryland, passed a law requiring all banks in Maryland not incorporated by the state to pay a $15,000 tax. The purpose of this law was to force the U.S. bank out of the state and to overcome the federal government's power. McCulloch refused to pay this tax.
McCulloch v. Maryland - Majority Opinion
McCulloch won unanimously (reasoning= Banking was apart of the federal government's business. This is found in Article 1)
McCulloch v. Maryland - Constitutional Principle
- Necessary and Proper Clause (elastic clause)
- Supremacy Clause
McCulloch v. Maryland - Enduring Legacy
- The federal government has the power to overpower the state's government (supremacy clause)
- The federal government has more powers than those listed in the Constitution (necessary and proper clause)
Brown v. Board of Education - Background (1954)
Following the Plessy v. Ferguson case, the Court had ruled that as long as states provided separate but equal facilities, they were in compliance with the Constitution. Kansas, Linda Brown's parents and several other African American parents filed a lawsuit against the local school board in hopes of overturning the state's segregation law. The NAACP had filed similar cases in three other states, so the Supreme Court took all of these cases at once, and together they were called the Brown v. Board of Education.
Brown v. Board of Education - Majority Opinion
Brown won unanimously (reasoning= The racially segregated system did damage to the black child's psyche and instilled feelings of inferiority.)
Brown v. Board of Education - Constitutional Principle
14th Amendment (equal protection clause)
Brown v. Board of Education - Enduring Legacy
- State laws establishing racial segregation are unconstitutional
- Equal opportunity regarding education
Gideon v. Wainwright- Background (1963)
Gideon was charged with "a breaking and entering with the intent to participate in theft. When put on trial in Florida, he was not provided with an attorney to represent him because he couldn't afford one. Gideon ended up representing himself and losing the trial. While in jail, he had written a letter to the Supreme Court because he had thought that his 6th Amendment (right to an attorney)had been violated.
Gideon v. Wainwright - Majority Opinion
Gideon won unanimously (reasoning= Every defendant should have an equal chance at a fair trial. WIthout an attorney, the defendant doesn't have an equal chance.
Gideon v. Wainwright - Constitutional Principle
- 6th Amendment (right to counsel in criminal cases)
- 14th Amendment (due process clause)
Gideon v. Wainwright - Enduring Legacy
Enhanced the idea that you have a right to a lawyer in state court for all cases (even if you can't afford it, you will still receive a state attorney).
Roe v. Wade - Background (1973)
Texas resident Norma McCorvey became pregnant for the third time at 19, she sought to have an abortion. States had developed anti-abortion laws since the early 1900s, and this case reached the Court as the national debate about morality, responsibility, freedom, and women's rights had peaked. With the help of her attorney, McCorvey filed a lawsuit against district attorney Henry Wade (enforcer of the anti-abortion laws in Texas). To protect her identity, she received the alias of "Jane Roe."
Roe v. Wade - Majority Opinion
Roe won 7-2 (reasoning= women had a right to privacy-4th Amendment because it's not the government's decision to determine a pregnant woman's medical decision)
Roe v. Wade - Constitutional Principle
- 14th Amendment (due process clause)
- 4th Amendment (right to privacy)
Roe v. Wade - Enduring Legacy
United States v. Lopez - Background (1995)
Congressed had passes the Gun-Free School Zones Act in 1990 in hopes of preventing gun violence at or near schools. Lopez (a 12th grader in Texas) had carried a concealed weapon into his high school. He was charged with firearm possession school premises under Texas law.
United States v. Lopez - Majority Opinion
Lopez won 5-4 (reasoning= The federal Gun-Free School Zones Act of 1990 was unconstitutional because the U.S. Congress, in enacting the legislation, had exceeded its authority under the commerce clause of the Constitution)
United States v. Lopez - Constitutional Principle
United States v. Lopez - Enduring Legacy
Rewrote the Gun-free school zones to tie more clearly to interstate commerce.
McDonald v. Chicago - Background (2010)
A retired custodian and others filed a lawsuit to challenge provisions of a 1982 Chicago law that generally banned the new registration of handguns and made registration a prerequisite of possession of firearm
McDonald v. Chicago - Majority Opinion
McDonald won 5-4 (reasoning= The right to individual self-defense is at the heart of the 2nd Amendment. The majority also noted the historical context for the 14th Amendment and asserted that the amendment sought to provide a constitutional foundation for the Civil Rights Act of 1866)
McDonald v. Chicago - Constitutional Principle
McDonald v. Chicago - Enduring Legacy
Incorporation of 2nd Amendment (states now have to listen to the 2nd Amendment)
Marbury v. Madison - Background (1803)
John Adams had lost his reelection to Thomas Jefferson and as one of his final acts of presidency, he appointed several members of his own Federalist Party to the ne judgeships ("midnight judges"). When Jefferson came into office, he had told James Madison (his secretary of state) to not officially appoint some of these judges, one being John Marshall.
Marbury v. Madison - Majority Opinion
Marbury won unanimously (reasoning= Congress couldn't define the Court's authority outside the bounds of the Constitution)
Marbury v. Madison - Constitutional Principle
Marbury v. Madison - Enduring Legacy
Established the principle of judicial review
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