sup court decisions by jizhen1947


									      Marbury v Madison 1803
• was the first instance in which a law passed by
  Congress was declared unconstitutional. The
  decision greatly expanded the power of the
  Court by establishing its right to overturn acts of
  Congress, a power not explicitly granted by the
  Constitution. Initially the case involved Secretary
  of State James Madison, who refused to seat
  four judicial appointees although they had been
  confirmed by the Senate
        Fletcher v Peck 1810
• Said a state could not pass a law that
  impaired contracts or land titles acquired
  in good faith; first time that the Sup. Ct.
  said a state law was unconstitutional
       McCulloch v Md. 1819
• upheld the right of Congress to create a
  Bank of the United States, ruling that it
  was a power implied but not enumerated
  by the Constitution. The case is significant
  because it advanced the doctrine of
  implied powers, or a loose construction of
  the Constitution. The Court, Chief Justice
  John Marshall wrote, would sanction laws
  reflecting “the letter and spirit” of the
      Gibbon v Ogden 1824
• defined broadly Congress's right to
  regulate commerce. The Court held that
  the New York law was unconstitutional,
  since the power to regulate interstate
  commerce, which extended to the
  regulation of navigation, belonged
  exclusively to Congress. In the 20th
  century, Chief Justice John Marshall's
  broad definition of commerce was used to
  uphold civil rights
      Barron v Baltimore 1833
• Bill of Rights applied only to the federal
  government not to the states.
• Eminent domain case
    Dred Scott v Sanford 1857
The case involved Dred Scott, a slave, who was
 taken from a slave state to a free territory. Scott
 filed a lawsuit claiming that because he had
 lived on free soil he was entitled to his freedom.
 Chief Justice Taney disagreed, ruling that blacks
 were not citizens and therefore could not sue in
 federal court. Taney further inflamed antislavery
 forces by declaring that Congress had no right to
 ban slavery from U.S. territories
  The Civil Rights Cases 1883
• The 14th Amendment does not prohibit
  discrimination by businesses and
• This will be overturned by Heart of Atlanta
     Plessy v Ferguson 1896
• was the infamous case that asserted that
  “equal but separate accommodations” for
  blacks on railroad cars did not violate the
  “equal protection under the laws” clause of
  the 14th Amendment. By defending the
  constitutionality of racial segregation, the
  Court paved the way for the repressive
  Jim Crow laws of the South. The lone
  dissenter on the Court, Justice John
  Harlan, protested,
     Schenck v US 1919

• Certain words can be
  considered clear and
  present danger during war
  time and are not protected
  by the 1st Amendment
       Gitlow v NY 1925

• Socialist called for socialism
  in NY. Claimed NY violated
  his rights.Supremes said no
  it did not BUT SC did say
  the 1st Amendment does
  apply (incorporation) does
  apply to states.
      Near v Minnesota 1931
• Incorporated the freedom of the press
  clause of the First Amendment. Minnesota
  and other states had to protect the rights
  of the press.
         Palko v Conn. 1937
• Upheld a 2nd conviction and man was
• Said 5th Amendment does apply to states
  but not Double Jeopardy part.
• Benton v Md. 1969 Double Jeopardy is
  finally applied to states (incorporated or
       Smith v Allwright 1944
• Declared that all-white primaries were
  Everson v Board of Ed 1947
• Incorporated the establishment clause so
  states had to protect it.
• But this case said that a school district
  could provide school buses for religious
  schools. Such assistance would not violate
  the establishment clause.
      Dennis v US 1948

• The Smith Act does not
  violate the 1 st Amendment.

  Communism is a clear and
  present danger to the
      Wolf v Colorado 1949
• Incorporated no unreasonable searches
  and seizures.
• Also see Mapp
 Brown v Bd of Education 1954
• invalidated racial segregation in schools and led
  to the unraveling of de jure segregation in all
  areas of public life. In the unanimous decision
  spearheaded by Chief Justice Earl Warren, the
  Court invalidated the Plessy ruling, declaring “in
  the field of public education, the doctrine of
  „separate but equal‟ has no place” and
  contending that “separate educational facilities
  are inherently unequal.” Future Supreme Court
  justice Thurgood Marshall was one of the
  NAACP lawyers who successfully argued the
  case. Rhenquist was a clerk that disagreed.
     NAACP v Alabama 1958
• Incorporated the freedom of association.
• Alabama could not have a list of NAACP
  members since that would keep people
  from joining.
         Mapp v Ohio 1961
• Evidence was seized illegally and could
  not be used court.
• Incorporated the exclusionary rule into the
  14th Amendment and extended it to the
• More recently courts have said if police act
  in good faith or would have found
  evidence another way then evidence
  would not be excluded from court.
        Wesbury v Sanders
• Established the principle of "one man, one
  vote" for congressional districts
       Baker v Carr 1962
• Federal Courts could hear
  redistricting cases for state
• It led to Wesberry v Sanders
  1962 – Ga. Cong. Districts
  were disproportional in size
  violating “one man one vote”
         Engle v Vitale 1962
• Although New York State‟s school prayer
  was non denominational and voluntary it
  still violated the Establishment clause of
  the First Amendment. Led to the Abington
  bible reading case the next year.
Abington Twp v Schempp 1963

• Required bible reading and
  Lord‟s prayer violates 1  st

  Amendment establishment
  clause thus the district law
  is unconstitutional.
   Gideon v Wainright 1963

• Florida did violate person‟s
  right to a lawyer by not
  providing one.
Heart of Atlanta Hotel              v US 1964
• The motel's argument is that the government
  overstepped its bounds by using the Commerce
  Clause to exert influence over the hospitality
  industry in forcing them to treat black guests as
  they would white guests. The motel lost its case
  in district court and appealed to the Supreme
  Court. The Court found that the Congress did
  have the power exerted in the Act, and that the
  motel had no case against the Act.
        NYT v Sullivan 1964
• Statements about public figures are
  libelous only if made with malice and
  reckless disregard for the truth. Public
  figures don‟t have as much protection as
  regular private persons.
    Griswold v Connecticut 1965
• Held that various guarantees within the Bill
  of Rights create penumbras that establish
  a right to privacy in marital relations
• Conn. Could not restrict birth control.
     Miranda v Arizona 1966
• The Warren Court reversed the conviction
  bc the suspect was not informed of his
• The court would not uphold any conviction
  on appeal if the accused had not been
  informed of their constitutional rights
  before being questioned.
          Harper v VA 1966
• Found Poll taxes in any election to be
          Loving v VA 1967
• There is no “rational purpose” for
  discrimination by banning races from
  marrying one another.
• Instead, such discrimination should
  receive “the most rigid scrutiny.”
    Tinker v Des Moines 1968
• The Court ruled in favor of students' rights
  to exercise their freedom of speech
  symbolically by wearing black armbands to
  protest the war in Vietnam.
• SC overruled a school district and a state
    Swann v Charlotte 1971
         out of order
• Federal Court remedies to
  segregation were lawful.
• Busing students to achieve
  racial integration was
       Lemon v Kurtzman
Pa law regarding funding for nonpublic
     school violated 3 part test of
 Does the law 1.entangle, 2.promote ,
    or 3. have a religious purpose?
           NYT v US 1971
• The Court ruled in this case that the
  government could not exercise prior
  restraint to prevent a newspaper from
  publishing negative information about the
  country's involvement in Vietnam.
• Pentagon Papers Case Daniel Ellsburg
  gov employee leaked it. Later Nixon‟s
  people broke into Ellsburg‟s psychiatrist
         Reed v Reed 1971
• Held that it was unconstitutional to
  mandate gender discrimination by
  preferring men to women in choosing the
  administrators of estates
• Craig v. Boren (1976)
    • “Medium scrutiny” standard established for gender
      discrimination. Means that there might be times
      when discrimination based on gender may be
          Roe v Wade 1973
• legalized abortion and is at the center of
  the current controversy between “pro-life”
  and “pro-choice” advocates. The Court
  ruled that a woman has the right to an
  abortion in the first trimester of pregnancy,
  contending that it is part of her “right to
  privacy.” States may intervene in the 2nd
  and 3rd trimesters but cannot place a
  undo burden on her.
          US v Nixon 1974
• Case which ruled that executive privilege
  was not unqualified.
• Nixon had to give up the audio tapes that
  would show he was involved in a cover up
  of the Watergate Scandal.
• SC asserted point that president was not
  more important than the law.
       Buckley v Valeo 1976
• Upheld contribution limits in elections, but
  said candidates could spend their own
  funds without limit; also held that since
  financial support of a candidate is
  protected under freedom of speech that
  individuals and outside groups could
  spend unlimited amounts as long as they
  were independent of the candidate's
  campaign. They are now called 527‟s.
   Regents of U. of Calif v Bakke
• Supremes upheld notion of affirmative
  action but said race could be only one
  factor in determining admission.
• Significant bc race could no longer be a
  predominant factor.
• Since 1978 rulings have been mixed.
  Upholding some and striking down some.
• See Grutter 2003 U of Michigan
   Immigration and Naturalization
      Service v Chadha 1982
• Ruled that the legislative veto was
  unconstitutional. Saying the legislative
  process must proceed that is House –
  Senate –President.
• In this case just the House told the
  immigration service to deport someone
  from the country.
    South Dakota v Dole 1987
• Upheld Congressional legislation requiring
  states to raise the legal drinking age as a
  condition of receiving all their fed. hwy.
  funds. It would withhold 5% of the regular
  Webster v Reproductive Health
         Services 1989
• Held that the Due Process Clause does
  not require states to enter into the
  business of abortion (state facilities) and
  did not mandate governmental aid;
• states could restrict abortion although
  the Court upheld the right to an
• See Planned Parenthood v Casey
      Texas v Johnson 1989
• Struck down a Texas law banning the
  burning of the American flag on the
  grounds that such action was symbolic
  speech protected by the First Amendment.
         Shaw v Reno 1993
• White voters said boundaries of new
  congressional districts were minority
• Court agreed saying the odd shape was
  created to create a black district.
• Race may be one factor but not be the
  only factor in drawing district boundaries.
          US v Lopez 1994
• Ruled that the Fed. Gun Control Act
  prohibiting the possession of a gun within
  1000 ft. of a school was unconstitutional;
  limited the application of the Commerce
  Clause, Congress had overreached in its
• Those desiring devolution were happy.
     Miller v Johnson 1995

• Racial gerrymandering is a
  violation of equal protection
  clause of 14 th Amendment.
           Printz v US 1996
• Held that the fed. govt. could not require
  state and local police to enforce a fed. law
  w/o providing money and state acceptance
  of that fed. Support.
• Those favoring devolution were happy.
Planned Parenthood v Casey 1992
• The Court reaffirmed a woman's right to
  have an abortion but upheld restrictions
  such as a 24-hour waiting period prior to
  an abortion and requiring minors to get a
  parent's consent before an abortion
   Adarand Constructors v. Pena
• Held that racial classifications must pass
  strict scrutiny review to see if they serve a
  "compelling government interest." Thus
  federal programs cannot require that
  contracts go to minority businesses
        US v Morrison 2000
• Struck down part of the Violence Against
  Women Act; limitation of application of
  Commerce Clause
     Lawrence v Texas 2003
 States may not prohibit private homosexual
  activity between consenting adults.
• Overturned opposite view of Bowers 1986
         Grutter v Bollinger 2003
•    upheld the University of Michigan Law School's
    consideration of race and ethnicity in admissions, the
    university's program is consistent with the requirement of
    “individualized consideration” set in 1978's Bakke case.
    “In order to cultivate a set of leaders with legitimacy in
    the eyes of the citizenry, it is necessary that the path to
    leadership be visibly open to talented and qualified
    individuals of every race and ethnicity,” O'Connor said.
    However, the court, in Gratz v. Bollinger, ruled that the
    University of Michigan's undergraduate admissions
    system, which awards 20 points to black, Hispanic, and
    American-Indian applicants, is “nonindividualized,
    mechanical,” and thus unconstitutional
                           Student Free Speech Cases
•   Tinker 1969 The wearing of armbands was "closely akin to 'pure speech'" and protected by the
    First Amendment. School environments imply limitations on free expression, but here the
    principals lacked justification for imposing any such limits.The principals had failed to show that
    the forbidden conduct would substantially interfere with appropriate school discipline.
•   Bethel v Fraser 1986 The Court found that it was appropriate for the school to prohibit the use of
    vulgar and offensive language. Chief Justice Burger distinguished between political speech which
    the Court previously had protected in Tinker v. Des Moines Independent Community School
    District (1969) and the supposed sexual content of Fraser's message at the assembly. Burger
    concluded that the First Amendment did not prohibit schools from prohibiting vulgar and lewd
    speech since such discourse was inconsistent with the "fundamental values of public school
•   Hazelwood 1988 In a 5-to-3 decision, the Court held that the First Amendment did not require
    schools to affirmatively promote particular types of student speech. The Court held that schools
    must be able to set high standards for student speech disseminated under their auspices,
    and that schools retained the right to refuse to sponsor speech that was "inconsistent with 'the
    shared values of a civilized social order.'" Educators did not offend the First Amendment by
    exercising editorial control over the content of student speech so long as their actions were
    "reasonably related to legitimate pedagogical concerns." The actions of principal Reynolds,
    the Court held, met this test.
•   Morse v Frederick 2007 The Court reversed the Ninth Circuit by a 5-4 vote, ruling that school
    officials can prohibit students from displaying messages that promote illegal drug use. Chief
    Justice John Roberts's majority opinion held that although students do have some right to political
    speech even while in school, this right does not extend to pro-drug messages that may undermine
    the school's important mission to discourage drug use. The majority held that Frederick's
    message, though "cryptic," was reasonably interpreted as promoting marijuana use - equivalent
    to "[Take] bong hits" or "bong hits [are a good thing]." In ruling for Morse, the Court affirmed that
    the speech rights of public school students are not as extensive as those adults normally enjoy,
    and that the highly protective standard set by Tinker would not always be applied. In concurring
    opinions, Justice Thomas expressed his view that the right to free speech does not apply to
    students and his wish to see Tinker overturned altogether, while Justice Alito stressed that
    the decision applied only to pro-drug messages and not to broader political speech. The dissent
    conceded that the principal should have had immunity from the lawsuit, but argued that the
    majority opinion was "[...] deaf to the constitutional imperative to permit unfettered debate, even
    among high-school students [...]."

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