Guide The U.S. Supreme Court: The First Hundred Years

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Chase was considered highly ambitious, even for a politician. In , Chase, while serving on the Supreme Court, ran for the Presidency, but his efforts were ultimately unsuccessful. Chase continued to serve as Chief Justice until his death in In the aftermath of the Civil War Congress passed and the states ratified the Fourteenth Amendment , which, among other things, prevented states from abridging the "privileges and immunities of citizens," from denying due process of law, and from denying equal protection of the laws to any person.

Many cases that came before the Court in the post—Civil War era involved interpretation of the Fourteenth Amendment. In the Civil Rights Cases , the Court under Chief Justice Morrison Waite held that Congress could not prohibit racial discrimination by private individuals as opposed to governments on the grounds of the Fourteenth Amendment.

Later, in Plessy v. Ferguson , the Court under Chief Justice Melville Fuller determined that the equal protection clause did not prohibit racial segregation in public facilities, as long as the facilities were equal giving rise to the infamous term " separate but equal ". The sole dissenter in that case was John Marshall Harlan.

In the early twentieth century, the Supreme Court established that the Fourteenth Amendment protected the "liberty of contract. The first important decision of the era was Lochner v.

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New York , in which the Court overturned a New York law limiting the number of hours bakers could work each week. In Adair v. United States , the Court overruled a federal law which forbade " yellow dog contracts " contracts that prohibited workers from joining unions. Adkins v.

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Children's Hospital involved a decision that a District of Columbia minimum wage law was unconstitutional. In , the Supreme Court made a landmark ruling in Gitlow v. New York , establishing the doctrine of incorporation , under which provisions of the Bill of Rights were deemed to restrict the states. Baltimore , the Bill of Rights restricted only the federal government; however, during the twentieth century, the Supreme Court held in a series of decisions the Fourteenth Amendment had the effect of applying some but not all provisions of the Bill of Rights to the states.

The first such decision was Gitlow , in which the Supreme Court incorporated the protection of freedom of speech afforded by the First Amendment. Important decisions relating to incorporations were made during later decades, especially the s. During the s, the Supreme Court contained both a solid liberal bloc and a conservative bloc of Justices.

Hughes, as a progressive Republican, tended to side with the Four Horsemen, as he did in Schechter Poultry Corporation v. United States , whilst Roberts was also swayed to the side of the conservatives. As a result, The Court continued to enforce a Federal laissez-faire approach, overturning many of President Franklin D.

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Roosevelt 's New Deal programs, which were designed to combat the Great Depression , by 5—4 margins. Butler In response, President Roosevelt proposed the Judiciary Reorganization Bill called the "court-packing bill" by its opponents , which would have increased the size of the Supreme Court and permitted the appointment of additional presumably pro-New Deal Justices. Soon after the proposal of the court-packing plan, however, the Supreme Court ended the trend that had prevailed since Lochner. Justice Roberts, who had previously voted with the conservative bloc in invalidating New Deal legislation, began to vote on the opposite side.

Roberts' decision spelled the end of the Lochner era and has been dubbed the " switch in time that saved nine. In , eight of the nine sitting Justices had been appointed by President Roosevelt, the sole exception being Owen Roberts. Warren's term, which lasted until , was arguably one of the most significant in the history of the Court. Under him, the Court made a long series of landmark decisions. Douglas the longest-serving Justice in the Court's history and William J. The first important case of Warren's tenure was Brown v. Board of Education , in which the Court unanimously declared segregation in public schools unconstitutional, effectively reversing the precedent set earlier in Plessy v.

Ferguson and other cases. The Warren Court also made several controversial decisions relating to the Bill of Rights. The doctrine of incorporation, which had first taken root in Gitlow v. New York , was applied fully to most provisions of the Bill of Rights.

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In Engel v. Vitale , the Court declared that officially sanctioned prayer in public schools was unconstitutional under the First Amendment. Similarly, in Abington School District v. Schempp , it struck down mandatory Bible readings in public schools. The Court also expanded and incorporated the rights of criminal defendants, on the basis of the Fourth, Fifth, and Sixth Amendments.

In Mapp v. Ohio , the Court incorporated the Fourth Amendment and ruled that illegally seized evidence could not be used in a trial.

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Gideon v. Wainwright established that states were required to provide attorneys to indigent defendants.

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  • Miranda v. Arizona held that the police must inform suspects of their rights including the right to remain silent and the right to an attorney before being interrogated. The decision is the source of the famous Miranda warning. Another significant and controversial decision made by the Warren Court was Griswold v. Connecticut , which established that the Constitution protected the right to privacy. Burger , who served from to The Burger Court is best remembered for its ruling in Roe v. Wade , which held that there is a constitutionally protected right to have an abortion in some circumstances. The Court also made important decisions relating to the First Amendment. In Lemon v. Kurtzman , it established the " Lemon test" for determining if legislation violates the establishment clause.

    Similarly, it established the " Miller test" for laws banning obscenity in Miller v. California Other rulings include Landmark Communications v. Virginia in which the court ruled for fining a newspaper for revealing the identity of a judge under investigation by state commissioner H.

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    James [] ; a protestor who burned the American flag Texas v. Gilleo [] ; a Christian evangelical student group seeking funding on a par with other student groups Rosenberger v. University of Virginia [] ; government-funded legal services agencies seeking to advocate for changes in welfare laws Legal Services Corp. Velazquez [] ; charities and AIDS organizations opposed to affirming a government imposed message about prostitution which would interfere with their international efforts to reduce HIV rates Agency for International Development v. Alliance for Open Society International, Inc.

    Anthony List v. Driehaus [] ; protestors seeking to protest within 35 feet of a reproductive health facility McCullen v. Coakley [] ; non-union health care workers who objected to paying union security fees Harris v. City of Paterson []. Furthermore, MacKinnon ignores the fact that when courts support the First Amendment rights of Nazis to conduct a nonviolent march in Skokie Smith v.

    Collin [] or members of the Westboro Baptist Church to peacefully protest outside the funeral of a US Marine with hateful homophobic signs Snyder v. And the opposite can also be true.