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MARBURY V MADISON
1803
Landmark case that formed the basis for the exercise of JUDICIAL REVIEW in the US under Article III of the Constitution.
It was also the first time in Western history a court invalidated a law by declaring it "unconstitutional".

(Refusal to deliver commissions for judges)
Decision helped define the boundary between the constitutionally separate executive and judicial branches of the American form of government.
The case resulted from a petition to the Supreme Court by William Marbury, who had been appointed by President John Adams as Justice of the Peace in the District of Columbia but whose commission was not subsequently delivered. Marbury petitioned the Supreme Court to force the new Secretary of State James Madison to deliver the documents. The Court, with John Marshall as Chief Justice, found firstly that Madison's refusal to deliver the commission was both illegal and remediable. Nonetheless, the Court stopped short of compelling Madison (by writ of mandamus) to hand over Marbury's commission, instead holding that the provision of the Judiciary Act of 1789 that enabled Marbury to bring his claim to the Supreme Court was itself unconstitutional, since it purported to extend the Court's original jurisdiction beyond that which Article III established. The petition was therefore denied.
HOLDING
Section 13 of the Judiciary Act of 1789 is unconstitutional to the extent it purports to enlarge the original jurisdiction of the Supreme Court beyond that permitted by the Constitution. Congress cannot pass laws that are contrary to the Constitution, and it is the role of the Judicial system to interpret what the Constitution permits.
GIBBONS V OGDEN
1824
Landmark decision in which the US Supreme Court held that the power to regulate interstate commerce was granted to Congress by the COMMERCE CLAUSE of the United States Constitution.

(STEAMBOATS IN NYC)

Gibbons v. Ogden, 22 U.S. 1 (1824)
State of New York granted exclusive navigation privileges of all the waters within the jurisdiction of that State, with boats moved by fire or steam, for a term of years to Livingston and Fulton whom granted a license to Aaron OGDEN. Thomas GIBBONS operated a competing steamboat service between Elizabethtown, NJ and NYC that had been licensed by the US Congress in regulating the coasting trade.

OGDEN filed a complaint in state of NY which found for him. GIBBONS appealed to the Supreme Court which reversed the lower courts decision based on powers granted to congress in the COMMERCE CLAUSE of the US CONSTITUTION

The Supreme Court ruled in favor of GIBBONS. The sole argued source of Congress's power to promulgate the law at issue was the COMMERCE CLAUSE. Accordingly, the Court had to answer whether the law regulated "commerce" that was "among the several states." With respect to "commerce," the Court held that commerce is more than mere traffic—that it is the trade of commodities—it is also intercourse. This broader definition includes navigation. The Court interpreted "among" as "intermingled with."

Chief Justice Marshall's court

The case United States v. E. C. Knight Co.(1895) is thought to have limited the powers set forth in GIBBONS V OGDEN
US V LOPEZ
1995
The 1st US Supreme Court case since the New Deal to set limits to Congress's power under the COMMERCE CLAUSE of the United States Constitution.

(Carrying Gun at School)

Issue must SUBSTANTIALLY affect or relate to interstate commerce

United States v. Alfonso Lopez, Jr., 514 U.S. 549
High school student Alfonso LOPEZ Jr was caught carrying a gun at school and charged w/ violating the Gun-Free School Zones Act of 1990. LOPEZ moved to dismissed on the grounds that the ACT was "unconstitutional as it is beyond the power of Congress to legislate control over our public schools." Motion was denied.
LOPEZ appealed to the 5th circuit court of appeals which overturned the lower courts decision. US GOV'T filed a writ of certiorari.
To sustain the Act, the US GOV'T was obligated to show that the ACT was a valid exercise of the Congressional COMMERCE CLAUSE power, i.e. that the section regulated a matter which "affected" (or "substantially affected") interstate commerce.
US GOV'T presented Slippery Slope argument that linked guns in schools to violence which negatively impacted education and thus commerce.

In a 5–4 decision, the Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the Court of Appeals. It held that while Congress had broad lawmaking authority under the Commerce Clause, the power was limited, and did not extend so far from "commerce" as to authorize the regulation of the carrying of handguns, especially when there was no evidence that carrying them affected the economy on a massive scale

Chied Justice Rehnquist delivered opinion of the court w/ Breyer offering the dissent in conjunction with Stevens and Souter
MCCOLLUCH V MARYLAND
1819
The Court invoked the NECESSARY AND PROPER CLAUSE of the Constitution, which allowed the Federal government to pass laws not expressly provided for in the Constitution's list of express powers, provided those laws are in useful furtherance of the express powers of Congress under the Constitution.

(Bank of the United States)

This fundamental case established the following two principles:
1 - The Constitution grants to Congress implied powers for implementing the Constitution's express powers, in order to create a functional national government.
2-State action may not impede valid constitutional exercises of power by the Federal government.
The state of Maryland had attempted to impede operation of a branch of the Second Bank of the United States by imposing a tax on all notes of banks not chartered in Maryland. the law was recognized in the court's opinion as having specifically targeted the U.S. Bank.

James MCCOLLUCH, head of the Baltimore Branch of the Second Bank of the United States, refused to pay the tax.

The case was appealed to the Maryland Court of Appeals where the state of Maryland argued that "the Constitution is silent on the subject of banks." It was Maryland's contention that because the Constitution did not specifically state that the federal government was authorized to charter a bank, the Bank of the United States was unconstitutional. The court upheld Maryland. The case was then appealed to the Supreme Court.

The court determined that Congress did have the power to create the Bank. Chief Justice Marshall supported this conclusion with four main arguments. First, he argued that historical practice established Congress' power to create the Bank. Marshall admitted that the Constitution does not enumerate a power to create a central Bank but said that this is not dispositive as to Congress's power to establish such an institution. Marshall supported the Court's opinion textually by invoking the NECESSARY AND PROPER CLAUSE, which permits Congress to seek an objective that is within its enumerated powers so long as it is rationally related to the objective and not forbidden by the Constitution
COOPER V AARON
1958
SUPREMACY CLAUSE
(In support of the EQUAL PROTECTION CLAUSE)
Landmark decision of the Supreme Court of the United States, which held that the states were bound by the Court's decisions and had to enforce them even if the states disagreed with them.

(Postponement of Desegregation in Little Rock, AR)
In the wake of Brown v. Board of Education, the school district of Little Rock, Arkansas formulated a plan to desegregate its schools. Meanwhile, other school districts in the state opposed the Supreme Court's rulings and attempted to find ways to perpetuate segregation. The Arkansas state legislature amended the state constitution to oppose desegregation and then passed a law relieving children from mandatory attendance at integrated schools. members of the school board (along with the Superintendent of Schools) filed suit in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Arkansas, urging suspension of its plan of desegregation. They alleged that public hostility to desegregation and that the opposition of Governor Orval Faubus and the state legislature created an intolerable and chaotic situation. The relief the plaintiffs requested was for the African-American children to be returned to segregated schools and for the implementation of the desegregation plan to be postponed for two and a half years. The district court granted the school board's request, but the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit reversed. Prior to the Eighth Circuit's decision, the Supreme Court had denied the defendants' request to decide the case without waiting for the appeals court to deliberate on the case.

In an opinion signed by every justice, the Court determined it was constitutionally impermissible under the Equal Protection Clause to maintain law and order by depriving the black students their equal rights under the law.

More importantly, the Court held that since the Supremacy Clause of Article VI made the US Constitution the supreme law of the land and Marbury v. Madison gave the Supreme Court the power of judicial review,[1] the precedent set forth in Brown v. Board of Education is the supreme law of the land and is therefore binding on all the states, regardless of any state laws contradicting it. The Court therefore rejected the contention that the Arkansas legislature and Governor were not bound by the Brown decision.
The Supreme Court held that the Brown decision "can neither be nullified openly and directly by state legislators or state executive or judicial officers nor nullified indirectly by them through evasive schemes for segregation." Thus, Cooper v. Aaron held that state attempts to nullify federal law are ineffective.
Even though education is the responsibility of the state government, that responsibility must be carried out in a manner consistent with the requirements of the Constitution, particularly the Fourteenth Amendment.
New York v United States
1992
COMMERCE CLAUSE
US Supreme Court case which upheld the sovereignty of the state as protected the TENTH AMMENDMENT.
Court found that the "Take Title" provision of the Low-Level Radioactive Waste Policy Amendments Act of 1985 exceeded Congress's power under the COMMERCE CLAUSE

(RADIOACTIVE WASTE DISPOSAL INCENTIVES)
The Low-Level Radioactive Waste Policy Amendments Act was an attempt to imbue a negotiated agreement among the States with federal incentives for compliance. The problem of what to do with radioactive waste was a national issue complicated by the political reluctance of the states to deal with the problem individually. New York was a willing participant in the compromise, but after the Act was passed, the state attempted to renege.
The Act provided three "incentives" for states to comply with the agreement. The first two incentives were held constitutional. The first incentive, "monetary" incentive, allowed states to collect gradually increasing surcharges for waste received from other States. The Secretary of Energy would then collect a portion of this income and redistribute it to reward states achieving a series of milestones in waste disposal. This was held to be within Congress's power under the Taxing and Spending Clause, and an "unexceptionable" exercise of that power. The second incentive, the "access" incentive, allowed states to reprimand states that missed certain deadlines by raising surcharges or eventually denying access to disposal at those state's facilities completely. This was held to be a permitted exercise of Congress's power under the Commerce Clause.
The third incentive, requiring states to "take title" and assume liability for waste generated within their borders if they failed to comply, was held to be impermissibly coercive and a threat to state sovereignty, thereby violating the Tenth Amendment.

Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, wrote for the majority,
United States v Butler
1936
SPENDING CLAUSE
10th AMENDMENT
Supreme Court of the United States ruled that the processing taxes instituted under the 1933 Agricultural Adjustment Act were unconstitutional because it violated State sovereignty under the 10th amendment.

(Tax on Farm Products)
The main point of the case was whether certain provisions of the Agricultural Adjustment Act of 1933 conflicted with the Constitution. In the Act, a tax was imposed on processors of farm products, the proceeds to be paid to farmers who would reduce their area and crops. The intent of the act was to increase the prices of certain farm products by decreasing the quantities produced.
The Court held that the so-called tax was not a true tax, because the payments to farmers were coupled with unlawful and oppressive coercive contracts and the proceeds were earmarked for the benefit of farmers complying with the prescribed conditions. Making the payment of a government subsidy to a farmer conditional on the reduction of his planned crops went beyond the powers of the national government. Specifically, Justice Roberts said:
The act invades the reserved rights of the states. It is a statutory plan to regulate and control agricultural production, a matter beyond the powers delegated to the federal government. The tax, the appropriation of the funds raised, and the direction for their disbursement, are but parts of the plan.
Justice Owen Roberts argued that the tax was "but a means to an unconstitutional end" that violated the Tenth Amendment.
Lujan V Defenders of Wildlife
1992
STANDING
Plaintiffs did not have standing to bring suit under the Endangered Species Act, because the threat of a species' extinction alone did not establish an individual and nonspeculative private injury.

(Endangered Species)
Court held that a group of American wildlife conservation and other environmental organizations lacked STANDING to challenge regulations jointly issued by the U.S. Secretaries of the Interior and Commerce, regarding the geographic area to which a particular section of the Endangered Species Act of 1973 applied. The case arose over issues of US funding of development projects in Aswan and Mahaweli that could harm endangered species in the affected areas.
Said Lily Henning of the Legal Times:
In [this] decision, hailed by the right and attacked by the left as well as by a broad swath of legal scholars, the Court made clear that plaintiffs must suffer a concrete, discernible injury—not a "conjectural or hypothetical one"—to be able to bring suit in federal court. It, in effect, made it more difficult for plaintiffs to challenge the actions of a government agency when the actions don't directly affect them.
Writing for the majority, Justice Scalia stated that Defenders had failed to satisfy Constitutional requirements for “injury in fact” that would grant standing under the Endangered Species Act. He wrote that the Court rejected the view that the citizen suit provision of the statute conferred upon “all persons an abstract, self-contained, non-instrumental ‘right’ to have the Executive observe the procedures required by law." Rather, he explained, an American citizen plaintiff must have suffered a tangible and particular harm.
Justice Anthony Kennedy and Justice David Souter asserted in their concurring opinion that a plane ticket to the affected geographic areas with endangered species in question would have been enough to satisfy the imminent threat of future injury requirement.
DEAN MILK CO. V CITY OF MADISON
1951
DORMANT COMMERCE CLAUSE
The ordinance UNJUSTIFIABLY DISCRIMINATES against interstate commerce, in violation of the Commerce Clause of the Federal Constitution.

(Pasteurize Milk w/in City)

TEST
Cannot discriminate if even in the exercise of its unquestioned power to protect the health and safety of the people, if reasonable nondiscriminatory alternatives... are available
Dean Milk Co. v. City of Madison, Wisconsin, 340 U.S. 349 (1951), was a United States Supreme Court case dealing with the Dormant Commerce Clause.
The court held that a municipal ordinance requiring all milk sold in Madison to be pasteurized at an approved plant within 5 miles of the city, unconstitutionally discriminated against interstate commerce.
Illinois milk producer, Dean Milk, on appeal from a state court holding that found the municipal ordinance to be reasonable, charged that the true purpose of the ordinance was to protect local industries from competition from non-local producers.
In the court's opinion, Justice Clark said: "In thus erecting an economic barrier protecting a major local industry against competition from without the state, Madison plainly discriminates against interstate commerce. This it cannot do, even in the exercise of its unquestioned power to protect the health and safety of the people, if reasonable nondiscriminatory alternatives... are available".
The fact that in-state producers were also discriminated against was not found to be relevant to the fact that it discriminated against interstate commerce.
Justices Vinson, Reed, Frankfurter, Jackson, and Burton concurred.
Justices Black, Douglas and Minton dissented on the grounds that any imposition on commerce is minor compared to the city's need to insure their milk is healthy without burdening their inspectors.
COOLEY V BOARD OF WARDENS
1852
DORMANT COMMERCE CLAUSE
Commerce Power extends to laws related to pilotage. States' laws related to commerce powers can be valid so long as Congress is silent on the matter.

(Hire local pilots in PA)

Discriminatory legislation must be NECESSARY to achieve an IMPORTANT state interest
Cooley v. Board of Wardens, 53 U.S. 299 (1852),[1] was a case in which the United States Supreme Court held that a Pennsylvania law requiring all ships entering or leaving Philadelphia to hire a local pilot did not violate the Commerce Clause of the Constitution. Those who did not comply with the law had been required to pay a fee. "It is the opinion of a majority of the court that the mere grant to Congress of the power to regulate commerce, did not deprive the States of power to regulate pilots, and that although Congress had legislated on this subject, its legislation manifests an intention, with a single exception, not to regulate this subject, but to leave its regulation to the several states," wrote Justice Curtis for the majority.
Must be NECESSARY to achieve an IMPORTANT state interest
KASSEL V CONSOLIDATED FREIGHTWAYS CORP
1981
DORMANT COMMERCE CLAUSE
Iowa's truck-length limitation violated the Dormant Commerce Clause.

(Truck Length in Iowa)
An Iowa statute restricted most truck combinations to 55 feet in length. The statute did provide for some exceptions: doubles, mobile homes, and trucks which carried livestock or certain types of farm equipment were permitted to be 60 feet, and cities which abutted the state line were permitted to adopt the length limitations of the adjacent State. Deliverers of trucks or oversized mobile homes were required by law to obtain a permit before shipping the items into or out of the state.
Plaintiff Consolidated Freightways Corporation sued Raymond Kassel, director of the Iowa Department of Transportation, Iowa governor Robert Ray, and number of other state transportation officials in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Iowa, alleging that Iowa's statutory scheme unconstitutionally burdens interstate commerce. Iowa defended the statute as a reasonable safety measure enacted pursuant to its police power, asserting that 65-foot double tractor-trailers are more dangerous than 55-foot singles, and that the law would improve safety and reduce the number of highway accidents by diverting truck traffic outside the state.
The District Court made the factual finding that 65-foot doubles were just as safe as 60-foot doubles and 55-foot semi-trailers. It then determined that the state law impermissibly burdened interstate commerce, holding that the relatively slight benefit of the law in improving safety and reducing casualties was outweighed by the federal interest in promoting commerce between the States. The United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit affirmed, noting that the only apparent safety benefit to Iowa was that resulting from forcing large trucks to detour around the State, thereby reducing overall truck traffic on Iowa's highways. The Court of Appeals noted that this was not a constitutionally permissible interest. It also commented that the several statutory exemptions identified above, such as those applicable to border cities and the shipment of livestock, suggested that the law in effect benefited Iowa residents at the expense of interstate traffic.

Justice Powell wrote the plurality opinion, in which Justices White, Blackmun, and Stevens joined. He analogized the case to Raymond Motor Transportation, Inc. v. Rice, 434 U.S. 429 (1978), which concerned a similar law in the State of Wisconsin. In Rice, the Court used a balancing test which compares the nature of the State’s regulatory concern with the extent of the burden to interstate commerce. Powell found this law to be a great burden on interstate commerce with only an “illusory” safety interest.
Powell reexamined the evidence on the record and determined that the State failed to meet its burden of proof to show that there was any statistically significant difference in safety between the 55-foot and 65-foot trucks. Moreover, the statute could potentially create more accidents, by forcing shippers to use more small trucks to carry the same quantity of goods, or force truck traffic to bypass the State of Iowa, shifting traffic (and a higher incidence of accidents) to adjacent states. Powell further rejected the State’s contention that deference to the state legislature was in order, because the statute created such a burden to out-of-state residents, and the legislative history of the “border-cities” exemption suggested that Iowa’s real purpose in enacting this law was to discriminate against out-of-state businesses.
Pacific Gas & Elec. Co. v. State Energy Resources Conservation and Development Comm'n
PREEMPTION & RIPENESS
States are not preempted by the Atomic Energy Act of 1954 from enacting a moratorium on new nuclear generating plants until the federal government has approved and there exists a means for the disposal of high-level radiological waste.

(MORATORIUM ON NEW NUCLEAR PLANTS)
The issue of nuclear waste The radioactive waste fuel in a nuclear reactor must be periodically removed. Because nuclear power plant operators originally assumed that the fuel would be reprocessed, storage pools made to hold it were relatively limited in capacity and design. Over time, however, it became clear that, for whatever reason, the fuel would not be reprocessed. This resulted in large stores of radioactive waste. As a result, as Justice White noted, that "problems of how and whereto store nuclear wastes [have] engendered considerable scientific, political,and public debate."
California statute: Responding to these concerns, California in 1974 enacted the Warren-Alquist State Energy Resources Conservation and Development Act, Cal. Pub. Res. Code §§ 25000 et seq. Under the act, which was amended in 1976 to add new regulations, operators of nuclear and certain other power plants had to apply for certification by the new State Energy Resources Conservation and Development Commission, or "Energy Commission" for short. Two sections in particular became the subject of dispute:
Section 25524.1(b) provided that the Energy Commission had the authority to determine, prior to the building of a new nuclear power plant, that there would be adequate storage space for the spent fuel rods "at the time such nuclear facility requires such storage."
Section 25524.2 addressed long-term concerns arising from nuclear wastes by placing a moratorium, or stoppage, on the certification of new plants until the Energy Commission "finds that there has been developed and that the United States through its authorized agency has approved and there exists a demonstrated technology or means for the disposal of high-level nuclear waste."
Dispute: Two California public utilities, Pacific Gas and Electric and San Diego Gas & Electric Companies, filed an action in federal district court seeking a declaratory judgment that these two provisions of the Warren-Alquist act (as well as various others) were invalid under the Supremacy Clause of the United States Constitution because they were preempted by (conflicted with) the Atomic Energy Act. The federal district court agreed.
Appeal: The Ninth Circuit held:
Petitioners had standing to challenge the statute (upholding the district court),
25524.1(b), regarding spent fuel storage, was not ripe for review (overturning the district court). The reason given for this was that "we cannot know whether the Energy Commission will ever find a nuclear plant's storage capacity to be inadequate."
25524.2, creating the moratorium, was not preempted (overturning the district court), because sections 271 and 274(k) of the Atomic Energy Act authorized the states to regulate nuclear power plants "for purposes other than protection against radiation hazards," and that is what this section did: it dealt with economic aspects of the nuclear fuel cycle, and was not designed to provide protection against radiation hazards.
Explanation of case's title: The Supreme Court granted certiorari to this case. The Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit had also consolidated another federal district court case, Pacific Legal Foundation v. State Energy Resources Conservation and Development Commission,[2] which challenged other portions of the California statute into the Pacific Gas case. Although this second district court case gave the appellate court decision its name, the Supreme Court denied certiorari on that case's portion of the appellate decision.

Preemption
The court briefly set out the legal framework for preemption.
[show]
Excerpt
The court then concluded that 25524.2 was not preempted by the Atomic Energy Act. The court responded to each of petitioner's three arguments.
[show]
Excerpt
Response to first argument. From the time the federal act was passed in 1954 until the present, White explained, Congress had maintained a system of dual regulation over nuclear plants: the federal government held control over safety issues, whereas the states exercised "their traditional authority over economic questions such as the need for additional generating capacity, the type of generating facilities to be licensed, land use, and ratemaking." The Court held that 25524.2 was directed toward economics, rather than safety, in its purpose and thus was fully within California's authority.
Response to second argument.
Excerpt (response to second argument)[show]
Nor did 25524.2 in any way conflict with national policy, even with a decision by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) to allow continued licensing of reactors despite concerns regarding waste disposal. Again, the NRC's authority, as that of a federal nuclear regulatory agency, was in the realm of safety, leaving states to make economic determinations regarding nuclear power. White wrote, :And as there is no attempt on California's part to enter the field of developing and licensing nuclear waste disposal technology, a field occupied by the Federal Government, 25524.2 is not preempted any more by the NRC's obligations in the waste disposal field than by its licensing power over the plants themselves. Furthermore, the Nuclear Waste Policy Act, enacted into law by Congress in 1982, did not appear to have been passed with the intention of superseding states' decision-making power with regard to waste disposal and the opening of new plants.
Response to third argument Finally, section 25524.2 did not in any way operate at cross-purposes to the aim embodied in the Atomic Energy Act of developing commercial uses for nuclear power. As the court of appeals had observed, Justice White wrote, "Promotion of nuclear power is not to be accomplished `at all costs.'" Instead, Congress had given the states authority to decide whether to build a nuclear plant or one using traditional fuel sources. "California's decision to exercise that authority does not, in itself, constitute a basis for preemption."

The Court affirmed in a unanimous decision.
[edit]Ripeness
First, Justice White affirmed the appellate court's reasoning that Section 25524.1(b) (California's provision regarding spent fuel storage) was not ripe for review, while Section 25524.2 was ripe.
[show]
Excerpt
Regarding Section 25524.1(b), White wrote that "a court should not stretch to reach an early, and perhaps a premature, decision regarding [it]." Section 25524.2 was ripe, for if power plants went ahead with their operations without knowing whether the moratorium imposed by the statute was valid, this "would impose a palpable and considerable hardship on the utilities, and may ultimately work harm on the citizens of California."
COMPLETE AUTO TRANSIT V BRADY
COMMERCE CLAUSE
A privilege tax, when used in conjunction with the "four-prong" test, does not discourage interstate commerce

(Complete Auto Tax in MS)

The ruling issued that Complete Auto established a "four-prong" test for constitutionality of a tax under the Commerce Clause:

1. Substantial nexus
2. Nondiscrimination
3. Fair apportionment
4. Fair relationship
Complete Auto was an auto transporter involved in moving General Motors vehicles from the railhead at Jackson, Mississippi to dealerships in Mississippi.
The Mississippi State Tax Commission levied a tax upon Complete Auto "for the privilege of engaging or continuing in business or doing business"[1] in the state of Mississippi. The Court refers to the tax as a "sales tax"; however, it was a "transaction privilege" or gross receipts tax based on Complete Auto's gross receipts.
[edit]Arguments

Complete Auto argued against the constitutionality of tax, stating that they were part of an interstate operation, involved in transporting vehicles from the factories in Michigan to the dealers in Mississippi.[2] According to Complete Auto, taxation on interstate operations not only discourages interstate commerce but also is a violation of the Commerce Clause.

The Supreme Court ruled in favor of Mississippi. The ruling issued that Complete Auto established a "four-prong" test for constitutionality of a tax under the Commerce Clause:
1. Substantial nexus - connection between a state and a potential taxpayer clear enough to impose a tax.
2. Nondiscrimination - interstate and intrastate taxes should not favor one over the other.
3. Fair apportionment - taxation of only the apportionment of activity that transpires within the taxing jurisdiction.
4. Fair relationship to services provided by the state - company enjoys services such as police protection while in a state.
Youngstown Sheet & Tube Co. v. Sawyer
The Steel Seizure Case, was a United States Supreme Court decision that limited the power of the President of the United States to seize private property in the absence of either specifically enumerated authority under Article Two of the United States Constitution or statutory authority conferred on him by Congress.

(Steel Companies - Seizure of Properties)
HOLDING
The President did not have the inherent authority to seize private property in the absence of either specifically enumerated authority under Article Two of the Constitution or statutory authority conferred on him by Congress.

Jackson's Concurrence
Establish 3 areas of Executive Power
1. MAXIMUM - Express or Implied by congress
2. ZONE OF TWILIGHT - Absence of either congressional grant or denial of authority. Can act on own independent powers. Congress is silent on issue
3. Low Ebb - Act incompatible with express of implied will of congress
INS v. Chadha
a United States Supreme Court case ruling in 1983 that the one-house legislative veto violated the constitutional separation of powers
Clinton Vs New York
SEPARATION OF POWERS
Case which determined the unconstitutionality of "Line Item Veto"
Also known for its impact on the NONDELEGATION clause
Clinton vs Jones
landmark United States Supreme Court case establishing that a sitting President of the United States has no immunity from civil law litigation against him, for acts done before taking office and unrelated to the office.

(Presidential Immunity from Civil Law)
Saenz v. Roe
(1999)
case in which the Supreme Court of the United States discussed whether there is a constitutional right to travel from one state to another.

(Right to Travel & Welfare Benefits from other State)
§11450.03 unconstitutionally discriminated against new residents of California, in contravention of their right to travel.
In 1997 the two plaintiffs in this case sued in the same court as the prior litigants, this time challenging both the California statute and the PRWORA's durational residency provision. The district court judge, David F. Levi (now Dean of Duke Law School), certified the case as a class action and issued a preliminary injunction. While the state argued that the statute was a legitimate use of its police powers (because it was largely a budgetary measure), Judge Levi still found for the plaintiffs and enjoined enforcement of the statute, on the grounds that it discriminated between newcomers to the state and long-time residents. The United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit affirmed.

Justice Stevens writing for the majority determined:

1.The right to enter one state and leave another;
2.The right to be treated as a welcome visitor rather than a hostile stranger;
3.For those who want to become permanent residents, the right to be treated equally to native-born citizens.
Duncan v. Louisiana
(1968)
United States Supreme Court decision which incorporated the Sixth Amendment right to a jury trial and applied it to the states.

(Black man slaps white man wants a jury trial)
Issue: Do the Sixth and Fourteenth Amendments guarantee the right to jury trial in state prosecutions where sentences as long as two years may be imposed?

By a 7-2 majority the Supreme Court ruled in favor of Duncan, arguing that the right to a jury trial in criminal cases was fundamental and central to the American conception of justice. As such the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment requires states to honor requests for jury trials. The Court maintained the common-law exception for "petty crimes", which are defined as those punishable by a maximum of a $500 fine and six months in prison. In such cases, states are not obligated to provide jury trials.

In October, 1966, Gary Duncan, a 19-year old African-American, was driving down a Louisiana highway when he noticed his two cousins with a group of white youths on the side of the road. He became concerned because his cousins had reported occurrences of “racial incidents” at the recently de-segregated school. He pulled over the car, stepped out, and asked his cousins to get in the car. The white youths testified that Duncan slapped one of them at this point, while Duncan and his cousins denied it. Duncan was arrested and ultimately charged with simple battery. As it is punishable by no more than two years, simple battery is a misdemeanor under Louisiana law and therefore not subject to trial by jury. Duncan was convicted and received a 60 day prison sentence and a fine of $150. He appealed on the grounds that the state had violated the Sixth and Fourteenth Amendments guaranteeing his right to a jury trial. The Court accepted the case under its appellate jurisdiction from the Louisiana State Supreme Court.
Lochner v. New York
(1905)
United States Supreme Court case that held a "LIBERTY OF CONTRACT" was implicit in the DUE PROCESS CLAUSE of the 14TH Amendment.

(BAKER'S HOURS)

State of NY sought to set 10 hr per day or 60 hr/wk restrictions on work that baker's could work arguing the states right of police power to protect the safety of their residents.
By a 5–4 vote, the Supreme Court rejected the argument that the law was necessary to protect the health of bakers, deciding it was a labor law attempting to regulate the terms of employment, and calling it an "unreasonable, unnecessary and arbitrary interference with the right and liberty of the individual to contract."

In 1934 the Supreme Court decided Nebbia v. New York stating that there is no constitutionally protected fundamental right to freedom of contract

Another dissenting opinion was penned by Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.. Although only three paragraphs long, Holmes' dissent is well-remembered and often quoted. Holmes accused the majority of judicial activism, pointedly claiming that the case was "decided upon an economic theory which a large part of the country does not entertain." He attacked the idea that the Fourteenth Amendment enshrined the liberty of contract, citing laws against Sunday trading and usury as "ancient examples" to the contrary. He added, "Some of these laws embody convictions or prejudices which judges are likely to share. Some may not. But a constitution is not intended to embody a particular economic theory."
Nebbia v. New York
(1934)
a case in which the Supreme Court of the United States upheld state of New York's could regulation (set and/or otherwise control) the price of milk for dairy farmers, dealers, and retailers.

(9 Cents Milk in NY)

RATIONAL BASIS TEST - Rationale relationship to a legitimate end

HOLDING
In absence of other constitutional prohibitions, the due process clause does not prohibit a state from enacting economic policies to further the public good, so long as the policy is not unreasonable or arbitrary.
Leo Nebbia, the owner of a grocery store, sold two quarts of milk and a 5-cent loaf of bread for 18 cents. Nebbia was found guilty of violating the price regulations, and was fined five dollars. Nebbia challenged the conviction, arguing that the statute and order violated the Equal Protection Clause and Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.
Justice Owen J Roberts delivered the majority opinion
He noted that although use of property and making of contracts are typically private matters and thus remain free of government interference, “neither property rights nor contract rights are absolute”,[5] adding that occasional regulation of these by the state is requisite for proper government function, especially in instances where such regulation is used to promote general welfare. Neither the Fifth nor the Fourteenth Amendments prohibit governmental regulation for the public welfare; instead, they only direct the process by which such regulation occurs. As the Court has held in the past, such due process “demands only that the law shall not be unreasonable, arbitrary, or capricious, and that the means selected shall have a real and substantial relation to the object sought to be attained.”[6]
Roberts noted also that the New York milk industry had long been the subject of public interest regulation. He indicated that because the legislative investigation that resulted in the establishment of the Milk Control Board was well aware of the insufficiency of regular laws of supply and demand to correct the issues with milk prices, “the order appears not to be unreasonable or arbitrary.”[7]
Addressing the due process challenge further, Roberts wrote that in absence of other constitutional restrictions, a state may adopt an economic policy that can reasonably be said to promote public welfare, and enforce such policy by appropriate legislation. Courts, however, have no authority to create such policy or to strike it down when it has been properly enacted by the legislature, adding “With the wisdom of the policy adopted, with the adequacy or practicability of the law enacted to forward it, the courts are both incompetent and unauthorized to deal.”[8]
He concluded that the majority found no basis in the Due Process Clause to strike down the challenged provisions of the Agriculture and Markets law.

The Dissent
Justice James C. McReynolds dissented from the majority opinion. His dissent was joined by Justice Willis Van Devanter, Justice George Sutherland, and Justice Pierce Butler. These four Justices became nicknamed the Four Horsemen for their rejection of New Deal regulation.
McReynolds provided a lengthy discussion of the history and application of the Due Process Clause and the legislative findings that led to the creation of the Milk Control Board. He ultimately concluded that although “regulation to prevent recognized evils in business has long been upheld as permissible legislative action…fixation of the price at which A, engaged in an ordinary business, may sell, in order to enable B, a producer, to improve his condition, has not been regarded as within legislative power,” adding “This is not regulation, but management, control, dictation.
GRISWOLD V CONNECTICUT
landmark case in which the Supreme Court of the United States ruled that the Constitution protected a right to privacy.

(Ban on Contraception)
Estelle Griswold (Executive Director of the Planned Parenthood League of Connecticut) and Dr. C. Lee Buxton (a physician and professor at the Yale School of Medicine) opened a birth control clinic in New Haven, Connecticut, in order to test the contraception law once again. Shortly after the clinic was opened, Griswold and Buxton were arrested, tried, found guilty, and fined $100 each. The conviction was upheld by the Appellate Division of the Circuit Court, and by the Connecticut Supreme Court. Griswold then appealed her conviction to the Supreme Court of the United States. Griswold argued that the Connecticut statute against the use of contraceptives was countered by the 14th Amendment, which states, "no state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law...nor deny any person the equal protection of the laws," (Amendment 14 Section 1). The U.S. Supreme Court concluded that the Connecticut Statute was unconstitutional.
ROE V WADE
landmark decision by the United States Supreme Court on the issue of abortion based upon a right to PRIVACY under the DUE PROCESS CLAUSE of the 14th Amendment.

(ABORTION)
Decided simultaneously with companion case Doe v. Bolton, the Court ruled that a right to privacy under the due process clause in the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution extends to a woman's decision to have an abortion, but that right must be balanced against the state's two legitimate interests for regulating abortions: protecting prenatal life and protecting the woman's health. Saying that these state interests become stronger over the course of a pregnancy, the Court resolved this balancing test by tying state regulation of abortion to the woman's current trimester of pregnancy.
SHAW v RENO
Holding
Redistricting based on race must be held to a standard of strict scrutiny under the equal protection clause while bodies doing redistricting must be conscious of race to the extent that they must ensure compliance with the Voting Rights Act.
The case involved the redistricting of North Carolina after the 1990 census. North Carolina submitted to the Department of Justice a map with one majority-minority black district—that is, a district with a black majority. The Department of Justice felt that the state could have drawn another such majority-minority district to improve representation of black voters. The state revised its map, but the new plan included a single district that was 160 miles (260 km) long, winding through the state to connect various areas having in common only a large black population.
GRUTTER V BOLINGER
(2003)
University of Michigan Law School admissions program that gave special consideration for being a certain racial minority did not violate the Fourteenth Amendment.

Established "Critical Mass" theory to support Cultural Diversity in Education
Univ. of Michigan Law School denied admission to petitioner Grutter, a female Michigan resident, she filed suit alleging that respondents had discriminated against her on the basis of race in violation of the Fourteenth Amendment, Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and 42 U.S.C. § 1981; and was rejected because the Law School uses race as a "predominant" factor, giving applicants belonging to certain minority groups a significantly greater chance of admission than students with similar credentials from disfavored racial groups; and that respondents had no compelling interest to justify that use of race.
WASHINGTON v DAVIS
HOLDING
Racial discrimination by the state must contain two elements:
1. a racially disproportionate IMPACT and
2. DISCRIMINATORY MOTIVATION on the part of the state actor.
Two African Americans had applied for positions in the Washington, DC police department, and sued after being turned down. They claimed that the department used racially discriminatory hiring procedures, by implementing a test of verbal skills ), which was failed disproportionately by African Americans.
BROWN v BOARD OF EDUCATION
(1951)
Segregation of students in public schools violates the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, because separate facilities are inherently unequal. District Court of Kansas reversed.
A class action suit was filed against the Board of Education of the City of Topeka, Kansas in the United States District Court for the District of Kansas. The plaintiffs were thirteen Topeka parents on behalf of their twenty children. The suit called for the school district to reverse its policy of racial segregation.

Reversed Plessy v Ferguson
UNITED STATES v VIRGINIA
Commonwealth of Virginia's exclusion of women from the Virginia Military Institute violated Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.
Involved Virgina Military' Institute from excluding women from admission. Turned down the idea of having a separate women's program because it would be inherently unequal.
Sweatt V Painter
The Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment requires that petitioner be admitted to the University of Texas Law School.
Sweatt v. Painter, 339 U.S. 629 (1950), was a U.S. Supreme Court case that successfully proved lack of equality, in favor of a black applicant, the "separate but equal" doctrine of racial segregation established by the 1896 case Plessy v. Ferguson.

Black man sought admission to University of Texas' law program. In responce they created Texas Southern University School of Law (Later became Thurgood Marshall School of Law). Case proved that the separate institutions were not equal and thus violated the EPC clause of the 14th Amendment
ROMER v EVANS
An amendment to the Colorado Constitution that prevents protected status under the law for homosexuals or bisexuals was struck down because it was not rationally related to a legitimate state interest. Supreme Court of Colorado affirmed.
An amendment to the Colorado Constitution that prevents protected status under the law for homosexuals or bisexuals was struck down because it was not rationally related to a legitimate state interest. Supreme Court of Colorado affirmed.
HARPER v VIRGINIA BOARD OF ELECTIONS
A State's conditioning of the right to vote on the payment of a fee or tax violates the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.
Harper v. Virginia Board of Elections, 383 U.S. 663 (1966), was a case in which the U.S. Supreme Court found that Virginia's poll tax was unconstitutional under the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment. The Twenty-fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution prohibited poll taxes in federal elections; the Supreme Court extended this prohibition to state elections.
SAN ANTONIO INDEPENDENT SCHOOL DISTRICT v RODRIGUEZ
Reliance on property taxes to fund public schools does not violate the Equal Protection Clause even if it causes inter-district expenditure disparities. Absolute equality of education funding is not required and a state system that encourages local control over schools bears a rational relationship to a legitimate state interest. District Court of Texas reversed.
Suit brought against school district for disparities in school districts of wealthy v poor. Unsuccessful attempt at make the poor a suspect class and thus strict scrutiny applies rather than the rationale basis test.
WICKARD v FILBURN
Production quotas under the Agricultural Adjustment Act were constitutionally applied to agricultural production that was consumed purely intrastate, because its effect upon interstate commerce placed it within the power of Congress to regulate under the Commerce Clause. Southern District of Ohio reversed.
Filburn, a Farmer planted wheat in excess of the established quotas claiming the excess wheat was for home consumption and thus would never enter in to commerce. Court ruled that the home consumption would reduce the amount of wheat purchased and though trivial could have a substantial aggregate affect. SC upheld the quotas.
BALDWIN v FISH AND GAME COMMISSION OF MONTANA
Recreational hunting is not a fundamental right and therefore is not within the purview of privileges and immunities clause. The Montana statutory does not violate the equal protection clause.
Law charging out of staters higher fees to hunt elk found fair because it did not violate the privileges and immunities clause because the activity was recreational in nature.
PIKE v BRUCE CHURCH INC
(1970)
The burden placed on interstate commerce by Arizona's law is unconstitutional because Arizona's interest in identifying the origin of cantaloupes is outweighed by the heavy cost of building and operating a packing plant in Arizona

DORMANT COMMERCE CLAUSE
AZ passed a state law which mandated that cantaloupes produces in AZ must be labeled as coming from AZ and packed in AZ which caused a significant financial hardship on Bruce Church Inc, an AZ Cantaloupe producer.

Court used balancing test based upon impact of legislation in state vs impact on interstate commerce
Barron v Baltimore
State governments are not bound by the Fifth Amendment's requirement for just compensation in cases of eminent domain

Overruled w/ Due Process Clause of 14th Amendment

Selective Incorporation - Bill of Rights applies to states
John Barron co-owned a profitable wharf in the Baltimore harbor. He sued the mayor of Baltimore for damages, claiming that when the city had diverted the flow of streams while engaging in street construction, it had created mounds of sand and earth near his wharf making the water too shallow for most vessels. The trial court awarded Barron damages of $4,500, but the appellate court reversed the ruling.
The Supreme Court decided that the Bill of Rights, specifically the Fifth Amendment's guarantee that government takings of private property for public use require just compensation, are restrictions on the federal government alone. Writing for a unanimous court, Chief Justice John Marshall held that the first ten "amendments contain no expression indicating an intention to apply them to the State governments. This court cannot so apply them."
Slaughterhouse Cases
Privileges and immunities of citizenship of the United States were to be protected by the Fourteenth Amendment not privileges and immunities of citizenship of a state.
NEW YORK TIMES CO V SULLIVAN
(1964)
The First Amendment, as applied through the Fourteenth, protected a newspaper from being sued for libel in state court for making false defamatory statements about the official conduct of a public official, because the statements were not made with knowing or reckless disregard for the truth. Supreme Court of Alabama reversed and remanded.
Actual malice
The Court held that a public official suing for defamation must prove that the statement in question was made with actual malice, which in this context refers to knowledge or reckless lack of investigation, rather than the ordinary meaning of malicious intent. In his concurring opinion, Justice Black explained that "'[m]alice,' even as defined by the Court, is an elusive, abstract concept, hard to prove and hard to disprove. The requirement that malice be proved provides at best an evanescent protection for the right critically to discuss public affairs and certainly does not measure up to the sturdy safeguard embodied in the First Amendment."
The term "malice" was not newly invented for the case, but came from existing libel law. In many jurisdictions, including Alabama (where the case arose), proof of "actual malice" (actual knowledge of falsity, or reckless disregard for the truth) was required in order for punitive damages to be awarded, or for other increased penalties. Since proof of the writer's malicious intentions is hard to provide, proof that the writer knowingly published a falsehood was generally accepted as proof of malice, under the assumption that only a malicious person would knowingly publish a falsehood. In Hoeppner v. Dunkirk Printing Co., 254 N.Y. 95 (1930), similarly, the court said: "The plaintiff alleges that this criticism of him and of his work was not fair and was not honest; it was published with actual malice, ill will and spite. If he establishes this allegation, he has made out a cause of action. No comment or criticism, otherwise libelous, is fair or just comment on a matter of public interest if it be made through actual ill will and malice." (p. 106)
In New York Times Co. v. Sullivan, the Supreme Court adopted the term "actual malice" and gave it constitutional significance, at the same time defining it in terms of the proof which had previously been usual.
VIRGINIA V BLACK
(2003)
Virginia's statute against cross burning is unconstitutional because it places the burden of proof on the defendant to demonstrate that he or she did not intend the cross burning as intimidation.
In Virginia v. Black the Court found that Virginia's statute against cross burning is unconstitutional, but cross burning done with an attempt to intimidate can be limited because such expression has a long and pernicious history as a signal of impending violence. Justice Sandra Day O'Connor delivered the opinion stating, "a state, consistent with the First Amendment, may ban cross burning carried out with the attempt to intimidate." In so doing, the Court created a new area of constitutionally unprotected speech for "true threats." Under that carve-out, "a State may choose to prohibit only those forms of intimidation that are most likely to inspire fear of bodily harm."
The Court did, however, strike down the provision in Virginia's statute which stated "Any such burning of a cross shall be prima facie evidence of an intent to intimidate a person or group of persons," holding that the provision was facially unconstitutional because of its "indiscriminate coverage." The state, therefore, must prove intent to intimidate.
MILLER V CALIFORNIA
(1973)
Obscene materials are defined as those that the average person, applying contemporary community standards, find, taken as a whole, appeal to the prurient interest; that depict or describe, in a patently offensive way, sexual conduct specifically defined by applicable state law; and that, taken as a whole, lack serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value.

Established the MILLER TEST
However, the Court acknowledged "the inherent dangers of undertaking to regulate any form of expression," and said that "State statutes designed to regulate obscene materials must be carefully limited."[3] The Court, in an attempt to set such limits devised a set of three criteria which must be met in order for a work to be legitimately subject to state regulation:
whether the average person, applying contemporary community standards (not national standards, as some prior tests required), would find that the work, taken as a whole, appeals to the prurient interest;
whether the work depicts or describes, in a patently offensive way, sexual conduct or excretory functions[4] specifically defined by applicable state law; and
"whether the work, taken as a whole, lacks serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value."
MILLER TEST
The Miller test was developed in the 1973 case Miller v. California.[2] It has three parts:

Whether "the average person, applying contemporary community standards", would find that the work, taken as a whole, appeals to the prurient interest,
Whether the work depicts/describes, in a patently offensive way, sexual conduct specifically defined by applicable state law,
Whether the work, taken as a whole, lacks serious literary, artistic, political or scientific value.
The work is considered obscene only if all three conditions are satisfied.
FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION V PACIFICA FOUNDATION
Because of the pervasive nature of broadcasting, it has less First Amendment protection than other forms of communication. The F.C.C. was justified in concluding that Carlin's "Filthy Words" broadcast, though not obscene, was indecent, and subject to restriction.
The U.S. Supreme Court upheld the FCC action in 1978, by a vote of 5 to 4, ruling that the routine was "indecent but not obscene". The Court accepted as compelling the government's interests in 1) shielding children from patently offensive material, and 2) ensuring that unwanted speech does not enter one's home. The Court stated that the FCC had the authority to prohibit such broadcasts during hours when children were likely to be among the audience, and gave the FCC broad leeway to determine what constituted indecency in different contexts.
Red Lion Broadcasting Co. v. Federal Communications Commission
The First Amendment permits a federal agency to formulate rules to allow persons defamed or potentially defamed access to equal time to respond and a fairness standard for editorial speech by broadcast radio stations. Seventh Circuit reversed
Red Lion Broadcasting Co. v. Federal Communications Commission, 395 U.S. 367 (1969), established the doctrine that broadcast television stations (and by logical extension, radio stations) are full First Amendment speakers whose editorial speech could not be regulated absent good reason. However, because they were granted government licenses on a scarce radio spectrum, they could be regulated to preserve openness in covering news by the FCC.
The FCC by administrative rulemaking had a requirement that discussion of public issues be presented on broadcast stations, and that each side of those issues must be given fair coverage. 395 U.S. 367, 369. As a result the FCC added an "equal time rule" and a "response to personal attack" rule. Red Lion Broadcasting Co. challenged these rules as unconstitutionally infringing on the speech of the station's editorial judgment. Justice Byron White, writing for the majority explained, the FCC has included among the conditions of the Red Lion license itself the requirement that operation of the station be carried out in the public interest. Id. at 380.
Gibson v. Florida Legislative Investigation Committee
On the record in this case, petitioner's conviction of contempt for refusal to divulge information contained in the membership lists of the Association violated rights of association protected by the First and Fourteenth Amendments.
Gibson v. Florida Legislative Investigation Committee, 372 U.S. 539 (1963), was a United States Supreme Court case based on the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. It held that legislative committee cannot compel a subpoenaed witness to give up the membership lists of his organization
National Association for the Advancement of Colored People v. Alabama
The Court decided in favor of the petitioners, holding that "Immunity from state scrutiny of petitioner's membership lists is here so related to the right of petitioner's members to pursue their lawful private interests privately and to associate freely with others in doing so as to come within the protection of the Fourteenth Amendment" and, further, that freedom to associate with organizations dedicated to the "advancement of beliefs and ideas" is an inseparable part of the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.
National Association for the Advancement of Colored People v. Alabama, 357 U.S. 449 (1958), was an important civil rights case brought before the United States Supreme Court.
Alabama sought to prevent the NAACP from conducting further business in the state. After the circuit court issued a restraining order, the state issued a subpoena for various records, including the NAACP's membership lists. The Supreme Court ruled that Alabama's demand for the lists had violated the right of due process guaranteed by the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution.
NAACP v. Patterson
Ex Rel NAACP v Alabama
Shelton v. Tucker Carr
The unlimited and indiscriminate sweep of the statute now before us brings it within the ban of our prior cases. The statute's comprehensive interference with associational freedom goes far beyond what might be justified in the exercise of the State's legitimate inquiry into the fitness and competency of its teachers. The judgments in both cases must be reversed
Arkansas statutes forces teachers of school district to submit a list of all of their association as stipulation of employment. School teacher refuses and sues. 1st v 10th amendment issue
NAACP v. Button
Virginia laws on barratry, champerty, and maintenance violate the 1st and 14th Amendments
On September 29, 1956, the Virginia General Assembly enacted five statutes regulating the practices of barratry, champerty, and maintenance.[1] Barratry is the "stirring up" of litigation by inducing individuals or organizations to sue when they otherwise would not.[2] Champerty occurs when a third party (not the plaintiff nor their legal counsel) assumes the risks and financial costs of a lawsuit in return for a portion of the monetary award.[2] Maintenance occurs when a third party supports or promotes a litigant's suit in such a way as to prolong litigation when the parties would otherwise have brought an end to litigation or settled the suit.[2] The bills were specifically aimed at curbing the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) in Virginia, which many racial segregationists believed was responsible for "stirring up" integrationist lawsuits against the state.[3] The bills also collectively required any group which promotes or opposes state legislation aimed at (1) any race, (2) any organization attempting to influence public opinion on behalf of any race, or (3) any group raising funds to employ legal counsel in connection with racial litigation to file a financial report and membership list annually with state..[3]
West Virginia State Board of Education v. Barnette
On September 29, 1956, the Virginia General Assembly enacted five statutes regulating the practices of barratry, champerty, and maintenance.[1] Barratry is the "stirring up" of litigation by inducing individuals or organizations to sue when they otherwise would not.[2] Champerty occurs when a third party (not the plaintiff nor their legal counsel) assumes the risks and financial costs of a lawsuit in return for a portion of the monetary award.[2] Maintenance occurs when a third party supports or promotes a litigant's suit in such a way as to prolong litigation when the parties would otherwise have brought an end to litigation or settled the suit.[2] The bills were specifically aimed at curbing the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) in Virginia, which many racial segregationists believed was responsible for "stirring up" integrationist lawsuits against the state.[3] The bills also collectively required any group which promotes or opposes state legislation aimed at (1) any race, (2) any organization attempting to influence public opinion on behalf of any race, or (3) any group raising funds to employ legal counsel in connection with racial litigation to file a financial report and membership list annually with state..[3]
West Virginia State Board of Education v. Barnette, 319 U.S. 624 (1943), is a decision by the Supreme Court of the United States that held that the Free Speech Clause of the First Amendment to the United States Constitution protected students from being forced to salute the American flag and say the Pledge of Allegiance in school.
It was a significant court victory won by Jehovah's Witnesses, whose religion forbade them from saluting or pledging to symbols, including symbols of political institutions. However, the Court did not address the effect the compelled salutation and recital ruling had upon their particular religious beliefs, but instead ruled that the state did not have the power to compel speech in that manner for anyone.
Barnette overruled a 1940 decision on the same issue, Minersville School District v. Gobitis (also involving the children of Jehovah's Witnesses), in which the Court stated that the proper recourse for dissent was to try to change the school policy democratically.
Wooley v. Maynard
New Hampshire could not constitutionally require citizens to display a state motto that went against an individual's morality upon their vehicle license plates.
Background

Since 1969 New Hampshire has required that noncommercial vehicles bear license plates embossed with the state motto, "Live Free or Die."[2] Another New Hampshire statute made it a misdemeanor "knowingly [to obscure] . . . the figures or letters on any number plate."[3] The term "letters" in this section had been interpreted by the State's highest court in State v. Hoskin to include the state motto.[4]
[edit]Facts of the case

George Maynard and his wife, followers of the Jehovah's Witnesses faith, viewed the motto as repugnant to their moral, religious, and political beliefs, and for this reason they covered up the motto on the license plates of their jointly owned family automobiles. On November 27, 1974, Maynard was issued a citation for violating the state statutes regarding obscuring of the state motto.
McIntyre v. Ohio Elections Commission
Held. Reversed.
Justice John Paul Stevens (J. Stevens) opined for the Court that the Ohio Code did not have a function integral to the election process, other than the regulation of speech. Mrs. McIntyre, in handing out her own leaflets was engaging in political expression, which is to be afforded First Amendment constitutional protection.
The Supreme Court also notes that the absence of Mrs. McIntyre’s name on her leaflets did not protect her from responsibility for their contents. Because the Election Committee held her responsible and fined Mrs. McIntyre, the anonymity was not at issue, but rather the act of distributing the speech itself.
Dissent. Justice Antonin Scalia (J. Scalia) dissented, arguing that anonymous electioneering was not necessarily a constitutional right.
Concurrence. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg (J. Ginsburg) concurred noting that the State’s interest in regulating the election process could justify an identification requirement in some circumstances, but not in this case. Justice Clarence Thomas (J. Thomas) also concurred, noting that during the time of the Framers, the freedom of the press encompassed the freedom to publish anonymously, without fear of repercussion
Dissent. Justice Antonin Scalia (J. Scalia) dissented, arguing that anonymous electioneering was not necessarily a constitutional right.
Concurrence. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg (J. Ginsburg) concurred noting that the State’s interest in regulating the election process could justify an identification requirement in some circumstances, but not in this case. Justice Clarence Thomas (J. Thomas) also concurred, noting that during the time of the Framers, the freedom of the press encompassed the freedom to publish anonymously, without fear of repercussion
Civil Rights Cases
The Equal Protection Clause applies only to state action, not segregation by privately owned businesses.
Facts

The decision itself involved five consolidated cases coming from different lower courts in which African-Americans had sued theaters, hotels and transit companies that had refused them admittance or excluded them from "white only" facilities.
[edit]Decision of the Court

The Court, in a decision by Justice Joseph P. Bradley, held that the language of the 14th Amendment, which prohibited denial of equal protection by a state, did not give Congress power to regulate these private acts. The Court also acknowledged that the 13th Amendment does apply to private actors, but only to the extent that it prohibits people from owning slaves, not exhibiting discriminatory behavior. The Court said that "it would be running the slavery argument into the ground to make it apply to every act of discrimination which a person may see fit to make as to guests he will entertain, or as to the people he will take into his coach or cab or car; or admit to his concert or theatre, or deal with in other matters of intercourse or business."
United States v. Morrison
The Violence Against Women Act of 1994, 42 U.S.C. § 13981, is unconstitutional as exceeding congressional power under the Commerce Clause and under section 5 of the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution.
Background

In 1994, the United States Congress passed the Violence Against Women Act, which contained a provision at 42 U.S.C. § 13981 for a federal civil remedy to victims of gender-based violence, even when no criminal charges were filed.
That fall, at Virginia Tech, freshman student Christy Brzonkala was allegedly assaulted and raped repeatedly by Antonio Morrison and James Crawford, members of the school's football team. During the school-conducted hearing on her complaint, Morrison admitted having sexual contact with her despite the fact that she had twice told him "no." College proceedings failed to punish Crawford, but initially punished Morrison with a suspension (punishment later struck down by the administration). A state grand jury did not find sufficient evidence to charge either man with a crime.[1] Brzonkala then filed suit under the Violence Against Women Act.
The United States District Court for the Western District of Virginia held that Congress lacked authority to enact 42 U.S.C. § 13981. A three-judge panel of the Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit reversed the decision 2-1. The Fourth Circuit reheard the case en banc and reversed the panel, upholding the district court.
[edit]Ruling

In a 5-4 decision, United States v. Morrison invalidated the section of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) of 1994 that gave victims of gender-motivated violence the right to sue their attackers in federal court, although program funding remains unaffected. Chief Justice Rehnquist, writing for the majority, held that Congress lacked authority, under either the Commerce Clause or the Fourteenth Amendment, to enact this section.
[edit]The Majority's Rationale

The Court majority ruled that VAWA exceeded congressional power under the Commerce Clause and the Equal Protection Clause.
Marsh v. Alabama
Holding
Constitutional protections of free speech under First and Fourteenth Amendments still applicable within the confines of a town owned by a private entity.
Background

The town of Chickasaw, Alabama was a company town near Mobile, Alabama which was owned and operated by the Gulf Shipbuilding Corporation ("Gulf"). Aside from the fact that it was owned by a private entity, the town exhibited the general characteristics of a more traditional settlement. The town's policeman was a deputy from the Mobile County Sheriff's Department who was paid by Gulf. The town was surrounded by a number of adjacent neighborhoods which were not located on Gulf property. The Court noted that the residents of these non-Gulf neighborhoods were freely allowed to use the company-owned streets and sidewalks to access the town's businesses and facilities.
[edit]Facts of the case

The appellant, Marsh, a Jehovah's Witness, stood near the post office one day, and began distributing religious literature. Marsh was warned that she needed a permit to do so, and that none would be issued to her. When she was asked to leave, she refused on the grounds that the company rule could not be constitutionally applied to her. The deputy sheriff arrested her and she was charged with the Alabama criminal code's trespassing equivalent.
During her trial, Marsh contended that the statute could not be constitutionally applied to her, as it would necessarily violate her rights under the First and Fourteenth amendments. This contention was rejected and Marsh was convicted. The Alabama Court of Appeals affirmed the conviction, holding that the statute as applied was constitutional because the title to the sidewalk was in the corporation's name and because the public use of the sidewalk had not been such as to give rise to a presumption under Alabama law of its irrevocable dedication to the public. The Alabama Supreme Court denied certiorari, and Marsh appealed her case directly to the United States Supreme Court.
Buckley v. Valeo
The Court upheld federal limits on campaign contributions and ruled that spending money to influence elections is a form of constitutionally protected free speech.
Facts

In 1974, over the veto of President Gerald R. Ford, the Congress passed significant amendments to the Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971, creating the first comprehensive effort by the federal government to regulate campaign contributions and spending. The key parts of the amended law did the following
limited contributions to candidates for federal office (2 USC §441a)
required the disclosure of political contributions (2 USC §434),
provided for the public financing of presidential elections (IRC Subtitle H),
limited expenditures by candidates and associated committees,
except for presidential candidates who accepted public funding (formerly 18 U.S.C. §608(c) (1)(C-F)),
limited independent expenditures to $1000 (formerly 18 U.S.C. §608e),
limited candidate expenditures from personal funds (formerly 18 U.S.C. §608a),
created and fixed the method of appointing members to the Federal Election Commission (FEC) (formerly 2 U.S.C. §437c(a) (1)(A-C)).
A lawsuit was filed in the District Court for the D.C., on January 2, 1975, by Senator James L. Buckley of New York, former Senator, 1968 presidential candidate Eugene McCarthy of Minnesota, and others. The suit was filed against Francis R. Valeo, the Secretary of the Senate and ex officio member of the FEC who represented the U.S. federal government. The court denied plaintiffs' request for declaratory and injunctive relief. Plaintiffs then appealed to the Court of Appeals.
The petitioners sought for the district court to overturn the key provisions outlined above. They argued that the legislation was in violation of the 1st and 5th Amendment rights to freedom of expression and due process, respectively.
Federal Election Commission v. Wisconsin Right to Life, Inc.
The Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act's restriction on issue ads in the months preceding elections is unconstitutional.
Background

In 2002, the Congress passed the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act ("McCain-Feingold" or "BCRA"), amending the Federal Election Campaign Act to further regulating money in public election campaigns. One primary purpose of the legislation was to regulate what were colloquially known as "issue ads." "Issue ads" typically discussed a candidate name with regards to a particular issue, but because they did not expressly advocate the election or defeat of a candidate fell outside the prohibitions and limitations of the Federal Election Campaign Act. Section 203 of BCRA prohibited corporations and unions from directly or indirectly funding "electioneering communications," defined as broadcast ads costing in excess of an aggregated $10,000 that mentioned a candidate for federal political office within 30 days of a primary election or 60 days of a general election. In McConnell v. Federal Election Commission, the Supreme Court upheld section 203 and other sections of the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act against a facial challenge that the law was unconstitutional.
Wisconsin Right to Life Inc. ("WRTL"), a nonprofit advocacy group, sought to run ads asking voters to contact their Senators and urge them to oppose filibusters of judicial nominees. (The text of one of WRTL's proposed ads is listed at the conclusion of this article). WRTL sought to run its ads within the 30 and 60 day blackout provisions of BCRA. However, because WRTL was itself incorporated, and also because it accepted corporate contributions, it was prohibited from doing so. WRTL argued that the proposed ads addressed a current issue pending in Congress, and did not advocate the election or defeat of a candidate, the government had no compelling interest in prohibiting them from airing even during the election session.
In the first round of litigation, the federal district court ruled that the language of McConnell v. FEC precluded not only a facial challenge, but also an "as applied" challenge to this portion of BCRA, and so dismissed the case. However, the in Wisconsin Right to Life v. Federal Election Commission, 546 U.S. 410 (2006) ("WRTL I"), the Supreme Court reversed and remanded the case to the lower courts to determine whether or not WRTL should be granted an "as applied" exception to the law.
On remand, the FEC argued that ads run so close to an election and naming a candidate or candidates should be presumed to have the intent of influencing the election, and thus BCRA's limitation on financing such ads with corporate funds was constitutionally valid. It argued that WRTL's specific ads both would, and were intended to, influence the 2004 Senate election in Wisconsin. The district court rejected the FEC's argument and refused to delve into the matter of the intent and underlying meaning of the ads. The Court stated that such an investigation would be impractical and would "have a chilling effect on protected speech." The District court thus limited its review to that content of the ad. In doing so the court found that they were not "sham" issue ads and did not expressly advocate for or against a candidate. It therefore found that the government lacked a compelling interest to abridge WRTL's rights of free speech. The FEC appealed and the case returned to the Supreme Court.
Branzburg v. Hayes
The First Amendment's protection of press freedom does not give a reportorial privilege in court.
Facts

Paul Branzburg of The (Louisville) Courier-Journal, in the course of his reporting duties, had witnessed people manufacturing and using hashish. He wrote two articles concerning drug use in Kentucky. The first featured unidentified hands holding hashish, while the second included marijuana users as sources. These sources requested not to be identified. Both of the articles were brought to attention of law-enforcement. Branzburg was subpoenaed before a grand jury for both of the articles. He was ordered to name his sources.
Eric Caldwell, a reporter for The New York Times, had conducted extensive interviews with the leaders of The Black Panthers, and Paul Pappas, a Massachusetts television reporter, who had also reported on The Black Panthers, spending several hours in their headquarters were similarly subpoenaed around the same time as Branzburg
All three reporters were called to testify before separate grand juries about illegal actions they might have witnessed. They refused, citing privilege under the Press Clause, and were held in contempt.
Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission
A provision of the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act prohibiting unions, corporations and not-for-profit organizations from broadcasting electioneering communications within 60 days of a general election or 30 days of a primary election violates the free speech clause of the First Amendment to the United States Constitution. United States District Court for the District of Columbia reversed.
Background

The Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002 (known as BCRA or McCain–Feingold Act)—specifically §203, which modified the Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971, 2 U.S.C. § 441b—prohibited corporations and unions from using their general treasury to fund "electioneering communications" (broadcast advertisements mentioning a candidate) within 30 days before a primary or 60 days before a general election. During the 2004 presidential campaign, a conservative nonprofit 501(c)(4) organization named Citizens United filed a complaint before the Federal Election Commission (FEC) charging that advertisements for Michael Moore's film Fahrenheit 9/11, a documentary critical of the Bush administration's response to the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, constituted political advertising and thus could not be aired within the 30 days before a primary election or 60 days before a general election. The FEC dismissed the complaint after finding no evidence that broadcast advertisements for the movie and featuring a candidate with the proscribed time limits had actually been made.[6] The FEC later dismissed a second complaint which argued that the movie itself constituted illegal corporate spending advocating the election or defeat of a candidate, which was illegal under the Taft-Hartley Act of 1947 and the Federal Election Campaign Act Amendments of 1974. In dismissing that complaint, the FEC found that:
The complainant alleged that the release and distribution of FAHRENHEIT 9/11 constituted an independent expenditure because the film expressly advocated the defeat of President Bush and that by being fully or partially responsible for the film's release, Michael Moore and other entities associated with the film made excessive and/or prohibited contributions to unidentified candidates. The Commission found no reason to believe the respondents violated the Act because the film, associated trailers and website represented bona fide commercial activity, not "contributions" or "expenditures" as defined by the Federal Election Campaign Act.[7]
In the wake of these decisions, Citizens United sought to establish itself as a bona fide commercial film maker, producing several documentary films between 2005 and 2007. By early 2008, it sought to run television commercials to promote its latest political documentary Hillary: The Movie and to air the movie on DirecTV.[8] The movie was highly critical of then-Senator Hillary Clinton, with the District Court describing the movie as an elongated version of a negative 30-second television spot. In January 2008, the United States District Court for the District of Columbia ruled that the television advertisements for Hillary: The Movie violated the BCRA restrictions of "electioneering communications" within 30 days of a primary. Though the political action committee claimed that the film was fact-based and nonpartisan, the lower court found that the film had no purpose other than to discredit Clinton's candidacy for president.[9] The Supreme Court docketed the case on August 18, 2008[10] and heard oral argument on March 24, 2009.[8][11][12]
During the original oral argument, then-Deputy Solicitor General Malcolm L. Stewart (representing the FEC) argued that under Austin v. Michigan Chamber of Commerce, the government would have the power to ban books if those books contained even one sentence expressly advocating the election or defeat of a candidate and were published or distributed by a corporation or union.[13] In response to this line of questioning, Stewart further argued that under Austin the government could ban the digital distribution of political books over the Amazon Kindle or prevent a union from hiring a writer to author a political book.[14]
On June 29, 2009, the Supreme Court issued an order directing the parties to reargue the case on September 9 after briefing whether it might be necessary to overrule Austin v. Michigan Chamber of Commerce, 494 U.S. 652 (1990) and/or McConnell v. Federal Election Commission, 540 U.S. 93 (2003), to decide the case.[15] Justice Stevens noted in his dissent that in its prior motion for summary judgment Citizens United had abandoned its facial challenge of BCRA §203, with the parties agreeing to the dismissal of the claim.[16]
Justice Sotomayor sat on the bench for the first time during the second round of oral arguments. This was the first case argued by then-Solicitor General and future Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan. Former Bush Solicitor General Ted Olson and First Amendment lawyer Floyd Abrams argued for Citizens United, and former Clinton Solicitor General Seth Waxman defended the statute on behalf of various supporters.[17] Legal scholar Erwin Chemerinsky called it "one of the most important First Amendment cases in years".[18]
VIRGINIA STATE PHARMACY BOARD V VIRGINIA CITIZEN CONSUMER COUNCIL
States cannot limit consumer access to information about prescription drug prices.
The Commonwealth of Virginia had a statute which prohibited pharmacists from advertising prescription drug prices, providing that those who did would be guilty of “unprofessional conduct”. Drug prices varied throughout the state, as the District Court found. The law was challenged by an individual consumer and consumer groups, who brought suit in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia. Public Citizen's Litigation Group argued and won the case before the Supreme Court.
44 LIQUOR MART, INC V RHODE ISLAND
The State of Rhode Island violated the First Amendment rights of the petitioners, and the Twenty-first Amendment does not lessen the state's obligation to abide by constitutional provisions beyond the dormant commerce clause.
44 Liquormart, Inc. v. Rhode Island, 517 U.S. 484 (1996), is a United States Supreme Court case in which the Court held that a complete ban on the advertising of alcohol prices was unconstitutional under the First Amendment, and that the Twenty-first Amendment, empowering the states to regulate alcohol, did not operate to lessen other constitutional restraints of state power.
Central Hudson Gas & Electric Corp. v. Public Service Commission
A regulation of appellee New York Public Service Commission which completely bans an electric utility from advertising to promote the use of electricity violates the First and Fourteenth Amendments.
Central Hudson Gas & Electric Corp. v. Public Service Commission, 447 U.S. 557 (1980), was an important case decided by the United States Supreme Court that laid out a four part test for determining when restrictions on commercial speech violated the First Amendment of the United States Constitution. Justice Powell wrote the opinion of the court. Central Hudson Gas had challenged a Public Service Commission regulation that prohibited promotional advertising by electric utilities. Justice Blackmun and Justice Stevens wrote separate concurring opinions and were joined by Justice Brennan. Justice Rehnquist dissented.
The case presented the question whether a regulation of the New York Public Service Commission violates the First and Fourteenth Amendments because it completely bans promotional advertising by an electrical utility.

The court ruled that a regulation that completely bans an electric utility from advertising to promote the use of electricity violates the First and Fourteenth Amendments.
The court instituted a four-step analysis for commercial speech to the Commission's arguments in support of its ban on promotional advertising:
Is the expression protected by the First Amendment? For speech to come within that provision, it must concern lawful activity and not be misleading.
Is the asserted governmental interest substantial?
Does the regulation directly advance the governmental interest asserted?
Is the regulation more extensive than is necessary to serve that interest?
Smith v. Goguen
Flag desecration laws that prohibit "contemptuous" treatment of the flag are overly broad.
Goguen, a teenager from Massachusetts, was arrested by police for wearing a small cloth US flag on the seat of his pants. When arrested, Goguen was standing on the sidewalk, talking; he was not engaged in any demonstration. Goguen was convicted and sentenced to 6 months in jail for violating a flag desecration law encompassing anyone who treats the flag "contemptuously". His conviction was upheld by the Massachusetts Supreme Court. Assisted by the ACLU, Goguen appealed to the Federal court, and the Federal court overturned his conviction. Massachusetts appealed to the US Supreme Court.
United States v. O'Brien
A criminal prohibition against burning draft cards did not violate the First Amendment, because its effect on speech was only incidental, and it was justified by the significant government interest in maintaining an efficient and effective military draft system. First Circuit Court of Appeals vacated and remanded.
Draft cards under the Selective Service Act
In 1948, the United States instituted a peace-time draft with the Universal Military Training and Service Act (also called the Selective Service Act), which required all male American citizens to register with a local draft board upon reaching the age of 18. In 1965, Congress amended the Act to prohibit the willful destruction of "draft cards", or registration certificates. These were small white cards bearing the registrant's identifying information, the date and place of registration, and his Selective Service number, which indicated his state of registration, local board, birth year, and his chronological position in the local board's classification record.
The Act had already required all eligible men to carry the certificate at all times, and prohibited alterations that would perpetrate a forgery or fraud. The 1965 amendment, however, made it a separate crime under 50 U.S.C. § 462(b)(3) to "knowingly destroy" or "knowingly mutilate" the card. This amendment was passed at a time when public burnings of draft cards to protest the Vietnam War were a growing phenomenon, many observers (including the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit) believed that Congress had intentionally targeted such protesters.[1]
[edit]O'Brien's protest and conviction
On the morning of March 31, 1966, David Paul O'Brien and three companions burned their draft cards on the steps of the South Boston Courthouse, in front of a crowd that happened to include several FBI agents. After the four men came under attack from some of the crowd, an FBI agent ushered O'Brien inside the courthouse and advised him of his rights. O'Brien proudly confessed to the agent and produced the charred remains of the certificate. He was subsequently indicted for violating § 462(b)(3) and put on trial in the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts.[2]
O'Brien insisted on representing himself at his trial and argued that the Act was unconstitutional. He explained to the jury that he burned the draft card publicly to persuade others to oppose the war, "so that other people would reevaluate their positions with Selective Service, with the armed forces, and reevaluate their place in the culture of today, to hopefully consider my position." O'Brien was convicted and sentenced to the maximum of six years, as a "youth offender" under the now-repealed Youth Corrections Act, which submitted him to the custody of the Attorney General "for supervision and treatment."[3]
Texas v. Johnson
A statute that criminalizes the desecration of the American flag violates the First Amendment. Texas Court of Criminal Appeals affirmed.
Gregory Lee "Joey" Johnson, then a member of the Revolutionary Communist Youth Brigade, participated in a political demonstration during the 1984 Republican National Convention in Dallas, Texas. The demonstrators were protesting the policies of the Reagan Administration and of certain companies based in Dallas. They marched through the streets, shouted chants, and held signs outside the offices of several companies. At one point, another demonstrator handed Johnson an American flag stolen from a flagpole outside one of the targeted buildings.
When the demonstrators reached Dallas City Hall, Johnson poured kerosene on the flag and set it on fire. During the burning of the flag, demonstrators shouted such phrases as, "America, the red, white, and blue, we spit on you, you stand for plunder, you will go under," and, "Reagan, Mondale, which will it be? Either one means World War III." No one was hurt, but some witnesses to the flag burning said they were extremely offended. One witness, Daniel E. Walker, received international attention when he collected the burned remains of the flag and buried them according to military protocol in his backyard.[1]
Johnson was charged with violating the Texas law that prohibits vandalizing respected objects (desecration of a venerated object). He was convicted, sentenced to one year in prison, and fined $2,000. He appealed his conviction to the Fifth Court of Appeals of Texas, but he lost this appeal. The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals would then see his case. This was the highest court in Texas that would see Criminal Appeals. That court overturned his conviction, saying that the State could not punish Johnson for burning the flag because the First Amendment protects such activity as symbolic speech.
The State had said that its interests were more important than Johnson's symbolic speech rights because it wanted to preserve the flag as a symbol of national unity, and because it wanted to maintain order. The court said neither of these state interests could be used to justify Johnson's conviction.
The court said, "Recognizing that the right to differ is the centerpiece of our First Amendment freedoms, a government cannot mandate by fiat a feeling of unity in its citizens. Therefore that very same government cannot carve out a symbol of unity and prescribe a set of approved messages to be associated with that symbol . . ." The court also concluded that the flag burning in this case did not cause or threaten to cause a breach of the peace.
The State of Texas asked the Supreme Court of the United States to hear the case. In 1989, the Court handed down its decision.[2]