Landmark Supreme Court Cases:. Marbury v. Madison (1803 ):.
William Marbury was appointed justice of the peace by John Adams the day before he left office. Thomas Jefferson (the new president), cancelled Marbury’s appointment. Marbury asked the Supreme Court rule on the case based on the Judiciary Act, which enabled him to take his case directly to the Supreme Court.
The Supreme Court ruled that the Judiciary
Act itself was unconstitutional and Marbury
lost his case.
The decision established “judicial review”: the evaluation of federal laws’ constitutionality as a power of the Supreme Court
The Supreme Court has the ability to review laws, cases, decisions, etc. and judge their constitutionality.
A Louisiana law required separate seating for white and African Americans on public railroads (segregation).
--Herman Plessysaid his 14th Amendment rights (Equal Protection Clause) had been violated.
--The Supreme Court ruled that his rights were not violated, and segregated public facilities were permitted until 1954.
10-year-old, Linda Brown, was not allowed to attend her neighborhood school because she was African American.
--Linda Brown said her 14th Amendment rights (Equal Protection Clause) had been violated.
--The Supreme Court ruled that “separate but equal” segregation was a violation of the Equal Protection Clause.This decision overturned the precedent established by Plessy v. Ferguson in 1896.
Dollree Mappwas convicted of having obscene materials in her home.
Mapp appealed the conviction, saying that the police had violated her rights by entering her house without a warrant.
The Supreme Court overturned the lower court’s decision, saying that the police had acted improperly, this excluding the evidence that they had found.
“Exclusionary Rule”:excludes all evidence that is found in illegal police searched.
Ernesto Mirandawas arrested for kidnapping and sexual assault – he signed a full confession including a statement that he “had full knowledge of his legal rights.”
Miranda appealed claiming that he had not received warning or legal council to guide his decision to confess.
The Supreme Court agreed with Miranda, saying that all suspects must be forewarned that they have the right to remain silent and the right to an attorney.
“Miranda Rule”:before a suspect is questioned by police, he/she must be:
1. Told of their right to remain silent.
2. Warned that whatever they say may be usedin court.
3. Informed of their right to an attorney.
4. Informed that an attorney will be provided if they cannot afford one.
5. Told that they can stop police questioning at any time.
Troy Greggwas sentenced to death after being found guilty of 2 counts of armed robbery and 2 counts of murder.
Gregg appealed claiming that the sentence violated the “cruel and unusual punishment”clause of the 8th Amendment.
The Supreme Court denied the appeal, stating for the first time that “the death penalty does not invariably violate the Constitution”.
T.L.O. (a New Jersey high school student) was sentenced to probation by juvenile court after a vice-principal searched her purse and found cigarettes and marijuana.
T.L.O. appealed the ruling saying the principal’s search was unreasonable.
The Supreme Court denied the appeal, saying that schools are allowed more leeway when conducting searches.
The Court created a “reasonable suspicion”rule for schools conducting searches, instead of the “probable cause”rule that exists for the rest of society.
Jane Row (Norma McCorvey) was asking courts to have her abortion in the state of Texas, where it was illegal to have an abortion, since she couldn’t afford to travel to another state where it was legal.
The big question that the Supreme court tried to reason was does the Constitution embrace a woman's right to terminate her pregnancy by abortion?
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. The decision gave a woman total autonomy over the pregnancy during the first trimester
Clarence Gideonwas found guilty of breaking and entering and sentenced him to 5 years in prison.
Gideon appealed claiming that he had been unconstitutionally denied counsel during trial due to Florida’s policy of only providing legal counsel in capital areas.
Gideon received a new trial(with a court-appointed attorney) and was found not guilty.
“The Gideon Rule”: guarantees counsel to all poor persons facing a felony charge (6th Amendment).