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Civil Rights & Beyond
The Warren Court refers to the Supreme Court of
the United States during the period when Earl
Warren served as Chief Justice.
Warren led a liberal majority that used judicial
power in dramatic fashion, to the consternation of
conservative opponents. The Warren Court
expanded civil rights, civil liberties, judicial power,
and the federal power in dramatic ways.The court
was both applauded and criticized for bringing an
end to racial segregation in the United States,
incorporating the Bill of Rights (including it in the
14th Amendment Due Process clause), and ending
officially sanctioned voluntary prayer in public
schools. The period is recognized as a high point
in judicial power that has receded ever since, but
with a substantial continuing impact
It was a Supreme Court case that
successfully challenged the "separate
but equal" doctrine of racial
The case involved a black man, Heman
Marion Sweatt, who was refused
admission to the School of Law of the
University of Texas, on the grounds
that the Texas State Constitution
prohibited integrated education. At the
time, no law school in Texas would
admit black or "Negro" students.
The court ruled that the separate
school failed to qualify, both
because of quantitative differences
in facilities and intangible factors,
such as its isolation from most of the
future lawyers with whom its
graduates would interact
It was a landmark United States Supreme Court case
in which the Court declared state laws establishing
separate public schools for black and white students
to be unconstitutional. The decision overturned the
Plessy v. Ferguson decision of 1896, which allowed
state-sponsored segregation, insofar as it applied to
public education. Handed down on May 17, 1954,
theWarren Court's unanimous (9–0) decision stated
that "separate educational facilities are inherently
The first and only Mexican-American civilrights case heard and decided by the
United States Supreme Court during the
post-World War II period. In a unanimous
ruling, the court held that Mexican
Americans and all other racial or national
groups in the United States had equal
protection under the 14th Amendment of
the U.S. Constitution. The ruling was
written by Justice Earl Warren. This was
the first case in which Mexican-American
lawyers had appeared before the US
Supreme Court.
MAPP vs OHIO [1961]
Supreme Court decided that evidence obtained in violation
of the Fourth Amendment, which protects against
"unreasonable searches and seizures," may not be used in
state law criminal prosecutions in state courts, as well as
in federal criminal law prosecutions in federal courts as
had previously been the law
ENGEL vs VITALE [1962]
S.C. case that ruled it is unconstitutional for state officials to
compose an official school prayer and encourage its recitation in
public schools
The case was brought by a group of families of public school
students in New Hyde Park, New York, who complained that the
voluntary prayer written by the state board of regents to "Almighty
God" contradicted their religious beliefs. The plaintiffs argued that
opening the school day with such a prayer violates the
Establishment Clause of the First Amendment to the United States
In an opinion delivered by Justice Hugo Black, the Court ruled that
government-written prayers were not to be recited in public
schools and were a violation of the U.S. Constitution and the
Establishment Clause of the first amendment
BAKER vs CARR [1962]
Supreme Court case that retreated from the Court's
political question doctrine, deciding that redistricting
(attempts to change the way voting districts are
delineated) issues present justiciable questions, thus
enabling federal courts to intervene in and to decide
redistricting cases.
In a 6-2 ruling, the Supreme Court held that federal courts
have the power to determine the constitutionality of a
State's voting districts
The Supreme Court unanimously
ruled that states are required under
the Fourteenth Amendment to the
U.S. Constitution to provide counsel
in criminal cases to represent
defendants who are unable to afford
to pay their own attorneys
S.C. case that ruled that state
legislature districts had to be roughly
equal in population. The case was
brought on behalf of voters in
Alabama, but the decision affected
both northern and southern states that
had similarly failed to reapportion their
legislatures in keeping with changes in
state population
The eight justices who struck down
state senate inequality based their
decision on the principle of "one
person, one vote".
It was a landmark decision of the United
States Supreme Court. In a 5-4 majority,
the Court held that both inculpatory and
exculpatory statements made in
response to interrogation by a defendant
in police custody will be admissible at
trial only if the prosecution can show
that the defendant was informed of the
right to consult with an attorney before
and during questioning and of the right
against self-incrimination before police
questioning, and that the defendant not
only understood these rights, but
voluntarily waived them
It was a decision by the United States Supreme
Court that defined the constitutional rights of
students in U.S. public schools. TheTinker test is
still used by courts today to determine whether a
school's disciplinary actions violate students' First
Amendment rights.
The court's 7-2 decision held that the First
Amendment applied to public schools, and that
administrators would have to demonstrate
constitutionally valid reasons for any specific
regulation of speech in the classroom. The court
observed, "It can hardly be argued that either
students or teachers shed their constitutional
rights to freedom of speech or expression at the
schoolhouse gate
S.C. case dealing with the busing of students to
promote integration in public schools.The Court
held that busing was an appropriate remedy for the
problem of racial imbalance in school
ROE vs WADE [1973]
Supreme Court ruled on the issue of abortion. It was
decided simultaneously with a companion case, Doe v.
Bolton. The Court ruled 7–2 that a right to privacy under
the Due Process Clause of the 14th Amendment
extended to a woman's decision to have an abortion, but
that this right must be balanced against the state's two
legitimate interests in regulating abortions: protecting
women's health and protecting the potentiality of human
Regents of the University of California vs Bakke [1978]
Allan P. Bakke, an engineer and former United
States Marine Corps officer, sought admission to
medical school, but was rejected for admission
by several, in part because, in his early thirties,
he was considered too old. After twice being
rejected by the University of California, Davis, he
brought suit in state court. The California
Supreme Court struck down the program as
violative of the rights of white applicants and
ordered Bakke admitted.
S.C. ruled U.C. Davis's program went too far for a
majority of justices, and it was struck down and
Bakke admitted. The practical effect of Bakke was
that most affirmative action programs continued
without change
NEW JERSEY vs T.L.O [1985]
U.S. Supreme Court ruled in New Jersey v. T.L.O.,
holding that public school administrators can search a
student’s belongings if they have a reasonable
suspicion of criminal activity
The case originated in Piscataway, New Jersey, where,
in 1980, a teacher at the local public high school
stumbled upon two girls smoking in a bathroom. One
of the girls was T.L.O., then a 14-year-old freshman.
Because smoking was against school rules, the
teacher brought T.L.O. and her companion to an
assistant vice principal, who questioned both girls