Hazelwood School District v. Kuhlmeier (1988)
A Principle of a High School ordered two pages from the school
newspaper to be deleted. The two pages included articles on teen
pregnancy and the impact of divorce on students in the school
Constitutional Issue: Does the 1st amendment freedom of speech prevent
school administrators from regulating student speech
Court Decision: 5 to 3 against students, school cans regulate students speech
Gideon v. Wainwright (1963)
Gideon, a petty thief who had served four prison terms, was arrested for
breaking into a poolroom in Panama City, Fl and stealing wine & cigarettes.
He asked the judge to appoint him an attorney and was denied because
Florida law only provided one for a capital crime where death could a
Constitutional Issue: Is a defendant who cannot afford an attorney deprived
the 6th amendment right to counsel.
Court Decision: Courts ruled in his favour
West Virginia Education v. Barnette (1943)
West Virginia implemented a compulsory flag salute in public schools. Students who
did not comply were punished by expulsion. Barnette’s children were Jehovah’s
Witnesses (a religious group who refused to participate in these events) were
expelled from school. They appealed to the supreme court
Constitutional Issue: Did mandatory flag salute violate the 14th amendment =
equal protection clause & the 1st amendment = freedom of religion
Court Decision: Courts ruled 6-3 in favour of the Barnette’s in terms of the 1st
Miranda v. Arizona (1966)
Ernesto Miranda was arrested at his home, accused of rape & kidnapping. Questioned
at the police station he was not advised of his right to be silent & to have an attorney.
After two hours of questioning he signed a written confession. He was found guilty
and sentenced to 30 years in prison. He appealed to the Supreme court.
Constitutional Issue: Did the questioning and the environment violate the 5th
Court Decision: Courts ruled 5-4 in favour of the Miranda saying it did violate the
5st amendment. Miranda Rights are the result of this case.
Wisconsin v. Yoder (1972)
Amish, a religious group who separate themselves from the modern
world and operate their own elementary schools. However their
education ends at 8th grade. The state required all children to attend
school until they were 16 years old. They refused to obey this law and
send their children to a public school.
Constitutional Issue: Did the 1st amendment (freedom of religion) protect
them from being forced to send their children to public high school if it was
against their religious beliefs
Court Decision: Courts ruled 6-3 that Amish could not be forced to send
their children to a public school once they had completed 8 th grade.
District of Columbia v Heller
The possession of a handgun is banned under District of Columbia law.
The law prohibits the registration of handguns and makes it a crime to
carry an unregistered firearm. Furthermore all lawfully owned firearms
must be kept unloaded and dissembled or bound by a trigger lock
unless they are being used for lawful recreational activities
Constitutional Issue: 2nd amendment: right to bear arms
Court Decision: Courts ruled in Heller’s favor, stating it violated his 2nd
amendment right. States cannot not pass laws pertaining to the right to bear
arms if it violated the federal law
Bush v. Gore
The 2000 presidential election was a very close tie. Who would be
become president depended on Florida. Florida voted by punching a hole
in the ballot card and the votes were counted by machine. About 60,
000 ballots were not counted because the machine did not detect holes.
Gore appealed to Florida Supreme Court and Florida recounted the
ballets. Bush appealed to U.S Supreme Court.
Constitutional Issue: Can the U.S Supreme Court over-rule state court
decisions and also whether appointed judiciary affects democratic elections
Court Decision: Courts ruled 5-4 to end hand recounts and announced
the next president.
Tinker v. Des Moines
Students in Des Moines decided to take part in a political protest about
the Vietnam War by wearing black armbands to schools. Two days
before the protest, the school board created a new policy banning
armbands and anyone who did was suspended for two days.
Constitutional Issue: Can the school officials prohibit students from
warming armbands to symbolize political protest.
Court Decision: Courts rules 7-2 in favor of the students. Symbolic
speech can not be punished if it is peaceful.
Mapp v. Carr (1962
While searching for a bombing suspect, police found evidence of a
separate crime. The police did not have the right to enter the house nor
have a search warrant.
Constitutional Issue: Can evidence discovered in the process of illegal
search be used as evidence
Court Decision: Courts rules 5-3 in favor of Mapp, stating that illegally
obtained evidence is inadmissible in a state court. Exclusionary rule now