Everson v. Board of Education (1947)
The Court upheld a New Jersey policy of reimbursing parents of Catholic school students for the costs of busing their children to school.
Abington School District v. Schempp (1963)
The Court struck down a Pennsylvania law requiring the reading of a Bible passage at the beginning of each day.
Lemon v. Kurtzman (1971)
The Court struck down a Pennsylvania law reimbursing parochial schools for textbooks and teacher salaries. Established a test. To pass a law: 1. must have a primarily secular purpose; 2. its principal effect must neither aid nor inhibit religion; 3. must not create excessive entalgement between government and religion.
Lynch v. Donnelly (1984)
The Court upheld the right of government entities to celebrate the Christmas holiday with Christmas displays that might include nativity scenes, if secular displays are also sufficiently included.
Wallace v. Jaffree (1985)
The Court overturned a state law setting aside time for "voluntary prayer" in public schools.
Edwards v. Aguillard (1987)
The Court ruled that Louisiana could not force public schools that taught evolution to also teach creationism.
Board of Education of Westside Community Schools v. Mergens (1990)
The Court upheld the Equal Access Act of 1984, which required public secondary schools to provide religious groups the same access to facilities that other extracurricular groups had.
Lee v. Weisman (1992)
The Court ruled against clergy-led prayer at high school graduation ceremonies.
Santa Fe Independent School District v. Doe (2002)
The Court overturned a Texas law allowing high school students to read a prayer at athletic events such as football games.
Reynolds v. United States (1879)
The Court upheld the federal law that prohibited polygamy even though X, a Mormon from Utah, claimed that the law limited his religious freedom.
Wisconsin v. Yoder (1972)
The Court ruled that Wisconsin could not require Amish parents to send their children to public school beyond the eighth grade because it would violate long-held religious beliefs.
Employment Division of Oregon v. Smith (1990)
The Court ruled that X could deny unemployment benefits to workers fired for using drugs (peyote) as part of a religious ceremony.
Church of the Lukumu Babalu Aye v. City of Hialeah (1993)
The Court ruled that laws banning animal sacrifice were unconstitutional because they targeted the Santeria religion.
Schenck v. United States (1919)
Defendant mailed fliers to draftees during WWI urging them to protest the craft peacefully. Was convicted of violating a federal law against encouraging the disobedience of military orders. Oliver Wendel Holmes wrote in the opinion that such speech was not protected during wartime because it would create a clear and present danger, establishing a standard for measuring what would and would not be protected speech.
Chaplinsky v. New Hampshire (1942)
The Court ruled that the first amendment did not protect "fighting words."
Gitlow v. New York (1925)
The Court applied the protections of free speech to the states under the due process clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.
Tinker v. Des Moines (1969)
The Court ruled that wearing black armbands in protest of the Vietnam War was symbolic speech, protected by the First Amendment.
Brandenburg v. Ohio (1969)
The Court made the "clear and present" danger test less restrictive by ruling that using inflamatory speech would be punished only if there was an imminent danger that this speech would incite an illegal act.
Miller v. California (1973)
The Court established the X test, which sets standards for measuring obscenity: 1) major theme appeals to indecent sexual desires applying contemporary community standards; 2) shows in clearly offensive way sexual behavior outlawed by state law; 3) "lacks serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value."
Reno v. ACLU (1997)
The Court ruled the Communications Decency Act unconstitutional because it was "overly broad and vague" in regulating Internet speech.
Near v. Minnesota
The Court applied the protections of free press to the states under the due process clause of the Fourteenth Amendment and prohibited prior restraint.
New York Times v. United States (1971)
The Court reaffirmed its position of prior restraint, refusing to stop the publication of the Pentagon Papers.
Hazelwood School District v. Kuhlmeier (1988)
The Court ruled in favor of school district censorship of student newspapers as long as censorship is related to legitimate concerns.
DeJonge v. Oregon (1937)
The Court established that the right of association (assembly) was as important as other First Amendment rights and used the due process clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to apply freedom of assembly to the states.
Griswold v. Connecticut (1965)
The Court ruled that the First, Third, Fourth, Ninth, and Fourteenth Amednements created "zones of privacy" and enhanced the concept of enumerated rights.
Roe v. Wade (1973)
The outcome was a continuation of the recognition of a constitutional right of privacy for a woman to determine whether to terminate a pregnancy.
Wolf v. Colorado (1949)
The Court applied protections against unreasonable search and seizure to the states under the due process clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.
Mapp v. Ohio (1961)
The Court ruled that evidence obtained without a search warrant was excluded from trial in state courts. The case involved the application of the exclusionary rule to the states. The exclusionary rule is the Court's effort to deter illegal police conduct by barring from court evidence that has been obtained in violation of the Fourteenth Amendment.
Terry v. Ohio (1968)
The Court ruled that searches of criminal suspects are constitutional and police may search suspects for safety purposes.
Nix v. Williams (1984)
The Court established the inevitable discovery rule, allowing evidence discovered as the result of an illegal search to be introduced if it can be shown that the evidence would have been found anyway.
United States v. Leon (1984)
The Court established the good faith exception to the exclusionary rule.
Miranda v. Arizona (1966)
The Court ruled that suspects in police custody have certain rights and that they must be informed of those rights (right to remain silent, right to an attorney).
Powell v. Alabama (1932)
The Court established that the due process clause of the Fourteenth Amendment guarantees defendants in death penalty cases the right to an attorney.
Betts v. Brady (1942)
The Court ruled that poor defendants in noncapital cases are not entitled to an attorney at government expense.
Gideon v. Wainwright (1963)
The Court ruled that in state trials, those who cannot afford an attorney will have one provided by the state, overturning Betts v. Brady.
Escobedo v. Illinois (1964)
The Supreme Court extended the exclusionary rule to illegal confessions in state court cases. The Court also defined the "X rule," which stated that persons have the right to an attorney when an investigation begins "to focus on a particular suspect." If the suspect has been arrested, has requested an attorney, and has not been warned of his or her right to remain silent, the suspect has been "denied council in violation of the Sixth Amendment."
Furman v. Georgia (1972)
The Court ruled the death penalty unconstitional under existing state law because it was imposed arbitrarily.
Gregg v. Georgia (1976)
The dealth penalty was upheld as constitutional because it was imposed based on the circumstances of the case.
Zorach v. Clauson (1952)
This decision allows states to provide release time programs for their students because the programs took place away from public places.
Engel v. Vitale (1962)
This decision struck down a New York State nondenominational prayer that started with the words "Almighty God, we acknowledge our dependence upon thee..."
Abington School District v. Schempp (1963)
This decision ruled that a Pennsylvania state law that allowed a Bible passage to be read at the start of the school day was unconstitutional.
Lemon v. Kurtzman (1971)
The resulting X test sets the criteria in determining whether the line of governmental interference is crossed. The three-pronged standard indicates that the purpose of the legislation must be secular, non-religious, that its primary effect must neither advance nor inhibit religion, and that it must avoid an "excessive entanglement of government with religion." Struck down a law that provided governmental aid to private schools.
Lee v. Weisman (1992)
This decision directed school officials not to invite clergy to recite prayers at graduation ceremonies.
Roth v. United States (1957)
The Court ruled that "obscenity is not within the constitutionally protected speech or press."
New York Times v. Sullivan (1964)
This decision created a base definition of what constitutes libel - material that is written with malice and a reckless disregard for the truth.
Hazelwood v. Kuhlmeier (1988)
The Court gave school administrators the right to censor a school newspaper.
DeJonge v. Oregon (1937)
The Court found that X had the right to organize a Communist Party and speak at its meetings even though the party advocated "industrial or political change or revoliution."
Dennis v. United States (1951)
X, who was leader of the Communist Party, was found to be in violation of the Smith Act by advocating the forcible overthrow of the US government.
Cox v. New Hampshire (1941)
The Court approved advance notice and a permit for a demonstration on public property. The right of individuals to petition on private property such as shopping centers has been restricted much more than on public property.
Coates v. Cincinnati (1971)
The Court ruled that a Cincinnati ordinance that made it a criminal offense for three or more persons to assemble on a sidewalk and annoy passersby with their conduct was unconstitutional.
Collins v. Smith (1978)
Known as the Skokie case, the Supreme Court let a lower court decision stand allowing the Nazi party to march through the predominantly Jewish section of Skokie, Illinois.
Katz v. United States
Reversing the long-standing Olmstead doctrine, which allowed federal wiretapping to obtain evidence, the Supreme Court outlined stricter criteria for wiretapping in this decision and allowable procedures for wiretapping in a crime bill passed in the following year (1968).
Ex parte Milligan (1866)
Although a writ of habeas corpus cannot be suspended where there is no fighting, the court decided that during a war, a government can suspend civil liberties.
Richmond Newspapers, Inc. v. Virginia (1980)
The Court ruled that representatives of the media have the right to cover a trial. There have been restrictions placed on the media when the coverage contributes to a disruption of the case or if it prejudices the case.
Stack v. Boyle (1951)
Deals with federal cases and establishes that any bail that goes beyond what is reasonable in order to guarantee that the accused will appear at a trial is excessive under the Eighth Amendment. States determine own standards of reasonableness under own criminal justice statutes.
Cruzan v. Missouri Department of Health (1990)
The Supreme Court ruled that a "living will" is a legitimate document that can be used to direct a hospital to "pull the plug" of a patient.
Printz, Sheriff/Coroner, Ravalli County Montana v. United States (1997)
Challenging the provision of the Brady Law which mandated local officials to perform background checks on people purchasing handguns. Supreme Court ruled that specific part of the law unconstitutional.
Richmond v. Corson (1989)
This case created the impetus for Congress to pass the Civil Rights Act of 1991. Established the following five procedures for evaluating the legitimancy of affirmative action programs: 1) A strict scrutiny test evaluating programs based on racial classification; 2) Congress has more power than the states through the provisions of the Fourteenth Amendment to enforce equal protection provisions; 3) When the state takes action, it must do so based on evidence that past discriminatory practice existed; 4) Affirmative action remedies must be specific and apply to past injustices; 5) States may develop affirmative action programs "narrowly tailored... necessary to break down patterns of deliberate exclusion."