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Government Court Cases Study Guide 1. Marbury v.

Madison Overview: William Marbury was appointed to a government post in the last few days of John Adams presidency, but his position was never official. He ended up losing the job and tried to sue to get it back. Judicial Decision: The case established judicial review. McCulloch v. Maryland Overview: Congress chartered the second bank of the United States. The state of Maryland then imposed taxes on the bank. Judicial Decision: The courts said that Maryland could not tax instruments of congress employed by Congress constitutional unenumerated powers. Gibbons v. Odgen Overview: A steamboat owner who did business between New York and New Jersey was forced to obtain a special operating permit from New York to operate in its waters. Judicial Decision: The supreme court said that New Yorks law was invalid and that congress has the power to regulate interstate commerce. Plessy v. Ferguson Overview: Louisiana mad a law separating rail cars for blacks and for whites. Plessy was a 7/8 Caucasian male who refused to go to the black rail car. Judicial Decision: A state law can separate races into separate facilities as long as the facilities are equal. Weeks v. U.S. Overview: Police went into Fremont Weeks home and seized papers to convict him without a warrant. Judicial Decision: The police violated Weeks 4th amendment right with their unwarranted search and violated his 14th amendment when they refused to return his possessions. Schenck v. U.S. Overview: Schenck sent letters to potential draftees during wartime telling them to avoid the draft and not to be intimidated but the government. Judicial Decision: Schencks letters during wartime presented a clear and present danger of harm to the creation of the U.S. military. Also some acts that are tolerable during peacetime can be punished during wartime. Gitlow v. New York Overview: Gitlow was arrested for handing out copies of his publication that called for a need of socialism and a forceful overthrow of the current American government. Judicial Decision: A state can restrict the first amendment rights of speech and expression if it creates a danger to public security. Near v. Minnesota Overview: Jay Near was going to publish his scandalous sheet, in which he attacked local officials in Minneapolis, to a newspaper, but the officials pointed out a state law that would prevent him from publishing his story. Judicial Decision: The government, especially state governments, cannot impose a prior restraint or censorship on newspapers because it is a violation of the first amendment. Palko v Connecticut Overview: Frank Palko was charged for first-degree murder. He was then found guilty of seconddegree murder and sentenced to life imprisonment. Connecticut won a new trial and then found Palko guilty of first-degree murder and sentenced to death. Judicial Decision: The double jeopardy clause in the 5 th amendment was not necessarily a fundamental right that would apply to states in the 14 th amendment so Palko got the electric chair.









10. Korematsu v. U.S. Overview: Executive Order 9066 during World War II allowed the government to exclude citizens of Japanese descent from places deemed critical to national defense. Korematsu did not want to comply with the order and remained in San Leondro, California. Judicial Decision: The court decided that the need for the government to protect against espionage outweighed Korematsus rights and that Korematsu must comply. 11. Brown v. Board of Education (1st and 2nd) Overview: The first case had brown suing the board of education on the basis of segregation in public schooling. It was ruled that discrimination in public schooling was unconstitutional. Judicial Decision: Justice Warren urged localities to act on the principles and begin to desegregate schools. 12. Roth v U.S. Overview: Roth operated a book-selling business in New York and was convicted of mailing obscene circulars and an obscene book in violation of a federal obscenity statute. Judicial Decision: Obscenity was not within the area constitutionally protected by the first amendment. The first amendment doesnt not protect against any form of utterance of speech or expression. 13. Mapp v. Ohio Overview: Dollree Mapp was convicted of possessing obscene materials after an admittedly illegal police search of her home for a fugitive. Judicial Decision: The court decided that the police illegally obtained the evidence and ruled in favor of Mapp. This case placed the requirement of excluding illegally obtained evidence from court at all levels of the government. 14. Engel v. Vitale Overview: The Board of Regents for the State of New York authorized a short, voluntary prayer for recitation at the start of each school day. Judicial Decision: The supreme court ruled that this nondenominational prayer before school is a violation of the establishment of religion clause of the first amendment. 15. Baker v. Carr Overview: Charles Baker sued because Tennessees reapportionment efforts ignored economic growth and state population shifts, which was in conflict with a 1901 law that designed apportion for the states general assembly. Judicial Decision: The court agreed to intervene to correct constitutional violations pertaining to state administrations and that the 14th amendment equal protection issues in the case merited evaluation. 16. Abington v. Schempp Overview: Abington required students to recite verses in the bible every morning and Schempp challenged the prayer requirement. Judicial Decision: The schools activities encroached on both the Free Exercise Clause and the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment. 17. Gideon v. Wainwright Overview: Gideon was charged in a Florida state court with a felony for breaking and entering. He had no money for a lawyer and requested to be appointed one, but the court refused. He then defended himself and was sentenced to 5 years in prison. Judicial Decision: Gideon had a right to be represented by an attorney. Also, the state court violated Gideons 6th amendment right to be guaranteed counsel. 18. Wesberry v. Sanders Overview: Wesberry challenged the Governor of Georgia. Wesberry, living in the 5 th Congressional district, which was two or three times larger than some of the other state districts, claimed that the system diluted his right to vote compared with the other residents. Judicial Decision: The Court held that Georgia's apportionment scheme grossly discriminated against voters in the Fifth Congressional District, because a congressman had to represent two or three times as many people as were represented in other districts.

19. NY Times v. Sullivan Overview: This case concerns a full-page ad in the New York Times which alleged that the arrest of the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. for perjury in Alabama was part of a campaign to destroy King's efforts to integrate public facilities and encourage blacks to vote. Sullivan, the city commissioner, sued, saying that the ad defamed him. Judicial Decision: The Court held that the First Amendment protects the publication of all statements, even false ones, about the conduct of public officials except when statements are made with actual malice (with knowledge that they are false or in reckless disregard of their truth or falsity). 20. Griswald v. Connecticut Overview: Griswold and her colleague were convicted under a Connecticut law which criminalized the provision of counselling, and other medical treatment, to married persons for purposes of preventing conception. Judicial Decision: 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. 21. Miranda v. Arizona Overview: In many cases, suspects were questioned by police officers, detectives, or prosecuting attorneys in rooms that cut them off from the outside world. In none of the cases were suspects given warnings of their rights at the outset of their interrogation. Judicial Decision: The Court specifically outlined the necessary aspects of police warnings to suspects, including warnings of the right to remain silent and the right to have counsel present during interrogations. 22. Lemon v. Kurtzman Overview: The case involved controversies over laws in Pennsylvania and Rhode Island. In Pennsylvania, a statute provided financial support for teacher salaries, textbooks, and instructional materials for secular subjects to non-public schools. Judicial Decision: To be constitutional, a statute must have "a secular legislative purpose," it must have principal effects which neither advance nor inhibit religion, and it must not foster "an excessive government entanglement with religion." The Court found that the subsidization of parochial schools furthered a process of religious inculcation. 23. Miller v. California Overview: Miller, after conducting a mass mailing campaign to advertise the sale of "adult" material, was convicted of violating a California statute prohibiting the distribution of obscene material. Judicial Decision: In a 5-to-4 decision, the Court held that obscene materials did not enjoy First Amendment protection. 24. Roe v. Wade Overview: Roe, a Texas resident, sought to terminate her pregnancy by abortion. Texas law prohibited abortions except to save the pregnant woman's life. After granting certiorari, the Court heard arguments twice. Judicial Decision: The Court held that a woman's right to an abortion fell within the right to privacy (recognized in Griswold v. Connecticut) protected by the Fourteenth Amendment. 25. U.S. v. Nixon Overview: A grand jury returned indictments against seven of President Richard Nixon's closest aides in the Watergate affair. The special prosecutor appointed by Nixon and the defendants sought audio tapes of conversations recorded by Nixon in the Oval Office. Judicial Decision: The Court held that neither the doctrine of separation of powers, nor the generalized need for confidentiality of high-level communications, without more, can sustain an absolute, unqualified, presidential privilege.

26. Buckley v. Valeo Overview: In the wake of the Watergate affair, Congress attempted to ferret out corruption in political campaigns by restricting financial contributions to candidates. The law set limits on the amount of money an individual could contribute to a single campaign and it required reporting of contributions above a certain threshold amount. Judicial Decision: First, it held that restrictions on individual contributions to political campaigns and candidates did not violate the First Amendment. Second, the Court found that governmental restriction of independent expenditures in campaigns, the limitation on expenditures by candidates from their own personal or family resources, and the limitation on total campaign expenditures did violate the First Amendment. 27. Gregg v. Georgia Overview: Gregg challenged his remaining death sentence for murder, claiming that his capital sentence was a "cruel and unusual" punishment that violated the Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments. Judicial Decision: The Court held that a punishment of death did not violate the Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments under all circumstances. In extreme criminal cases, such as when a defendant has been convicted of deliberately killing another, the careful and judicious use of the death penalty may be appropriate if carefully employed. 28. U.C. Regents v. Bakke Overview: Allan Bakke, a thirty-five-year-old white man, had twice applied for admission to the University of California Medical School at Davis. He was rejected both times. Bakke's qualifications (college GPA and test scores) exceeded those of any of the minority students admitted in the two years Bakke's applications were rejected. Bakke contended, first in the California courts, then in the Supreme Court. Judicial Decision: There was no single majority opinion. Four of the justices contended that any racial quota system supported by government violated the Civil Rights Act of 1964. 29. Texas v. Johnson Overview: In 1984, in front of the Dallas City Hall, Gregory Lee Johnson burned an American flag as a means of protest against Reagan administration policies. Johnson was tried and convicted under a Texas law outlawing flag desecration. Judicial Decision: In a 5-to-4 decision, the Court held that Johnson's burning of a flag was protected expression under the First Amendment. The Court found that Johnson's actions fell into the category of expressive conduct and had a distinctively political nature. 30. Planned Parenthood v. Casey Overview: There were new provisions on abortion laws and these provisions were challenged by several abortion clinics and physicians. A federal appeals court upheld all the provisions except for the husband notification requirement. Judicial Decision: In a bitter, 5-to-4 decision, the Court again reaffirmed Roe, but it upheld most of the Pennsylvania provisions. For the first time, the justices imposed a new standard to determine the validity of laws restricting abortions. 31. Shaw v. Reno Overview: The U.S. Attorney General rejected a North Carolina congressional reapportionment plan because the plan created only one black-majority district. North Carolina submitted a second plan creating two black-majority districts. One of these districts was, in parts, no wider than the interstate road along which it stretched. Five North Carolina residents challenged the constitutionality of this unusually shaped district, alleging that its only purpose was to secure the election of additional black representatives. Judicial Decision: The Court held that although North Carolina's reapportionment plan was racially neutral on its face, the resulting district shape was bizarre enough to suggest that it constituted an effort to separate voters into different districts based on race. The unusual district, while perhaps created by noble intentions, seemed to exceed what was reasonably necessary to avoid racial imbalances.

32. U.S. v. Lopez Overview: While incarcerated, Lopez requested substance abuse treatment. The BOP found Lopez qualified for its residential drug abuse program, but was found him categorically ineligible for early release. The District Court, in ordering the BOP to reconsider Lopez for early release, held that the BOP may not, based on weapons possession, categorically count out inmates, whose underlying conviction was for a nonviolent crime. Judicial Decision: The Court held that the categorically denial of early release to a prisoner who committed felony using firearm is a permissible exercise of the BOP's discretion, even if the prisoner has successfully completed a substance abuse program. 33. Clinton v. NY Overview: This case consolidates two separate challenges to the constitutionality of two cancellations, made by President William J. Clinton, under the Line Item Veto Act ("Act"). Judicial Decision: The Court then explained that under the Presentment Clause, legislation that passes both Houses of Congress must either be entirely approved (i.e. signed) or rejected (i.e. vetoed) by the President. 34. Bush v. Gore Overview: The Florida supreme court ordered that every county in Florida must immediately begin manually recounting all "under-votes" (ballots which did not indicate a vote for president) because there were enough contested ballots to place the outcome of the election in doubt. Judicial Decision: Noting that the Equal Protection clause guarantees individuals that their ballots cannot be devalued by "later arbitrary and disparate treatment," the per curiam opinion held 7-2 that the Florida Supreme Court's scheme for recounting ballots was unconstitutional. They ruled in fasvor of Bush. 35. Zelman v. Simmons-Harris Overview: Ohio's Pilot Project Scholarship Program provides tuition aid in the form of vouchers for certain students in the Cleveland City School District to attend participating public or private schools of their parent's choosing. Most of the students participating in the voucher program are religiously affiliated. A group of Ohio taxpayers sought to enjoin the program on the ground that it violated the Establishment Clause. Judicial Decision: The Court held that the program does not violate the Establishment Clause. It provides benefits directly to a wide spectrum of individuals, defined only by financial need and residence in a particular school district. 36. Ashcroft v. ACLU Overview: The Child Online Protection Act (COPA) applies only to material displayed on the World Wide Web, covers only communications made for commercial purposes, and restricts only "material that is harmful to minors." Before it was scheduled to go into effect, a number of organizations affected by COPA filed suit, alleging that the statute violated adults' First Amendment rights because it effectively banned constitutionally protected speech. Judicial Decision: The Court held that COPA's reliance on community standards to identify what material is harmful to minors does not by itself render the statute substantially overbroad for First Amendment purposes. 37. Gratz v. Bollinger (Grutter v. Bollinger) Overview: In 1995, Jennifer Gratz and Patrick Hamacher applied to the University of Michigan's College of Literature. Both were denied admission and attended other schools. The University admits that it uses race as a factor in making admissions decisions because it serves a "compelling interest in achieving diversity among its student body." After the decision in Grutter, Gratz and Hamacher petitioned the U.S. Supreme Court pursuant to Rule 11 for a writ of certiorari before judgment, which was granted. Judicial Decision: In a 6-3 opinion delivered by Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist, the Court held that the University of Michigan's use of racial preferences in undergraduate admissions violates both the Equal Protection Clause and Title VI.

38. Hamdi v. Rumsfeld Overview: In the fall of 2001, Yaser Hamdi, an American citizen, was arrested by the United States military in Afghanistan. He was accused of fighting for the Taliban against the U.S., declared an "enemy combatant," and transfered to a military prison in Virginia. Hamdis father argued that the government had violated Hamdi's Fifth Amendment right to Due Process by holding him indefinitely and not giving him access to an attorney or a trial. Judicial Decision: 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 decision maker. 39. Heart of Atlanta Motel v. U.S. Overview: Title II of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 forbade racial discrimination by places of public accommodation if their operations affected commerce. The Heart of Atlanta Motel in Atlanta, Georgia, refused to accept Black Americans and was charged with violating Title II. Judicial Decision: The Court held that the Commerce Clause allowed Congress to regulate local incidents of commerce, and that the Civil Right Act of 1964 passed constitutional muster. The Court noted that the applicability of Title II was "carefully limited to enterprises having a direct and substantial relation to the interstate flow of goods and people. . ."