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THURMANS AP/NSL CASE ASSIGNMENT (2014) Name: Kathleen Ruan Period 9

Using the websites provided, research each of the Supreme Court cases (grouped by theme)
and write a brief summary of the most important ideas. This list of approximately 50 cases is
more than sufficient for preparing for cases that may be covered on the AP US Government
exam in May. www.landmarkcases.org
http://www.oyez.org/oyez/portlet/directory/
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Landmark_decisions_in_the_United_States

Theme Year Case Name Constitutional ? Decision


Federalism




1803
Marbury

v.

Madison
Does the Supreme
Court have the
authority to review
acts of Congress
and determine
whether they are
unconstitutional and
therefore void?
Section 13 of the
Judiciary Act of 1789 is
unconstitutional because
it attempts to expand the
original jurisdiction of the
Supreme Court beyond
that permitted by the
Constitution. Congress
cannot pass laws that
contradict the
Constitution. This case
featured the first
example of judicial
nullification of a federal
law.









1819

McCulloch
v.

Maryland


Can a state bank tax
a federal bank and
was it constitutional
for Congress to
make a national
bank?
The Necessary and
Proper Clause of the
Constitution grants to
Congress implied powers
for implementing the
Constitution's express
powers, and state actions
may not impede valid
exercises of power by the
federal government.


Commerce
Power






1824

Gibbons

v.

Ogden
Does the national
government have
control over state
commerce?
The power to regulate
interstate navigation is
granted to Congress by
the Commerce Clause of
the Constitution.





Barron
Does eminent
domain violate the
The Bill of Rights cannot
be applied to the state
Theme Year Case Name Constitutional? Decision





1833
v.

Baltimore
5th amendment?
governments. This
decision has essentially
been rendered moot by
the Supreme Court's
adoption of the
incorporation doctrine,
which uses the Due
Process Clause of the
Fourteenth Amendment
to apply portions of the
Bill of Rights to the
states. The Court did this
for the first time in the
1925 case of Gitlow v.
New York.

Freedom
of
Expression
(Speech and
Press)



1919


Schenck
v.
U.S.
Were the pamphlets
that Schnek made
saying that drafting
was illegal allowed
under the first
amendment?
Expressions in which the
circumstances are
intended to result in a
crime and pose a clear
and present danger of
succeeding can be
punished without
violating the First
Amendment.



Freedom
of
Expression
(Speech and
Press)




1925

Gitlow
v.

New York
Is the New York law
punishing advocacy
to overthrow the
government by force
an unconstitutional
violation of the free
speech clause of the
First Amendment?
The provisions of the First
Amendment that protect
the freedom of speech
and the freedom of the
press apply to the
governments of the
states through the Due
Process Clause of the
Fourteenth Amendment.












1943


West Virginia
BOE (Board of
Education)
v.
Barnette

Did the compulsory
flag salute required
for public school
children violate the
first amendment?
Public schools cannot
override the religious
beliefs of their students
by forcing them to salute
the American flag and
recite the Pledge of
Allegiance.
Theme Year Case Name Constitutional? Decision









1969

Brandenburg
v.

Ohio
Can the government
punish somebody
for saying somthing
offeensive if it wasn't
intended to harm
somebody?
The mere advocacy of the
use of force or of
violation of the law is
protected by the First
Amendment. Only
inciting others to take
direct and immediate
unlawful action is without
constitutional protection.









1969

Tinker
v.

Des Moines
School District
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?
Wearing armbands as a
form of protest on public
school grounds is
protected by the First
Amendment.

Speech and
Press




1973

Miller

v.

California
Is the sale and
distribution of
obscene materials
by mail protected
under the First
Amendment's
freedom of speech
guarantee?



To be obscene, a work
must fail the Miller test,
which determines if the
work has any "serious
literary, artistic, political,
or scientific value."














1976

Buckley
v.

Valeo
Do limits on
campaign
expenditures set by
FECA (1971) and
IRC (1954) violate
freedom of speech?
Spending money to
influence elections is a
form of constitutionally
protected free speech,
but federal limits on
campaign contributions
are constitutional.





Hazelwood
Are school
newspapers subject
Public school curricular
student newspapers that
Theme Year Case Name Constitutional? Decision



1988
v.

Kuhlmeier

to the First
Amendment? Does
censorship violate
the student's First
Amendment rights of
free speech?
have not been
established as forums for
student expression are
subject to a lower level of
First Amendment
protection than
independent student
expression or
newspapers established
by policy or practice as
forums for student
expression.









1989

Texas
v.

Johnson
Is it ok to burn the
flag?
A Texas law that
criminalizes the
desecration of the
American flag is
unconstitutional because
it violates the First
Amendment's protection
of symbolic speech. This
decision invalidates laws
prohibiting flag
desecration in 48 of the
50 statesAlaska and
Wyoming are the two
exceptions.









2007
Morse

v.

Frederick
Does the First
Amendment allow a
school to disallow a
student from
promoting illegal
drug use?
By a 5 to 4 majority, it
was decided that while
students had some right
to make political
statements, that did not
extend to statements
about illegal drugs.


Freedom
of
Religion
(Establishment
Free Exercise)


1962

Engel
v.
Vitale
Can state officials
compose prayers
that students must
say in public
schools?
Government-directed
prayer in public schools,
even if it is
denominationally neutral
and non-mandatory,
violates the Establishment
Clause.







1971


Lemon
v.
Kurtzman

Was the
Pennsylvania law
allowing funding for
religious based
activities
constitutional?
Government funds
For a law to be considered
constitutional under the
Establishment Clause, the
law must have a legitimate
secular purpose, must not
have the primary effect of
Theme Year Case Name Constitutional? Decision



were being used for
these.
either advancing or
inhibiting religion, and
must not result in an
excessive entanglement of
government and religion.








1992

Lee
v.
Weisman
Does the inclusion of
religious leaders who
offer prayers at
official public school
ceremonies violate
the Establishment
Clause of the First
Amendment?

Including a clergy-led
prayer within the events of
a public school graduation
ceremony violates the
Establishment Clause.








2005

Kentucky
v.
ACLU
Do Ten
Commandments
displays in public
schools and in
courthouses violate
the First
Amendment's
establishment
clause, which
prohibits government
from passing laws
respecting an
establishment of
religion?
The displays violate the
establishment clause
because they serve to
advance religion.








1878

Reynolds
v.

U.S.
Is religious duty a
defense for a criminal
accusation?
Reynolds was
accused of bigamy,
but his defense was
that he was just
following his duty to
his religion.
Religious belief or duty
cannot be used as a
defense against a criminal
indictment.








1983


Bob Jones Univ
v.
U.S.

Can the government
prohibit race
discrimination at the
expense of the First
Amendment's Free
Exercise Clauses?
Not all burdens on religion
are unconstitutional; the
IRS was correct in its
decision to revoke the tax-
exempt status of Bob
Jones University and the
Goldsboro Christian
School. Racial
discrimination in education
violated a fundamental
national public policy


Right of the
Accused
(Counsel)


1932


Powell
v.
Alabama

Theme Year Case Name Constitutional? Decision



Rights of the
Accused
(Counsel)




1963


Gideon
v.
Wainwright

All defendants have the
right to an attorney and
must be provided one by
the state if they are unable
to afford legal counsel.







1966

Miranda
v.
Arizona


Is it constitutional for
the accused to have
the right to only be
questioned in a trial
and nowhere else
under the self-
incrimination policy
under the 5th
amendment?
Police must advise criminal
suspects of their rights
under the Constitution to
remain silent, to consult
with a lawyer, and to have
one appointed to them if
they are indigent. A police
interrogation must stop if
the suspect states that he
or she wishes to remain
silent.








1967


In re
Gault
What are the
procedural rights of
a juvenile defendant
in delinqunecy
proceedings where
there is a possibilty
of incarceration.
Juvenile defendants are
protected under the Due
Process Clause of the
Fourteenth Amendment.

(Search and
Seizure)





1949


Wolf
v.
Colorado
Should states be
required by the
fourth and
the fourteenth
amendments to
exclude illegally
seized evidence
from trial?
In a 6-3 vote, the
court upheld the decision of
the lower courts, going
against Wolf. Court
reasoned
that the Fourteenth
Amendment did not subject
criminal justice in the states
to specific limitations and
that illegally obtained
evidence did not have to be
excluded from trials in all
cases.








1961




Mapp
v.
Ohio
Can evidence
obatained illegally
be used to convict
someone in a state
court? ( Does the
fourth amendment's
ban on search and
seizures apply to
state governments?)
Evidence that is obtained in
violation of the Fourth
Amendment is inadmissible
in state court.





1985


New Jersey
Does the
exclusionary rule
apply to searches
The Fourth Amendment's
ban on unreasonable
searches applies to those
Theme Year Case Name Constitutional? Decision



v.
TLO



conducted by school
officials in public
schools?





conducted by public school
officials as well as those
conducted by law
enforcement personnel,
but public school officials
can use the less strict
standard of reasonable
suspicion instead of
probable cause.










1995

Vernonia
School Dt.
v.
Acton
Does random drug
testing of high
school athletes
violate the
reasonable search
and seizure clause
of the Fourth
Amendment?
Schools may implement
random drug testing upon
students participating in
school-sponsored athletics.


Search and
Seizure





2009


Safford Unified
School District
v.
Redding














2008


District of
Columbia
v.
Heller
Does the Second
Amendment apply to
federal enclaves,
(ex. DC) protecting
people's right to
keep firearms for
lawful purposes?




2010




McDonald
v.
Chicago
Does the Second
Amendment apply to
the states because it
is incorporated by
the Fourteenth
Amendment's
Privileges and
Immunities or Due
Process clauses and
thereby made
applicable to the
states?
The Fourteenth Amendment
makes the Second
Amendment right to keep
and bear arms for the
purpose of self-defense
applicable to the states.
Chicago and Oak parks'
gun bans in Illinois were
challenged because the
plaintiffs believed that the
Second Amendment also
applied to the states.






Is the death penalty
considered a
The arbitrary and
inconsistent imposition of
Theme Year Case Name Constitutional? Decision
Capital
Punishment



1972 Furman
v.
Georgia
violation of the 8th
amendment?
the death penalty violates
the Eighth and Fourteenth
Amendments and
constitutes cruel and
unusual punishment. This
decision initiates a
nationwide de facto
moratorium on executions
that lasts until the Supreme
Court's decision in Gregg v.
Georgia (1976).








2005


Roper
v.
Simmons
Is executing minors
a violation of cruel
and unusual
punishment (8th
amendment)?


A sentence of death may
not be imposed on juvenile
offenders.


Right to
Privacy





1965


Griswold
v.
Connecticut


A Connecticut law that
criminalizes the use of
contraception by married
couples is unconstitutional
because all Americans have
a constitutionally protected
right to privacy.








1973


Roe
v.
Wade

Laws that restrict a
woman's ability to have an
abortion prior to viability
are unconstitutional. Most
restrictions during the first
trimester are prohibited,
and only health-related
restrictions are permitted
during the second
trimester.


Voting
Rights





1962



Baker
v.
Carr


The redistricting of state
legislative districts is not a
political question, so it is
justiciable by the federal
courts.


Voting





Shaw
Did the North
Carolina residents'
claim, that the State
created a racially
gerrymandered

Theme Year Case Name Constitutional? Decision
Rights



1993 v.
Reno
district, raise a valid
constitutional issue
under the
Fourteenth
Amendment's Equal
Protection Clause?









2000


Bush
v.
Gore

Ended the recount of
ballots in Florida in the
2000 presidential election
as violative of the Equal
Protection Clause,
effectively resolving the
election in favor of George
W. Bush.



Presidential
Powers





1974


U.S.
v.
Nixon
Is the President's
right to safeguard
certain information,
using his executive
privilege
confidentiality
power, entirely
immune from judicial
review?
The doctrine of executive
privilege is legitimate;
however, the President
cannot invoke it in criminal
cases to withhold evidence.










1998


Clinton
v.
New York

Did the President's
ability to selectively
cancel individual
portions of bills,
under the Line Item
Veto Act, violate the
Presentment Clause
of Article I?
The Line Item Veto Act of
1996 is unconstitutional
because it allows the
President to amend or
repeal parts of statutes
without the pre-approval of
Congress. According to the
Presentment Clause of the
Constitution, Congress
must initiate all changes to
existing laws.

*


*

*

*

*








Equal
Protection

Racial



1857




Dred Scott
v.
Sanford

Can slaves free
themselves by going
North. Basically North vs
South
People of African
descent that are
slaves or were slaves
and subsequently
freed, along with
their descendants,
cannot be United
Theme Year Case Name Constitutional? Decision
Discrimination



States citizens.
Consequently, they
cannot sue in federal
court. Also, slavery
cannot be outlawed
in the western
territories before
they access
statehood. After the
Civil War, this
decision was voided
by the Thirteenth and
Fourteenth
Amendments to the
Constitution.



Racial
Discrimination






1896


Plessy
v.
Ferguson
Are segregated public
institutions violations of
the Thirteenth and
Fourteenth
Amendments?
Segregated facilities
for blacks and whites
are constitutional
under the doctrine of
separate but equal,
which holds for close
to 60 years.
(Overruled by Brown
v. Board of Education
(1954))








1954
1955


Brown
v.
BOE of Topeka
Are separate but equal
public institutions
constitutional?
Segregated schools in
the states are
unconstitutional
because they violate
the Fourteenth
Amendment. The
Court found that the
separate but equal
doctrine adopted in
Plessy v. Ferguson
(1896) "has no place
in the field of public
education."








1971


Swann
v. Charlotte-
Mecklenburg
BOE
Were federal courts
constitutionally
authorized to oversee
and produce remedies
for state-imposed
segregation?
The busing of
students to promote
racial integration in
public schools is
constitutional.






Could the VMI (Virginia
Military Academy) refuse
Sex-based "separate
but equal" military
Theme Year Case Name Constitutional? Decision
Gender
Discrimination




1996
U.S.
v.
Va.
to accept women even
though it was a public
academy?
training facilities
violate the
Fourteenth
Amendment's Equal
Protection Clause.


Gay Rights





2000


Boy Scouts of
America
v.
Dale


Are private organizations
like the Boy Scouts of
America allowed to
discriminate against
individuals under the
freedom of association?
Private organizations
are allowed to
choose their own
membership and
expel members based
on their sexual
orientation even if
such discrimination
would otherwise be
prohibited by anti-
discrimination
legislation designed
to protect minorities
in public
accommodations.








2003


Lawrence
v.
Texas
Do the criminal
convictions of John
Lawrence and Tyron
Garner under the Texas
Homosexual Conduct
law, which criminalizes
sexual intimacy by
same-sex couples, but
not identical behavior by
different-sex couples,
violate the Fourteenth
Amendment guarantee
of equal protection of
laws?
A Texas law
criminalizing adults
who engage in
consensual same-sex
sexual conduct
furthers no legitimate
state interest and
violates their right to
privacy under the
Fourteenth
Amendment's Due
Process Clause. This
decision effectively
nullifies all sodomy
laws in the United
States.



Theme Year Case Name Constitutional ? Decision



Affirmative
Action




1978


Regents of the
University of
California
v. Bakke
Did the University of
California violate the
Fourteenth Amendment's
equal protection clause,
and the Civil Rights Act of
1964, by practicing an
affirmative action policy
that resulted in the
Race-based set-
asides in
educational
opportunities
violate the Equal
Protection Clause
of the Fourteenth
Theme Year Case Name Constitutional? Decision

repeated rejection of
Bakke's application for
admission to its medical
school?
Amendment. This
decision leaves the
door open for
some use of race
in admission
decisions.








2003


Gratz
v.
Bollinger
Does the University of
Michigan's use of racial
preferences in
undergraduate admissions
violate the Equal
Protection Clause of the
Fourteenth Amendment or
Title VI of the Civil Rights
Act of 1964?
The University of
Michigan's use of
racial preferences
in undergraduate
admissions
violates both the
Equal Protection
Clause and Title
VI. The
University's use of
race in its current
freshman
admissions policy
is not narrowly
tailored to achieve
respondents'
asserted
compelling interest
in diversity.
Because of this,
the admissions
policy violates the
Equal Protection
Clause.








2003


Grutter
v.
Bollinger
Can the University of
Michigan deny a student
admission in an effort to
promote diversity in the
student body?
A narrowly-
tailored use of
race in student
admission
decisions may be
permissible under
the Fourteenth
Amendment's
Equal Protection
Clause because a
diverse student
body is beneficial
to all students.
This was hinted at
in Regents v.
Bakke (1978).






Theme Year Case Name Constitutional? Decision




































































Theme Year Case Name Constitutional? Decision