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Landmark Cases

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  1. Landmark Case - Brown v. Board of Education (
      "We conclude that the doctrine of 'separate but equal' has no place. Separate educational facilities are inherently unequal." 01-06

  2. Landmark Case - Dred Scott v. Sandford (
      "John Sanford argued in this federal lawsuit that Dred Scott could not sue because he was [a slave and] not a citizen. Judge Wells did not accept this argument, but he did instruct the jury to apply only the laws of Missouri in its decision. The jury found in favor of Sanford. Dred Scott then appealed to the Supreme Court of the United States." 01-06

  3. Landmark Case - Gibbons v. Ogden (
      "One of the enduring issues in American government is the proper balance of power between the national government and the state governments. This struggle for power was evident from the earliest days of American government and is the underlying issue in the case of Gibbons v. Ogden." 01-06

  4. Landmark Case - Gideon v. Wainwright (
      "The justices were interested not simply with the merits of Gideon's case, but with the larger issue of whether poor people charged with noncapital offenses are entitled to a free lawyer in state criminal trials." 01-06

  5. Landmark Case - Hazelwood v. Kuhlmeier (
      ". . . educators do not offend the First Amendment by exercising editorial control over the style and content of student speech in school-sponsored expressive activities so long as their actions are reasonably related to legitimate pedagogical concerns." 01-06

  6. Landmark Case - Mapp v. Ohio (
      Provides activities and resources on the issue of search warrants. 01-06

  7. Landmark Case - Marbury v. Madison (
      " 'If two laws conflict with each other, the courts must decide on the operation of each.' " 01-06

  8. Landmark Case - McCulloch v. Maryland (
      "In 1791, the U.S. government created the first national bank for the country. During this time, a national bank was controversial because people had different opinions about what powers the national government should have. Alexander Hamilton believed that the national government had the power to create a new national bank. Thomas Jefferson believed that the national government did not have such a power." 01-06

  9. Landmark Case - Miranda v. Arizona (
      ". . . the prosecution may not use statements, whether exculpatory or inculpatory, stemming from custodial interrogation of the defendant unless it demonstrates the use of procedural safeguards effective to secure the privilege against self-incrimination." 01-06

  10. Landmark Case - New Jersey v. T.L.O. (
      ". . . The warrant requirement, in particular, is unsuited to the school environment . . . . [T]he legality of a search of a student should depend simply on the reasonableness, under all the circumstances, of the search . . . Such a search will be permissible in its scope when the measures adopted are reasonably related to the objectives of the search and not excessively intrusive in light of the age and sex of the student and the nature of the infraction." 01-06

  11. Landmark Case - Plessy v. Ferguson (
      "Although not specifically written in the decision, Plessy set the precedent that 'separate' facilities for blacks and whites were constitutional as long as they were 'equal.' The 'separate but equal' doctrine was quickly extended to cover many areas of public life, such as restaurants, theaters, restrooms, and public schools." 01-06

  12. Landmark Case - Pollock v. Farmer's Loan and Trust Co. (
      "(1895), U.S. Supreme Court case in which the court voided portions of the Wilson-Gorman Tariff Act of 1894 that imposed a direct tax on the incomes of American citizens and corporations, thus declaring the federal income tax unconstitutional. The decision was mooted (unsettled) in 1913 by ratification of the Sixteenth Amendment to the federal Constitution, giving Congress the power 'to lay and collect taxes on incomes.' " 01-06

  13. Landmark Case - Pollock v. Farmer's Loan and Trust Co. (
      "Was the income tax a direct tax in violation of the Constitution (Article I, Section 9)?"

      "The Court held that the act violated the Constitution since it imposed taxes on personal income derived from real estate investments and personal property such as stocks and bonds; this was a direct taxation scheme, not apportioned properly among the states. The decision was negated by the adoption of the Sixteenth Amendment in 1913." 01-06

  14. Landmark Case - Pollock v. Farmer's Loan and Trust Co. (
      "Pollock v. Farmers' Loan & Trust Company, 157 U.S. 429 / 158 U.S. 601 (rehearing) (1895)[1], was an important United States Supreme Court case in which the court ruled that a particular type of income tax—specifically, a tax on income derived from property—was a direct tax under the United States Constitution, and consequently had to be levied in proportion to each state's population. The effect of the Pollock decision was later overturned by the ratification, in 1913, of the Sixteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, which removed the requirement that taxes on incomes be apportioned by population." 01-06

  15. Landmark Case - Regents of the University of California v. Bakke (
      "Allan Bakke was a white male who applied to and was rejected from the regular admissions program in 1973 and 1974. During those years, applicants with lower scores were admitted under the special program. After his second rejection, Bakke filed suit in the Superior Court of Yolo County, California. He claimed that the special admissions program violated the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment and Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 because it excluded him on the basis of race. He wanted the Court to force the University of California at Davis to admit him to the medical school." 01-06

  16. Landmark Case - Roe v. Wade (
      "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 and defined different levels of state interest for the second and third trimesters. As a result, the laws of 46 states were affected by the Court's ruling." 01-06

  17. Landmark Case - Roe v. Wade (
      "Roe v. Wade, 410 U.S. 113 (1973)[1], was a landmark United States Supreme Court case establishing that most laws against abortion violate a constitutional right to privacy, overturning all state laws outlawing or restricting abortion. It is one of the most controversial decisions in Supreme Court history." 01-06

  18. Landmark Case - Texas v. Johnson (
      "If there is a bedrock principle underlying the First Amendment, it is that the government may not prohibit the expression of an idea simply because society finds the idea itself offensive or disagreeable. . . ." 01-06

  19. Landmark Case - Tinker v. Des Moines (
      "The fundamental question of the case came down to this: Does the First Amendment's promise of free speech extend to the symbolic speech of public school students? And, if so, in what circumstances is that symbolic speech protected?" 01-06

  20. Landmark Case - United States v. Nixon (
      "In United States v. Nixon, the President's lawyers claimed that he had an absolute right of executive privilege. Since the power of executive privilege is not expressly stated in the Constitution, there was some controversy over this matter." 01-06

  1. Editorial: Court Nominee Reflects Bush's Base (MSNBC News - Fineman)
      Fineman argues that Supreme Court nominee Roberts' "abortion record is a perfect mix of reassurance to the right and vagueness for the left. As deputy solicitor general under Bush One in 1991, Roberts signed the now-famous brief advocating the overturning of Roe v. Wade."

      "But his supporters, and even some Democrats, such as David Boies, make the mitigating argument that Roberts was only acting as an advocate for his client — which in this case was a Bush team desperate to improve its anti-abortion credentials heading into the 1992 campaign." 8-05

  2. Landmark Case - Dred Scott v. Sandford, Text of Supreme Court Decision (
      "The question before us is, whether the class of persons described in the plea in abatement [people of Aftican ancestry] compose a portion of this people, and are constituent members of this sovereignty? We think they are not, and that they are not included, and were not intended to be included, under the word 'citizens' in the Constitution, and can therefore claim none of the rights and privileges which that instrument provides for and secures to citizens of the United States. On the contrary, they were at that time considered as a subordinate and inferior class of beings, who had been subjugated by the dominant race, and, whether emancipated or not, yet remained subject to their authority, and had no rights or privileges but such as those who held the power and the Government might choose to grant them." 8-05

  3. Landmark U.S. Supreme Court Cases (
      "This site was developed to provide teachers with a full range of resources and activities to support the teaching of landmark Supreme Court cases, helping students explore the key issues of each case." 01-06


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