"Overview: Defendants' convictions for violating a law prohibiting the sale, dispensing, or use of birth control drugs or devices to married persons were reversed because the law was held to be unconstitutional as it violated the fundamental right of privacy."
"Overview: Personal liberty under the Due Process Clause extended to woman's abortion decision, but was subject to regulation aimed at compelling state interests of maternal health and human life potentiality; abortion laws that did not distinguish between early and later abortions and limited legal justification to saving mother's life were unconstitutional."
"Overview: A Missouri statute that regulated the performance of abortions was not unconstitutional. The prohibition against state funded abortions and counseling did not put a governmental obstacle in the path of a woman who chose to have an abortion."
"Overview: The Court held that the husband notification provision of the Pennsylvania Abortion Control Act placed an undue burden on a woman's right to have an abortion in a large fraction of cases and was unconstitutional."
"Overview: State statute criminalizing "partial birth abortions" was unconstitutional because it lacked exception for preservation of mother's health and burdened choice of more common abortion procedure, unduly burdening right to abortion itself."
"Overview: Lower courts erred in finding the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act of 2003, 18 U.S.C.S. § 1531, unconstitutional on its face; the challengers failed to demonstrate that the Act, as a facial matter, was void for vagueness or that it imposed an undue burden on a woman's right to abortion based on its overbreadth or lack of a health exception."
"Overview: Tex. Health & Safety Code Ann. § 171.0031(a), which imposed admitting-privileges requirements on abortion providers, and Tex. Health & Safety Code Ann. § 245.010(a), which required abortion facilities to meet surgical center requirements, were unconstitutional; medical benefits did not justify the undue burden on abortion access."
"Overview: Imposition of the death penalty in prisoners' rape and capital murder cases was improper where the application of the death penalty under the statutes applicable to the prisoners' cases was discretionary and constituted a discriminatory practice."
"Overview: The imposition of the death penalty for the crime of murder under a new Texas statute did not violate the Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments because the statute provided for the sentencing jury to consider both aggravating and mitigating circumstances."
"Overview: A Florida death penalty statute that directed the sentencing judge to weigh aggravating and mitigating circumstances and provided for automatic review by the state supreme court was constitutional."
"Overview: Defendant's conviction and death sentence was reversed because it was unconstitutional for the jury not to have been able to consider mitigating factors regarding the murder and the defendant's character when it imposed the death sentence."
"Overview: The inmates' death sentence was reversed because the first degree murder statute containing a mandatory death sentence violated their rights under the Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments because the jury was given no discretion."
"Overview: Judgment setting aside the sentence of death imposed upon an individual who had committed murder as a juvenile at the age of 17 was affirmed as the Court held that the Eighth Amendment forbids the imposition of the death penalty on juvenile offenders under 18."
"Overview: A patient's constitutional right to freedom was violated where a mental hospital knowingly confined him against his will even though he was not dangerous and was capable of surviving safely in freedom by himself or with the help others."
"Overview: A medical school's admission program that used racial classifications violated the Fourteenth Amendment; however, the school's goals in using racial classifications could be legitimately served by the competitive consideration of race."
"Overview: An undergraduate admissions policy that made race the decisive factor for virtually every minimally qualified underrepresented minority applicant was not narrowly tailored to achieve a university's asserted compelling interest in diversity."
"Overview: The Equal Protection Clause did not prohibit a narrowly tailored use of race in admissions decisions to further a law school's compelling interest in obtaining for its students the educational benefits that flow from diversity."
"Overview: Georgia statute criminalizing sodomy was upheld as constitutional as the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment did not create a fundamental right for homosexuals to engage in consensual sodomy, even in privacy of their own homes."
"Overview: Petitioners' First Amendment rights to free speech were violated by the application of a state statute to force petitioners to include groups in their parade who espoused beliefs with which petitioners did not agree."
"Overview: State constitutional amendment that drew classification based on sexual orientation not to further a proper legislative end but to make gays unequal to everyone else was unconstitutional; the amendment withdrew only from gays legal protection."
"Overview: Application of state public accommodations law intruded on organizations' right to freedom of association. Group's official position against homosexuality supported its expulsion of plaintiff as a valid exercise of the right."
"Overview: A decision upholding a Texas statute that made it a crime for two persons of the same sex to engage in certain intimate sexual conduct was overruled because petitioners were entitled to respect for their private lives."
"Overview: Defense of Marriage Act, which denied recognition of same-sex marriages, was unconstitutional since the disallowance of a surviving-spouse estate tax exemption based on the same-sex marriage of the spouse and the decedent, which was recognized by the state, was a deprivation of the equal liberty of persons that was protected by the Fifth Amendment."
"Overview: Under the Due Process and Equal Protection Clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment, same-sex couples have a fundamental right to marry, and state laws excluding same-sex couples from civil marriage were held invalid; states cannot refuse to recognize a lawful same-sex marriage performed in another state on the ground of its same-sex character."
"Overview: The Supreme Court did not have jurisdiction over a slave's assault action against his owner because the slave was of African descent, and not permitted citizenship under the laws of the United States or of any individual state."
"Overview: Petitioner's conviction for violating an exclusion order issued during World War II, singling out American citizens of Japanese descent, was upheld because the war and threat to national defense justified excluding the group from threatened areas."
"Overview: Motel violated Civil Rights Act of 1964 by renting rooms on the basis of race; the Act was constitutional because it did not exceed Congress' power to regulate interstate commerce, including racial discrimination by motels serving local travelers."
"Overview: Restaurant was denied injunction against enforcement of civil rights legislation, because refusal to serve Negroes obstructed interstate commerce, restricted travel by Negroes, and subject to valid exercise of Congress' power to regulate commerce."
"Overview: State law banning interracial marriages was unconstitutional; equal application of law containing racial classifications did not remove law from proscription against invidious racial discrimination; there was no legitimate purpose for classification."
"Overview: City's refusal to certify promotion test results because no black firefighters were eligible for promotion constituted disparate treatment of non-black firefighters who were denied promotions in violation of Title VII, since there was no strong basis in evidence that test was deficient and discarding results was necessary to avoid disparate impact."
"Overview: The "separate but equal" doctrine was overruled because separate, segregated educational facilities were inherently unequal under the Fourteenth Amendment as a violation of the equal protection of the laws, regardless of equality of the facilities."
"Overview: Students were denied equal protection under the U.S. Constitution, since school districts, which did not operate legally segregated schools, improperly classified students by race and relied upon the classification in making school assignments in a nonindividualized, mechanical way as a decisive factor."
"Overview: Statutory scheme which treated male and female military personnel differently for the purpose of determining dependent benefits was unconstitutional because such difference in treatment was solely for purpose of administrative convenience."
"Overview: A state law that prohibited the sale of beer to males under 21 years and females under 18 years was unconstitutional because it constituted invidious discrimination and a denial of equal protection of the laws to males who were 18 to 20 years old."
"Overview: A party seeking to uphold government action based on sex must show classification serves important governmental objectives and that discriminatory means employed are substantially related to achievement of those objectives."
"Overview: State supreme court decision ordering manual recount of ballots cast in presidential election was reversed and remanded because recount procedures were inconsistent with obligation to avoid arbitrary and disparate treatment of members of electorate."
"Overview: Judgment extending statutory deadlines for return of election ballot counts was vacated. It was unclear as to extent state court saw the state constitution as limiting the legislature's authority under the U.S. Constitution."
"Overview: Ban under 2 U.S.C.S. § 441b on corporate independent expenditures for electioneering communications violated the First Amendment, as political speech could not be suppressed on the basis of the speaker's corporate identity. Disclaimer and disclosure provisions under 2 U.S.C.S. §§ 434 and 441d were valid as applied to a film about a candidate."
"Overview: New Jersey was not prohibited by the First Amendment from spending tax funds to pay for the bus fares of parochial school children because the legislation did no more than help parents get their children safely to school."
"Overview: A board of education's use of prayer in its public schools' daily program violated the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment and breached the wall of separation between church and state, despite the parents' right to opt-out."
"Overview: Reading from the bible, reciting the Lord's Prayer, and the laws that required such religious activities in public schools were found to be unconstitutional under the First Amendment, as applied to the states through the Fourteenth Amendment."
"Overview: Statutes that provided aid to church-related elementary and secondary schools were found unconstitutional, as they fostered excessive entanglement between government and religion in contravention of the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment."
"Overview: Wisconsin's compulsory school attendance law violated the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment because it threatened the practice of Amish religious beliefs by requiring Amish children to attend public school after the eighth grade."
"Overview: The inclusion of clerical members who offered prayers as part of official public school graduation ceremonies was inconsistent with the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment of the Constitution."
"Overview: Ordinances passed by respondent city prohibiting animal sacrifice were found unconstitutional under the Free Exercise Clause because they were not neutral nor of general application and could not survive strict scrutiny."
"Overview: By excluding a student publication from participating in a student activities fund solely on the basis of the publication's religious viewpoint, a state university engaged in content discrimination and violated the First Amendment."
"Overview: A federally funded program providing instruction to children on a neutral basis was valid under the Establishment Clause when such instruction was given on the premises of sectarian schools by government employees."
"Overview: Defendants' convictions under the Espionage Act for distributing leaflets that opposed the military draft did not violate the First Amendment because of the clear and present danger presented by such activity during a time of war."
"Overview: Appellant's conviction was affirmed since the purpose of the statute prohibiting offensive speech towards another in public was to preserve public peace and no words were forbidden except those directly tending to cause acts of violence."
"Overview: Petitioners' convictions for violating the state and federal obscenity laws was proper because the lower court applied the proper standard that the material offended community standards of obscenity by appealing to prurient interest."
"Overview: Pursuant to newspaper's First and Fourteenth Amendment constitutional guarantees, public official could not recover damages for defamatory falsehood relating to his official conduct unless official proved newspaper made statement with actual malice."
"Overview: Ohio's criminal syndicalism statute was declared unconstitutional since it reached speech protected by the U.S. Const. amends. I and XIV, so petitioner's conviction under the statute was reversed."
"Overview: The wearing of armbands by students to public high school in protest of the Vietnam War was entirely divorced from actually or potentially disruptive conduct and, therefore, protected under the First Amendment."
"Overview: Conviction based on expletive printed on appellant's jacket was not constitutionally supportable; there were no "fighting words" involved that would prompt a reader to violence and restraints on offensive content could not be justified."
"Summary: 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 study entitled "History of U. S. Decision-Making Process on Viet Nam Policy," and in an action in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia, the government sought a similar injunction against the Washington Post."
"Overview: The court vacated a state conviction for knowing distribution of obscene matter and remanded the case for reconsideration under a new standard for determining whether material depicting sexual activity was obscene."
"Overview: A school's interest in preserving the integrity of student speech proved a compelling interest when students alleged that a principal's action in eliminating pages from a school newspaper violated their First Amendment rights."
"Overview: A nationally known minister could not recover against a magazine for intentional infliction of emotional distress due to an advertisement parody without showing that false statements were published with actual malice or reckless disregard of truth."
"Overview: Respondent's criminal conviction of desecration of a flag was not consistent with the First Amendment because petitioner's interest in preserving the flag as a symbol of nationhood did not support a conviction for political expression."
"Overview: Judgment that nude dancing was expression protected by First Amendment reversed, since public nudity was sufficiently important government interest to justify regulating non-speech element of the expressive conduct."
"Overview: The Communications Decency Act of 1996 was held violative of the First Amendment due to its being overbroad; the statute criminalized constitutionally-protected indecent speech as well as unprotected obscene speech."
"Overview: Ordinance banning public nudity was content-neutral as City's interest in preventing harmful secondary effects of totally nude dancing was not related to suppression of exotic message conveyed; ordinance was constitutional."
"Overview: A foreign national who was convicted of murder and failed to exercise his rights under an international convention in conformity with state and federal laws could not raise a claim of violation of those rights on federal habeas review."
"Summary: 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 opinion, reflecting the views of a unanimous court, the writ was granted and the Court of Appeals' judgment was reversed, on the ground of the insufficiency of the record to support the District Court's finding that the accused was mentally competent to stand trial."
"Overview: The Court reversed order affirming denial of request for evidentiary hearing on competence for execution where Eighth Amendment does not permit execution of the insane and competency determination procedures were inadequate."
"Overview: There was no reason to believe that a defendant's decision to waive counsel or to plead guilty required an appreciably higher level of mental functioning than the decision to waive other constitutional rights."
"Overview: State supreme court erred in denying inmate's habeas petition alleging violation of constitutional rights for refusal to appoint counsel. Sixth Amendment's guarantee of counsel was fundamental right made obligatory on states by Fourteenth Amendment."
"Overview: A statement, obtained from petitioner who was interrogated while in police custody, who was denied the assistance of counsel, and who was not advised of his right to remain silent, was inadmissible."
"Overview: Before custodial interrogation, defendant must be warned that he has the right to remain silent and anything he says can be used against him, and he must be told he has the right to a lawyer; he may knowingly and intelligently waive these rights."
"Overview: Proceedings in state court ending in the commitment of a 15-year-old boy as a juvenile delinquent until 21, for lewd phone calls while on probation, offended the requirements of procedural due process because of a denial of notice and counsel."
"Overview: The district court improperly quashed indictments charging defendants with violating National Firearms Act because Second Amendment did not guarantee defendants the right to keep and bear a shotgun having a barrel of less than 18 inches in length."
"Overview: Prohibition on the possession of usable handguns in the home under D.C. Code §§ 7-2501.01, 7-2502.01, 7-2502.02, 7-2507.02 violated the Second Amendment, which protected an individual right to possess a firearm unconnected with service in a militia and to use that firearm for traditionally lawful purposes, such as self-defense within the home."
"Overview: Petitioner parents' request to withdraw their vegetative daughter's feeding and hydration equipment was denied where there was no clear and convincing evidence of patient's desire to have life-sustaining treatment withdrawn."
"Overview: New York's statute outlawing physician-assisted suicide was not unconstitutional because the distinction between assisting suicide and withdrawing life-sustaining treatment had a rational basis."
"Overview: The prescription requirement of the Controlled Substances Act (CSA), 21 U.S.C.S. § 801 et seq., did not authorize the U.S. Attorney General to bar dispensing controlled substances for assisted suicide in the face of a state medical regime permitting such conduct, the Oregon Death With Dignity Act (ODWDA), Or. Rev. Stat. § 127.800 et seq. (2003)."
"Overview: Even though an applicant had a legal right to his appointment as justice of the peace, he was not entitled to a mandamus because the act giving the U.S. Supreme Court authority to issue a mandamus to an officer violated the Constitution."
"Overview: The Supreme Court of the United States had appellate power over a final judgement from a state court of appeals because the matter concerned an issue arising under a treaty of the United States."
"Overview: State supreme court lacked jurisdiction to discharge prisoner who had been convicted of aiding and abetting the escape of a fugitive slave because if any act of Congress was unconstitutional, it was the federal court's obligation to declare it void."
"Overview: A State's constitutional challenge to a federal migratory bird treaty was dismissed because, in pursuance of a valid treaty, the federal government had the authority to not only make treaties but also regulate migratory birds."
"Overview: The prohibitions of the Fourteenth Amendment extended to all action of a state denying equal protection of the laws, whatever the agency of the state taking the action; moreover, the Constitution was the supreme law of the land."
"Overview: Executive Privilege did not protect President from complying with third-party subpoena duces tecum because generalized privilege was asserted; prosecution showed specific need for recordings and documents of meeting with persons charged with crimes."
"Overview: Federal statute that reduced highway funds to states for having a minimum drinking age below 21 was a valid exercise of Congress's spending powers; the Twenty-First amendment was not an independent constitutional bar to the statute."
"Overview: State's legislative attempt to impose term limits upon eligible candidates for Congress, limiting candidates to three terms in the House of Representatives or two terms in the Senate, violated the U.S. Constitution."
"Overview: Gun-Free School Zones Act was invalid because it did not regulate an activity arising out of or connected with a commercial transaction that substantially affected interstate commerce, and thus, was beyond Congress' power under the Commerce Clause."
"Overview: Congressional enactment that temporarily required petitioners, state law enforcement officials, to participate in administration of a federal regulatory scheme for gun control unconstitutionally violated state autonomy."
"Overview: Although the Government was authorized to detain a citizen-detainee who was allegedly an enemy combatant, he was entitled to a meaningful opportunity to contest the factual basis for that detention before a neutral decisionmaker."
"Overview: The habeas statute conferred jurisdiction over the detention of aliens in a territory over which the United States exercised plenary and exclusive jurisdiction, but not ultimate sovereignty, specifically the Guantanamo Bay Naval Base in Cuba."
"Overview: Where the Secretary of Defense placed a detainee in military custody as a suspected terrorist, habeas corpus jurisdiction was only proper in the district of confinement and the detainee's immediate military custodian was the only proper respondent."
"Overview: Pursuant to the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, evidence obtained by a search and seizure in violation of the Fourth Amendment was inadmissible in the State's prosecution of defendant for possessing obscene literature."
"Overview: Defendant's conviction was reversed because FBI agents who had eavesdropped electronically on calls by defendant from a public telephone booth were not exempted from a magistrate's advance authorization upon a showing of probable cause."
"Overview: Even though there was no probable cause to arrest defendant when officer made a "stop and frisk" warrantless intrusion that yielded weapon did not violate Fourth Amendment; officer had reasonable suspicion that defendant was about to commit robbery."
"Overview: Petitioner school district's drug testing policy was valid under the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments based on students' reduced expectation of privacy, compelling reasons for testing, and fact that the urinalysis test was not significantly invasive."
"Overview: Since a wife had no recognized authority in law or social practice to prevail over her husband's objections to consenting to the police searching their home, her consent, without more, gave police no better claim to reasonableness in entering than they would have had in the absence of any consent at all under the Fourth Amendment."