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AP Gov Big Cases

The most important cases to know for AP Gov

Schenk v. United States (1919) 1st Amendment. Man urged those being drafted in World War 1 to resist. Court limited free speech in war time, stating Schenk had posed "clear and present danger."
Baker v. Carr (1962) 14th Amendment. Lots of population growth in Nashville caused Mayor Baker to ask for federal help with redistricting. Federal district court refused. Leads to Westberry v. Sanders
Dennis v. United States (1951) 1st Amendment. Dennis was accused of violating the Smith Act, which prohibited speech advocating overthrow of the government. Court upheld the Act.
Roth v. United States (1957) 1st Amendment. New York man operated a business that used mail to invite people to buy "obscene" material. The Court defined "obscene" as "offending the average person, applying contemporary community standards."
Heart of Atlanta Motel, Inc. v. United States (1964) Article 1, Section 8. Court rules that segregation in private facilities engaged in interstate commerce was unconstitutional. In this case, it was a motel which refused to rent rooms to African Americans.
Gideon v. Wainwright (1963) 14th Amendment. Gideon could not afford an attorney when charged with a crime. Court ruled that due process in the 14th amendment relates to 6th amendment's guarantee of counsel. Established the right to an attorney. IMPORTANT CASE.
Marbury v. Madison (1803) Article 3. Established the principle of judicial review. IMPORTANT CASE.
McCulloch v. Maryland (1819) Article 1, Section 8. "Bank of the United States Case." This case established national supremacy and stated "the power to tax is the power to destroy." IMPORTANT CASE.
New York Times v. United States (1971) 1st Amendment. In June 1971, the New York Times published some of the Pentagon Papers. Department of Justice got a court order to forbid the Times from printing any more of these papers. Court did not uphold the ban. This case deals with "prior restraint"
Cruzan v. Director, Missouri Department of Health (1990) 9th Amendment. Cruzan was in a car accident in 1983 and was in a coma. Her family opted to end intravenous feeding, and the State of Missouri refused. Court ruled that states could require "clear and convincing" evidence that Cruzan wanted to die.
Griswold v. Connecticut (1965) 14th Amendment. Law in Connecticut banned contraceptive drugs. Court would later overturn this law, establishing a concept of privacy which was central in Roe v. Wade
Escobedo v. Illinois (1964) 6th Amendment. Chicago man confessed to murder but had not been given a lawyer. Court decision extended exclusionary rule to illegal confessions in state courts.
Regents of the University of California v. Bakke (1978) 14th Amendment. The college had an affirmative action program reserving a certain number of spots for minorities. Bakke claimed racial discrimination when not accepted. Court required his admission but did NOT overturn affirmative action.
Weeks v. United States (1914) 4th Amendment. Search without proper warrant was conducted in San Francisco, evidence used to prosecute defendant. The Court applied the exclusionary rule for the first time, stating that illegally obtained evidence could not be used in trial.
United States v. Nixon (1974) President Richard Nixon suspected of participating in Watergate break-in. Congress demanded that Nixon hand over the recorded conversations once it was determined that he had them. He claimed executive privilege, and the Court ruled against him.
Korematsu v. United States (1944) 5th Amendment. This man refused to be sent to an internment camp in World War 2. Court rejected his appeal, stating that in a time such as war, certain restrictions may be necessary, even if they "curtail the civil rights of a single racial group."
Miranda v. Arizona (1966) 5th, 6th, and 14th Amendments. Miranda signed a confession when arrested which stated that he had full knowledge of his legal rights. He later claimed that without counsel and warning, this was illegally obtained evidence. The Court agreed. IMPORTANT CASE
Ex Parte Milligan (1866) Article 2. An Indiana man who was arrested and sent to prison during the Civil War claimed that his right to fair trial was interfered with. Court ordered his release, citing Presidential powers in times of war could not create another court system.
Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas (1954) 14th Amendment. A massive Court decision. This case, in which a 10 year old African American girl wished to attend a white school, overturned 1896's Plessy decision, banning segregation as a violation of equal protection. IMPORTANT CASE.
Gibbons v. Ogden (1824) Article 1, Section 8. Examined power of Congress to regulate interstate commerce. This case resulted in the federal government having more power to regulate interstate business. IMPORTANT CASE.
Powell v. Alabama (1932) 6th Amendment. Seven black men accused of rape were quickly prosecuted without counsel and sentenced to death. Court overturned decision, stating that poor people must be provided counsel. First step towards incorporation of Bill of Rights to the states.
Gitlow v. New York (1925) 1st and 14th Amendments. The Court considered if the 1st and 14th Amendments applied to state laws. This case was the first consideration of the "incorporation" doctrine.
West Virginia Board of Education v. Barnette (1943) During World War 2, thousands of Jehovah's Witness students were expelled for refusing to salute the flag. Court ruled that a mandatory flag salute violated free exercise of the 1st Amendment and was unconstitutional.
Mapp v. Ohio (1961) 4th and 14th Amendment. Police in Ohio raided Mapp's home without a warrant and found obscene materials. The Court would extend the exclusionary rule, banning illegally obtained material as evidence for a trial. IMPORTANT CASE.
Engel v. Vitale (1962) 1st Amendment. A group of parents filed suit against a school requiring the recitation of a 22-word nonsectarian prayer. The Court ruled the practice unconstitutional under the 1st Amendment. IMPORTANT CASE.
Everson v. Board of Education (1947) 1st Amendment. Court considered New Jersey's use of public funds to provide transport to parochial schools. The Court said the funds could be used this way, however the case was a clear example of 1st Amendment limits to states.
The Civil Rights Cases (1883) 14th Amendment. Included punishments for businesses practicing discrimination. Limited impact of equal protection, giving tacit approval for public sector discrimination.
Dred Scott v. Sanford (1857) 6th Amendment. The Court ruled that Dred Scott, a slave,, was not a free man just because he traveled to a free state with his master. The decision upheld the idea that salves were property. IMPORTANT CASE.
Lemon v. Kurtzman (1971) 1st Amendment. Court created the Lemon test, which limited "excessive government entangling with religion."
Plessy v. Ferguson (1896) 14th Amendment. Homer Plessy argued that a Louisiana law requiring separate seats for blacks and whites on trains violated equal protection. The Court disagreed, applying "separate but equal" for the first time. IMPORTANT CASE.
In Re Gault (1966) 14th Amendment. Before this case, juvenile offenders received few due process rights. Gault was not provided counsel nor permitted to cross examine the key witness in trial. Court overturned these laws, requiring due process rights to juveniles.
Furman v. Georgia (1972) 8th Amendment. This case raised the issue of racial imbalances in the use of death penalty by state courts. The Court overturned state death penalty laws, although many states rewrote their statutes.
Roe v. Wade (1973) 9th Amendment. Texas woman challenged law forbidding abortion, citing "fundamental right to privacy." Court upheld a woman's right to choose. Decision stated that in the first trimester of pregnancy the woman is free to choose. IMPORTANT CASE.
Clinton v. City of New York (1998) In this case, the Line Item Veto Act was held unconstitutional, because the President was vetoing appropriations for New York which had already been approved by Congress.
Texas v. Johnson (1989) 1st Amendment. This case which invalidated prohibitions against desecration of the American flag, claiming that such acts were considered free speech.
District of Columbia v. Heller (2008) 2nd Amendment. Court rules that this amendment protects an individual's right to possess firearms for traditionally lawful purposes, such as self defense.
Webster v. Reproductive Health Services (1989) 9th Amendment. A law in Missouri placed strict bans on abortion, including counseling and public funding of the process. The case was claimed to be in conflict of Roe v. Wade. 5-4 Court ruling upheld the laws in this case. This case narrowed the Roe case.
Easley v. Cromartie (2001) This case determined that redistricting for political reasons didn't violate the Federal Civil Rights Law banning race-based gerrymandering.
Shaw v. Reno (1993) Supreme Court ruled that rights of white voters under the 14th Amendment had been violated by the state legislature's redistricting. Race may be one factor in determining district boundaries, but may not be the only factor.
Wesberry v. Sanders (1964) Voters in 5th District of Georgia sued their Congressman, claiming the size of their district violated equal protection. The Court ruled that the disparity in size of the districts was unconstitutional. One man, one vote was established.
National Federation of Independent Business v. Sebelius (2012) The Court upheld most of the PPACA, or ObamaCare. The Court decided the individual mandate was included in Congress' power of taxation.
Barron v. Baltimore (1833) This case held that the Bill of Rights only limits the federal government, not the state governments.
Created by: colbyc22



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