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Abortion & Birth Control

  1. Griswold v. Connecticut, 381 U.S. 479
    Defendants, a director of medical clinic and a doctor, challenged a decision from the Supreme Court of Errors of Connecticut, which convicted them of violating a state law that prohibited the dispensing or use of …
  2. Roe v. Wade, 410 U.S. 113
    Plaintiffs, a pregnant single woman and a married couple, and intervenor physician sued defendant district attorney challenging the constitutionality of Texas abortion laws, and sought an injunction. The United …
  3. Webster v. Reproductive Health Services, 492 U.S. 490
    Appellees, public health care officials and nonprofit corporations that performed abortions, filed a class action against appellant State of Missouri, which challenged the constitutionality of a Missouri statute …
  4. Planned Parenthood v. Casey, 505 U.S. 833
    Petitioners, abortion clinics and physician, brought suit against respondents, the governor and others, seeking declaratory and injunctive relief from five provisions of the Pennsylvania Abortion Control Act of …
  5. Stenberg v. Carhart, 530 U.S. 914
    In an action brought by plaintiff physician challenging the constitutionality of Neb. Rev. Stat. § 28-328 (Supp. 1999), which criminalizes performance of "partial birth abortions," the Court granted certiorari to …
  6. Gonzales v. Carhart, 550 U.S. 124
    Petitioner, the United States Attorney General, sought certiorari review of judgments from the United States Courts of Appeals for the Eighth and Ninth Circuits affirming district court rulings in favor of …

Capital Punishment

  1. Furman v. Georgia, 408 U.S. 238
    The Court found that the key question was whether the imposition and carrying out of the death penalty under the laws applicable to the prisoners constituted cruel and unusual punishment in violation of the Eighth …
  2. Gregg v. Georgia, 428 U.S. 153
    Upon certiorari review, the Supreme Court held that the punishment of death did not invariably violate the United States Constitution.
  3. Jurek v. Texas, 428 U.S. 262
    The court granted certiorari to decide whether petitioner was correct in his assertion that the imposition of the death penalty violated his rights under the Eigth and Fourteenth Amendments. The Court concluded that …
  4. Proffitt v. Florida, 428 U.S. 242
    Defendant sought certiorari review of a decision of the Supreme Court of Florida, which affirmed defendant's sentence of death imposed following his conviction for murder.
  5. Roberts v. Louisiana, 428 U.S. 325
    The Court granted certiorari to consider the constitutionality of defendent's death sentence under Louisiana law which the defendant claimed violated the Eigth and Fourteenth Amendments.
  6. Woodson v. North Carolina, 428 U.S. 280
    On a grant of certiorari to the Supreme Court of North Carolina, the Court considered petitioner inmates' arguments that the Government's imposition of the death sentence on them for first degree murder violated …
  7. Roper v. Simmons, 543 U.S. 551
    Respondent juvenile committed murder at the age of 17. He was tried and sentenced to death. He filed a petition for state postconviction relief, arguing that the reasoning forbidding the execution of mentally …

Civil Commitment

  1. O'Connor v. Donaldson, 422 U.S. 563
    The patient was civilly committed to confinement in a mental hospital and kept in custody there, against his will, for nearly 15 years. In the patient's action against the superintendent, a verdict was entered …

Civil Rights, Affirmative Action

  1. Regents of the Univ. of Cal. v. Bakke, 438 U.S. 265
    The Court reversed in part and affirmed in part a judgment declaring a special admissions program unlawful, enjoining petitioner medical school from considering the race of any applicant, and denying respondent an …
  2. Gratz v. Bollinger, 539 U.S. 244
    The university's undergraduate admissions policy was based on a point system that automatically granted 20 points to applicants from underrepresented minority groups. This class-action equal protection suit alleged …
  3. Grutter v. Bollinger, 539 U.S. 306
    Petitioner law school applicant sued respondents, a law school, university regents, and university officials, claiming race discrimination in the law school's admission policy. The trial court concluded that the …

Civil Rights, Homosexuality

  1. Bowers v. Hardwick, 478 U.S. 186
    The Court held that the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment did not confer any fundamental right on homosexuals to engage in acts of consensual sodomy, even if the conduct occurred in the privacy of their …
  2. Hurley v. Irish American Gay Group of Boston, 515 U.S. 557
    Appeal of judgment on writ of certiorari from Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts, which affirmed lower court's ruling that concluded that the denial of respondent gay organization's application to march in a …
  3. Romer v. Evans, 517 U.S. 620
    Petitioners, the State of Colorado and State officials, appealed a decision from the Supreme Court of Colorado, which affirmed the district court's judgment that enjoined enforcement of an amendment to the Colorado …
  4. Boy Scouts of America et al. v. Dale, 530 U.S. 640
    On writ of certiorari to the Supreme Court of New Jersey, petitioners organization appealed judgment that application of state public accommodations law did not violate their First Amendment freedom of association. …
  5. Lawrence v. Texas, 539 U.S. 558
    On writ of certiorari, petitioners appealed a decision of the Court of Appeals of Texas, Fourteenth District, upholding state law that made it a crime for two persons of the same sex to engage in certain intimate …

Civil Rights, Racial Discrimination

  1. Dred Scott v. Sandford, 60 U.S. 393
    Certiorari was granted from the Circuit Court of the United States for the District of Missouri finding that respondent was not liable to petitioner for assault. The trial court held that petitioner was a slave and, …
  2. Plessy v. Ferguson, 163 U.S. 537
    The Court rejected petitioner's argument that the separation of the two races stamped one race with a badge of inferiority. The Court affirmed that a Lousiana statute that implied merely a legal distinction between …
  3. Korematsu v. US, 323 U.S. 214
    Petitioner, an American citizen of Japanese descent, was convicted in the United States district court for remaining in a designated military area contrary to an order which directed that after May 9, 1942, all …
  4. Heart of Atlanta Motel, Inc. v. US, 379 U.S. 241
    Appellant motel, which discriminated in the renting of its rooms on the basis of race, sought review by certiorari of a judgment from the United States District Court for the Northern District of Georgia by …
  5. Katzenbach v. McClung, 379 U.S. 294
    An injunction restraining appellant from enforcing Title II of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 against appellee came before the court on direct appeal. Appellee served food procured via interstate commerce and served …
  6. Loving v. Virginia, 388 U.S. 1
    The Court found that restricting the freedom to marry solely because of racial classifications violated the central meaning of the Equal Protection Clause and deprived appellants of liberty without due process of …
  7. City of Boerne v. Flores, 521 U.S. 507
    The court held that the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993 was unconstitutional because it allowed considerable Congressional intrusion into the states' general authority to regulate for the health and …
  8. Ricci v. DeStefano, 129 S. Ct. 2658
    Petitioners, white and Hispanic firefighters, brought actions against respondent city alleging that the city's refusal to certify promotion examination results based on disparate racial impact of the examination …

Civil Rights, School Desegregation

  1. Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, 347 U.S. 483
    The Court overturned Plessy v. Ferguson and the "separate but equal" doctrine, finding that it had no place in public education. Segregation was a denial of the equal protection of the laws under the Fourteenth …
  2. Parents Involved in Community Schools v. Seattle School District No. 1, 551 U.S. 701
    Both school districts adopted plans whereby, after place of residence and availability of space were considered, school assignments were made on the basis of race to ensure that schools were racially balanced. The …

Civil Rights, Sex Discrimination

  1. Frontiero v. Richardson, 411 U.S. 677
    Appellants, female military personnel, sought review of the judgment of the United States District Court for the Middle District of Alabama, which rejected appellants' contention that the statutory difference in …
  2. Craig v. Boren, 429 U.S. 190
    Oklahoma statutes prohibited the sale of beer to males under the age of 21 and to females under the age of 18. The Court held that the gender-based differential invidiously discriminated and constituted a denial of …
  3. United States v. Virginia, 518 U.S. 515
    Appeal by United States from judgment of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit holding for Virginia in suit challenging policy denying women admission to publicly funded university.

Elections

  1. Bush v. Gore, 531 U.S. 98
    The petition of appellant presidential candidate and others for writ of certiorari to the Florida Supreme Court was granted in a case ordering the manual recount of ballots cast in a presidential election in one …
  2. Bush v. Palm Beach County Canvassing Board, 531 U.S. 70
    The Court vacated the Florida state supreme court's judgment in favor of the Democratic presidential candidate regarding authority of the boards and respondent Florida Secretary of State as to manual recounts of …
  3. Citizens United, Appellant V. Federal Election Commission, 130 S. Ct. 876
    Appellant nonprofit corporation sued appellee, the Federal Election Commission (FEC), challenging the constitutionality of a ban on corporate independent expenditures for electioneering communications and disclaimer …

Freedom of Religion

  1. Everson v. Board of Education, 330 U.S. 1
    The Court held that the First Amendment did not prohibit New Jersey from spending tax-raised funds to pay the bus fares of parochial school pupils as a part of a general program under which it paid the fares of …
  2. Engel v. Vitale, 370 U.S. 421
    Petitioner parents applied for a writ of certiorari after the Court of Appeals of New York granted a judgment that upheld the school board's authority to use prayer in the public schools on the condition that no …
  3. Abington School District v. Schempp (and Murray v. Curlett), 374 U.S. 203
    The Court concluded that state laws requiring readings from the Bible at the beginning of the school day amounted to requiring religious exercises and such exercises were being conducted in direct violation of the …
  4. Lemon v. Kurtzman, 403 U.S. 602
    In a consolidated case from the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, and from the United States District Court for the District of Rhode Island, appellant citizens and taxpayers …
  5. Wisconsin v. Yoder, 406 U.S. 205
    The parents practiced the Amish and Mennonite religions and argued that sending their children to public school after the eighth grade violated their religious beliefs and threatened their religious way of life. The …
  6. Lee v. Weisman, 505 U.S. 577
    The Court held that accommodating the Amish and Mennonite parents' religious objections to compulsory education after the eigth grade would not impair the physical or mental health of the child, result in an …
  7. Church of Lukumi Babalu Aye v. City of Hialeah, 508 U.S. 520
    Petitioners, church and its president, applied for and received licensing, inspection and zoning approvals to establish a church including a ritual of animal sacrifice from respondent city. In response, an emergency …
  8. Rosenberger v. University of Virginia, 515 U.S. 819
    Petitioner students brought an action against respondents alleging First Amendment violations for respondents' refusal to authorize payment of the printing costs of petitioners student publication based on its …
  9. Agostini v. Felton, 521 U.S. 203
    This action arose from a case in which U.S. Supreme Court held that the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment barred a city from sending public school teachers into parochial schools to provide education to …

Freedom of Speech and of the Press

  1. Schenck v. United States, 249 U.S. 47
    Defendants were convicted of conspiracy and other crimes under the Espionage Act for distributing leaflets that opposed the military draft. Defendants appealed their convictions on the basis that the Espionage Act …
  2. Chaplinsky v. New Hampshire, 315 U.S. 568
    Appellant was convicted under a New Hampshire statute for using offensive language towards another person in public. Appellant contended that the statute was invalid under the Fourteenth Amendment because it placed …
  3. Roth v. United States, 354 U.S. 476
    Petitioners, New York and California mail-order businessmen, were convicted under federal and state statutes, of mailing obscene materials. Petitioners appealed on grounds that the federal statute violated the First …
  4. New York Times v. Sullivan, 376 U.S. 254
    The Court held that petitioner newspaper's constitutional guarantees to freedom of speech and of the press by the First and Fourteenth Amendments required a rule that prohibited a public official from recovering …
  5. Brandenburg v. Ohio, 395 U.S. 444
    Petitioner was a leader of the Ku Klux Klan and was convicted under Ohio's criminal syndicalism statute, which made it unlawful to advocate crime or methods of terrorism or to voluntarily assembly with any group to …
  6. Tinker v. Des Moines Independent Community School District, 393 U.S. 503
    Petitioner high school students challenged the constitutionality of respondent school officials' suspension of petitioners for wearing black armbands to school in protest of the Vietnam War.
  7. Cohen v. California, 403 U.S. 15
    Appellee argued that the four-letter expletive imprinted on appellant's jacket, which he wore in the municipal courthouse as an expression of his feelings toward the Vietnam War and the draft, was "offensive …
  8. New York Times v. United States, 403 U.S. 713
    In an action in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York, the United States government sought an injunction against the publication by the New York Times of the contents of a classified …
  9. Miller v. California, 413 U.S. 15
    Defendant was convicted of distributing obscene matter. The Court held that the standard to determine whether material was obscene was whether the average person, applying contemporary community standards, not …
  10. Hazelwood v. Kuhlmeier, 484 U.S. 260
    The petitioner, a high school principal removed articles from the school newspaper. The Court found that public schools did not possess all of the attributes of traditional public forums. The school had an interest …
  11. Hustler Magazine v. Falwell, 485 U.S. 46
    Petitioner magazine sought review of the judgment of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, affirming an award of monetary damages to respondent, a nationally known minister, for intentional …
  12. Texas v. Johnson, 491 U.S. 397
    Petitioner State requested a writ of certiorari to examine a decision of the Court of Criminal Appeals of Texas, which reversed the trial court's decision that convicted respondent of desecrating a flag after he …
  13. Barnes v. Glen Theatre, Inc., 501 U.S. 560
    The case was before the court on a writ of certiorari to United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, which had concluded that nude dancing performed for entertainment was expression protected by the …
  14. Reno v. ACLU, 521 U.S. 844
    After Congress passed the Communications Decency Act of 1996 (CDA), appellees sought a declaratory judgment deeming it an unconstitutional violation of the First and Fifth Amendments. The Court found that the CDA …
  15. Erie v. Pap's A. M., 529 U.S. 277
    On writ of certiorari to Supreme Court of Pennsylvania, Western District, petitioner city appealed judgment determining that petitioner's ordinance banning public nudity unconstitutionally burdened the expressive …

International Law

  1. Breard v. Greene, 523 U.S. 371
    Petitioners asserted that the failure to inform petitioner inmate at the time of his arrest of his right as a foreign national to contact his consulate violated the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations. The court …

Mental Competency

  1. Dusky v. United States, 362 U.S. 402
    One whose conviction of crime in a Federal District Court was affirmed by the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit sought a writ of certiorari in the United States Supreme Court. In a per curiam …
  2. Ford v. Wainwright, 477 U.S. 399
    The Court held that Eigth Amendment prohibited the execution of the insane and that the procedures used to determine petitioner's competency did not meet the requisite heightened standard of reliability where there …
  3. Godinez v. Moran, 509 U.S. 389
    The issue before the Court was whether the competency standard for pleading guilty or waiving the right to counsel was higher than the competency standard for standing trial. The court held that a defendant who …

Right to Attorney

  1. Gideon v. Wainwright, 372 U.S. 335
    The inmate's charged offense was a felony under Florida law. He appeared in state court without funds and without a lawyer and asked the court to appoint counsel for him. The state court refused because only a …
  2. Escobedo v. Illinois, 378 U.S. 478
    Petitioner appealed the affirmation of his conviction of murder by the Supreme Court of Illinois, which held that petitioner's confession had been admissible even though it was obtained after he had requested and …
  3. Miranda v. Arizona, 384 U.S. 436
    Certiorari was granted to review a judgment from the Supreme Court of Arizona for this and three other similar cases, to determine the admissibility of statements obtained from defendant, who was subjected to …
  4. In re Gault, 387 U.S. 1
    The Court disagreed with the lower court's conclusion that the child and his parents received due process after the child was taken into custody after a female neighbor complained of lewd phone calls while he was …

Right to Bear Arms

  1. US. V. Miller, 307 U.S. 174
    Defendants were indicted for transporting an unregistered double barrel 12-gauge shotgun in interstate commerce in violation of the National Firearms Act. Defendants filed a motion to quash the indictment alleging …
  2. District of Columbia v. Heller, 128 S. Ct. 2783
    Respondent, a special policeman, filed the instant action after the District refused his application to register a handgun. The Court held that the District's ban on handgun possession in the home and its …

Right to Die

  1. Cruzan v. Dir., Mo. Dep't of Health, 497 U.S. 261
    Petitioners, parents suing on their behalf and on behalf of their daughter, appealed a decision of the Supreme Court of Missouri which denied their petition for a court order directing the withdrawal of their …
  2. Vacco v. Quill, 521 U.S. 793
    At issue on appeal was whether New York's prohibition on assisting suicide violated the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. The Court held that New York's statute outlawing assisted suicide neither …
  3. Washington v. Glucksberg, 521 U.S. 702
    Respondents brought a suit seeking a declaration that Washington state's ban on physician-assisted suicide was unconstitutional on its face. On review, the United States Supreme Court held that history, legal …
  4. Gonzales v. Oregon, 546 U.S. 243
    Respondent State of Oregon and others challenged in federal court an interpretive rule issued by petitioner U.S. Attorney General which would have disrupted physician assisted suicide under the Oregon Death With …

Separation of Powers

  1. Marbury v. Madison, 5 U.S. 137
    The applicant and two others contended that the late President of the United States had nominated them to the Senate and that the Senate had advised and consented to their appointments as justices of the peace. At a …
  2. Martin v. Hunter's Lessee, 14 U.S. 304
    On writ of error, the Supreme Court held that the appellate power of the United States does extend to cases pending in the state courts.
  3. McCulloch v. Maryland, 17 U.S. 316
    Defendant appealed a judgment of the Court of Appeals of the State of Maryland finding for plaintiff, who brought suit against defendant to recover certain penalties under a Maryland act imposing a tax on all banks …
  4. Ableman v. Booth, 62 U.S. 506
    The Court concluded that the state supreme court lacked the power to inquire into the custody of the federal prisoner even if it concluded that the such custody was unconstitutional. The Supremacy Clause was clothed …
  5. Missouri v. Holland, 252 U.S. 416
    The State brought a bill in equity, which challenged the Migratory Bird Treaty Act of July 3, 1918 claiming that the treaty was an unconstitutional interference with appellant's sovereign rights under the Tenth …
  6. Cooper v. Aaron, 358 U.S. 1
    Petitioners, the Little Rock School Board and School Superintendent (school authorities), asked a district court to postpone their program for desegregation mandated by the Brown v. Board of Education decision …
  7. United States v. Nixon, 418 U.S. 683
    Cross-petitions were granted for immediate review of the denial of a motion to quash a third-party subpoena duces tecum issued by the United States District Court for the District of Columbia directing the President …
  8. South Dakota v. Dole, 483 U.S. 203
    The Court affirmed held that: (1) the indirect imposition of a minimum drinking age through the reduction of federal highway funds otherwise allocable to a state if the state had a minimum drinking age below 21 was …
  9. U.S. Term Limits, Inc. v. Thornton, 514 U.S. 779
    Petitioners challenged a decision of the Arkansas Supreme Court that affirmed a ruling of the trial court that declared unconstitutional an Arkansas Constitutional Amendment which limited the amount of terms that …
  10. United States v. Lopez, 514 U.S. 549
    Respondent was convicted of violating the Gun-Free School Zones Act of 1990 after carrying a concealed handgun and bullets to school. Respondent's conviction was reversed on appeal. In upholding the reversal, the …
  11. Clinton v. Jones, 520 U.S. 681
    Respondent, a private citizen, sought to recover damages from petitioner, the President of the U.S., based on actions that allegedly took place before his term began. Petitioner argued that in all but the most …
  12. Printz v. United States, 521 U.S. 898
    The Brady Act amended a detailed federal scheme that governed distribution of firearms established by the Gun Control Act of 1968. Interim provisions directed state law enforcement officers to participate in …

Terrorism

  1. Hamdi v. Rumsfeld, 542 U.S. 507
    The citizen-detainee was born in the United States, detained in Afghanistan during the United States' military action against the Taliban regime, and transferred to the United States. The Court determined that the …
  2. Rasul v. Bush, 542 U.S. 466
    Petitioner aliens filed various actions challenging the legality of their detention at the Guantanamo Bay Naval Base. They invoked the court's jurisdiction and asserted various causes of action including federal …
  3. Rumsfeld v. Padilla, 542 U.S. 426
    The President ordered the Secretary to place the detainee in military custody. The detainee was transferred from federal custody to military custody in another judicial district. The detainee sought habeas corpus …

Unreasonable Search and Seizure

  1. Mapp v. Ohio, 367 U.S. 643
    Defendant appealed from a judgment of the Supreme Court of Ohio, which affirmed her conviction for possessing obscene literature in violation. Defendant contended that the evidence seized during a search and that …
  2. Katz v. United States, 389 U.S. 347
    Defendant sought review of a judgment of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit which, in affirming defendant's conviction for transmitting wagering information by telephone, rejected the …
  3. Vernonia School District 47J v. Acton, 515 U.S. 646
    Petitioner school district required student athletes to submit to drug testing, for which the student's parents had to sign consent forms. Respondents, a seventh grade student and his parents, refused to sign the …
  4. Georgia v. Randolph, 547 U.S. 103
    Defendant's motion to suppress evidence of his cocaine use that was seized as a result of a warrantless search to which he explicitly did not consent, but to which his wife did consent, was initially denied, but the …