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SCOTUS Cases GOPO Final
Terms in this set (33)
Miranda v. Arizona 1966
Required that arresting officers notify a suspect that "you have the right to remain silent..." and that the suspect has the right to the presence of an attorney during questioning.
Tinker v. Des Moines 1969
The plaintiff and her brother were suspended from Harding Junior High in 1965 when she and the others wore black armbands to school to protest the war in Vietnam. The Court held that students were entitled to the First Amendment protections of free speech and that an armband was protected because it was "symbolic speech."
Brandenburg v. Ohio 1969
This ruling on free speech created a two-part test: first, speech can be prohibited if it is "directed at inciting or producing imminent lawless action" and second, it is "likely to incite or produce such action." A KKK leader, the plaintiff gave a speech at a rally that said they should bring violence to anyone that is opposed to segregation. Ohio said it was "advocating a crime" and put him in jail. The Court ruled in his favor, saying that it was not inciting a riot and it was not likely to produce a riot or a crime.
Lemon v. Kurtzman 1971
It brought about the Lemon Test (a way to decide if tax dollars can be given to private schools). It basically said that public funds could go to private schools as long as it is not being used to promote one religion (Establishment Clause). So, we can pay for Science teachers, but not for Bible Class teachers.
Roe v. Wade 1973
The plaintiff wants and abortion in Texas. It is illegal there. She sues Texas (represented by State's Attorney the defendant). Based on precedents like Griswold, it struck down laws prohibiting abortion during the first trimester of pregnancy. The Court continued to uphold the ruling for the plaintiff, while allowing various restrictions. It let the states decide for banning second trimester abortions and made third trimester abortions illegal.
Buckley v. Valeo 1976
The plaintiff was a Senator suing the US government (represented by the defendant) because he said that his speech was being censored because he couldn't spend what he wants to on his own campaign. This case has been a major roadblock to campaign finance reform because it protects a rich candidate's ability to spend his or her own money as an expression of "free speech." Thus, there are limits on campaign contributions, but not on candidate spending.
Univ. of Calif. Regents v. Bakke 1978
This decision was a loss for proponents of "affirmative action." The plaintiff, a white man, sued UC Davis for rejecting his application to the medical school while admitting some racial minority candidates with lesser scores on the admission test. The Court said strict racial quotas for admission to universities were illegal but race could be used in making decisions on admission. The plaintiff won and was admitted into UC Davis.
New Jersey v. TLO 1985
The plaintiff was a fourteen-year-old, accused of smoking in the bathroom. Principal questioned and searched her purse, finding marijuana and other paraphernalia. Citing the peculiarities associated with searches at school, the Court abandoned its requirement that searches be conducted with a "probable cause" that an individual has violated the law, replacing this with a less strict standard of "reasonableness." She was smoking, therefore she probably has illegal things in her purse.
(Employment Division of) Oregon v. Smith 1990
At issue was the use of peyote (a mild hallucinogenic drug) by Native Americans, as part of their traditional worship service. They were refused unemployment benefits from the state of Oregon because they were fired after failing a drug test. The Court ruled that the Free Exercise Clause does not apply to laws that are aimed at general behavior rather than at specific religions so the plaintiff won.
Planned Parenthood v. Casey 1992
The major pro choice lobby in the US sued the state of Pennsylvania (represented by the defendant).The Court upheld a Pennsylvania law mandating informed consent and a twenty-four hour waiting period before an abortion could be preformed.
Texas v. Johnson 1993
Affirmed the Constitutional First Amendment protection of protesters to burn the American Flag. Burning the flag is "protected speech" and "symbolic speech". Interestingly, President George H. W. Bush asked for an amendment to make flag burning illegal.
Shaw v. Reno 1993
Blocks "racial gerrymandering."
District of Columbia v. Heller 2008
The defendant was an ex-cop who owned a handgun, but that was illegal in DC. He took DC to Federal District Court and won, but DC appealed it. That's why it went from Heller v. DC to DC v. Heller. The Supreme Court ruled by overturning the District of Columbia's handgun ban, the court ruled that the Second Amendment protects the individual right to own a gun for private use — not only in connection with service in a militia.
Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission 2010
The plaintiff was a PAC that was angry that they could not spend what they wanted on ads for candidates because of earlier rulings. The finding of the Court was that the government cannot limit corporate political spending in candidate elections because such a limit would restrict political speech.
Marbury v. Madison 1803
Established the Court's power of Judicial Review which means the Supreme Court can rule actions of the legislative branch and the executive branch unconstitutional.
McCulloch v. Maryland 1819
Second National Bank is placed in Maryland. Maryland tries to tax the bank, but it refuses to pay because it is part of the federal government. The question is, can a state tax the federal government? The Court said "no" and further established the supremacy of the federal government over the states.
Gibbons v. Ogden 1824
Usually cited as a precedent whenever the power of the state vs. the power of the federal government to regulate interstate commerce is questioned. (The Feds usually win) The case dealt with a steamboat monopoly granted by the state of New York, which was challenged by a competing ferry service operating between New York and New Jersey. Overall, the commerce clause has been the single most litigated constitutional issue in the courts. Over the years Commerce Clause precedents gave Congressional laws enormous reach.
Dred Scott v. Sanford 1857
Concerning a slave who had lived for a time with his "master," an army surgeon, in the Free State of Illinois and at Fort Snelling, then in Wisconsin Territory where slavery had been prohibited. The plaintiff claimed that his residency in a free state and a free territory had made him free. Seven justices agreed on one point - that the plaintiff remained a slave. They said that he was "chattel" (property) and therefore he doesn't have the right to sue.
Reynolds v. US 1879
A federal law that prohibited polygamy (multiple wives) was challenged based on the Free Exercise Clause. Did the law violate the right to the free exercise of religious beliefs by prohibiting this practice? The Court said no, holding that an individual's religious beliefs are no defense to the application of a general law.
Plessy v. Ferguson 1896
The plaintiff was of mixed race and tried to ride a train that was for whites only. He was thrown off and then sued the train company owner, the defendant. At issue was Louisiana's law mandating racial segregation: was it a violation of the privileges and immunities and the equal protection clauses of the 14th Amendment? The justices based their decision on the separate-but-equal doctrine that separate facilities for blacks and whites were constitutional so long as they were equal.
Weeks v. US 1914
In a federal prosecution the Fourth Amendment bars the use of evidence secured through an illegal search at the federal level. This will set the precedent for Mapp v. Ohio.
Schenck v. US 1919
This case concerns the First Amendment protection of Freedom of Speech. The decision upheld the convictions of the plaintiff and another defendant for violation of the Espionage Act during WWI because they were handing out flyers telling American citizens to not sign up for the army. Later, people have equated the ruling as the same thing as falsely shouting fire in a theatre...". Holmes also wrote that the real question comes down to whether the words spoken present a "clear and present danger...".
Gitlow v. New York 1925
A socialist citizen was arrested for advocating the violent overthrow of the government. In the case, the Court announced that freedoms of speech and press "were fundamental personal rights and liberties protected by the due process clause of the Fourteenth Amendment from impairment by the states." He was found innocent. Thus, the case was the first step in the judicial development of selective incorporation, which extends protection of civil liberties from infringement by States.
Near v. Minnesota 1931
The plaintiff published a scandal sheet in Minneapolis, in which he attacked local officials, charging that they were implicated with gangsters. The state officials obtained an injunction to prevent the plaintiff from publishing his newspaper under a state law that allowed such action against periodicals. The Court called this "prior restraint", which means that they were restraining the paper from its freedom of speech before it actually spoke (was published) and ruled in favor of the plaintiff.
Korematsu v. US 1944
Japanese American citizens were interned (jailed) during WWII because they were seen as a threat. This case upheld the constitutionality of internment as a legitimate exercise of power during wartime. In 1988 Congress decided to issue a public apology and to pay some money to the 60,000 surviving internees
Mapp v. Ohio 1961
The plaintiff had been sentenced to seven years for position of obscene material in 1957. The police had seized this material without a search warrant while they were looking for a fugitive. She didn't permit them to search her house. In this case the Supreme Court applied 4th Amendment protections to the states and said that the states were required to get search warrants. The Court adopted a rule excluding from a criminal trial evidence that the police obtained unconstitutionally or illegally. This is called the exclusionary rule. This is just the incorporation of Weeks v. US to the states.
Engle v. Vitale 1962
In New York, a principal was reading a non-denominational prayer over the PA system each day at school. The plaintiff sued saying that it was a violation of his son's First Amendment right against the establishment of an official religion. Banned organized prayer in public schools as a violation of the First Amendment's injunction that "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion." Hugo Black cited Jefferson's "wall of separation" for support in dealing with Establishment Clause cases.
Baker v. Carr 1962
The key question was whether the Court has jurisdiction over questions of legislative apportionment? The Court held that that legislative apportionment was a justiciable issue. This means voters can challenge apportionment schemes in Federal courts. This case began the establishment of the principle of "one person, one vote."
Wesberry v. Sanders 1963
This is a clarification of the decision in Baker v. Carr. The plaintiff protested Georgia's apportionment scheme, claiming the system diluted his right to vote compared to other Georgia residents, because his district was considerably larger than others in the state. The Court held that Georgia's apportionment scheme grossly discriminated against voters. Because a single congressman had to represent two to three times as many people as were represented by congressmen in other districts, the Georgia statute contracted the value of some votes and expanded the value of others, so it was ruled unconstitutional.
Gideon v. Wainwright 1963
Helps lead the way to Miranda v. Arizona in 1966. The plaintiff was denied a court appointed attorney in a non-capital case. He defended himself. Eventually he was granted an appeal to the Supreme Court. The Court held that the due process clause of the 5th and 14th amendments meant that a court appointed attorney was constitutionally guaranteed.
New York Times v. Sullivan 1964
Shielded the press from vindictive libel suits from public figures. Made it harder for public figures to sue the press for libel. The public figure must have the "high burden" of proving that statements about them were not simply overstated, but were published with "reckless disregard" for the truth.
Heart of Atlanta Motel v. U.S. 1964
The Court held that the Commerce Clause allowed Congress to regulate local incidents of commerce. The Court thus concluded that places of public accommodation had no "right" to select guests as they saw fit, free from governmental regulation. Since commerce was taking place at the place of business of the plaintiff, the Civil Rights Act (a federal law) applied to their serving people equally.
Griswold v. Connecticut 1965
Connecticut maintained a law, passed in 1879, that made it illegal to use anything to "prevent conception." The state had never prosecuted any doctors under the law, but in 1961, acting on a complaint filed against Planned Parenthood, the state arrested the plaintiff, the director of its New Haven clinic. She admitted guilt and was fined $100 for giving contraceptives (birth control pills) to married couples. She appealed to the Supreme Court. The Court ruled in a favor of the plaintiff because the government had violated the patient's privacy in finding out about the transaction. This doctor/patient privacy is the standard that kept abortion legal in some states.
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