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Landmark Cases U.S. Supreme Court interpretations of the Constitution and its amendments.

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Presentation on theme: "Landmark Cases U.S. Supreme Court interpretations of the Constitution and its amendments."— Presentation transcript:

1 Landmark Cases U.S. Supreme Court interpretations of the Constitution and its amendments

2 Marbury Vs.Madison Thomas Jefferson, a member of the Republican Party, won the election of Before Jefferson took office, John Adams, the outgoing President who was a Federalist, quickly appointed 58 members of his own party to fill government jobs created by Congress. He did this because he wanted people from his political party in office

3 Marbury Vs.Madison It was the responsibility of Adams' Secretary of State, John Marshall, to finish the paperwork and give it to each of the newly appointed officials. Although Marshall signed and sealed all of the papers, he failed to deliver 17 of them to the appointees.

4 Marbury Vs.Madison Marshall thought his successor would finish the job. But when Jefferson became President, he told his new Secretary of State, James Madison, not to deliver some of the papers. Those individuals couldn't take office until they actually had their papers in hand.

5 Marbury Vs.Madison Adams had appointed William Marbury to be justice of the peace of the District of Columbia. Marbury was one of the last-minute appointees who did not receive his papers.

6 Marbury Vs.Madison Marbury argued that he was entitled to the job and that the Judiciary Act of 1789 gave the Supreme Court of the United States original jurisdiction to issue a writ of mandamus, which is the type of court order he needed. When the case came before the Court, John Marshall — the person who had failed to deliver the commission in the first place — was the new Chief Justice. The Court had to decide whether Marbury was entitled to his job, and if so, whether the Judiciary Act of 1789 gave the Court the authority it needed to force the Secretary of State to appoint Marbury to his position.

7 Marbury Vs.Madison "It is emphatically the province and duty of the judicial department to say what the law is. Those who apply the rule to particular cases, must of necessity expound and interpret that rule. If two laws conflict with each other, the courts must decide on the operation of each." — Chief Justice John Marshall

8 McCulloch v. Madison In 1791, the U.S. government created the first national bank for the country. During this time, a national bank was controversial because people had different opinions about what powers the national government should have. Alexander Hamilton believed that the national government had the power to create a new national bank. Thomas Jefferson believed that the national government did not have such a power. When Thomas Jefferson was president, he did not renew the national bank's charter.

9 McCulloch v. Maryland After the War of 1812, President James Madison decided that the country needed a national bank, and he asked Congress to create a Second Bank of the United States in 1816

10 McCulloch v. Maryland After President Madison approved the bank, many branches were opened throughout the country. Many states did not want the new bank branches to open. There were several reasons why the states opposed these national banks.

11 McCulloch v. Maryland Maryland tried closing down the Baltimore branch of the national bank by passing a law that forced all banks that were created outside of the state pay a $15,000 tax each year. James McCulloch, who worked at the Baltimore Branch, refused to pay the tax.

12 McCulloch v. Maryland The Supreme Court Reversed the lower courts and overturned McCulloch's conviction, holding that establishing a national bank is within the constitutional powers of Congress under the "necessary and proper" clause and Maryland does not have authority to tax a federal institution.

13 United States v. Nixon In 1972, five burglars were caught breaking into the Democratic National Headquarters in the Watergate Hotel in Washington, D.C. Among other activities, the Democratic National Headquarters was responsible for raising money for and coordinating campaigns for Democratic candidates, including the presidential candidate.

14 United States v. Nixon Media and government investigations discovered that the burglars were connected to the White House, which at the time was occupied by President Richard Nixon, a Republican.

15 United States v. Nixon Congress held hearings on the scandal to investigate wrongdoing by the president and his aides. During those hearings, the public discovered that President Nixon had installed a tape recorder in the Oval Office. These tape recordings probably had conversations between the president and his aides that could support some of the accusations against them. The special prosecutor in charge of the case wanted to hear these tapes, but President Nixon did not want to give them up. President Nixon even had the special prosecutor removed from his job to stop him from obtaining the tapes. However, the next special prosecutor also requested them. This time a federal court judge ruled that the president had to hand over the tape recordings.

16 United States v. Nixon Before the Supreme Court, Nixon's lawyers argued that the courts could not hear the case because it was a dispute within the executive branch over which the courts had no power or jurisdiction. They also argued that the tapes should be protected by the president's executive privilege.

17 United States v. Nixon The Department of Justice, representing the people of the United States argued, however, that executive privilege was not absolute. In this case, those normally confidential communications were very important for a criminal case. If only the president had the power to decide when his communications could be revealed to the public, then he could cover up information about illegal activities and this would be dangerous for the legal system and the rule of law.

18 United States v. Nixon In a special session, the Supreme Court heard oral arguments on July 8, The case issues: 1) Do the courts have the jurisdiction to hear a case involving a dispute within the executive branch?

19 United States v. Nixon 2) Does the president have the power of absolute privilege and, if so, does his privilege prevail over the demands of the subpoena in this case?

20 United States v. Nixon The Court rules that it does have jurisdiction and that the president's executive privilege power is not absolute. Therefore, the president must comply with the subpoena and turn over the tapes.

21 Plessy v.Ferguson In 1890, Louisiana passed a statute called the "Separate Car Act". This law declared that all rail companies carrying passengers in Louisiana had to provide separate but equal accommodations for white and non-white passengers. The penalty for sitting in the wrong compartment was a fine of $25 or 20 days in jail.

22 Plessy v.Ferguson On June 7, 1892, Plessy purchased a first-class passage from New Orleans to Covington, Louisiana and sat in the railroad car for "White" passengers. The railroad officials knew Plessy was coming and arrested him for violating the Separate Car Act. Well known advocate for black rights Albion Tourgee, a white lawyer, agreed to argue the case for free.

23 Plessy v.Ferguson Plessy argued in court that the Separate Car Act violated the Thirteenth and Fourteenth Amendments to the Constitution. The Thirteenth Amendment banned slavery and the Fourteenth Amendment requires that the government treat people equally.

24 Plessy v.Ferguson Plessy appealed the case to the Louisiana State Supreme Court, which affirmed the decision that the Louisiana law was constitutional. Plessy then took his case, Plessy v. Ferguson, to the Supreme Court of the United States, the highest court in the country.

25 Plessy v.Ferguson The Court upheld the Louisiana State Supreme Court's decision and declared that the "Separate Car Act" was constitutional as long as there were separate but equal accommodations for both whites and blacks.

26 Brown v. Board of Education
In Topeka, Kansas in the 1950s, schools were segregated by race. Each day, Linda Brown and her sister, Terry Lynn, had to walk through a dangerous railroad switchyard to get to the bus stop for the ride to their all-black elementary school. There was a school closer to the Brown's house, but it was only for white students.

27 Brown v. Board of Education
Segregation in schools and other public places was common throughout the South and elsewhere. This segregation based on race was legal because of a landmark Supreme Court case called Plessy v. Ferguson

28 Brown v. Board of Education
However, the Brown's disagreed. Linda Brown and her family believed that the segregated school system did violate the Constitution. In particular, they believed that the system violated the Fourteenth Amendment guaranteeing that people will be treated equally under the law.

29 Brown v. Board of Education
No State shall deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws. —Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution

30 Brown v. Board of Education
The federal district court decided that segregation in public education was harmful to black children. However, the court said that the all-black schools were equal to the all-white schools because the buildings, transportation, curricula, and educational qualifications of the teachers were similar; therefore the segregation was legal.

31 Brown v. Board of Education
The Court combined the Brown's case with other cases from South Carolina, Virginia, and Delaware. The ruling in the Brown v. Board of Education case came in 1954.

32 Miranda v. Arizona Miranda was arrested after a crime victim identified him in a police lineup. Miranda was charged with rape and kidnapping and interrogated for two hours while in police custody. The police officers questioning him did not inform him of his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination, or of his Sixth Amendment right to the assistance of an attorney.

33 Miranda v. Arizona As a result of the interrogation, he confessed in writing to the crimes with which he was charged. During his trial, the prosecution used his confession to obtain a conviction, and he was sentenced to 20 to 30 years in prison on each count.

34 Miranda v. Arizona Miranda's defense attorney appealed to the Arizona Supreme Court. His attorney argued that his confession should have been excluded from trial because he had not been informed of his rights, nor had an attorney been present during his interrogation. The police officers involved admitted that they had not given Miranda any explanation of his rights.

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