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Roe v. Wade
Q: Does the Constitution embrace a woman's right to terminate her pregnancy by abortion?
A:The court held that she has the right to it for the first trimester.
New York Times v. Sullivan
Q: Did the Nixon administration's efforts to prevent the publication of what it termed "classified information" violate the First Amendment?
A: Yes, they can't use the vague term security and make it so that no one can read it. The publication would not cause an inevitable, direct, and immediate event imperiling the safety of American forces.
Tinker v. Des Moines
Q: Does a prohibition against the wearing of armbands in public school, as a form of symbolic protest, violate the students' freedom of speech protections guaranteed by the First Amendment?
A: It is protected as a symbolic form of speech as it does not disrupt the educational process.
Bethel v. Fraser
Q:Does the First Amendment prevent a school district from disciplining a high school student for giving a lewd speech at a high school assembly?
A: It is not allowed as it is in an educational environment, the school can prohibit certain kinds of speech so long as it does not disrupt the educational process.
Texas v. Johnson
Q: Is the desecration of an American flag, by burning or otherwise, a form of speech that is protected under the First Amendment?
A: It is allowed as it was a form of symbolic speech, it could not be censored just because a few people took offense to it.
Miranda v. Arizona
Q: Do people have to answer questions that could incriminate them?
A: The court ruled that they do not have to answer it, the fifth amendment applies.
Brown v. Board of Education
Q: Does the segregation of schools based on race deprive the minority children of equal protections?
A: Yes, Racial segregation in public education is detrimental as it is interpreted as a sign of inferiority.
Gitlow v. New York
Q: Is New York punishing advocacy for overthrowing the gov't with force a violation of the free speech.
A: The first amendment does apply, BUT the state can forbid speech and publications that could endanger public security even if it doesn't create a clear and present danger.
Plessy v. Ferguson
Q: Is Louisiana allowed to segregate trains, is it violating people's rights?
A: Louisiana is not allowed to do this as it violates the rights of people.
Schenk v. U.S.
Q: Are Schenck's actions (words, expression) protected by the free speech clause of the First Amendment?
A: Yes, since it was a time of war, certain utterances made during peace time could be punished.
Hazelwood v. Kuhlmeier
Q: Did the principal's deletion of the articles violate the students' rights under the First Amendment?
A: It did not violate their rights, the actions were "reasonably related to legitimate pedagogical concerns." It was a school sponsored newspaper so the school has control over it.
Morse v. Frederick
Q: 1) Does the First Amendment allow public schools to prohibit students from displaying messages promoting the use of illegal drugs at school-supervised events? 2) Does a school official have qualified immunity from a damages lawsuit under 42 U.S.C. 1983 when, in accordance with school policy, she disciplines a student for displaying a banner with a drug reference at a school-supervised event?
A: Yes and not reached. The Court ruled that school officials can prohibit students from displaying messages that promote illegal drug use while at school sponsored events.
Gideon v. Wainwright
Q: Does the Sixth Amendment's right to counsel in criminal cases extend to felony defendants in state courts?
A: Yes. Justice Hugo L. Black delivered the opinion of the 9-0 majority. The Supreme Court held that the framers of the Constitution placed a high value on the right of the accused to have the means to put up a proper defense, and the state as well as federal courts must respect that right. The Court held that it was consistent with the Constitution to require state courts to appoint attorneys for defendants who could not afford to retain counsel on their own.
Everson v. Board of Eduction
Q: Did the New Jersey statute violate the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment as made applicable to the states through the Fourteenth Amendment?
A: No. A divided Court held that the law did not violate the Constitution. After detailing the history and importance of the Establishment Clause, Justice Black argued that services like bussing and police and fire protection for parochial schools are "separate and so indisputably marked off from the religious function" that for the state to provide them would not violate the First Amendment.
Lemon v. Kurtzman
Q: Does PA's law/act thing advocating/allocating funding for nonpublic religious schools transgress the Establishment Clause in the first Amendment.
A: The court ruled Yes, it violates the Establishment Clause in the 1st amendment.
Aquilar v. Felton
Q: Did New York City's decision to use Title I funds to pay salaries of parochial school teachers violate the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment?
A: Yes. Even though the Court acknowledged that the efforts of the City of New York were well-intentioned, it found that the funding practices violated the Constitution. As part of New York's program, teachers were directed to avoid involvement in religious materials and activities in their classrooms.
Engel v. Vitale
Q: Does the reading of a nondenominational prayer at the start of the school day violate the "establishment of religion" clause of the First Amendment?
A: Yes. Neither the prayer's nondenominational character nor its voluntary character saves it from unconstitutionality. By providing the prayer, New York officially approved religion.
Lee v. Weisman
Q: Does the inclusion of clergy who offer prayers at official public school ceremonies violate the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment?
A: Yes. In a 5-to-4 decision, the Court held that government involvement in this case creates "a state-sponsored and state-directed religious exercise in a public school.
Lynch v. Donnelly
Q: Did the inclusion of a nativity scene in the city's display violate the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment?
A: No. In a 5-to-4 decision, the Court held that notwithstanding the religious significance of the creche, the city had not violated the Establishment Clause. The Court found that the display, viewed in the context of the holiday season, was not a purposeful or surreptitious effort to advocate a particular religious message.
Kitzmiller v. Dover
Q: Can the school requit the teaching intelligent design, is it just a thinly veiled word for creationism?
A: No. The school cannot teach it, intelligent design is just thinly veiled creationism and any logical person could see it. Teaching it is not appropriate for science room because they are teaching something not based on science.
Wisconsin v. Yoder
Q: Did Wisconsin's requirement that all parents send their children to school at least until age 16 violate the First Amendment by criminalizing the conduct of parents who refused to send their children to school for religious reasons?
A: In a unamimous decision, the Court held that individual's interests in the free exercise of religion under the First Amendment outweighed the State's interests in compelling school attendance beyond the eighth grade.
Kelo v. New London, Connecticut
Q: Does a city violate the Fifth Amendment's takings clause if the city takes private property and sells it for private development, with the hopes the development will help the city's bad economy?
A: No. In a 5-4 opinion delivered by Justice John Paul Stevens, the majority held that the city's taking of private property to sell for private development qualified as a "public use" within the meaning of the takings clause.
Mapp v. Ohio
Q: May evidence obtained through a search in violation of the Fourth Amendment be admitted in a state criminal proceeding?
A: The Court brushed aside the First Amendment issue and declared that "all evidence obtained by searches and seizures in violation of the Constitution is, by [the Fourth Amendment], inadmissible in a state court.
Furman v. Georgia
Q: Does the imposition and carrying out of the death penalty in these cases constitute cruel and unusual punishment in violation of the Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments?
A: Yes. The Court's one-page per curiam opinion held that the imposition of the death penalty in these cases constituted cruel and unusual punishment and violated the Constitution.
Handi v. Rumsfeld
Q: Did the government violate Hamdi's Fifth Amendment right to Due Process by holding him indefinitely, without access to an attorney, based solely on an Executive Branch declaration that he was an "enemy combatant" who fought against the United States? Does the separation of powers doctrine require federal courts to defer to Executive Branch determinations that an American citizen is an "enemy combatant"?
A: Yes and no. In an opinion backed by a four-justice plurality and partly joined by two additional justices, Justice Sandra Day O'Connor wrote that although Congress authorized Hamdi's detention, Fifth Amendment due process guarantees give a citizen held in the United States as an enemy combatant the right to contest that detention before a neutral decisionmaker
Hamdan v. Rumsfeld
Q: May the rights protected by the Geneva Convention be enforced in federal court through habeas corpus petitions? Was the military commission established to try Hamdan and others for alleged war crimes in the War on Terror authorized by the Congress or the inherent powers of the President?
A: Yes and no. The Supreme Court, in a 5-to-3 decision authored by Justice John Paul Stevens, held that neither an act of Congress nor the inherent powers of the Executive laid out in the Constitution expressly authorized the sort of military commission at issue in this case.
Webster v. Reproductive Health Services
Q: Did the Missouri restrictions unconstitutionally infringe upon the right to privacy or the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment?
A: Nothing was unconstitutional but the Court upheld the viability testing requirements, arguing that the State's interest in protecting potential life could come into existence before the point of viability. The Court emphasized that it was not revisiting the essential portions of the holding in Roe v. Wade.
Planned Parenthood v. Casey
Q: Can a state require women who want an abortion to obtain informed consent, wait 24 hours, and, if minors, obtain parental consent, without violating their right to abortions as guaranteed by Roe v. Wade
A: In a bitter, 5-to-4 decision, the Court again reaffirmed Roe, but it upheld most of the Pennsylvania provisions.
Gonzalez v. Planned Parenthood
Q: Is the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act of 2003 unconstitutional under the Due Process Clause of the Fifth Amendment because it lacks an exception for partial-birth abortions necessary to protect the health of the mother or because it is unconstitutionally vague?
A: unconstitutionally vague and did not impose an undue burden on the right to an abortion. Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote the opinion for the majority. The Court held that, under the most reasonable interpretation, the Act applies only to the intact D&E; method (also known as "partial-birth abortion") and not to the more common D&E; procedure.
Meredith v. Jefferson County Board of Education
Q: 1) Do Grutter v. Bollinger and Gratz v. Bollinger allow a school district to use race as the sole factor to assign high school students to public schools?2) Can a student enrollment plan that requires each school's student population to be between 15% and 50% African-American meet the Fourteenth Amendment's requirement that racial classifications be narrowly tailored to a compelling government interest?
A: No and no. By a 5-4 vote, the Court applied a "strict scrutiny" framework and found Jefferson County's enrollment plan unconstitutional under the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. Chief Justice John Roberts wrote in the plurality opinion that "The way to stop discrimination on the basis of race is to stop discriminating on the basis of race."
Griswold v. Connecticut
Q: Does the Constitution protect the right of marital privacy against state restrictions on a couple's ability to be counseled in the use of contraceptives?
A: Though the Constitution does not explicitly protect a general right to privacy, the various guarantees within the Bill of Rights create penumbras, or zones, that establish a right to privacy. Together, the First, Third, Fourth, and Ninth Amendments, create a new constitutional right, the right to privacy in marital relations. The Connecticut statute conflicts with the exercise of this right and is therefore null and void.
Marbury v. Madison
Q: Is Marbury entitled to his appointment? Is his lawsuit the correct way to get it? And, is the Supreme Court the place for Marbury to get the relief he requests?
A: Yes; yes; and it depends. The justices held, through Marshall's forceful argument, that on the last issue the Constitution was "the fundamental and paramount law of the nation" and that "an act of the legislature repugnant to the constitution is void." In other words, when the Constitution--the nation's highest law--conflicts with an act of the legislature, that act is invalid. This case establishes the Supreme Court's power of judicial review.
Brandenburg v. Ohio
Q: Did Ohio's criminal syndicalism law, prohibiting public speech that advocates various illegal activities, violate Brandenburg's right to free speech as protected by the First and Fourteenth Amendments?
A: The Court's Per Curiam opinion held that the Ohio law violated Brandenburg's right to free speech.
D.C. v. Heller
Q: Deals with second amendment rights and whether or not D.C.'s restrictions were violating the second amendment rights
A: Yes. In a 5-4 decision, the Court held that the Second Amendment protects an individual right to possess a firearm unconnected with service in a militia, and to use that firearm for traditionally lawful purposes, such as self- defense within the home.
Ledbetter v. Goodyear
Q: Can a plaintiff bring a salary discrimination suit under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 when the disparate pay is received during the 180-day statutory limitations period, but is the result of discriminatory pay decisions that occurred outside the limitations period?
A: No. By a 5-4 vote the Court ruled that Ledbetter's claim was time-barred by Title VII's limitations period. The opinion by Justice Samuel Alito held that "current effects alone cannot breathe life into prior, uncharged discrimination.
Epperson v. Arkansas
Q: Does a law forbidding the teaching of evolution violate either the free speech rights of teachers or the Establishment clause of the First Amendment?
A: Yes. Seven members of the Court held that the statute violated the Establishment clause. Writing for the Court, Justice Abe Fortas stated that the law had been based solely on the beliefs of fundamentalist Christians, who felt that evolutionary theories directly contradicted the biblical account of Creation.
Citizens United v. FEC
A: 1) Did the Supreme Court's decision in McConnell resolve all constitutional as-applied challenges to the BCRA when it upheld the disclosure requirements of the statute as constitutional?2) Do the BCRA's disclosure requirements impose an unconstitutional burden when applied to electioneering requirements because they are protected "political speech" and not subject to regulation as "campaign speech"?3) If a communication lacks a clear plea to vote for or against a particular candidate, is it subject to regulation under the BCRA?4) Should a feature length documentary about a candidate for political office be treated like the advertisements at issue in McConnell and therefore be subject to regulation under the BCRA?
A: No. No. Yes. Yes. The Supreme Court overruled Austin v. Michigan Chamber of Commerce and portions of McConnell v. FEC. (In the prior cases, the Court had held that political speech may be banned based on the speaker's corporate identity.)
Terry v. Ohio
Q: Was the search and seizure of Terry and the other men in violation of the Fourth Amendment?
A: In an 8-to-1 decision, the Court held that the search undertaken by the officer was reasonable under the Fourth Amendment and that the weapons seized could be introduced into evidence against Terry
Escobedo v. Illinois
Q: Was Escobedo denied the right to counsel as guaranteed by the Sixth Amendment?
A: Yes. Justice Goldberg, in his majority opinion, spoke for the first time of "an absolute right to remain silent." Escobedo had not been adequately informed of his consitutitonal right to remain silent rather than to be forced to incriminate himself.
US v. Leon
Q: Is there a "good faith" exception to the exclusionary rule?
A: Yes, there is such an exception. The justices held that evidence seized on the basis of a mistakenly issued search warrant could be introduced at trial.
Dickerson v. US
Q: May Congress legislatively overrule Miranda v. Arizona and its warnings that govern the admissibility of statements made during custodial interrogation?
A: No. In a 7-2 opinion delivered by Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist, the Court held that Miranda governs the admissibility of statements made during custodial interrogation in both state and federal courts.