1803-- Marbury vs. Madison- the Supreme Court declares that it has the power of judicial review and exercises it. This is the first case in which the court holds a law of congress unconstitutional.
1824-- Gibbons vs. Ogden-the Supreme Court defines Congress's power to regulate commerce, including trade between states and within states if that commerce affects both states.
1833-- Barron vs. Baltimore-Supreme Court rules that Bill of Rights applies only to actions of the federal government, not to the states and local governments.
1857-- Dred Scott vs. Sandford-Supreme Court denies that African Americans are citizens even if they happen to live in a "free state".
1865-- Thirteenth Amendment is ratified. Slavery is not allowed in the United States.
1868-- Fourteenth Amendment is ratified. All people born or naturalized in the U.S. are citizens.
1896-- Plessy vs. Ferguson. Supreme Court upheld a state law based on "separate but equal" facilities for different races.
1914-- Weeks vs. United States. Supreme Court establishes that illegally obtained evidence, obtained by unreasonable search and seizure, cannot be used in federal trials.
1925-- Carroll vs. United States. Supreme Court allows searches of automobiles without a search warrant under some circumstances.
1925-- Gitlow vs. New York. Supreme Court rules that freedom of speech and freedom of the press are protected from state actions by the Fourteenth Amendment.
1931-- Near vs. Minnesota. Supreme Court rules that liberty of the press and of speech are safeguarded from state action.
1947-- Everson vs. Board of Education. Supreme Court rules that government attempts to impose religious practices, the establishment of religion, is forbidden to the states.
1954-- Brown vs. Board of Education of Topeka. Supreme Court holds that segregation on the basis of race (in public education).
1958--NAACP vs. Alabama-Supreme Court rules that privacy of membership lists in an organization is part of the right to freedom of assembly and association.
1961--Mapp vs. Ohio-Supreme Court rules that illegally obtained evidence must not be allowed in state criminal trials.
1962--Engel vs. Vitale-Supreme Court strikes down state sponsored school prayer, saying it is no business of the government to compose official prayers as part of the a religious program carried by the government.
1963--Gideon vs. Wainwright-Supreme Court rules that the right of people accused of serious crimes to be represented by an appointed counsel applies to state criminal trials.
1965--Griswold vs. Connecticut-Supreme Court rules that there is a right to privacy in marriage and declares unconstitutional a state law baring the use of or the giving of information about birth control.
1966--Miranda vs. Arizona-Supreme Court extends the protection against forced self-incrimination. Police have to inform people in custody to their rights before questioning them.
1969--Brandenburg vs. Ohio-Supreme Court rules that speech calling for the use of force or crime can only be prohibited if it is directed to bringing about immediate lawless action and is likely to bring about such action.
1971--Pentagon Papers case-Freedom of the Press is protected by forbidding prior restraint.
1972--Furman vs. Georgia-Supreme Court rules that the death penalty (as it was then decided upon) is cruel and unusual punishment and therefore unconstitutional.
1973--Roe vs. Wade-Supreme Court declares that the right to privacy protects a women's right to end pregnancy by abortion under specified circumstances.
1976--Gregg vs. Georgia-Supreme Court rules that the death penalty is to be allowed if it is decided upon in a consistent reasonable way, if the sentencing follows strict guidelines, and if the penalty is not required for certain crimes.
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