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Flashcards in Cases Deck (21)
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Griswold v. Connecticut (1965)

Established the legal precedent for the right to privacy (later became the foundation of Roe v. Wade (1973))


Miranda v. Arizona

Required that individuals accused of crimes be informed of their constitutional rights


Brown v. Board of Education

Ordered an end to segregation in public schools when many in Congress and in the states did not support such a policy


What was the Warren Court known for?

generally associated with judicial activism because of its far-reaching decisions


What was the Rehnquist Court known for?

It was known for its judicial restraint and conservatism


United States v. Lopez (1995)

The Court limited the authority of the Congress under the “commerce clause” to regulate the activities of private individuals in states and communities


Planned Parenthood v. Casey (1992)

The Court allowed states to impose a twenty-four hour waiting period, informed consent (the patient must receive factual information about abortion from her doctor before receiving an abortion), and parental notification requirements on those seeking abortions.


Lechmere Inc. v. NLRB (1992)

Narrowed the rights of labor unions to picket


Zelman v. Simmons-Harris (2002)

Relaxed “establishment” limitations by allowing school voucher funds to be spent at private religious schools


Adarand Constructors, Inc. v. Peña (1995)

Limited the federal government’s usage of affirmative action in awarding government contracts. The Court’s rationale in this case was that race should be a factor in policy making or policy implementation only as a last resort. Otherwise, the government should be colorblind.


Lemon v. Kurtzman (1971)

The Supreme Court announced a three-part test it would use in determining whether the government’s actions in a particular case violated the Establishment Clause, establishing the Lemon Test.


Agostini v. Felton (1997)

The Supreme Court ruled that federal aid for elementary education could be used to pay public school teachers to enter private religious schools to teach secular subjects


New York Times Co. v. Sullivan (1964)

The Court ruled that a public figure must demonstrate not only that harm has been done but that the individual or organization that made public the false information did so “with knowledge that it was false or with reckless disregard of whether it was false or not.”


Marbury v. Madison (1803)

Marshall had managed to tell Jefferson that he had broken the law but, because the Court had no jurisdiction over the matter, Jefferson had no Court order to disobey. At the same time, Marshall had set the precedent of judicial review, the ability of the Supreme Court to declare acts of Congress “unconstitutional.”


McCulloch v. Maryland (1819)

1) Marshall concluded that the creation of the Bank of the United States was within the constitutional authority of the Congress.
2) If a state could tax an activity of the national government, in this case the national bank, it would have the power to destroy the national government. This would clearly be a violation of the supremacy clause of the Constitution. Maryland’s tax on the Bank, therefore, was declared unconstitutional.


United States v. Nixon (1974)

The Court concluded that the president does not have an absolute “executive privilege,” particularly when no claim is made that the nation’s military or diplomatic interests are at stake. As a result, Nixon was required to comply with the subpoena and hand over the tapes. The Supreme Court readjusted the balance of powers between the three branches by reminding the President that he was not above the law.


Dred Scott v. Sandford (1856)

Dred Scott, a slave who had been moved from Missouri to Illinois and back by his master, argued that his transfer to a state where slavery was illegal (Illinois) had made him a free man. The Court ruled that African American people who had come to America as slaves were not citizens and, therefore, could not expect any protections from the national government. It would take a bloody civil war and an amendment to the Constitution (the Fourteenth) to reverse the Court’s decision.


Plessy v. Ferguson (1896)

Governments across the South began enacting laws, commonly referred to as “Jim Crow” laws, requiring blacks and whites to use separate public facilities, including trains, buses, restaurants, theaters, and schools. These laws seemed to be blatant violations of the “equal protection” clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. Several suits were filed in response to arrests made for violating segregation laws. The Court ruled that blacks and whites could be required to use separate facilities so long as they were “equal.” The “separate but equal” standard, as it came to be called, however, produced very little in terms of equality. In practice, the separate facilities provided for African Americans were woefully unequal.


Brown v. Board of Education (1954) and Brown II (1955)

Brown v. Board of Education, reverses the Supreme Court's decision in Plessy v. Ferguson and ordering the desegregation of public schools. In Brown II, the Court ordered states and local governments to end racial segregation with “all deliberate speed.” The decision also gave lower court judges the responsibility to oversee the integration of schools.


Regents of the University of California v. Bakke (1978)

One of the most important affirmative action cases. Allan Bakke was a NASA engineer who applied for application to the University of California at Davis Medical School in the late 1970s. He was twice denied admission, even though is test scores were higher than those of several minority applicants who were admitted. In response to Bakke’s challenge of the admission policy, the Court ruled that the school must admit Bakke, but it did not ban the use of quotas as long as they were aimed at redressing current and past discrimination against minorities.


United States v. Virginia (VMI) (1996)

Into the mid-1990s VMI was perhaps the nation’s last remaining male-only, publicly funded college or university. Virginia offered to create a “substantively comparable” institution exclusively for women. The federal court approved the state’s proposal. However, this ruling was also challenged and the case came before the Supreme Court.

In its ruling, the Supreme Court declared that gender-based policies are subject to “heightened scrutiny” by the courts. The Fourteenth Amendment guarantees “equal protection” before the law. The Court has ruled that policies or programs that favor women over men (or vice versa) are not automatically in violation of the Fourteenth Amendment.