LANDMARK CASES OF THE U.S. SUPREME COURT (honors classes)

 

Marbury v. Madison, (1803) - SUPREME COURT AUTHORITY
    Defined the authority of the US Supreme Court to interpret the US Constitution

McCulloch v. Maryland, (1819) IMPLIED CONGRESSIONAL POWERS
    The US Supreme Court would be the umpire in the federal system, and states couldn't tax the national government and Congress has implied powers.

Dred Scott v. Sandford, (1857) - SLAVERY
    Denied citizenship to slaves and allowed slavery in new states.

Plessy v. Ferguson (1896) - RACIAL SEGREGATION
    Established the, "separate-but-equal" doctrine for public facilities.  Overturned by the Brown decision.

Schenck v. United States (1919) - ABSOLUTE EXPRESSION
    Words can be outlawed when they create a clear and present danger of a criminal act following. The character of every act depends upon the circumstances in which it is done.

Pierce v. Society of Sisters, (1925) - PRIVATE SCHOOLS
    States can't enforce laws mandating a child's attendance in a public school when the parents want the child to attend a private school.  Private schools are allowed.

Near v. Minnesota,(1931) - PRIOR RESTRAINT
    Prior restraint on publication is not allowed.  Governments may not pass laws making it illegal to criticize the government.

West Virginia State Board of Education v. Barnette,
(1943) - PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE
    Schools can't force students to recite the pledge of allegiance if the students object.

Brown v. Board of Education,(1954)- SEPARATE BUT EQUAL SCHOOLS
Segregation of white and Negro children in the public schools of a State solely on the basis of race, pursuant to state laws permitting or requiring such segregation, denies to Negro children the equal protection of the laws guaranteed by the Fourteenth Amendment.Ended racial segregation of public schools in America.

Engel v. Vitale, (1962) - PRAYER IN SCHOOLS
    State officials may not compose an official state prayer and require that it be recited in the public schools of the State at the beginning of each school day -- even if the prayer is denominationally neutral.  Agents of the state, including teachers, have no business instructing students to "pray," however, "silent meditation" is acceptable.

Gideon v. Wainwright, (1963) - RIGHT TO COUNSEL
    A state must provide you with a lawyer in a criminal case if you cannot afford one.

Escobedo v. Illinois, (1964) - RIGHT TO COUNSEL
    Suspects in criminal investigations must be told of their constitutional right to counsel.

Miranda v. Arizona, (1966) - CRIMINAL RIGHTS
    Criminal suspects must be informed of their 5th Amendment right against self-incrimination before being questioned by police.

Epperson v. Arkansas, (1968) - TEACHING EVOLUTION
    A state may not forbid by law the teaching of the theory of evolution.

Tinker v. Des Moines Independent Community School Dist. (1969) - STUDENT SPEECH
    Students have freedom of expression at school unless it interferes with the learning process.

Branzburg v. Hayes,(1972) - REPORTERS' CONFIDENTIALITY
        A reporter must answer questions about his sources put to him by a grand jury or during criminal investigations.  No freedom of the press privileges when guarding the identity of sources to criminal investigators.

Roe v. Wade (1973) - ABORTIONS
    Guarantees a woman's right to have an abortion in the first three months of pregnancy.  After that, states can regulate.

Miller v. California, (1973) - OBSCENITY
        A work may be considered obscene and therefore subject to   state regulation where that work, taken as a whole, appeals to the prurient interest in sex; portrays, in a patently offensive way, sexual conduct specifically defined by the applicable state law; and, taken as a whole, does not have serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value.

Ingraham v. Wright, (1977) - SPANKING IN SCHOOLS
    The Cruel and Unusual Punishments Clause of the Eighth Amendment does not apply to disciplinary corporal punishment in public schools.

New Jersey v. T.L.O.(1985) - SCHOOL SEARCHES
    Public school students have a constitutional protection from unreasonable searches.

Edwards v. Aguillard, (1987) - TEACHING CREATIONISM
    A state cannot require the teaching of creationism in public schools to balance with the teaching of evolution.

Hazelwood School Dist. v. Kuhlmeier (1988) - FREEDOM OF SCHOOL NEWSPAPERS
    A school's administration can exercise editorial control (censorship) over school newspapers without violating students' First Amendment freedoms.

Hustler Magazine, Inc. v. Falwell, (1988) - LIBEL OF PUBLIC FIGURES
    In most cases public figures cannot sue a magazine for libel because of a parody that appears in the magazine, however distasteful.

United States v. Lopez, (1995) - CONGRESSIONAL AUTHORITY
    Limited Congress' authority to "reasonable" interpretations of the Commerce Clause of the US Constitution.

BoyScouts of America v. Dale, (2000) - HOMOSEXUALITY - Applying New Jersey's public accommodations law to require the Boy Scouts to admit Dale (a homosexual) violates the Boy Scouts' First Amendment right of expressive association.  Scouts can ban homosexual leaders from the ranks.

Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission (FEC) (2010)- SPENDING ON POLITICAL CAMPAIGNS - Corporate spending on political candidates campaigns is a form of speech protected under the 1st Amendment.
 

Obergefell v. Hodges (2015) - GAY MARRIAGE RIGHTS - the right to marry is guaranteed to same-sex couples in the United States.