Landmark Supreme Court Cases
Read the BACKGROUND aloud.
Write the highlighted area in your notebook pg 16
Complete the Court Case worksheet
Hazelwood School District v. Kuhlmeier (1988)
BACKGROUND – Principle of High School ordered two
pages of from the school newspaper to be deleted. The two
pages included an articles on the teen pregnancy and impact of
divorce on student in school
Constitutional Issue: Does the 1st amendment
freedom of speech prevent school administrators from
regulating student speech
Court Decision: 5 to 3 against students, school cans
regulate students speech
Gideon v. Wainwright (1963)
BACKGROUND – Gideon, a petty thief who had already served
four prison terms, was arrested for breaking into a poolroom in
Panama City, Fl and stealing a pint of wine & cigarettes. He asked
the judge to appoint him an attorney and he was denied because
Florida law only provided one for a capital crime (where death
could a penalty.
Constitutional Issue: Is a defendant in a criminal case
who cannot afford an attorney deprived the 6th
amendment right to counsel.
Court Decision: Courts ruled in his favor, guaranteeing
anyone brought to court an attorney.
West Virginia Education v. Barnette (1943)
BACKGROUND – West Virginia implemented a mandatory flag
salute in public schools. Students who did not comply were
punished by expulsion from school. Barnette’s children who were
Jehovah’s Witness (religious group who refused to participate in
government) were expelled from school. They appealed to the
Constitutional Issue: Did mandatory flag salute
violate the 14th, equal protection clause & the 1st
amendment: freedom of religion
Court Decision: Courts ruled 6-3 in favor of the
Barlette’s saying it DID violate the 1st amendment.
Miranda v. Arizona (1966)
BACKGROUND – Ernesto Miranda was arrested at his home,
accused of rape & kidnapping. Questioned at the police station he
was not advised of his right to be silent & to have an attorney.
After two hours of questioning he signed a written confession. He
was found guilty and sentenced to 30 yrs in prison. He appealed
to the Supreme court.
Constitutional Issue: did the questioning violate the 5th
amendment right, and did the environment
Court Decision: Courts ruled 5-4 in favor of the
Miranda saying it DID violate the 5st amendment. Miranda
Rights are a direct result of this case
Wisconsin v. Yoder (1972)
BACKGROUND – Amish, a religious group who separate
themselves from the modern world, operate their own
elementary schools, however their education ends at 8th grade.
The state required children to attend school until 16 years old.
They refused to obey this law and send their children to a public
Constitutional Issue: Did the 1st amendment (freedom of
religion) protect them from being forced to send their children
to public high school if it was against their religious beliefs
Court Decision: Courts ruled 6-3 that Amish could not be
forced to send their kids to public once they completed 8th
District of Columbia v Heller
BACKGROUND – Handgun possession is banned under
District of Columbia law banned handgun possession. The
law prohibits the registration of handguns and makes it a
crime to carry an unregistered firearm. Furthermore all
lawfully owned firearms must be kept unloaded and
dissembled or bound by a trigger lock unless they are being
used for lawful recreational activities
Constitutional Issue: 2nd amendment: right to bear arms
Court Decision: Courts ruled in Heller’s favor, stating it
violated his 2nd amendment right. States cannot not pass laws
pertaining to the right to bear arms if it violated the federal law
Bush v. Gore
BACKGROUND – 2000 presidential election was a very close
tie. Who would be become president depended on Florida. Florida
voted by punching a hole in the ballot card and the votes counted
by machine. About 60, 000 ballots were not counted because the
machine did not detect holes. Gores appealed to Fl. Supreme
Court and Florida was to recount ballets. Bush appealed to U.S
Constitutional Issue: Can the U.S Supreme Court over rule
state court decisions and weather appointed judiciary affect
Court Decision: Courts ruled 5-4 to end hand recount and
announced the next president.
Tinker v. Des Moines
BACKGROUND – Students in Des Moines decided take part in
political protest of the Vietnam War by wearing black armbands to
schools. Two days before protest, school board created a new
policy banning armbands and those who did were suspended for
Constitutional Issue: Can the school officials prohibit
students from warming armbands to symbolize political protest.
Court Decision: Courts rules 7-2 in favor of the students.
Symbolic speech can not be punished if it is peaceful.
Mapp v. Carr (1962)
BACKGROUND – While searching for a bombing suspect, police
found evidence of a separate crime. The police did not have the
right to enter the house nor have a search warrant.
Constitutional Issue: Can evidence discovered in the process
of illegal search be used as evidence
Court Decision: Courts rules 5-3 in favor of Mapp, stating that
illegally obtained evidence is inadmissible in a state court.
Exclusionary rule now applies