Key Supreme Court Cases

• John Marshall believed that the USA would
be best served by concentrating power
in a strong central/national government.
• Under Chief Justice John Marshall,
Supreme Court decisions tended to
promote business enterprise.
•Under John Marshall’s leadership, the
Supreme Court upheld the supremacy
of FEDERAL Legislation over STATE
• The case established the principle of
• Judicial Review gave the Supreme Court the
authority to declare acts of Congress
• Marbury v. Madison was one of a series of
landmark decisions by Chief Justice
John Marshall that strengthened the
FEDERAL government.
• The Supreme Court ruled that the
constitution protected contracts from
state encroachments.
• The ruling safeguarded business
enterprise from interference by
state governments.
• The Supreme Court upheld the rights of
the Cherokee tribe.
• President Jackson REFUSED to recognize
the Court’s decision. He said, “ John
Marshall has made a decision: now
let him enforce it.”
• Because of Jackson’s refusal to enforce the
Supreme Court decision, the case was
followed by the removal of the
Cherokees from Georgia…led to the
Trail of Tears
The Cherokee of Georgia were forced off their land
A.they refused to assimilate to the “American”
way of life was discovered in their territory and
Georgians demanded that the Indian Removal
Act be enforced
C.the Supreme Court refused to hear their cases
D.the Seminole tribe, their traditional enemy
conquered their territory
E.Georgia refused to obey President Jackson’s
request that they allow the Cherokee to keep
their land
• African Americans were not CITIZENS &
therefore could not petition the Court.
• Slaves could not be taken from their
masters, regardless of a territory’s
“free” or “slave” status.
• The judge ruled that national legislation
could not limit the spread of slavery
in the territories.
• The 14th Amendment invalidated the
decision. (citizenship is granted)
• Both cases narrowed the meaning and
effectiveness of the 14th Amendment.
• Both cases weakened the protection
given to African Americans under
the 14th Amendment.
• The case involved a dispute over the legality
of segregated railroad cars in Louisiana.
• it upheld segregation by approving
“separate but equal ” accommodations
for African Americans.
• It sanctioned “separate but equal ” public
facilities for African Americans….and in
effect all minorities.
• Supreme Court decisions strengthened the
position of BIG BUSINESS
• The trial illustrated the widespread fear of
Several eyewitnesses claimed that the robbers looked Italian. A large number of Italian
immigrants were questioned but eventually the authorities decided to charge
Bartolomeo Vanzetti and Nicola Sacco with the murders. Although the two men did not
have criminal records, it was argued that they had committed the robbery & murder to
acquire funds for their anarchist political campaign.
Many observers believed that their conviction resulted from
prejudice against them as Italian immigrants and
because they held radical political beliefs.
The case resulted in anti-US demonstrations in several
European countries and at one of these in Paris, a bomb
exploded killing twenty people.
• The immediate issue was the legality of a
Tennessee law prohibiting the teaching
of the theory of EVOLUTION in the
state’s public schools.
• John T. Scopes was a Tennessee high
school biology teacher, indicted for
teaching evolution.
• The John T. Scopes trial illustrates the
cultural conflict in the 1920’s btwn
Fundamentalism and Modernism.
• In early 1942, Japanese Americans living on
the West Coast of the USA were forced
from their homes into detention camps
(basically prisons) on the grounds that they
were a potential threat to the security of
the United States (after the attack on Pearl
Harbor by Japan on December 7, 1941).
• The Supreme Court upheld the
constitutionality of the relocation as a
WARTIME necessity. Constitutional
scholars of TODAY view the relocation as
a flagrant violation of our
Constitution/Civil liberties.
Which of the following is true about the internment
of those Japanese living in the United States during
World War II?
A.The majority of those confined were native-born
B.Many of those relocated were known dissidents.
C.Only 2,000 Japanese Americans were relocated.
D.Congress passed a law requiring the relocation of
all aliens during the war.
E.Those who were relocated eventually recovered
their homes and possessions.
More than 110, 000 Japanese Americans were
relocated during WWII. Most lost their homes and
possessions, to the tune of an estimated $40
million. The relocation was mandated by
presidential order; Congress was compliant in
that it never acted to stop it, but that was the
extent of congressional participation.
There were not 100,000 Japanese American
dissidents in the USA before the war, nor even
half that many, making answer choice (B)
incorrect. A question about this shameful
episode in U.S. History appears in almost
every AP U.S. History exam.
In the Korematsu v. United States decision, the Supreme
Count ruled that
A. Japanese Americans are not entitled to protection
under government-sponsored Affirmative Action
B. the wartime relocation of West Coast Japanese
Americans was not unconstitutional
C. the Japanese government had no legitimate claim to
reparations for the bombing of Hiroshima & Nagasaki
D. immigration quotas based on race were unconstitutional
E. the U.S. government has violated the Constitution by
entering the Korean War
Fred Korematsu was among the more that 110,000 Japanese
Americans ordered to relocate from the West Coast to internment
camps during WW II. Korematsu refused, was arrested and took
his case all the way to the Supreme Court.
The Court ruled that the government had not exceeded its power,
noting that extraordinary times sometimes call for
extraordinary measures; three of the nine justices dissented (disagreed).
History has not judged Roosevelt’s internment policy kindly.
In 1998 Fred Korematsu was awarded the Presidential Medal of
• During a period of intense judicial activism,
the Court used its power to promote
social programs.
• The Warren Court reached notable and
controversial decisions that established
rights for those accused of crimes
(Miranda Warning, etc.).
All of the following Supreme Court decision during
JOHN MARSHALL’S tenure as Supreme Court Justice
to strengthen the federal government except
A. Gibbons V. Odgen, 1824
B. Marbury v. Madison, 1803
C. Dred Scott v. Sanford, 1857
D. Worcester v. Georgia, 1831
E. McCulloch v. Maryland,1819
The Dred Scott case
actually limited the
power of the federal
government by
stating that Congress
had no authority to
determine where
slavery could and
could not go.
Furthermore, this
was not a Marshall
• The ruling reversed the principle of
“separate but equal” established
in Plessy v. Ferguson.
• It declared racially segregated
public school inherently unequal.
• it declared that public school segregation is
a denial of equal protection of the law under
the 14th Amendment.”
• This was the most important decision in the
decade following WW II. It had widespread
consequence for the right of minority groups.
• The case established the principle of “one
man, one vote.”
• the Supreme Court required the
reapportionment of districts for state
Baker v. Carr, (1962), was a landmark United States
Supreme Court case that retreated from the Court's political
question doctrine, deciding that redistricting (attempts to
change the way voting districts are delineated) issues
present justifiable questions, thus enabling federal courts to
intervene in and to decide reapportionment cases. The
defendants unsuccessfully argued that reapportionment of
legislative districts is a "political question", and hence not a
question that may be resolved by federal courts.
• The Supreme Court struck down a state
law prohibiting the use of
• The Court proclaimed a ‘right to privacy ’
that soon provided the basis for
decisions protecting women’s abortion
• Controversial Warren Court decision
establishing a defendant’s
“Miranda Rights.”
• The Court ruled that no confession could
be admissible unless a suspect had
been made aware of his or her rights
and the suspect had waived them.
• The U.S. Supreme Court upheld abortion
rights for women.
• The Court based its decision, in part, on the
right to privacy established in
In disallowing many state and federal restrictions on abortion in the
United States, Roe v. Wade prompted a national debate that
continues today, about issues including whether and to what extent
abortion should be legal, who should decide the legality of abortion, what
methods the Supreme Court should use in constitutional adjudication,
and what the role should be of religious and moral views in the political
sphere. Roe v. Wade reshaped national politics, dividing much of the
United States into pro-choice and pro-life camps, while activating
grassroots movements on both sides.
Dartmouth College v. Woodward, 1819
1873 Slaughterhouse Cases & 1883 Civil Rights Cases
Dred Scott v. Sanford, 1857
The John T. Scopes Trial, 1925
Sacco and Vanzetti Trial, 1920s
Plessey v. Ferguson, 1896
Korematsu v. United States, 1944
The Marshall Court
Baker v. Carr, 1962
Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka
Roe v. Wade, 1973
Griswold v. Connecticut, 1965
Miranda v. Arizona, 1966
Marbury v. Madison
Worcester v. Georgia, 1831