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Important Supreme Court Decisions
Marbury v. Madison (1803) Established the Supreme Court’s right of judicial review (the right to determine the constitutionality of laws) Strengthened the judiciary in relation to other branches of government Chief Justice John Marshall Judicial review is the most important power of the federal courts
Dred Scott v. Sanford (1857) Ruled the African-Americans were not citizens Declared that slaves were property of their owners As property slaves could be taken anywhere – based on this, the Missouri Compromise was unconstitutional
Plessy v. Ferguson (1896) “separate but equal is equal” Upheld Louisiana law providing for equal but separate accommodations for white and colored races 14 th amendment (citizenship and civil rights for African-Americans) was not intended to enforce what the court called social equality
Brown v. Board of Education (1954) “Separate but equal is NOT equal” The Court overturned Plessy v. Ferguson in this decision Ruled that separate educational facilities are inherently unequal and violate the 14 th amendment’s equal protection clause
Gideon v. Wainwright (1963) Right to an attorney Ruled that a state must provide people with an attorney when accused of a felony crime 6 th amendment right to an attorney should be applicable for persons charged with felony crimes, not just capital crimes
Miranda v. Arizona (1966) “Miranda Warning” Established the requirement prior to questioning to inform those accused of crimes of their rights Right to remain silent, right to an attorney, and that what they say can be used against them in a court of law Evidence obtained without this warning cannot be used in a court of law (exclusionary rule)
Engel v. Vitale (1962) Prayer in public school is unconstitutional Reciting an official prayer in the schools violated the 1 st amendment’s establishment of freedom of religion Although students were not required to say a non-denominational prayer in school, its recitation in class put them under pressure
Tinker v. Des Moines (1969) Freedom of expression in school Students wore black armbands in school to protest the Vietnam War. The school suspended them for wearing these armbands. Students have the right to express themselves in school Symbolic, silent expression of opinion in absence of any disorder of protected under the 1 st amendment
New Jersey v. T.L.O. (1985) Search and seizure on school grounds 4 th amendment prohibition on unreasonable searches and seizures applied to school officials Necessity of maintaining discipline allowed for searches when there are reasonable grounds that the law or school rules have been broken Police require probable cause, not so with schools
Veronia School District v. Acton (1995) Drug testing of student athletes Ruled that a school’s practice of drug testing athletes randomly for drug use did not violate student rights Schools need to maintain student safety and fulfill its educational mission
New York Times v. United States (1971) Freedom of the press – 1 st amendment Pentagon Papers - the Defense Department's top-secret study of the growth of United States military involvement in Vietnam Ruled that the government had not made a strong enough case to stop publication of The Pentagon Papers on the grounds that national security would be hurt
United States v. Nixon (1974) Watergate Tapes The Court ruled that Nixon had to turn over the Watergate tapes No person, the president included, was above the law Executive privilege (confidentiality) was not absolute Separation of powers does not protect a president from judicial review or executive privilege, nor from the needs of the judicial process
Korematsu v United States (1944) Japanese internment camps during WWII Upheld the power of the president in wartime to limit a group’s civil liberties Forcible relocation of Japanese Americans was legal during this time of war
Schenck v. United States (1919) Limits on free speech “Free speech would not protect a man falsely yelling fire in a theatre and causing a panic” Your right to free speech is not absolute but dependent on circumstances Schenck was arrested and charged with conspiring to violate the act by sending two draftees a document opposing the draft and urging them not to submit to intimidation Defendant’s actions were a clear and present danger to the security of a nation in wartime
Theme: Constitutional Principles and the Supreme Court Throughout United States history, Supreme Court decisions concerning conflicts over constitutional issues have had a long-tem effect on the nation Task: From your study of United States history, identify two Supreme Court decisions concerning conflicts over constitutional issues which have had a long-term effect on the nation. For each Supreme Court decision identified: State the conflict over a constitutional issue which the Supreme Court decision addressed Discuss the historical circumstances surrounding the Supreme Court decision Discuss the extent to which the Supreme Court decision resolved the conflict over the constitutional issue Discuss the long-term impact of the Supreme Court decision
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