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Study Notes

Summary of Landmark Supreme Court Rulings

AQA, Edexcel, OCR, IB

Last updated 22 Mar 2021

While detailed study notes exist on these Court cases, this should provide a nice overview of the key ruling/decision that was handed down in each case.

Plessy v Ferguson 1896

Ruled that Separate but Equal provision is constitutional

Brown v Board of Education 1953

Ruled that Separate but Equal is inherently unequal - Overturns Plessy

Mapp v Ohio 1961

Evidence obtained without a warrant cannot be used in a court of law.

Engel v Vitale 1962

Officially mandated school prayer is unconstitutional

Gideon v Wainwright 1963

Defendants must be provided with legal counsel for those unable to pay for their own

Griswold v Connecticut 1965

The Court ruled that hte Constitution protects the right to privacy

Miranda v Arizona 1966

Ruled that all those arrested must be informed of their legal rights prior to any interrogation

Roe v Wade 1973

Ruled it was legal for a woman to have an abortion within the first trimester

United States v Nixon 1974

Executive privilege is limited and ordered the turning over of the 'smoking gun' Watergate tapes

Planned Parenthood v Casey 1992

Reaffirms the right to an abortion

Clinton v City of New York 1998

Rules the Line Item Veto power given to the President is unconstitutional

Bush v Gore 2000

Ruled that recounts in Florida are unconstitutional and hands the election victory to Bush

National Federation of Independent Business v Sebelius 2012

Upholds Obamacare as constitutional as it is akin to a tax

Obergefell v Hodges 2015

Ruled same-sex marriage bans as unconstitutional and extends same-sex marriage to all 50 states.

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