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Marbury vs. Madison (1803)
The Supreme Court carved out for itself the power to strike down laws of Congress that it determines are unconstitutional.
Dred Scott vs. Sandford (1857)
- The Supreme Court ruled that the federal government could not prevent slavery in the territories. The Court further ruled that the Framers of the Constitution never intended blacks to be citizens. Therefore, blacks enjoyed no rights which a white man was bound to respect." Moreover, any federal law that interfered
- with the right of an individual to his property, including slaves, was
Baker vs. Carr (1962
In Baker the Court the Supreme Court voided Tennessee's congressional district reapportionment plan because it did not take into account population growth and demographic shifts, laying out the "one man, one vote" doctrine--meaning that States must not dilute the votes of individuals when redrawing congressional district boundaries. Specifically, when State legislatures redraw congressional districts, congressional districts must contain roughly equal numbers of people
Lemon vs. Kurtzman (1971)
The Court laid out a three-part test to determine when States violate the "establishment" (of religion) clause of the First- Amendment in government programs, especially government funding of private education: (1) The statute must have a secular legislative purpose, (2) The statute's primary effect may not advance nor inhibit religion and (3) The statute must not foster "an excessive government entanglement with religion.
New York Times vs. Sullivan (1964)
TheCourt established the right of citizens to criticize public officials without fear of being sued for libel.
Griswold vs. Connecticut (1965)
The Court ruled that Americans' guaranteed rights are not limited to those specifically identified in the Constitution.
Buckley vs. Valeo (1975)
In Buckley, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down campaign spending limits contained in the Federal Election- Campaign Act. The Court reasoned that campaign spending was tantamount to political speech. Therefore, the Federal Election- Campaign Act of 1974 violated the First Amendment’s guarantee of freedom of speech.
Citizens United vs. Federal Elections Commission (2010)
The U.S.- Supreme Court struck down several prior campaign finance reform laws and Supreme Court decisions, and ruled that corporations have a First Amendment right to spend unlimited amounts on political campaigns.
Gitlow vs. New York (1925)
The Court ruled that states may not interfere with their citizens' First Amendment rights, guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution unless such speech expressly advocates the overthrow of the government.
Roth vs. the United States (1957)
The Court ruled that a work (art or literature) was obscene if it was "utterly without any redeeming social importance and, "to the average person, applying contemporary community standards, the dominant theme of the material, taken as a whole, appeals to the prurient interests."
Plessy vs. Ferguson (1896)
The Court ruled that separate public facilities for Blacks and Whites in the South were equal, and that "color-blind" segregation is protected under the U.S. Constitution.
Brown vs. the Board of Education, Topeka Kansas (1954)
The Court overturned Plessy vs. Ferguson, ruling that separate public facilities are inherently unequal, violating the "equal protection" clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution: "Separate is not equal."
Bush vs. Gore (2000)
After the disputed 2000 Presidential election, the U.S. Supreme Court ordered that the State of Florida had to stop recounting its ballots, ruling that the recount violated the Equal- Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
Bakke vs. vs. Regents of the University of California (1976)
In Bakke the court ruled that universities may not deny admission to applicants solely because of their race. Such programs were considered a violation of the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. The Court further ruled that racial factors in university admissions are Constitutionally permissible only in pursuit of a “compelling state interest”, such as diversity in a graduate school student body, and thus the profession for which those students are preparing.
Grutter vs. Bollinger (2003)
The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the University of Michigan’s law school Affirmative Action program was Constitutional because it was narrowly tailored to promote a diverse student body, consistent with the Court’s Bakke vs. University of California decision
Roe vs. Wade (1973)
The Court ruled that the right to privacy, protected by the Fourth Amendment to the U.S Constitution, confers upon women the right to legal abortions.
Mapp vs. Ohio (1961)
The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that State and local police departments are bound to respect citizens' Fourth Amendment rights against unreasonable searches and seizures. Specifically, the Court provided that evidence illegally obtained must be excluded from trial (i.e. articulating the Exclusionary Rule).
Miranda vs. Arizona (1966)
- The Court ruled that, before an individual can be arrested and held for questioning, they must be informed of their right to remain silent, guaranteed under the Fifth Amendment, and their right to have a lawyer present during custody, even at public expense. Miranda vs. Arizona further required that, before an arrested individual may be questioned, they must be warned that anything they say may be used as evidence
- against them.
-  These
- case summaries were taken, in part, from The
- Logic of American Politics (2000), by Gary Jacobson and Samuel Kernell, Basic Cases in Constitutional Law, 3rd
- ed. (1992) by Duane Lockard and
- Walter- Murphy, and Findlaw.com.