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42 Cards in this Set

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Gitlow v. NY ) .
Gitlow's conviction for distributing a pamphlet calling for the overthrow of the government was upheld. But the ACLU's first Supreme Court landmark established that the Fourteenth Amendment "incorporates" the First Amendment's free speech clause and therefore applies to the states.
Powell v. Alabama (1932)
( This appeal by the "Scottsboro Boys" - eight African Americans wrongfully accused of raping two white women - was the first time constitutional standards were applied to state criminal proceedings. The poor performance of their lawyers at the trial deprived them of their Sixth Amendment right to effective counsel.
DeJonge v. Oregon (1937)
A conviction under a state criminal syndicalism statute for merely attending a peaceful Communist Party rally was deemed a violation of free speech rights.
WV v. Barnette (1943
Compelling Jehovah's Witness children to salute the American flag against their religious beliefs was unconstitutional
Smith v. Allwright (1944)
This early civil rights victory invalidated Texas' "white primary" as a violation of the right to vote under the Fifteenth Amendment.
Everson v. Board (1947)
Justice Black's pronouncement that, "In the words of Jefferson, the Clause... was intended to erect a 'wall of separation' between church and State..." was the Court's first major utterance on the meaning of the Establishment Clause.
Terminiello v. Chicago (1949)
In this exoneration of a priest convicted of disorderly conduct for giving a racist, anti-semitic speech, Justice William O. Douglas stated, "the function of free speech under our system of government is to invite dispute."
Burstyn v. Wilson (1952)
Overturning its own 1915 decision, the Supreme Court decided New York State's refusal to license the film "The Miracle" because it was sacreligious violated the First Amendment.
Brown v. Board (1954)
One of the century's most significant Court decisions declared racially segregated schools unconstitutional, wiping out the "separate but equal" doctrine announced in the infamous 1896 Plessy v. Ferguson decision.
Smith v. CA (1959)
bookseller could not be found guilty of selling obscene material unless it was proven that he or she was familiar with the contents of the book
Mapp v. OH (1961)
The Fourth Amendment's Exclusionary Rule -- barring the introduction of illegally seized evidence in a criminal trial -- first applied to federal law enforcement officers in 1914, applied to state and local police as well.
Poe v. Ullman (1961
This unsuccessful challenge to Connecticut's ban on the sale of trial contraceptives set the stage for the 1965 Griswold decision. Justice John Harlan argued in dissent that the law was "an intolerable invasion of privacy in the conduct of one of the most intimate concerns of an individual's private life."
Engel v. Vitale
(1962) In striking down the New York State Regent's "nondenominational" school prayer, the Court declared "it is no part of the business of government to compose official prayers."
Abingdon Schools v. Schemp
(1963) Building on Engel, the Court struck down Pennsylvania's in-school Bible-reading law as a violation of the First Amendment.
Gideon v. Wainwright
1963) An indigent drifter from Florida made history when, in a handwritten petition, he persuaded the Court that poor people charged with a felony had the right to a state-appointed lawyer.
Escobido v. IL (1964)
Invoking the Sixth Amendment right to counsel, the Court threw out the confession of a man whose repeated requests to see his lawyer, throughout many hours of police interrogation, were ignored.
NYT v. Sullivan
1964) Public officials cannot recover damages for defamation unless they prove a newspaper impugned them with "actual malice." A city commissioner in Montgomery, Alabama, sued over publication of a full-page ad paid for by civil rights activists.
Reynolds v. Sims (1964)
(This historic civil rights decision, which applied the "one person, one vote" rule to state legislative districts, was regarded by Chief Justice Earl Warren as the most important decision of his tenure.
Griswold v. CT (1965)
Invalidated a Connecticut law forbidding the use of contraceptives on the ground that a right of "marital privacy," though not specifically guaranteed in the Bill of Rights, is protected by "several fundamental constitutional guarantees."
Miranda v. AZ (1966)
The Court held that a suspect in police custody has a Sixth Amendment right to counsel and a Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination, and established the "Miranda warnings" requirement that police inform suspects of their rights before interrogating them.
In re Gault (1967)
Established specific due process requirements for state delinquency proceedings and stated, for the first time, the broad principle that young persons have constitutional rights.
Loving v. VA (1967)
Invalidated the anti-miscegenation laws of Virginia and 15 other southern states. Criminal bans on interracial marriage violate the Fourteenth Amendment's Equal Protection Clause and "the freedom to marry," which the Court called "one of the basic civil rights of man" (sic).
Epperson v. Arkansas (1968) Arkansas' ban on teaching "that mankind ascended or descended from a lower order of animals" was a violation of the First Amendment, which forbids official religion.
King v. Smith (1968)
Invalidated the "man in the house" rule that denied welfare to children whose unmarried mothers lived with men. The decision benefited an estimated 500,000 poor children who had previously been excluded from aid.
Washington v. Lee (1968)
Alabama statutes requiring racial segregation in the state's prisons and jails were declared unconstitutional under the Fourteenth Amendment.
Epperson v. Arkansas (1968)
Arkansas' ban on teaching "that mankind ascended or descended from a lower order of animals" was a violation of the First Amendment, which forbids official religion.
Brandenburg v. OH (1969)
The ACLU achieved victory in its 50-year struggle against laws punishing political advocacy. The Court agreed that the government could only penalize direct incitement to imminent lawless action, thus invalidating the Smith Act and all state sedition laws.
Tinker v. Des Moines (1969)
Suspending public school students for wearing black armbands to protest the Vietnam War was unconstitutional since students do not "shed their constitutional rights to freedom of speech or expression at the schoolhouse gate."
Shelley v. Kraemer (1948)
This major civil rights victory invalidated restrictive covenants, or contractual agreements among white homeowners not to sell their houses to people of color.
Gregory v. Chicago (1969)
The Court unanimously overturned a conviction of disorderly conduct against Dick Gregory and others who picketed Chicago's Mayor Daley. When disorder is created by a hostile audience, peaceful demonstrators cannot be arrested because of a "heckler's veto."
(1971) Enjoining the press from publishing the Pentagon Papers, leaked by a former Defense Department official, was an unconstitutional prior restraint which was not justified by national security interests.
Furman v. GA
This decision led to a four-year halt to executions nationwide when the Court ruled that existing state death penalty statutes were "arbitrary and capricious" in violation of the Eighth Amendment.
Goss v. Lopez
(1975) Invalidated a state law authorizing a public school principal to suspend a student for up to ten days without a hearing. Students are entitled to notice and a hearing before a significant disciplinary action can be taken against them.
US v. Nixon
(1974) In the only amicus brief filed in this critical case, the ACLU argued: "There is no proposition more dangerous to the health of a constitutional democracy than the notion that an elected head of state is above the law and beyond the reach of judicial review." The Court agreed, and ordered Nixon to hand over crucial Watergate tapes to the Special Prosecutor.
Roe v. Wade/Doe v. Bolton
(1973) Recognizing a woman's constitutional right to terminate a pregnancy, Roe erased all existing criminal abortion laws. Its companion case, Doe, established that it is the attending physician who determines, in light of all factors relevant to a woman's well-being, whether an abortion is "necessary."
Frontiero v. Richardson
(1973) Struck down a federal law that allowed a woman in the armed forces to claim her husband as a "dependent" only if he depended on her for more than half of his support, while a serviceman could claim "dependent" status for his wife regardless of actual dependency.
States v. Eichman
- in which the ACLU also filed a brief.
Cruzan v. MO Dept. of Health (1990) In the Court's first right-to-die case, the ACLU represented the family of a woman who had been in a persistent vegetative state for more than seven years. Although the Court did not go as far as the ACLU urged, it did recognize living wills as clear and convincing evidence of a patient's wishes.
Planned Parenthood v. Casey
(1992) Although the Court upheld parts of Pennsylvania's restrictive abortion law, it also reaffirmed the "central holding" of Roe v. Wade that abortions performed prior to viability cannot be prohibited by the state.
Buckley v. Valeo
(1976) This challenge to the limits on campaign spending imposed by amendments to the Federal Elections Campaign Act represented a partial victory for free speech, as the Court struck down the Act's restrictions on spending "relative to a candidate."
Wallace v. Jaffree
(1985) Alabama's "moment of silence" law, which required public school children to take a moment "for meditation or voluntary prayer," violated the First Amendment's Establishment Clause.
Texas v. Johnson
(1989) In invalidating the Texas flag desecration statute, the Court provoked President Bush to propose a federal ban on flag burning or mutilation. Congress swiftly obliged, but the Court struck down that law a year later in United
Reno v. ACLU benefit of censorship."
(1997) The Court struck down Congress' Communications Decency Act, which was an attempt to censor the Internet by banning "indecent" speech, ruling that "the interest in encouraging freedom of expression in a democratic society outweighs any theoretical but unproven
Romer v. Evans
(1996) In this first gay rights victory, the Court invalidated a state constitutional amendment, passed by public referendum in Colorado, that prohibited the state and its municipalities from enacting gay rights laws.