APUSH Supreme Court Cases

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Marbury v Madison
Court established its role as the arbiter of the constitutionality of federal laws, the principle known as judicial review, 1803
Fletcher v Peck
The decision stems from the Yazoo land cases in 1803 and upholds the sanctity of contracts, 1810
McCulloch v Maryland
The court ruled that states cannot tax the federal government, confirmed the constitutionality of the Bank of the US, declared the "states have no power, by taxation or otherwise, to retard, impede, burden, or in any manner control, the operations of the constitutional laws enacted by Congress to carry into execution the powers vested in the general government", 1819
Dartmouth College v Woodward
New Hampshire had attempted to take over Dartmouth College by revising its colonial charter. The Court ruled that the charter was protected under the contract clause of the US constitution, 1819
Gibbons v Ogden
Clarified the commerce clause and affirmed Congressional power over interstate commerce, 1824
Johnson v McIntosh
Established that Indian tribes had rights to tribal lands that preceded all other American law, only the federal government could take land from tribes, 1823
Cherokee Nation v Georgia
"The conditions of the Indians in relation to the United States is perhaps unlike that of any two people in existence," Chief Justice Marshall wrote, "their relation to the United States resembles that of a ward to his guardian...(they were a) domestic dependent nation." Established a "trust relationship" with the tribes under federal authority, 1831
Worcester v Georgia
Established tribal autonomy within their boundaries, i. e. the tribes were "distinct political communities, having territorial boundaries within which their authority is exclusive, 1832
Charles River Bridge v Warren Bridge
The interests of the community are more important than the interests of business; the supremacy of society's interest over private interest, 1837
Commonwealth v Hunt
Declared that labor unions were lawful organizations and that the strike was a lawful weapon, 1842
Scott v Sanford
Speaking for a widely divided court, Chief Justice Taney ruled that Dred Scott was not a citizen and had no standing in court; Scott's residence in a free state and territory had not made him free since he returned to Missouri; Congress had no power to prohibit slavery in a territory, thus voiding the Missouri Compromise of 1820, 1857
Ex parte Milligan
Ruled that a civilian cannot be tried in military courts while civil courts are available, 1866
Civil Rights Cases of 1883
Legalized segregation with regard to private property
Wabash, St Louis, and Pacific Railway Co v Illinois
Declared state passed Granger laws the regulated interstate commerce unconstitutional, 1886
Chicago, Milwaukee and St Paul Railroad Co v Minnesota
Found that Granger law regulations were violations of the 5th Amendment right to property, 1890
Pollock v The Farmers' Loan and Trust Co
Declared the income tax under the Wilson-Gorman Tariff to be unconstitutional, 1895
U S v E C Knight Co
Due to a narrow interpretation of the Sherman Anti-Trust Act, the Court undermined the authority of the federal government to act against monopolies, 1895
Plessy v Ferguson
Legalized segregation in publicly owned facilities on the basis "separate but equal", 1896
Downes v Bidwell
Confirmed the right of the federal government to place tariffs on goods entering the US from US territories on the grounds that "the Constitution does not follow the flag", 1901
Northern Securities Co v US
Re-established the authority of the federal government to fight monopolies under the Sherman Anti-Trust Act, 1904
Lochner v New York
Declared unconstitutional a New York act limiting the working hours of bakers due to a denial of 14th Amendment rights, 1905
Muller v Oregon
First case to use the "Brandeis brief"; recognized a 10-hour work day for women laundry workers on the grounds of health and community concerns, 1908
Hammer v Dagenhart
Declared the Keating-Owen Act unconstitutional on the grounds that it was an invasion of state authority, 1918
Schenck v US
Unanimously upheld the Espionage Act of 1917 which declared that people who interfered with the war effort were subject to imprisonment; declared that the 1st Amendment right to freedom of speech was not absolute, free speech could be limited if its exercise presented a "clear and present danger", 1919
Adkins v Children's Hospital
Declared unconstitutional a minimum wage law for women on the grounds that it denied women freedom of contract, 1923
Schechter v US
Sometimes called "the sick chicken case", unanimously declared the National Industrial Recovery Act (NIRA) unconstitutional on three grounds: that the act delegated legislative power to the executive, that there was a lack of constitutional authority for such legislation, and that it sought to regulate businesses that were wholly interstate in character, 1936
Korematsu v US
The court upheld the constitutionality of detention camps for Japanese-Americans during WWII, 1941
Ex parte Endo
The court forbade the internment of Japanese-Americans born in the US, 1944
Brown v Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas
Unanimous decision declaring "separate but equal" unconstitutional, 1954
Gideon v Wainwright
Extends to the defendant the right of counsel in all state and federal criminal trials regardless of their ability to pay, 1963
Escobedo v Illinois
Ruled that a defendant must be allowed access to a lawyer before questioning by police, 1964
Griswold v Connecticut
Ruled that "specific guarantees in the Bill of Rights have penumbras, formed by emanations from those guarantees that help give them life and substance. Various guarantees create zones of privacy", the decision defining a "right of privacy" based on the "emanations from" specific rights mentioned in the Constitution provided the intellectual and legal basis for rights asserted in the later Roe v Wade decision, 1965
Miranda v Arizona
The court ruled that those subjected to in-custody interrogation be advised of their constitutional right to an attorney and their right to remain silent, 1966
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 the 4th Amendment rights of a person to be secure in their persons, 1973
US v Richard Nixon
The court rejected Richard Nixon's claim to an absolutely unqualified privilege against any judicial process, 1974
Bakke v Regents of the University of California
Ambiguous ruling by a badly divided court that dealt with affirmative action programs that used race as a basis of selecting participants, the court general upheld affirmative action, but with a 4/4/1 split it was a weak decision, 1978