Land Mark Supreme Court Cases Civics and Economics



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Land Mark Supreme Court Cases

  • Civics and Economics

Swann V. Charlotte Mecklenburg Board of Education-1969

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Swann V. Charlotte Mecklenburg Board of Education-1969

  • Issue: Busing students to schools outside of their district in order to achieve integration.
  • Background: School officials at the large public school district of Charlotte Mecklenburg, North Carolina were acting slowly to federal court ordered integration

Swann V. Charlotte Mecklenburg Board of Education-1969

  • Decision:Court held that busing was an appropriate remedy for the problem of racial imbalance.
  • Lasting Impact: Prohibited Racial Segregation in schools. Busing was used as a way to “properly” integrate schools

Heart of Atlanta Motel v. U.S. 1966

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Heart of Atlanta Motel v. U.S. 1966

  • Background: The owner of the Heart of Atlanta motel refused to rent rooms to blacks, claiming that Congress had overstepped its authority with the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
    • Civil Rights Act 1964: Made discrimination in private businesses illegal.

Heart of Atlanta Motel v. U.S. 1966

  • Issue: Racial segregation and interstate commerce
  • Decision: Racial segregation of private facilities engaged in interstate commerce was found unconstitutional.
    • Based upon the commerce clause

Heart of Atlanta Motel v. U.S. 1966

  • Lasting Impact: Privately owned accommodations can not discriminate upon someone because they are involved in interstate commerce.

McCullough v. Maryland 1819

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McCullough v. Maryland 1819

  • Background: State of Maryland tried to stop the creation of the Second Bank of the United States by imposing a tax on all of the notes (money) that was not chartered in Maryland.
  • Issue: Federalism, States Rights, and Necessary and Proper Clause

McCullough v. Maryland 1819

  • Decision: Supreme Court stated that the power of the national government is supreme and therefore the state of Maryland could not tax a federal agency.
    • The bank was created because it was necessary.

McCullough v. Maryland 1819

  • Lasting Impact: Federal agencies can not be taxed by state government.

Gibbons v. Ogden, 1824

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Gibbons v. Ogden, 1824

  • Background:
    • New York granted Aaron Ogden the Exclusive right to operate his steamboat company in New York harbor.
      • Thomas Gibbons was operating a competing ferry service licensed by Congress.
      • Ogden obtained permission from New York stating that Gibbons could not operate his company in the waters.
      • Gibbons sued

Gibbons v. Ogden, 1824

  • Issue: Federalism, States rights, Interstate Commerce
  • Decision: Supreme Court ruled in the favor of Gibbons stating that the power to control interstate commerce was a power upheld by the federal government, not state government.

Gibbons v. Ogden, 1824

  • Lasting Impact: Individual States can not control interstate trade.

Furman V. Georgia-1972

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Furman V. Georgia-1972

  • Background: William Henry Furman was robbing a house and the owner came home. He claimed that has he was running to leave he tripped and he weapon fired killing the owner. Furman was tried for murder and found guilty.

Furman V. Georgia-1972

Furman V. Georgia-1972

  • Decision: The Supreme Court held that the imposition of the death penalty constituted cruel and unusual punishment and violated the Constitution.

Furman V. Georgia-1972

  • Impact:The Court's decision forced states and the national legislature to rethink their statutes for capital offenses to assure that the death penalty would not be administered in a capricious (impulsive) or discriminatory manner.

Gregg V. Georgia-1976

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Gregg V. Georgia-1976

  • Background:A jury found Gregg guilty of armed robbery and murder and sentenced him to death. Gregg challenged his remaining death sentence for murder, claiming that his capital sentence was a "cruel and unusual" punishment that violated the Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments.

Gregg V. Georgia-1976

  • Issue:
    • Criminal Procedure,
    • Cruel and Unusual Punishment,
    • Death Penalty

Gregg V. Georgia-1976

  • Decision:The Court held that a punishment of death did not violate the Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments under all circumstances.
  • Lasting Impact: In extreme criminal cases, such as when a defendant has been convicted of deliberately killing another, the careful and judicious use of the death penalty may be appropriate if carefully employed.

Gideon V. Wainwright-1963

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Gideon V. Wainwright-1963

  • Background:Clarence Gideon was arrested for robbing a pool hall in Florida. When asked for a court appointed attorney the court refused his request.

Gideon V. Wainwright-1963

Gideon V. Wainwright-1963

  • Decision: The court said that all states must provide an attorney in all felony an capital cases for people who can not afford them.
  • Lasting Impact:If a person can not afford an attorney the government will provide them one and pay for it.

Regents of the University of California V. Bakke-1978

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Regents of the University of California V. Bakke-1978

  • Background: -Allan Bakke was a highly qualified graduate who had applied to the University of California Medical School. At the time the school had set aside specific slots for minorities in order to increase minority presence is the school due to affirmative action. Bakke. He tried on two separate attempts to get into the school but was denied. He sued the school because he felt he was discriminated upon due to his race.

Regents of the University of California V. Bakke-1978

  • “Affirmative action” means positive steps taken to increase the representation of women and minorities in areas of employment, education, and business from which they have been historically excluded.

Regents of the University of California V. Bakke-1978

  • Issue:
    • Affirmative Action
    • 14th Amendment-Equal Protection Clause
  • Decision: The court held that a university could consider an applicant’s race in making admissions decisions, but the use of strict racial quotas in affirmative action programs was not permissive.

Regents of the University of California V. Bakke-1978

  • Lasting Impact:
    • Universities may use race as an admission factor but they can not save certain positions specifically for a racial group.

Bethel School District v. Fraser-1986

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Bethel School District v. Fraser-1986

  • Background: Senior, Matthew Fraser gave a speech nominating a friend to vice president of the student body. The speech was filled was sexual innuendos that prompted action from the administration.
    • He was suspended for two days and could not speak at his graduation ceremony.
    • His parents appealed the punishment and sued the school district.

Fraser’s Speech

  • "I know a man who is firm - he's firm in his pants, he's firm in his shirt, his character is firm - but most [of] all, his belief in you the students of Bethel, is firm. Jeff Kuhlman is a man who takes his point and pounds it in. If necessary, he'll take an issue and nail it to the wall. He doesn't attack things in spurts - he drives hard, pushing and pushing until finally - he succeeds. Jeff is a man who will go to the very end - even the climax, for each and every one of you. So please vote for Jeff Kuhlman, as he'll never come between us and the best our school can be [long pause after the word "come"

Bethel School District v. Fraser-1986

  • Issue: First Amendment Right to free speech
    • Does the First Amendment prevent a school district from disciplining a high school student for giving a lewd speech at a high school assembly?

Bethel School District v. Fraser-1986

  • Decision: The Court found that it was appropriate for the school to prohibit the use of vulgar and offensive language. The First Amendment did not prohibit schools from prohibiting vulgar and lewd speech since such discourse was inconsistent with the "fundamental values of public school education."

Bethel School District v. Fraser-1986

  • Lasting Impact: The Bethel case shows the Court re-examining the issue of student expression in the schools and finding that certain limits on expression are permitted by the First Amendment.
  • http://tiger.towson.edu/users/kmorri2/censorship2

Tinker v. Des Moines-1969

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Tinker v. Des Moines-1969

  • Background:During the Vietnam War some students in Des Moines, Iowa wore black armbands to school to protest American involvement in the War.
  • Two days earlier the school officials adopted the policy banning the wearing of armbands to school.
  • When students arrived wearing the armbands they were sent home and suspended.
  • The students argued that it was a violation of the first amendment rights.

Tinker v. Des Moines-1969

  • Issue:
    • Black armbands in Protest of the Vietnam War
    • First Amendment Freedom of Symbolic Speech as a form of protest
      • Symbolic Speech-is a legal term for an action that expresses an opinion or idea non-verbally
      • Examples: Flag burning, cross burning

Tinker v. Des Moines-1969

  • Decision: The Supreme Court sided with the students. The Supreme Court went on to rule that a public school could not suspend students who wore black armbands to school to symbolize their protest for the war.

Tinker v. Des Moines-1969

  • Impact: Students are allowed to engage in symbolic speech in school settings as long as it does not infringe on the rights of others.
  • Famous quote: “ it can hardly be argued that either students or teachers she their constitutional rights of freedom of speech or expression at the schoolhouse gate.
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Hazelwood School District v. Kuhlmeier-1988

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Hazelwood School District v. Kuhlmeier-1988

  • Background: The U.S. Supreme Court held for the first time that public school officials may impose some limits on what appears in school-sponsored student publications.
  • The high school paper was published as part of a journalism class. The principal at Hazelwood usually reviewed the school paper before it was published, and in this case he deleted two articles that the staff had written.

Hazelwood School District v. Kuhlmeier-1988

  • One of the deleted articles covered the issue of student pregnancy and included interviews with three students who had become pregnant while attending school. (There was also an article about several students whose parents had been divorced, however the students' names were not disclosed in the article.) To keep the students' identity secret, the staff used pseudonyms instead of the students' names. The principal said he felt the anonymity of the students was not sufficiently protected and that the girls' discussion of their use or non-use of birth control was inappropriate for some of the younger students who were 14 year old freshmen.

Hazelwood School District v. Kuhlmeier

  • Issue: First Amendment Rights-Free Speech, Censorship
  • Decision:First amendment rights to students was not violated when their articles of censored
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Hazelwood v. Kuhlmeier

  • Impact: School publications represents the school, student body, and school system; therefore schools administrators can censor information that does not reflect the values of the school.

In Re Gault, 1967

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In Re Gault, 1967

  • Background: Gerald F. Gault (15 years old) was arrested making obscene phone calls while on probation.
    • Police arrested him without notifying his parents at work.
    • In juvenile court he was found guilty and sent to a reform school until the age of 21.

In Re Gault, 1967

  • Issue: Due Process Clause listed under the 14th amendment.
  • Decision: The Supreme court determined the proceedings of the Juvenile Court were unconstitutional due to violation of due process clause of the 14th amendment

In Re Gault, 1967

  • Impact-Police and Juvenile Courts must follow the due process rights as listed in the 14th amendment for minors.
    • Clause states: adequate notice of charges, notification of both the parents and the child of the juvenile's right to counsel, opportunity for confrontation and cross-examination at the hearings, and adequate safeguards against self-incrimination.

Roe V. Wade, 1971

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Roe v. Wade, 1971

  • Background: Jane Roe, in Texas, wanted to have am abortion. Texas law prohibited abortion except in situations to save the mother’s life.
  • Issue: Right to Privacy, Legalized Abortion

Roe v. Wade

  • Decision: The Court held that a woman's right to an abortion fell within the right to privacy (recognized in Griswold v. Connecticut) protected by the Fourteenth Amendment.

Roe v. Wade, 1971

  • Impact:
    • The decision gave a woman total autonomy over the pregnancy during the first trimester and defined different levels of state interest for the second and third trimesters.
      • 46 states were affected by the ruling


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