Supreme court

Key Supreme Court Cases

  • Marbury vs Madison

    Marbury vs Madison
    Adams appointed many judges at the end of his presidency and Jefferson sees this as trickery. William Marbury was confirmed by the senate but his commision wasn't delivered. This is because Jefferson ordered James Madison not to issue the appointment. Marbury filed a Writ of Mandamus (an act that compels a government to do that which is his duty to perform).
    Ruling: The suit is dismissed and John Marshall says that Marbury’s writ can not be approved because it is unconstitutional.
  • Fletcher vs. Peck

    Fletcher vs. Peck
    Fletcher vs. Peck is a landmark Supreme Court case, as it was the first time the court ruled a state law unconstitutional. The decision comes from Yazoo land sales, and upholds contract sanctity.
  • McCulloch vs. Maryland

    McCulloch vs. Maryland
    State banks saw the BUS as competition, and they began to fall in 1818 and blamed the National Bank. Maryland imposed a tax on any bank not chartered within the state, and the BUS was the only one not chartered. The Bank’s Baltimore Branch refused to pay so Maryland sued James McCulloch. The Supreme Court ruled that the Maryland tax was unconstitutional because they didn’t have the power to do so. Shows that National Power is increasing.
  • Dartmouth College vs. Woodward

    Dartmouth College vs. Woodward
    Prior to this court case, the state of New Hampshire tried to take over Dartmouth College. New Hampshire attempted to revise the college's charter, making it a state college instead of a private university. In 1769, the King of England granted a charter to form Dartmouth. The court supported Dartmouth because the constitution says that states can not pass laws to impair a contract.
  • Johnson vs. McIntosh

    Johnson vs. McIntosh
    Established that Native Americans had rights to tribal lands that preceded all other American law. Basically, if a Native tribe has established land before Americnas came and created a government, and passed state land laws etc, the Natives have the rights to said land. Only the federal government is allowed to take land from the Native Americans.
  • Gibbons vs. Ogden

    Gibbons vs. Ogden
    Gibbons vs. Ogden was a suit over whether the state of New York could grant a monopoly to a ferry operating on interstate waters. The Supreme Court reaffirmed Congressional power on interstare trade.
  • Cherokee Nation vs. Georgia

    In this case, the Cherokee indians tried to fight against the Indian Removal Act. Marshall ruled that the Cherokee had an unquestionable right to their land, but were not a foreign state. Instead, the Cherokee were a 'domestic dependant nation,' and therefore could not sue in the US Supreme court over Georgia voiding their right to self-rule.
  • Worcester vs. Georgia

    Worcester vs. Georgia
    The decision of Worcester vs. Georgia established that an Indian nation is a distinct political community, and the laws that Georiga had passed against them had no affect.
  • Dred Scott vs. Sandford

    Dred Scott vs. Sandford
    Ruled that blacks were NOT citizens and thus could not sue the federal court. Stated that the Missouri Compromise was unconstitutional because Congress did not have the right to keep slavery out of the territories.
  • Munn vs. Illinois

    Munn vs. Illinois
    The state of Illinois attempted to put a regulation on how mucht reailroad companies could charge for grain storage. Farmers felt oppressed because it was very difficult for them to pay for their grain storage with the high prices the companies were charging. The Supreme Court uphel the verdict of the original case. The descision gave the government the ability to regulate private industries.
  • Wabash vs. Illinois

    Wabash vs. Illinois
    The descision of Wabash vs. Illinois limited the states ability to regulate interstate commerce. This descision directly overturned Munn vs. Illinois. Specifically, Illinois requested lower railroad charges. Wabash denided the states control of interstate commerce, which eventually led to the ICC.
  • UC v. EC Knight Company

    UC v. EC Knight Company
    This case inevitably limited the government's power to control/manage monolpolies. The case was made regarding the Sherman anti-trust act against a sugar company that controlled 90% of all sugar trade. The supreme court was sympathetic to the big case and when they made the final verdict, claimed that they specialized in manufacturing instead of trade
  • Plessey v. Ferguson

    Plessey v. Ferguson
    Homer Plessey was a man who appeared to be white, however he had "black blood". Plessey attempted to sit in a white railroad car. The people around him became enraged despite his white appearence and he was arrested. The supreme court uphelp the Jim Crow Laws and claimed that "seperate but equal is legal" which claimed that as long as they get the same treatment, it is okay. However, colored people still got the worst public utilities and were no where close to equality.
  • Lochner v N.Y.

    Lochner v N.Y.
    Lochner v New York was a court case that called for a 10 hour work day for bakers. Unfortunately, it was struck dwon for progressives. Although it may not seem like a huge day, it was a huge loss for the progressives and what they stood for.
  • Muller vs. Oregon

    Muller vs. Oregon
    Muller vs Oregon uphelp that work hours for women in the laundry business would be limited. Brandeis brief told of the negative effects that work had on women. This case further proves that women were seen as much weaker. Claims were even made that the stress from working so much would make them poor mothers, or even not be able to have children at all. This case was a win for Progresives, but a loss for the Women's Suffrage Movement.
  • Schenck vs. US

    Schenck vs. US
    Schenck vs. US was a Supreme Court Case concerning the enforcement of the Espionage Act of 1917. During World War 1, some men encouraged resistence and spoke negatively about the war effort. This case upheld that any person posing a clear and present danger would be punished immediately.
  • Debs vs. US

    Debs vs. US
    Eugene Debs was a political leader, American Labor leader, and a Socialist Party candidate for President five times. He made an anti-war Speech in 1918 speaking out against involvement in World War I. His speech violated the Espionage Act which convicted anyone who spoke out against the war. Debs was then sentenced to 10 years in prison. The court ruled that his speech had the "intention and effect of obstructing the draft and recruitment for the war." His conviction was upheld.
  • The Scopes Trial

    The Scopes Trial
    High School Teacher John Scopes was accused of violating the Butler Act, which ruled that in the state of Tennesse, it is illegal to teach evolution to students. William Jennings Brian argued for prosecution while Clarence Darrow argued for defense. The Butler Act was eventually overturned by the Supreme Court.
  • Schechter vs. US

    Schechter vs. US
    Schechter vs. US proved the NRA to be unconstitutional. he Federal government was permitting business that were only operating out of one sate to join the NRA, which meant that the government was interfering with local trade, as well as interstate trade.
  • Korematsu vs. US

    The Supreme Court uphled the government law, stating that the relocation of Japanese was constitutional. After 1988, the US governmen realized that the internment of Japanese may have indeed beeen unconstitutional, and paid each survivor $20,000.
  • Brown v BOE

    Ended segregation in all school's. This case resulted in a lot of backash, for example, at Little Rock High School in 1957 resistence to allow black students in the school was so strong that President Eisenhower had to call in the National Guard. It took many years for this ruling to actually be implemented.
  • Browder vs Gayle

    This case outlawed segregation on buses. This is in reference to the Montgomery Bus Boycott's that indicated the start of the non-violent Civil Right's Action.
  • Engel v Vitale

    This case ruled that states could not required children to pray. This case was very controversial, particularly with the rising developement of conservatism in the United States.
  • Roe v Wade

    In this case, the Supreme Court ruled that a woman has the right to have an abortion because she should have the right to do what she thinks is best for body.
  • Nixon vs US

    The Watergate Scandal that surrounds Nixon's Presidency brought up a lot of untold secrets, leading to the distrust in the President. Nixon was hiding many things, secrets, which he was hiding on tapes. He wouldn't give them up, but the Supreme Court forced him to do so in this case. This lead to Richard Nixon being impeached for the obstruction of justice, abuse of power, and contempt of congress. Nixon resigned from his Presidency because of this.