Key Supreme Court Cases

  • Marbury vs. Madison

    Marbury vs. Madison
    The night before Jefferson's inaguration, Adams appointed 16 Federalists judges to various court positions. When Jefferson took office, he ignored these "midnight judges". Marbury was a judge who never recieved his papers. He sued the Secetary of State for not giving him his papers. John Marshall stated that the act Marbury was using in his case was unconstitution. This expanded the role of the supreme court to include Judical Review.
  • Fletcher v. Peck

    Fletcher v. Peck
    Georgia gave land away and then wanted it back. Tjey went to court. THe Supreme Court stated that the constuion upholds property rights and that once an agreement has been signed it is vaild. This was uner the court of John Marshal.
  • McCulloch v. Maryland

    McCulloch v. Maryland
    The Court ruled that states cannot tax the federal government, for this case, the Bank of the United States; the phrase. This stated that the Bank of the United States is legal and affirmed the loose interperation of the constution. (BUS= Bank of the United States)
  • Cohens v. Virginia

    Cohens v. Virginia
    The Cohen brothers were arrested and fined for the apparently illegal sale of federal lottery tickets. The lottery was taking place in Washington DC, under the jurisdiction of Congress. Upon their arrest, the Cohens appealed to the Supreme Court, as Congress itself had authorized the lottery. The state court had already made their decision, but the Supreme Court established here the right to review state cases- though they reaffirmed the state's decision.
  • Gibbons v. Ogden

    Gibbons v. Ogden
    New York granted Ogden exclusive passage to a steamboat passage between NY and NJ. Gibbons, another steamboat operator, was challenged by Ogden for travelling the same route. The Supreme Court supported Gibbons, pronouncing Ogden's license unconstitutional. This case established that Congress had the power to regulate interstate commerce under the Commerce Clause of the Constitution, defining "commerce" as a more abstract term that included navigation, broadening Congress's interstate authority.
  • Cherokee Nation vs. Georgia

    Cherokee Nation vs. Georgia
    President Monroe proposed all Indians should be moved west of the Mississippi River. The Cherokees attempted to assimilate to American life to avoid removal, but Georgia continued to pressure them. The Supreme Court concluded Cherokees had valid ownership of the land, but refused to acknowledge them as they would a state or nation. The decision had little implication, however, as Jackson refused to enforce it. This exemplified the victimization of Indians by the American political system.
  • Barron v. Baltimore

    Barron v. Baltimore
    John Barron sued Baltimore for damaging his private property; in response, a state court awarded him money for the damage. Another court challenged the decision and denied Barron the awards. Barron brought the case to the Supreme Court, under the Bill of Rights, but the court said the Bill of Rights applied only to the federal, not state, government, because that was the government the Constitution created. This decision impacted the future jurisdiction of state governments.
  • Charles River Bridge v. Warren Bridge

    Charles River Bridge v. Warren Bridge
    Massachusetts authorized the Charles River Bridge Co. to operate a river bridge. CRB Co. placed a heavy toll on travelers. In response to the angry public, a second toll-free bridge was chartered to the Warren River Bridge Co. The CRB Co. sued, citing Dartmouth v. Woodward, stating corporate charters were declared to be contracts protected by the Contract Clause. The decision against CRB Co. exemplified a new, states rights oriented Supreme Court, and the importance of public satisfaction.
  • Commonwealth v. Hunt

    Commonwealth v. Hunt
    Decided a union had the right to organize and the strike tactics were legal. This would dramitcally change the course of United States history
  • Dred Scott v. Sandford

    Dred Scott v. Sandford
    Dred Scott was a slave that moved around with his master. He had lived in a free state and wanted to be free. The Court ruled that Dred Scott had no place to be in court and he had to return to his lawyer. Congress had no power to prohibit slavery and no control over private property
  • Ex parte Milligan

    Ex parte Milligan
    Ruled that a civilian cannot be tried in military courts while civil courts are available.
  • Slaughterhouse Cases (1873)

    Slaughterhouse Cases (1873)
    Supreme Court stated that the 14th amendment only applied to federal and not state violations. Also upheld the equal protection clause which applied to state laws discriminating aganist African Americans
  • United States vs Reese

    United States vs Reese
    This key Supreme Court case was based on voting rights. This case held up practices such as the poll tax, literacy test, the grandfather clause, and many other similar poll practices. This case underminded Africans Americans and their strive to equality.
  • Munn vs. Illinois

    Munn vs. Illinois
    Ira Munn, co-owner of a Chicago grain warehouse firm, were prosecuted by a Illinois law that established a maximum rate private corporations could charge for grain storage. The law was passed in response to a movement of the Grange. Munn insisted the state had no such jurisdiction, demanding the due processes of law be observed. The Supreme Court ruled that regulation of a private business in the interest of the public was fully constitutional. This case extended the scope of state authority
  • Wabash vs. Illinois

    Wabash vs. Illinois
    Contradicting the conclusion of Munn vs. Illinois, the decision of Wabash vs. Illinois restricted the authority of states over private industries. Wabash Railway Company brought the issue of interstate regulation to court , believing the US government was unfairly involved. An Illinois law prohibited contracts from including long-haul and short-haul clauses. The Court declared this violated the commerce clause of the Constitution. The decision resulted in the passing of the ICC.
  • US vs. E. C. Knight Co.

    US vs. E. C. Knight Co.
    This case interpreted the Sherman Anti-Trust Act, a federal act with a provision restricting the monopolization of trade within the US. At the time, the American Sugar Refining Company owned 98% of the entire industry. The Cleveland administration challenged this ownership. The court voted against the government; according to them, the refinery monopolized production. Manufacturing and refining, they overwhelmingly decided, are not activities that can be federally restricted, unlike trade.
  • Plessy v Fergerson

    Plessy v Fergerson
    Affrimed segeration by stating it had to be seperate but equal regarding public places.
  • Plessey vs. Ferguson

    Plessey vs. Ferguson
    This is a landmark Supreme Court case that uphold the constutionality of states allowig racial segeration in private businesses. These businesses had to be "seperate but equal." This doctrine of seperate but equal would remain untill the Supreme Court Case decision of Brown vs Board of Education (1954).
  • Lochner vs. New York

    Lochner vs. New York
    A New York law named the Bakeshop Act had given baker's a 10 hour workday and a 60 hour work week. Lochner, a business owner, was convicted under this law. The Supreme Court closely concluded that the Act was unnecessary, feeling it attempted to bend the rules of employment terms. The Court maintained states cannot interfere with employment contracts because the purchase and sale of labor is protected by the Fourteenth Amendment. The following "Lochner Era" inspired many Progressive movements.
  • Muller vs. Oregon

    Muller vs. Oregon
    Curt Muller was fined by the Oregon government after working a female employer for over 10 hours in one day, against state labor laws. After taking the conviction to the Supreme Court, the Court upheld his conviction, accepting the labor law's constitutionality. Though it seemed to directly contradict the decision of Lochner vs. New York, the Court claimed the conditions were different based on the "difference between the sexes," suggesting the continued separation between men and women.
  • Debs vs U.S.

    Debs vs U.S.
    Socalist, Eugene V. Debs gave an Anti- War Speech explaining to America citizens why we should not be in war. This outraged the government, plus Debs was breaking the Espionage Act. He was sent to jail for10 years. He appeled to the Supreme Court, but the Espionage Act was upheld.
  • Hammer v. Dagenheart

    Hammer v. Dagenheart
    During the Progressive Era, many groups evolved which were against childlarbor. In 1918, Hammer vs. Dagerheart was brought to the Supreme Court regarding the Keating-Owen Act. This act was passed by the US Congress in attempts to stop child labor. It stated that no good could be sold interstate if manufactured by children. This supreme court case declared this act unconsitutional because it was an invasion of state authority
  • Shenck vs. US

    Shenck vs. US
    Charles Shenck, of the Socialist Party, had actively distributed fliers to military draftees opposing the war and the draft during WW1. He was convicted under the Espionage Act, which prosecuted anyone that interfered with America's military operations- Shenck responded by saying this violated the 1st Amendment. The Court unanimously voted against him, stating that speech could not be protected if it presented a "clear and present danger" as Shenck's fliers were considered to in the war climate.
  • Adikins v. Children's Hospital

    Adikins v. Children's Hospital
    Adikins v. Children's Hospital was a case that dealt with minimum wages for women. This case decided that it was unconstitutional for a minimum wage law for women on the grounds that it denited women freedom of contracts.
  • Schechter v. United States

    Schechter v. United States
    This Supreme Court Case decided the unconstitutionality of the National Industrial Recovery Act (NIRA). The court stated that the act gave leglislatiive powers to the excutive branch and sought to regulate businesses that were interstate.
  • Kormatsu v. United States

    Kormatsu v. United States
    During the time of World War 2, the United States created Internement camp in order for the Japanese on the Paciffic Coast communicating with Japan. This Supreme Court case upheld the constutionality of denetion camps for Japanses- Americans. During Presidents Regan's term, the United States formally appoligized and gave 20,000 dollars for any suriviors.
  • Sweatt v. Painter

    Sweatt v. Painter
    In 1946, a black man applied for addmission to the University of Texas Law School. Sweatt's application was automatically rejected because of his race. The Supreme Court used the Equal Protection Clause which required that Sweatt be accepted to the University. They also found that the facilites were not equal either.
  • Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka

    Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka
    In this case, NAACP lawyer Thurgood Marshall challenged the decision from the prior Supreme Court Case Plessy v. Ferguson.
    Brown's daughter had to walk to a school more than 2 miles away while the all white school was a few blocks away. The Court rulled that these two schools were not equal. In 1955, the Courth stated that the states must intergrate quickly.
  • Roth vs United States

    Roth vs United States
    Samuel Roth ran a literacy business in New York City. He was convicted for sending obsecene material through the mail. He also sold a magazine the had nude photos. In the end, the case greatly limited the authorty of local govenmentsts to curb pornography.
  • Gideon v. Wainwright

    Gideon v. Wainwright
    Clarence Gideon was convicted of breaking and entering and was put on trial, but could not afford his own lawyer. The court failed to provide him with one, stating they were only able to if it were a capital offense. He was convicted and jailed, then brought the issue to the Supreme Court. They validified the earlier decision of Powell v. Alabama, and confirmed all should have access to counsel. This liberal decision exemplified governmental concern with relevant social issues.
  • Reynolds v. Sims

    Reynolds v. Sims
    Under the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, this case declared all state legislative entities must be equal in size- a response to the changing American environment and a lesser emphasis on rural life, which was overrepresented in legislation. The was controversial because it was a significant ruling on a state issue. (Cartoon says: "I'm campaigning here because your vote matters. How much does it matter? Roughly five times that of people in neighboring counties.")
  • Griswold v. Connecticut

    Griswold v. Connecticut
    The Supreme Court declared the unconstitutionality of a law that outlawed all contraceptives, finding it a violation of marital privacy, and an inappropriate extension of the law. The case was brought to the Supreme Court after the conviction of the executive director of Planned Parenthood, Estelle Griswold, which was upheld by the Connecticut state court. This court case established a valuable "right to privacy" and defined a boundary to the government's power.
  • Miranda v. Arizona

    Miranda v. Arizona
    This case established the reading of rights to an arrested individual. The issue was addressed by Ernesto Miranda, who was made to testify against himself. Upon his arrest, he was unaware of his right to a lawyer as stated by the Sixth Amendment, and his protection from self-incrimination by the Fifth Amendment. The Supreme Court case exemplified a significance of an issue larger than the actual conviction, and a liberal mindset in providing all with equal right and opportunity.
  • Roe v. Wade

    Roe v. Wade
    This significant liberal case declared that a state could not deny a woman an abortion, proposing much looser regulations, under her "right to privacy." At the time, abortion was widely restricted. The liberal departure from this practice, as illustrated by this case, was accompanied by the sexual revolution that was occuring during this time. Still relevant and hotly debated, this issue was a classic example of social issues defining the division between political parties.