Supreme Court US Key Cases

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Strength Cases

  • Marbury vs. Madison
    • 1803
    • Established judicial review precedent – first time the SC examined a decision from the executive and declared it unconstitutional
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Strength Cases

  • McColluch vs. Maryland
    • Maryland attempted to tax the federal government (the National Bank, specifically)
    • Also a question of Congress passing “necessary and proper” laws – turns out if Congress passes a law, it is by definition necessary and proper
    • Federal government wins – supremacy clause (feds beat states when there is a conflict)
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Strength Cases

  • Gibbons vs. Ogden
    • Supremacy clause again – conflict between state and fed
    • Interstate commerce clause – when there’s conflict between two states, feds get to say which wins (in this case, a river running between two states)
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Limitation Cases

  • Scott vs. Sanford
    • 1856
    • Scott was a slave who believed when he was taken to a free state he was therefore free
    • Lost the case, as slaves were basically ruled to be property (doesn’t matter where you take them, they’re still slaves)
    • (Could be argued to have been good for slavery, by being deeply objectionable to all abolitionists and maybe helping start the civil war)
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Limitation Cases

  • Plessy vs. Ferguson
    • 14th Amendment – “equal protection and due process of the law”
    • Separate is equal – Plessy lost, Jim Crow won
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Limitation Cases

  • Schenk vs. US
    • Schenk was anti-war, got arrested for it
    • SC allowed the arrest, comes up with doctrine: the clear and present danger doctrine – they’re not limiting the 1st Amendment, but because Schenk was telling people to not accept the draft and was creating a clear and present danger; freedom of speech still applies, but not everything is allowed under it
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Limitation Cases

  • Korematsu vs. United States
    • Regards habeus corpus – no imprisonment without trial, right to be left alone when you haven’t done anything!
    • Japanese Americans were being regarded as the enemy in WWII; they were interned – removed from their homes and put under lock and key, no torture or imprisonment but they weren’t allowed to leave
    • Turns out in WWII you can do what you like – US won
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Limitation Cases

  • Korematsu vs. United States
    • Regards habeus corpus – no imprisonment without trial, right to be left alone when you haven’t done anything!
    • Japanese Americans were being regarded as the enemy in WWII; they were interned – removed from their homes and put under lock and key, no torture or imprisonment but they weren’t allowed to leave
    • Turns out in WWII you can do what you like – US won
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Expansive Cases

  • Brown vs. Board of Education
    • 14th Amendment job – this time, court says separate is not equal
    • Basically outlaws segregation and begins getting rid of Jim Crow
    • Fits well with Plessy vs. Ferguson
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Expansive Cases

  • Mapp vs. Ohio
    • Police entered house with fake warrant, found *********** and arrested her
    • Ruled police were not allowed to use the evidence
    • Exclusionary rule – can’t use evidence you shouldn’t have been able to find, in essence
    • 4th Amendment
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Expansive Cases

  • Mapp vs. Ohio
    • Police entered house with fake warrant, found *********** and arrested her
    • Ruled police were not allowed to use the evidence
    • Exclusionary rule – can’t use evidence you shouldn’t have been able to find, in essence
    • 4th Amendment
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Expansive Cases

  • Engel vs. Vitale
    • School-sponsored prayer violates 1st Amendment – church and state
    • Establishment clause – govt can’t pass laws that establish religion
    • No matter how many religious people there may be, not allowed to have state-sponsored prayer
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Expansive Cases

  • Miranda vs. Arizona
    • Right to remain silent; to an attorney
    • 5th Amendment was expanded to police having to tell you that you have the right to remain silent
    • Later expanded in Gideon vs. Wainwright (gives you a lawyer if you can’t afford one)
    • Also expanded in Escebedo vs. Illinois (if you ask for a lawyer, you have to get one)
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Expansive Cases

  • Tinker vs. Desmoines
    • Student wearing armband against Vietnam, principle told him to take it off or get out
    • 1st Amendment – you are allowed to do such things in school
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