Uploaded by Gregory Schroeder

Landmark Court Cases

Supreme Court Cases
The Supreme Court
Expands its Power
Marbury v. Madison, 1803
Facts of the Case
-John Adams tried to appoint Marbury and several other guys to positions before he left
-The last minute attempts were never finalized
-The angry appointees sued for their jobs in the Supreme Court
Question Presented
-Is Marbury entitled to his appointment?
- Established “Judicial Review” the ability for courts to interpret the Constitution
McCulloch v. Maryland, 1819
Facts of the Case
-Congress created the Second Bank of the United States
-In 1818 the state of Maryland passed extra taxes on the bank
-James McCulloch refused to pay the taxes
Question Presented
-Did Congress have the authority to establish the bank?
-Did Maryland law unconstitutionally interfere with congressional powers?
-CONGRESS had the power to establish banks and the states have no influence over them
Gibbons v. Ogden, 1824
Facts of the case
-A New York state law gave Aaron Ogden a license to operate steamboats on
waters within state jurisdiction
-Thomas Gibbons had a similar license to do the same thing but his was a
Federal coasting license granted by Congress
Questions Presented
-Who had the power to regulate interstate commerce?
- The Court found that Congress had more power issuing license for “interstate
commerce” because under the Constitution the Congress had all power over
regulating commerce.
Supreme Court
Individual rights
Facts of the Case
-Louisiana passed a law that required separate railway cars for blacks and whites
-Homer Plessy took a seat in the a “white only” car of a train. He refused to move to the car
for blacks and was arrested
Question Presented
- Did this arrest violate his 14th amendment (equal protection)
-Conclusion “You can keep things separated as long as they are equal.” “Separate but equal”
Plessy v.
Brown v. Board of Education,1954
Facts of the Case
-Black children were denied admission to public schools
-Things were equal in terms of building, curricula, and qualifications of teachers
-Is segregation correct and in violation of the 14th “equal protection”
- “YES” you cannot possibly by separated and equal because you are separating
things on the bases that they are not the same. “Separate is NOT equal”
*** Swann v. Charlotte-Mecklenburg B.O.E
Heart of Atlanta Motel v. U.S.,
Facts of the case
-Title II of the Civil Rights Act of 1964
forbade racial discrimination by places
of Public accommodation.
-The Heart of Atlanta Motel in Atlanta,
Georgia refused to accept Black
Question presented
-Did Congress deprive motels of the
right to choose their own customers?
-The Court concluded that places of
public accommodation had no “right to
select guests as they saw fit, free from
government regulations….THEY HAD
Korematsu v. United States,
Facts of the case
-During World War II, Presidential Executive Order 9066 gave the military authority
to exclude citizens of Japanese ancestry fro areas deemed critical to nation
Question presented
-Did the President and Congress go beyond their war power by implementing
exclusion and restricting the rights of American Japanese descent
- The courts sided with the government and held that the need to protect against
espionage outweighed Korematsu’s rights.
Supreme Court
and the
Power of Speech
Tinker V. Des Moines, 1969
Facts of the Case
-John Tinker (15), Mary Beth Tinker (13), and Christopher Echardt (16) decided to
protest the vietnam war by wearing black arm bands to their school during the
Christmas holiday seasion
-The principals of the school districts said that all student wearing these arm bands were
to take them off or face suspensions. They feared it would provoke disturbances
-The students wore their armbands anyway and when they did not take them off they
were suspended until after New Year’s Day
-Did this violate the students’ “First amendment right?”
- The wearing of the armbands was part of freedom of speech. Although school officials
have the right to prohibit certain actions, they fail to show how the protest would cause
trouble and disturbance in the school setting
Hazelwood School District v. Kuhlmeier,1988
Facts of the case
-THE SPECTRUM, the school-sponsored news paper of Hazelwood East High School, was
written and edited by students.
- The Principal, received the proof of the May 13th issue and found that two of the articles
were inappropriate
-He ordered that the pages on which the articles appeared by withheld from publication
-Cathy Kuhlmeier and two other former Hazelwood students brought the case to court
Question Presented
-Did the deletion of the articles violate the student’s 1st Amendment right?
- NO, school newspapers are sponsored by the school and articles not directly reflecting the
view of the school for “learning” purposes can be deleted from the paper.
Engel v. Vitale, 1962
Facts of the Case
-The Board of Regents for the State of New York authorized a short,
voluntary prayer for recitation at the start of each school day.
-“ Almighty God, we acknowledge our dependence upon Thee, and beg
Thy blessings upon us, our teachers, and our country.”
Question Presented
-Does the reading of a nondenominational prayer at the start of each
school day violate the “establishment of religion” clause of the First
- YES, Neither the prayer’s nondenominational character nor its voluntary
character saves it from unconstitutionality. By providing the prayer, New
York officially approved religion.
Bethel School District No. 403
v. Fraser, 1986
Facts of the case
-At a school assembly Matthew Fraser made a speech nominating a fellow student for
elective office
-In his speech Matthew used a graphic sexual metaphor to promote the candidacy of his
-Fraser was suspended from school for two days
Question Presented
-Does the First Amendment prevent a school district from discipline a high school student
for giving a lewd speech at a high school assembly?
- No, the court found that it was appropriate for the school to prohibit the use of vulgar
and offensive language.
Texas v Johnson,1989
Facts of the case
-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.
He was sentenced to one year in jail and assessed a $2,000 fine.
Question of the case
-Is the burning of an American flag a form of speech protected under the 1st
- The court found that the burning of the flag is protected under “expression” in
the 1st amendment.
Supreme Court and
the Rights of the Accused
Mapp v. Ohio, 1961
Facts of the case
-Dolree Mapp was convicted of possessing
obscene materials after an admittedly illegal police
search of her home for a fugitive.
Question Presented
-Were the confiscated materials protected by the
first amendment?
-May evidence obtained through a search in
violation of the 4th amendment be admitted in a
state criminal proceeding?
- Materials obtained from a violation of the 4th
Amendment is inadmissible in a state court
New Jersey v. T.L.O, 1984
Facts of the Case
-T.L.O was a 14 year old accused of smoking
in the girl’s bathroom
-A principal at the school questioned her and
searched her purse and found a box of
cigarettes and rolling papers
- He decided to search the pocketbook further
and found a bag of marijuana (and other drug
paraphernalia), plastic bags, money, and a list
of people who still owed her money.
Question presented
-Did the search violate the 4th Amendment?
-NO, the school official is allowed to search a
student if he/she has reasonable suspicion that
a crime has been committed or is in the act of
being committed.
Gideon V. Wainwright, 1963
Facts of the Case
-Gideon was charged in a Florida state court with a felony for breaking and entering.
-He lacked funds as was unable to hire a lawyer to prepare his defense
-When he requested the court to appoint an attorney for him, the court refused
-Gideon defended himself in the trial; he was convicted by a jury and the court sentenced him to 5 years in a
state prison
Question presented
-Did the state court’s failure the appoint counsel for Gideon violate his right to a fair trial and due process of
law as protected by the 6th 14th (equal protection)
- Gideon had the right to be represented by a court-appointed attorney. The right to an attorney was essential
to a fair trial. Lawyers in criminal courts are necessities, not luxuries.
Miranda V. Arizona, 1966
Facts of the case
-Ernesto Miranda had been arrested at his home in Phoenix, Arizona and accused of
kidnapping and rape.
-He was questioned at the police station by 2 police officers has was not advised of his right
to an attorney nor his right to remain silent.
-After two hours of interrogation, he signed a written confession to the crime.
-He was found guilty and sentenced to 20 to 30 years in prison
-Does the police practice of interrogating individuals without notifying them of their right to
counsel and their protection against self-incrimination violate he 5th Amendment?
-A person in police custody “or otherwise deprived of his freedom…must be warned prior to
any questioning that he has the right to remain silent, and that anything he says can be
used against him in the court of law..”