Important Supreme Court Cases

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McCulloch v. Maryland

Marshall upheld that the federal government's implied powers allow for the establishment of a national bank, and that federal supremacy necessitates that a federal bank could not be subjected to taxation, which "involves the power to destroy," from an inferior government.


Gibbons v. Ogden

established that states cannot, by legislative enactment, interfere with the power of Congress to regulate commerce.


United States v. Lopez

ruled unconstitutional the Gun-Free School Grounds Act on the basis school violence was not substantially enough linked to interstate commerce and was therefore not able to be regulated by Congress.


Bush v. Gore

decision that ended the 2000 presidential election by ruling that no further recounting of the votes in Florida could occur.


Baker v. Carr

The Court held that every vote should carry equal weight regardless of a voter's place of residence.


Shaw v. Reno

The Court invalidated the districts in question because their boundaries were neither contiguous nor compact and were drawn with the intent to discriminate through racial gerrymandering. The Court went on to say that there was no constitutional guarantee of if ethnic and racial representation in Congress.


US Term Limits, Inc. v. Thornton

The Constitution prohibits States from adopting Congressional qualifications in addition to those enumerated in the Constitution. A state congressional term limits amendment is unconstitutional if it has the likely effect of handicapping a class of candidates and 'has the sole purpose of creating additional qualifications indirectly." Furthermore, '...allowing individual States to craft their own congressional qualifications would erode the structure designed by the Framers to form a 'more perfect Union.'"


Clinton v. City of New York

The Court held that by canceling only selected portions of the bills at issue, the President in effect "amended" the laws before him. Such discretion, violated the 'finely wrought' legislative procedures of Article I as envisioned by the Framers.


United States v. Nixon

The Court granted that there was a limited executive privilege in areas of military or diplomatic affairs. Therefore, the president must obey the subpoena and produce the tapes ad documents. Nixon resigned shortly after the release of the tapes.


Marbury v. Madison

When the Constitution conflicts with an act of the legislature, the act is invalid. This case establishes the Supreme Court's power of judicial review.


Dred Scott v. Sanford

Taney reached the conclusion that no person descended from an American slave had ever been a citizen for Article III purposes. The Court then held the Missouri Compormise unconstitutional, hoping to end the slavery question once and for all.


Schenk v. United States

The Court concluded that Schenck (who passed literature on how Capitalism is evil) is not protected in this situation. During wartime, utterances tolerable in peacetime can be punished.


Mapp v. Ohio

The court declared that "all evidence obtained by searches and seizures in violation of the Constitution is, by the 4th amendment, inadmissible in a state court.


Escobedo v. Illinois

Justice Goldberg, spoke of an absolute right to remain silent.


Roe v. Wade

The Court held that a woman's right to an abortion fell within the right to privacy protected by the Fourteenth Amendment.


Gideon v. Wainwright

The Court held that Gideon had a right to be represented by a court-appointed attorney and overruled its 1942 decision of Betts v. Brady.


Plessy v. Ferguson

Segregation does not in itself constitute unlawful discrimination


Korematsu v. United States

The Court sided with the government and held that the need to protect against espionage outweighed Korematsu's rights.

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