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Major Decisions-Roe v Wade

Major Decisions-Roe v Wade

Roe v. Wade is a landmark Supreme Court case that has had a significant impact on reproductive rights and healthcare in the United States. The case, which was decided in 1973, centered around the constitutionality of a Texas law that criminalized abortion except in cases where the mother’s life was in danger.

At the heart of the case was a young woman, referred to as “Jane Roe,” who had become pregnant and sought to terminate the pregnancy. However, the Texas law made it illegal for her to do so, and Roe was forced to seek out an illegal abortion instead. In 1970, she filed a lawsuit challenging the state’s abortion ban on the grounds that it violated her constitutional right to privacy.

In a landmark decision, the Supreme Court ruled that a woman’s right to privacy under the Fourteenth Amendment’s Due Process Clause included the right to make her own choices about her body and reproductive health. The Court held that the Texas law was unconstitutional and struck it down, thus legalizing abortion nationwide.

The decision in Roe v. Wade marked a significant victory for those advocating for reproductive rights and women’s health. It gave women the right to make their own healthcare decisions without interference from the government or medical establishment. It also upheld the principle of bodily autonomy and recognized that a person has the right to control their own body and health.

However, the decision in Roe v. Wade was and remains controversial. It sparked a debate over the morality and legality of abortion that continues to this day. Many abortion opponents argue that the decision was wrong and that the government has a duty to protect the rights of the unborn.

The Roe v. Wade decision has been challenged numerous times in the years since it was handed down, and there have been ongoing efforts to overturn it. Despite these challenges, the decision has remained intact and has continued to play a significant role in shaping reproductive rights in the United States.

In conclusion, Roe v. Wade was a major Supreme Court decision that had significant implications for reproductive rights and healthcare in the United States. The decision recognized a woman’s right to make her own healthcare decisions and upheld the principle of bodily autonomy. While the decision has been and continues to be controversial, it remains an important cornerstone of reproductive rights and a fundamental aspect of women’s healthcare.


The Roe v. Wade case would prove to be one of the most controversial cases ever tried by the Supreme Court. The implications leading to the Supreme court case itself, as well as the immediate aftereffects, are ones that are still being debated today by numerous factions.

The main issue disputed in Roe v. Wade was women’s rights to an abortion. At the time, several states had restrictions considering abortion, ranging from the overall ban of the practice to allowing abortion through approval of a medical panel. Furthermore, it would be the opposition of several religious factions that would lend for more controversy to the issue, specifically when the Supreme Court rendered a decision in favor of allowing abortion to be a legal practice.

Roe v. Wade would become the landmark United States Supreme Court decision on the issue of abortion. Even though the courts would render abortion a legal practice, they also implemented certain restrictions, such as the right to abortion is limited depending on the stage of pregnancy. Additionally, the courts provided for a viability clause, which was defined as the fetus’ potential for survival outside of the womb of the mother, even if artificial aid is to be implemented. Medically speaking, viability occurs at about the seventh month of pregnancy. However, it can occur beforehand.

Roe v. Wade would have Constitutional implications on several levels. Firstly, those using the Constitution in opposition to abortion rights cited that there was no implicit provision regarding the issue in the Constitution. Because of this reason, many believed that such a right should be within the power of the states to resolve and decide to implement. Chief Justice Warren E. Burger, however, would delve into Constitutional law further by examining its contained provisions, and thus, being able to confirm the decision to grant the right to abortion within the scope of Constitutional laws.

The Supreme Court would rule that abortion was a fundamental right provided by the United States Constitution. Initially, the decision was based upon the Constitution’s Ninth Amendment. It was argued that the Ninth Amendment rights granted to the people would encompass a woman’s decision to have an abortion under the interpretation that the Ninth Amendment would protect inferred rights not specifically enumerated by the Constitution.

However, it would be the The Fourteenth Amendment that would be more applicable in the case for further protecting the right to privacy based on the Constitution’s Due Process Clause. It was also ascertained that abortion rights where protected by the Bill of Rights as a whole, wherever provisions to the right of privacy, such as marital, familial, and sexual matters are discussed. The Judges’ majority decision on Roe v. Wade itself proves to exhibit how complicated the case actually was, for it was divided into twelve sections plus a preface, which include all of the considerations that were evaluated to render the decision in favor of Roe.

One of the most important clauses contained therein would be the Justices’ application of the Constitution without having implemented any particular sentiment or emotion regarding the case regardless of personal views. They would apply the Constitution without any reservation, regardless of the outcome of the decision. The majority opinion also states that the decision would also be applied in concurrence with medical views and history, for abortion, was not just a legal issue, but a health issue. Overall, the judges would conclude that the purpose of the Constitution was not to evaluate conflicting issues or ideals, but rather to provide for rights and regulations the commonwealth could agree upon to govern the country as a whole.

It is without a doubt that the final decision of the Supreme Court in Roe v. Wade would end in controversy and such disputes are still encountered today, with various grassroots movements existing that oppose abortion, as well as religious entities stating their beliefs on the matter. Those that support abortion rights have gone so far as citing the Thirteenth Amendment, claiming that denying abortion rights would compel a woman to forcefully bear a child and undergo pregnancy, which can be considered “involuntary servitude. Even though this argument has not necessarily been evaluated in terms of Constitutionality, it proves to be yet another viewpoint that uses Constitutional law against abortion bans.

Major Decisions-Texas v. Johnson

Major Decisions-Texas v. Johnson

Texas v. Johnson was a landmark case that was heard by the United States Supreme Court in 1989. This case was a pivotal moment in the debate over the limits of free speech in America and remains a cornerstone of First Amendment jurisprudence to this day. The case dealt with the constitutionality of a Texas statute that made it illegal to desecrate or otherwise mistreat the American flag.

Gregory Lee Johnson was arrested in 1984 for burning an American flag during a protest demonstration in Dallas, Texas. He was convicted of violating the state’s flag desecration law and sentenced to one year in prison, as well as a $2,000 fine. Johnson appealed his case up to the United States Supreme Court, which eventually agreed to hear the case.

In a 5-4 decision, the Supreme Court reversed Johnson’s conviction. The Court held that the Texas statute that criminalized flag desecration violated the First Amendment’s protection of free speech. The Court noted that the government could not prohibit speech simply because it was offensive or contrary to societal norms. In particular, the Court found that flag burning was a form of symbolic speech, which was entitled to full protection under the First Amendment.

The Court’s decision in Texas v. Johnson was a major victory for supporters of free speech. It reaffirmed the idea that the government could not restrict or punish individuals for expressing their views, even if those views were controversial or offensive. The decision was also notable for the passionate and divergent opinions it elicited from both supporters and detractors of flag burning.

Critics of the decision argued that flag burning was not a form of protected speech and was instead an act of desecration that should be punished by law. Supporters of the decision, however, argued that free speech was a fundamental right that must be protected, even if it was unpopular or offensive to some. They argued that suppressing free speech was a slippery slope that could potentially lead to the suppression of all dissent and political opposition.

In the years since Texas v. Johnson, the debate over the limits of free speech has continued to be a contentious issue in American society. However, the Supreme Court’s landmark decision remains a major victory for the protection of free speech and serves as an enduring reminder of the importance of the First Amendment to the United States Constitution.

In conclusion, Texas v. Johnson was a major Supreme Court decision that helped to define the boundaries of free speech in America. The decision affirmed that the government could not restrict or punish individuals for expressing their views, even if those views were unpopular or controversial. While the decision was not without controversy, it remains an important cornerstone of First Amendment jurisprudence that protects the fundamental rights and freedoms of all Americans.


The Supreme Court has on various occasions dealt with cases that have the First Amendment the crux of the dispute. In other Supreme Court Cases, the judgments rendered have proven that the First Amendment and the Freedom of Speech are not constricted to that of the written and spoken word, but also extend to symbolic speech as well.

Texas v. Johnson is yet another Supreme Court case in which the application and interpretation of First Amendment rights are at the heart of the dispute. Texas v. Johnson deals with quite a controversial issue, one that continues today. Gregory Lee Johnson was participating in a demonstration that was denouncing and protesting some of the policies incurred by the Reagan Administration. In a form of protest, Johnson managed to get his hands on an American flag and proceeded to douse it in kerosene and light it ablaze.

Though many of his protesting comrades understood the symbolism behind his actions and probably applauded him for it, there were many others who were just as disgusted and offended. The issue brought civil penalties against Johnson, including a $2,000 fine, as well as a year in prison. The conviction was brought on appeal to Texas State courts. The first appeal was rejected, but Johnson’s second appeal to yet a higher State court overturned the conviction. The decision was based upon his actions being protected under First Amendment rights.

The State of Texas then brought the matter to the Supreme Court, under the argument that the flag was a national symbol and that flag burning was not only a desecration of national unity but also a breach of peace. Furthermore, Texas had State laws and statutes that prohibited flag burning. Texas was one of the many states having similar provisions, with the exception of only two states in the country not imposing such regulations.

The Chief Justice at the time was William Rehnquist, who would be responsible for presiding over Texas v. Johnson. The Supreme Court eventually rendered a decision in one of the most closely decided and controversial decisions of the Supreme Court. The decision rendered concluded that Johnson’s flag burning was Constitutionally-protected under First Amendment rights. The Court held that even though such an act was not a verbal or written speech, it was protected under the concept of symbolic speech. A similar decision was arrived at in a previous landmark Supreme Court case in Tinker v. Des Moines.

Furthermore, the Supreme Court would also state that regardless of the State of Texas’ intents of preserving unity and protecting a national symbol, they were not valid arguments for the case. Concurrently, the Supreme Court would also strike down the State’s argument regarding the breaching of the peace. Since Johnson’s flag burning did not actually harm anyone or threaten danger to the community, no disturbance or breach of peace actually took place. The Court did state, however, that flag burning could be punishable by law in instances where it constitutes an actual danger or lawless action.

Though flag burning, as an action, will not always present such a circumstance and its potential for such can be grounds to punish the act, flag burning must be actual and readily identifiable as a real threat or lawless action. The consequences of Texas v. Johnson still have effects today, for the issue still remains controversial. On the Constitutional level, Texas v. Johnson has incited several bills proposed by Congress (See Also: The Constitution-Article I) that would prohibit flag burning in the United States on national level. A law by Congress did manage to get passed but was eventually struck down by the same five-person majority of Justices that tried the Texas v. Johnson case.

Major Decisions-Tinker v Des Moines

Major Decisions-Tinker v Des Moines

Tinker v. Des Moines is a landmark Supreme Court case that involved the First Amendment rights of public school students. The case arose in 1965 when several students in Des Moines, Iowa, decided to wear black armbands to school as a form of protest against the Vietnam War. The school board responded by enacting a policy that prohibited students from wearing such armbands on school grounds. This policy led to a legal battle that ultimately reached the Supreme Court.

Background

In early 1965, a group of students in Des Moines decided to wear black armbands to school as a form of protest against the Vietnam War. This protest was organized by Mary Beth Tinker, her brother John Tinker, and their friend Christopher Eckhardt. The students wanted to express their opposition to the war and show solidarity with those who had died or been injured in the conflict.

The school board was aware of the planned protest and decided to enact a policy that would prohibit students from wearing these armbands. The school board’s reasons for this policy included concerns about potential disruptions to the school and the need to enforce a dress code. The students were informed of this policy and were warned that they would face disciplinary action if they continued to wear the armbands.

Legal Battle

Mary Beth Tinker and her brother John Tinker, along with Christopher Eckhardt, decided to sue the school board in a case that came to be known as Tinker v. Des Moines. They argued that the school board’s policy violated their First Amendment rights to freedom of speech and expression.

The case went to trial, and a federal district court ruled in favor of the school board. The students then appealed to the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit, which also ruled in favor of the school board. The case ultimately reached the Supreme Court, which heard arguments in November 1968.

Supreme Court Decision

In a landmark decision, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of the students in a 7-2 decision. The Court held that students do not lose their constitutional rights when they enter a public school. The Court further held that the school board’s policy violated the students’ rights to freedom of speech and expression. The Court stated that the school board’s reasons for the policy, such as maintaining order and discipline, were not sufficient to justify the infringement of the students’ First Amendment rights.

The Court’s decision in Tinker v. Des Moines established an important precedent for protecting the free speech rights of public school students. The case has been cited in numerous subsequent cases that have addressed the issue of student rights and free speech in schools.

In conclusion, Tinker v. Des Moines is a landmark Supreme Court case that established the free speech rights of public school students. The case serves as a reminder of the importance of protecting the First Amendment rights of all individuals, including students in public schools. The ruling in Tinker v. Des Moines had far-reaching implications and has been cited in numerous subsequent cases that address the issue of student rights and free speech in schools.


Tinker v. Des Moines would prove to be a reflection of the era in which it was tried by the Supreme Court. The Civil Rights Movement was reaching a heated pitch and the Vietnam War was being protested by many throughout the country.

Protests and rallies were all being held in order to show the discontent with the United States’ involvement in Vietnam and most were avid supporters of the First Amendment and the civil liberties guaranteed under the Constitution’sBill of Rights. Tinker v. Des Moines would directly be a product of the occurrences of the revolutionary 1960s.

Tinker v. Des Moines was a Supreme Court case that would once again deal with the application of the Constitution’s First Amendment rights granted to citizens of the United States. The case revolves around a group of teenagers wearing black armbands with a peace symbol embedded within in protest of the Vietnam War. The School Board was informed of the practice and banned the wearing of such armbands in school.

Certain students, among them John and Mary Beth Tinker decided to violate the policy, which subsequently got them both, along with other students, suspended from their respective schools. The matter was tried in various State courts, with each judgment being ruled in favor of the Des Moines School Board. The Tinkers had no other choice
than to bring the matter before the United States Supreme Court. Presiding over the case was Chief Justice Earl Warren, which would eventually help overrule the State of Iowa’s decisions to uphold the actions of the Des Moines School Board.

It was decided that such a penalty to be imposed upon students would be in violation of the Freedom of Speech Clause of the First Amendment. Furthermore, the Supreme Court held that the First Amendment applied to public schools and their students. Any type of
censorship that is sought on behalf of the school boards would have to provide for a Constitutionally-valid reason or purpose. Even though the protest in question in the Tinker v. Des Moines case does not actually involve a verbal speech, the wearing of the armband is considered as symbolic speech and is protected under the First Amendment.

The Supreme Court ruled that in order for the restriction of free speech to be Constitutional, it must provide for that speech to be disruptive to the function of the school and/or interfere with other students’ rights. Censoring free speech on the basis that it is unpopular or causes discomfort is not grounds to restrict the Freedom of
Speech. Even though the Court rendered that the freedom of the speech was to be upheld in public schools, there were those on behalf of the minority involved in the decision that disagreed with the ruling.

They believed that if the students were given more freedoms on school grounds, that it would eventually, defeat the educational purposes of a school facility due to the the disruption caused by students exercising Freedom of Speech rights without control. Regardless, the First Amendment rights to students were upheld in the Tinker v. Des Moines case.

Mapp v. Ohio

Mapp v. Ohio

Mapp v. Ohio is a landmark U.S. Supreme Court case that established the exclusionary rule in criminal trials. The case originated in 1957 when Cleveland police officers forcibly entered the home of Dollree Mapp looking for a bombing suspect. Mapp refused them entry as she had no knowledge of the suspect’s whereabouts and they left. Three hours later, they returned and gained entry without a warrant and found pornographic materials.

Mapp was charged with possession of these materials, but her lawyer argued that the evidence was obtained through an illegal search and should be excluded from the trial under the Fourth Amendment. The case ultimately reached the Supreme Court, which ruled in favor of Mapp and established the exclusionary rule.

The Court held that evidence obtained through a violation of the Fourth Amendment’s prohibition against unreasonable searches and seizures could not be used in criminal trials. This decision was based upon the principle that excluding illegally obtained evidence would disincentivize law enforcement from engaging in unconstitutional behavior.

Mapp v. Ohio was a significant case that had far-reaching implications for criminal law enforcement across the United States. The decision forced law enforcement officials to conduct searches in accordance with the Fourth Amendment, which protected individuals from unreasonable searches and seizures. Additionally, it empowered individuals to challenge the admissibility of evidence obtained through illegal searches, and the exclusionary rule became an important tool for criminal defense attorneys to protect the rights of their clients.

Moreover, this landmark case underlined the need for the courts to protect individual civil liberties against the powers of the state. It was a victory for civil rights and the principle of equal justice under the law. Mapp v. Ohio was a critical moment in American legal history, and the decision has continued to influence the practice of criminal law in the United States.

Despite the case’s importance and impact on both the legal system and society, it has also been subject to much criticism over the years. Some critics argue that the exclusionary rule allows guilty individuals to go free, while others assert that it does not go far enough in curtailing police misconduct.

In conclusion, Mapp v. Ohio was a vital case that established the exclusionary rule and redefined the scope of Fourth Amendment rights. The decision was significant in protecting individual civil liberties against unconstitutional actions by law enforcement, and it remains an important part of American legal history.


Mapp v. Ohio (1961) was a landmark the United States Supreme Court case regarding the Fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution as it relates to criminal procedure. The Court held that evidence that was obtained in violation of the Fourth Amendment could not be used against someone in State or Federal court.

The Fourth Amendment protects the rights of people from “unreasonable searches and seizures”, as well as ensures that no warrants are issued without probable cause. Mapp v. Ohio was the first time this Amendment was applied to criminal procedure in State courts.

A Cleveland, Ohio woman, Dollree Mapp, was suspected of harboring a fugitive in her home. Police officers arrived at her home and demanded entrance. When she refused, they forcibly broke down her door and entered the premises. Mapp requested a search warrant from the officers who presented a piece of paper they claimed was a valid search warrant but did not allow her to view it. Upon searching the entire house, the officers did not find a fugitive. Instead, they discovered a trunk containing lewd photographs and books.

Mapp was arrested based on the violation of an Ohio law banning obscene material. The evidence discovered by police in her home was presented and used against her in court. In Mapp v. Ohio, the police officers never actually presented a search warrant to the court. Mapp was convicted and appealed this decision to the Supreme Court of the United States.

Although two previous Supreme Court cases regarding criminal procedure had found that evidence obtained illegally could not be used against the defendant in court, this had never been applied in State courts before Mapp v. Ohio. It was not until this landmark case that this exclusionary rule began to be enforced in criminal procedure. This case was decided on a 6-3 vote.

In the majority opinion written by Justice Thomas Clark, the Court held that the exclusionary rule also applies to State courts. The Court used the rights of the Fourth Amendment that protect against unreasonable searches, as well as the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. This Clause protects citizens from the loss of liberties without due process of the law.

Justice Clark added to the decision by saying that it does not in any way permit criminals to break the law simply because of the police officer’s error in criminal procedure. He observed that the exclusionary rule is imminent in both these Amendments and that the Government must abide by its own laws.

Another concurring Justice wrote that this decision of the Court was also based on the Fifth Amendment of the Constitution. The Fourth Amendment’s protection against unreasonable search and seizure, he claimed, was not binding enough to deny the use of illegally obtained evidence from being used to convict a criminal. However, in combination with the Fifth Amendment, which protects against self-incrimination, the use of this evidence in criminal procedure is unconstitutional. Mapp v. Ohio was influential in providing stricter enforcement of the exclusionary rules, as well as extending this policy to use in State courts.

New York Times v. Sullivan

New York Times v. Sullivan

New York Times v. Sullivan is a historic case that helped to establish the First Amendment’s crucial role in protecting freedom of the press and the public’s right to information. The case was a defamation suit filed against The New York Times by L.B. Sullivan, a public official in Alabama, who claimed that certain statements published in the newspaper were false and had damaged his reputation.

In the 1960s, civil rights activists in the South were using protests, boycotts, and demonstrations to challenge segregation and discrimination. The New York Times published an advertisement that raised funds for the legal defense of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. The ad contained allegations of violent tactics used by local law enforcement against civil rights activists, including King himself. The ad did not mention Sullivan by name, but he was the city commissioner responsible for the police department.

Sullivan sued The New York Times and its publisher for libel. He won in the state courts, which rejected the Times’ defense that the statements were true. The case eventually reached the Supreme Court.

In a landmark decision, the Court held that public officials must prove “actual malice”—knowing or reckless disregard for the truth—if they wish to sue for defamation. This standard is significantly higher than the standard for private individuals. The Court reasoned that the First Amendment’s protection of freedom of the press requires a robust level of speech and debate about public officials, and that libel suits could chill free speech. The Court asserted that even erroneous statements made in good faith should be safeguarded to protect the free flow of information.

Overall, the Court’s decision in New York Times v. Sullivan was a major victory for freedom of speech and set an important precedent for future cases involving media and defamation. The ruling reflected a deep understanding of the importance of robust debate of public officials and the need for journalists to be able to report on controversial issues without fear of retaliation. By imposing the actual malice standard, the ruling sought to balance the important interests of freedom of the press, public discourse, and individual rights.

The impact of New York Times v. Sullivan has been far-reaching. The ruling has been cited in numerous subsequent cases to support the idea that the First Amendment protects a wide range of speech, even that which is considered offensive or controversial. More broadly, the case has helped establish that the press plays a crucial role in holding power to account and that allowing the government to punish critical or dissenting speech could seriously threaten the functioning of democratic societies.

In conclusion, New York Times v. Sullivan is a seminal decision in American legal history that helped to clarify the balance between freedom of speech and individual rights. It underscores the foundational conviction that free expression is critical for a thriving democracy and highlights the need to protect a vibrant and robust press. The case remains relevant today as the United States—and the world—continue to wrestle with challenges to free speech and press freedoms.


New York Times v. Sullivan (1964) is a significant United States Supreme Court case which held that the court must find evidence of actual malice before it can hold the press guilty for defamation and libel against a public figure. This was a landmark Supreme Court decision regarding freedom of the press.

New York Times v. Sullivan established the actual malice standard which requires the plaintiff to prove that the publisher was aware that the statement was false and published it anyway. This places a very high burden of proof on the plaintiff in a libel cases. The concept of public figures is important in freedom of the press cases. A public figure is a person that puts themselves in the eye of the public, such as a politician or celebrity. These individuals have the burden of proof in defamation and libel cases.

This was a very controversial issue at the time because of the highly publicized civil rights cases in the South, where many Southerners continued to practice segregation. News organizations that desired to run these stories were often hesitant due to fear that they would be dragged into a libel suit. When the Supreme Court held in New York Times v. Sullivan that the Times was not guilty of libel, it opened up many opportunities for news sources to print stories about the civil rights cases in the South. In 1960, the New York Times ran an advertisement about Martin Luther King that contained inaccuracies about the conduct of the Montgomery, Alabama police department.

The newspaper alleged that the police department took unlawful action against civil rights protesters. The Montgomery Police Commissioner, L. B. Sullivan wrote a letter to the New York Times demanding they run a retraction of the story. When the Times refused, Sullivan brought suit against the newspaper and received damages. The Times still did not publish a retraction because they claimed the advertisement did not specifically name Sullivan and was not a condemnation of his conduct.

In New York Times v. Sullivan, the United States Supreme Court held that the actions of the New York Times were not sufficient for a libel suit. The New York Times was protected under the freedom of the press clause of the First Amendment, which states that “Congress shall make no law…abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press”. The Court ruled under the actual malice standard. This would require Sullivan to prove that the New York Times knew the statements against him were untrue and acted recklessly through a conscious lack of investigation by publishing them.

The Supreme Court determined that the Alabama State court’s award of punitive damages to Sullivan was not appropriate due to the Times’ Constitutional right to freedom of the press. New York Times v. Sullivan was the first time that the Court used the concept of actual malice in the freedom of the press case. The actual malice standard requires the plaintiff to prove that the plaintiff had knowledge of the untruth of the statements published, rather than the plaintiff having to prove the truth of the statements.

Northern Securities Co v. United States

Northern Securities Co v. United States

Northern Securities Co v. United States is a landmark Supreme Court case that dealt with the issue of antitrust law in the United States. The case involved the Northern Securities Company, a corporation formed by J.P. Morgan and his colleagues, who had sought to monopolize the railroad industry through a merger with other railway companies. The United States government challenged the merger as anticompetitive and filed a lawsuit against the company, which eventually led to the landmark legal battle in 1904.

In their decision, the Supreme Court declared the Northern Securities Company’s merger illegal under the Sherman Antitrust Act of 1890, which had been passed by Congress to prevent monopolies and promote competition in the marketplace. The Court determined that the company’s merger violated antitrust laws and declared it void, dismantling the monopoly and reestablishing competition in the railroad industry.

The Northern Securities Co. v. United States case had a significant impact on American antitrust law. The decision set a precedent for the government to break up monopolies and promote competition in the marketplace, which remains a guiding principle of U.S. antitrust law today. The case established a legal framework for analyzing the anti-competitive effects of mergers and acquisitions and set a standard for future antitrust investigations and litigation.

The case also marks a turning point in the evolution of the American economy. It signaled a shift away from the laissez-faire era of the late 19th century, in which the government had little regulatory control over large corporations, towards a more activist role for the state in regulating big business. This shift paved the way for more government intervention in the economy and the passage of additional antitrust laws in the years to come.

In conclusion, the Northern Securities Co v. United States case was a landmark decision that had a profound impact on American antitrust law and the regulation of big business. The ruling set the stage for future antitrust investigations, sent a powerful message to corporations about the government’s commitment to promoting competition, and signaled a shift in the balance of power between big business and the state. The case remains a critical case study in the evolution of American legal and economic history.


The ruling of Northern Securities Co. v. the United States was an important judicial decision regarding antitrust law. Justice John Marshall Harlan wrote the decision for this case.

In Northern Securities v. the United States, the Supreme Court held that the Northern Securities Company was operating as a monopoly and ruled to dissolve it. This decision strengthened the power of the Sherman Anti-Trust Act and broadened the interpretation of the Constitution’s Commerce Clause.

The purpose of the Sherman Act is to limit the use of monopolies, which hinder competition between companies.
Prior to this ruling, which occurred under the presidency of Theodore Roosevelt, many politicians were hesitant to enforce this law. The Northern Securities Co. v. the United States decision was the first significant application of this Act.

The Northern Securities Company was a trust formed in 1902 by E. H. Harriman, James Hill, J. P. Morgan, and John D. Rockefeller, that owned and operated several of the major railways in the United States. Before this the company was created, Hill, who was in control of the Great Northern Railway, and Harriman, who owned the Northern Pacific Railway, battled to gain control of the Burlington line that would allow each of their rails accesses to Chicago, Illinois.

Hill and Harriman waged a war to buy out the most shares of the Burlington Railroad’s stock and, as a result, ended up significantly increasing the purchase price of railroad stock. As a means to resolve the conflict, the men formed the Northern Securities Company as a monopoly that controlled the Great Northern Railway, the Northern Pacific Railway, the Burlington Railroad, and several others. Once the public became aware of the
monopoly, a plan by President Roosevelt followed quickly to file suit against the Northern Securities Company.

The Court held that the existence of the Northern Securities The company eliminated the competition between the companies that formed it and, consequently, eliminating the ability of other similar companies to compete with the monopoly. The Court found that the formation of this company was in fact intended to eliminate competition and it was, therefore, ordered to dissolve. The Court was operating based on the Commerce Clause of the United States Constitution.

The Commerce Clause states that Congress has the power “to regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States…”. This is what gives the Supreme Court power to dissolve any company that they determine to be a monopoly. The Supreme Court Justices found that the actions of the company were unreasonable enough that it constituted a monopoly. Congress applied a broad interpretation of the Commerce A clause in the Northern Securities Co. v. the United States decision.

Theodore Roosevelt was the first politician to strictly enforce the Sherman Anti-Trust
Act and gave others the ability to do so. After this decision, several other cases appeared before the Supreme Court that was similar in circumstances. The Northern Securities case formed a precedent, and these cases were given similar rulings.

Plessy v. Ferguson

Plessy v. Ferguson is a landmark Supreme Court case that has had a lasting impact on American civil rights discourse. The case was heard in 1896 and dealt with the constitutionality of racial segregation in public facilities. The court’s decision in this case had a significant impact on the course of American history, and its effects can still be felt to this day.

The case arose when Homer Plessy, an African American man, boarded a “whites-only” train car in Louisiana. Plessy was arrested for violating the state’s segregation law, which required separate but equal facilities for Blacks and Whites. Plessy contested the Louisiana law, arguing that it violated the Fourteenth Amendment’s equal protection clause.

In a split decision, the Supreme Court upheld the Louisiana law. The court held that segregation was legal as long as the separate facilities were equal in quality, a doctrine known as “separate but equal.” The court also declared that segregation did not imply discrimination and allowed states to pass legislation that enforced segregation in public places.

Plessy v. Ferguson had a profound impact on the ongoing fight for racial equality in America. The decision cemented racial segregation in American society and institutionalized discrimination against Black people. The “separate but equal” doctrine was used to justify segregation across a wide range of public facilities, including schools, parks, and public transportation.

However, the decision also provided impetus for Civil Rights Movement in the twentieth century. The segregation era saw the rise of prominent activists, including Martin Luther King Jr. and Rosa Parks who rejected the notion that separate facilities could ever be equal. Their efforts, along with many other activists, led to landmark civil rights legislation, including the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

In conclusion, Plessy v. Ferguson was a Supreme Court case that upheld the constitutionality of racial segregation and made it legal to institutionalize discrimination. Despite its negative impact on American society, the case did help galvanize people in the fight against racism and segregation. It served as a rallying cry for civil rights activists, who eventually dismantled the oppressive system of segregation, leading to a more equitable and just society.


Plessy v. Ferguson is one of the most important Supreme Court cases, in which the Court held that racial segregation is constitutional under the “Separate but Equal” Doctrine. Justice Henry Billings Brown wrote the Court’s opinion, which was voted on 7 to 1.

The Thirteenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, adopted in 1865, states that “Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude…shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction”. It goes on to say that Congress has the power to enforce legislation that will prohibit the use of slavery. After the phase of Reconstruction came to an end and the Federal troops were withdrawn from the South, a series of laws known as the Jim Crow laws were put into effect by southern states.

The Jim Crow laws claimed a “separate but equal” quality for black Americans, but in actuality, blacks were treated unfairly and unequally. Public places, such as schools, restrooms, and methods of transportation, were kept segregated by “whites only” and “blacks only” sections. Although the Thirteenth Amendment abolished slavery, many people, especially Southerners, believed that former slaves were still not considered citizens, and therefore, not guaranteed all the same legal rights as whites.

Congress responded by enacting the Fourteenth Amendment, which stated that, “all persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside”. The Equal Protection Clause of this Amendment requires the State to provide equal rights and protection to all people residing within that State. Despite the Equal Protection Clause, the Civil Rights Cases of 1883 held that the Fourteenth Amendment restricts only the actions of the Government and not the acts of individuals or private entities.

Therefore, the South continued to pass laws that kept whites and blacks separated.
In 1890, the State of Louisiana passed a law that required blacks to use separate railway cars that were supposedly equal to those of whites. A group of African Americans in New Orleans formed an association called The Citizens’ Committee to Test the Separate Car Act. This group hired a well-known attorney, Albion Tourgee, and staged an act of civil disobedience where Homer Plessy agreed to violate the Separate the Cars Act and be arrested. The Committee carefully staged the event. Homer Plessy was a light-skinned individual who was of African ancestry.

Plessy purchased a railroad ticket for a “whites only” car and was then arrested when he announced on the train car that he was one-eighth black and refused to move to the black car. Plessy sued the State of Louisiana by claiming that the rights that were guaranteed to him by the Thirteenth and Fourteenth Amendments were violated. The decision of Judge Ferguson was that the State had the right to enforce racial segregation in railroad cars. On appeal, this decision was once again upheld. The Committee appealed again to the United States Supreme Court in 1896.

The Supreme Court also upheld the ruling that entitled the State of Louisiana to engage in racial segregation. The Court did not find that the State had violated the Fourteenth Amendment and was not technically treating the races differently, but just keeping them separate. However, in reality, most of the public places that were designed for blacks were greatly inferior to those designed for whites. Plessy was forced to plead guilty to the violation and pay a minor fine and the public facilities remained separated.

The decision in Plessy v. Ferguson further promoted the racial segregation in the South. States were permitted to enforce the Separate but Equal Doctrine in public places. Separate but equal is based on the premise that the facilities are kept in equal condition. However, this was not generally the case. The Plessy v. Ferguson decision began affecting public institutions immediately.

Funding for educational institutions was far less for African Americans. States that had initially not participated in racial segregation began passing this legislation, and much of
the progress made during Reconstruction was reversed. The Separate but Equal law stood until it was finally reversed in 1954 in the Brown v. Board of Education decision.

Major Decisions-McCulloch v. Maryland

Major Decisions-McCulloch v. Maryland

McCulloch v. Maryland is a landmark case in American legal history that established the principle of federal supremacy and upheld the constitutionality of the national bank. The case was heard by the Supreme Court in 1819 and arose from the state of Maryland’s attempt to tax the Second Bank of the United States, which had been established by Congress in 1816.

Maryland passed a law imposing a tax on all out-of-state banks operating in the state, with the clear intention of targeting the Second Bank of the United States. James W. McCulloch, the bank’s Baltimore branch manager, refused to pay the tax and was subsequently sued by the state.

The case ultimately made its way to the Supreme Court, which had to decide whether the state had the power to impose the tax on the federal government. At issue was the interpretation of two clauses of the U.S. Constitution: the Necessary and Proper Clause and the Supremacy Clause.

In its decision, the Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of the bank and ruled that the state of Maryland did not have the power to tax it. Chief Justice John Marshall, writing for the majority, argued that the Necessary and Proper Clause gave Congress broad discretion to create laws that were “necessary and proper” for carrying out its enumerated powers. The power to establish a bank, he argued, was implicit in Congress’s authority to regulate commerce and to levy taxes and borrow money.

Marshall also argued that the Supremacy Clause gave federal law precedence over state law, and that states could not interfere with the functioning of federal institutions. In other words, the federal government had the final say in matters of national importance, and the states could not impede its actions.

The decision in McCulloch v. Maryland had far-reaching implications for federal-state relations and the balance of power between the federal government and the states. The ruling established the principle of federal supremacy, meaning that federal law takes precedence over state law when there is a conflict between the two. This principle has been used to assert federal authority on a number of issues, from civil rights to environmental protection to foreign policy.

While some critics have argued that the decision in McCulloch v. Maryland gave the federal government too much power, supporters maintain that it was necessary to establish a coherent and effective system of government. They argue that without clear lines of federal authority, the country would have been unable to function effectively or respond to national emergencies and crises.

In conclusion, McCulloch v. Maryland represents a major turning point in American legal history and established key principles that continue to shape federal-state relations today. The case underscores the importance of a strong, effective federal government and highlights the ongoing tension between federal authority and state autonomy. Ultimately, the decision in McCulloch v. Maryland has had important implications for the functioning of American democracy and the balance of power between federal and state institutions.


McCulloch v. Maryland proved to be an extremely important Supreme Court case that would impact how the laws and the Constitution of the United States would be applied in a functional and effective manner. McCulloch v. Maryland would establish certain principles for interpretation of Constitutional law, specifically dealing with the powers of Congress.

McCulloch v. Maryland would inadvertently become a fundamental case in Supreme Court decisions based on the State of Maryland imposing a tax on the Second Bank of the United States, which was established with the support and backing of Congress. The reason that Congress would establish a national bank would be to control how State banks were to issue currency, which was unregulated at the time it was established.

The states were in opposition to the decision and Maryland would be the first to show its discomfort by levying a tax on all the banks within the State that were not chartered by State legislation. James McCulloch was the presiding official over the Second Bank of the United States in Maryland and refused to pay the tax. What would ensue would have an impact on all judicial and Constitutional matters in the United States after the case was decided.

Originally, the case was heard by the State of Maryland courts and rendered a decision in favor of the State. The decision was reached based upon the determination that the Constitution did not implicitly provide for any provisions regarding banks in the United States, and thus, such powers should be delegated to State to control. The case was then appealed to the Supreme Court, where Chief Justice John Marshall was presiding.

After hearing the case, Marshall would establish the United States Constitution as the supreme rule of the nation. Furthermore, Marshall would also refer to the Constitution to provide for the fact that even though the term “bank” is never explicitly referenced in the document, there are certain provisions in the Taxing and Spending Clause that would provide for implied powers to Congress to establish such a bank.

The establishing of a bank would be a means to implement the expressly given powers to Congress, thus within the realm of Constitutionality. The Necessary and Proper Clause of the Constitution would be invoked to further support this determination and would find that Congress could enact such a practice as long as it did not violate other Constitutional standards and within the realm of Congress’ limits.

Two major principles would be derived from Marshall’s decision in favor of McCulloch. Firstly, the Congress of the United States is granted certain implied powers by the Constitution that are implemented in order to ensure the proper function of the Federal Government. The other major outcome was that the States cannot impose on the powers granted by the Constitution to the Federal Government by any action, such as levying a bank tax on a national bank.

Aside from establishing implied powers of Congress as a legitimate practice, it is the bank tax levied by Maryland that would further make the decision more important, which would prove for the limit on the states’ power over Federal Government. Furthermore, Marshall would declare the Maryland bank tax unconstitutional, which was first done in Marbury v. Madison. The case would provide for the Constitution to be interpreted on a broader scope, rather than adhering to its provisions and text word for word. If you need legal advice and assistance, contact Maryland lawyers.

Major Decisions-Miranda v Arizona

Major Decisions-Miranda v Arizona

Miranda v Arizona is a landmark case in American legal history and criminal justice. The case, which reached the Supreme Court in 1966, reshaped the U.S. legal system by establishing that criminal suspects have the right to remain silent and the right to an attorney.

The case originated when Ernesto Miranda, a young man from Arizona, was arrested and subsequently accused of raping and kidnapping a woman. After a lengthy interrogation, Miranda confessed to the crime. However, his confession was not preceded by any warning about his constitutional rights, such as the right to remain silent or the right to speak with an attorney. Miranda was convicted at trial, largely due to his confession, and sentenced to 20 years in prison.

Miranda’s conviction generated significant attention from civil rights advocates and legal scholars, who argued that his confession had been obtained through coercion and that his constitutional rights had been violated. The case made its way through the court system, and ultimately reached the Supreme Court.

In a landmark ruling, the Supreme Court held that Miranda’s confession was inadmissible in court, because the police had failed to inform him of his rights under the Fifth Amendment. The Court established that criminal suspects have the right to remain silent and cannot be forced to incriminate themselves, and that they also have the right to an attorney when being questioned by law enforcement. The Court further mandated that law enforcement officers must inform suspects of these rights before interrogating them.

The decision in Miranda v Arizona had a profound impact on the U.S. legal system, and became known as the Miranda warning. The ruling established a basic framework of procedural safeguards aimed at ensuring that law enforcement officers do not infringe on suspects’ constitutional rights while conducting interrogations. The warning has become a staple of popular culture, and is often mentioned in movies and television shows.

However, the decision in Miranda v Arizona was not without its critics. Some legal scholars have argued that the procedural safeguards established by the Court have made it more difficult for law enforcement officers to obtain confessions and solve crimes. Others have suggested that the warning may be ineffective in practice, as many suspects do not fully understand their rights, and some may waive them out of fear or desperation.

Nevertheless, the Miranda warning remains a critical component of American criminal justice, and continues to shape the way in which law enforcement officers conduct interrogations of criminal suspects. The case stands as a reminder of the importance of constitutional protections even in the midst of criminal investigations, and has played a significant role in protecting the rights of people in police custody for over five decades.


The Miranda v. Arizona case is one that was considered to be as a result of the legal aid movement of the 1960s. The concept of the movement was to basically provide those accused of crimes with the legal support they required on their behalf. Among other Supreme Court decisions, Miranda v. Arizona was one of the most important cases to arise in United States history.

Its final decision would essentially affect various levels of the United States Government, namely law enforcement. Furthermore, the final verdict would also become a championing effort for the Civil Rights Movement, as its coverage by the media was quite extensive and would become feted as a victory statement for citizen’s rights in the United States (See Also: Human Rights and Entitlements). Miranda v. Arizona deals with several aspects of provisions set forth by the United States Constitution and served to provide for an application of Constitutional law that would be more visible among the civilian populations of the country.

The case of Miranda v. Arizona deals with a man named Ernesto Miranda that was arrested for rape and kidnapping charges and brought in for questioning and interrogation. After hours of interrogation, Miranda would finally sign a written confession that also affirmed that he was made fully aware of his legal rights and had waived them voluntarily. However, Miranda was never made aware of his rights to an attorney or his right to remain silent prior to being interrogated. Miranda’s defense motioned to have his written confession to be inadmissible in the courts as evidence. This would be overruled by the State courts, which would lead to an appeal to the Supreme Court.

The crux of the arguments for Miranda’s defense would lie in the fact that the law enforcement officials would have violated the accused’s Fifth Amendment and Sixth Amendment rights, as well as failure to comply with the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. The uproar over the Miranda v. Arizona the case is largely due to the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s and the fact that Amendments under the Bill of Rights of the Constitution were being violated only added to its fervor and publicity.

The Supreme Court would hear the Miranda v. Arizona case under Chief Justice Earl Warren, who eventually overruled the conviction and sentencing of Miranda by the Arizona State courts. Warren would resolve that the confession could not be considered admissible as evidence due to the fact that it was in violation of the Fifth and Sixth Amendments of the Constitution. The infringement of the Fifth Amendment would be in relation to the self-incrimination clause, while the violation of the Sixth Amendment was in respect to the right to an attorney.

Due to the interrogation tactics and practices of the involved law enforcement officials and the fact that Miranda was never made aware of his rights to remain silent and to an attorney, the written confession assigned would be considered null due to such confession being, therefore, coerced or unlawfully forced. Warren would conclude that any person in custody subject to an interrogation must be fully aware of his rights prior to any such interrogation taking place. Furthermore, the accused must also fully understand those rights and the fact that he/she also has the right to waive such rights.

The rendering of the decision of Miranda v. Arizona would then become implemented into law, in which any person arrested for a crime must be made aware of his rights to due process. The listing and verbal communication from the police to the suspect or accused would become known as Miranda Rights. The rendering of this decision would also have further Constitutional implications in which other Supreme Court cases would try to use Miranda rights as precedence or oppose the ruling altogether, citing that such a practice gives the opportunity for criminals to slip away from justice due to a provisional technicality.

Furthermore, the the ruling of Miranda v. Arizona also helped re-establish the importance of the Constitution’s Bill of Rights as a fundamental human and civil rights guaranteed to the people of the United States. Warren’s interpretation of the Constitution also helped strengthen the “loose interpretation” of the The constitution that had been implemented in other cases by John Marshall, such as Gibbons v. Ogden, another landmark Supreme Court case.

Major Decisions-New Jersey v. T.L.O.

Major Decisions-New Jersey v. T.L.O.

New Jersey v. TLO: Balancing Student Rights and School Authority

Introduction

The Supreme Court case of New Jersey v. T.L.O. marked a significant turning point in the jurisprudence surrounding students’ Fourth Amendment rights within a school setting. This landmark case, decided in 1985, dealt with the fundamental question of how the Fourth Amendment applies to students in public schools and to what extent school administrators can search students’ belongings. In this article, we will explore the details of the New Jersey v. T.L.O. case, the major decisions that emerged from it, and its lasting impact on the delicate balance between students’ rights and school authority.

Background of New Jersey v. T.L.O.

The case of New Jersey v. T.L.O. began with a seemingly routine incident at Piscataway High School in New Jersey. In 1980, a teacher caught T.L.O., a 14-year-old student, smoking in the school bathroom, a clear violation of school rules. The teacher took T.L.O. to the principal’s office, where the assistant vice-principal, Theodore Choplick, questioned her about the incident. During the questioning, T.L.O. denied smoking and claimed she didn’t smoke at all. In response, Mr. Choplick demanded to see T.L.O.’s purse.

Upon searching T.L.O.’s purse, Mr. Choplick discovered not only cigarettes but also marijuana, drug paraphernalia, and a list of students who owed T.L.O. money. Consequently, T.L.O. was charged with possession of marijuana and drug paraphernalia. She later moved to suppress the evidence obtained from her purse on the grounds that the search had violated her Fourth Amendment rights against unreasonable searches and seizures.

Major Decisions in New Jersey v. T.L.O.

New Jersey v. T.L.O. made its way to the Supreme Court, where the justices grappled with the critical question of whether the Fourth Amendment’s prohibition against unreasonable searches and seizures applied to public school students and, if so, to what extent. The Court’s ruling, delivered by Justice Byron White, established a two-part framework for evaluating the constitutionality of searches conducted by school officials within a school environment.

1. Reasonableness Standard:

The Court first determined that the Fourth Amendment applied to public school students. However, it acknowledged that students do not possess the same level of Fourth Amendment protection as adults. Instead, the Court established a “reasonableness” standard that balances students’ privacy rights against the school’s interest in maintaining discipline and ensuring the safety of students.

2. Scope of the Search:

The Court’s second major decision focused on the scope of the search. It held that school officials could conduct searches of students’ belongings if they had reasonable grounds to believe that a student’s possession violated school rules or the law. Importantly, the Court did not require school officials to obtain a warrant or have probable cause to search students. Instead, the search must be “reasonable” based on the circumstances.

The Legacy of New Jersey v. T.L.O.

The New Jersey v. T.L.O. decision had a profound impact on the relationship between students and public schools in the United States. It struck a delicate balance between protecting students’ Fourth Amendment rights and allowing schools to maintain a safe and orderly learning environment. Here are some key aspects of its legacy:

1. School Authority Upheld:

The decision reinforced the authority of school officials to maintain discipline and order within the school setting. By allowing searches based on reasonable suspicion rather than the stricter standards of probable cause and warrants, the Court recognized that school administrators needed flexibility to address potential threats and rule violations efficiently.

2. Impact on Student Rights:

While the Court upheld the application of the Fourth Amendment to public school students, it also recognized that students’ rights were not absolute within the school context. This decision established the idea that students have a diminished expectation of privacy in school compared to adults in other settings.

3. Legal Framework for Student Searches:

New Jersey v. T.L.O. provided a clear legal framework for evaluating the constitutionality of student searches. It required that searches be justified by reasonable suspicion and be conducted in a manner consistent with the Fourth Amendment’s reasonableness standard. This framework has been used in subsequent cases to assess the validity of various types of student searches.

4. Ongoing Legal Debates:

The case left room for ongoing legal debates and challenges. Courts have continued to grapple with the definition of “reasonable suspicion” and the scope of searches in evolving contexts such as searches of electronic devices, drug testing, and more.

5. Balancing Act:

New Jersey v. T.L.O. underscored the delicate balance between students’ individual rights and the need for schools to maintain a safe and productive learning environment. It acknowledged that schools play a unique role in society and require specific rules and policies to fulfill their mission effectively.

Conclusion

New Jersey v. T.L.O. remains a pivotal Supreme Court case in the realm of student rights and school authority. Its major decisions established a legal framework that continues to shape how courts evaluate the constitutionality of student searches in public schools. While it upheld students’ Fourth Amendment rights, it also recognized the practical necessity for school officials to maintain order and discipline. In essence, the case reflects the ongoing tension between individual rights and collective needs within the educational system, a tension that remains relevant to this day.


New Jersey v. T.L.O. is a landmark case in U.S. legal history that established the legal threshold for searches conducted by public school officials. The case originated in 1980, when a high school student referred to by the initials T.L.O. was caught smoking in the school bathroom. The school’s assistant principal, suspecting that T.L.O. might be concealing drugs, searched her purse and discovered marijuana, as well as a small amount of money and other paraphernalia that suggested she was dealing drugs.

T.L.O. was subsequently charged with drug possession and distribution. However, her attorney argued that the search of her purse had violated her Fourth Amendment rights, which protect individuals from unreasonable searches and seizures. The case then made its way through the court system, ultimately reaching the Supreme Court.

In its decision, the Supreme Court established that public school officials may conduct searches of students if they have reasonable suspicion to believe that the search will turn up evidence of illegal activity or other violations of school rules. The Court held that the search of T.L.O.’s purse was justified because the assistant principal had reasonable grounds to believe that she was violating school policy and that illegal drugs might be involved.

The Court also noted, however, that searches conducted by school officials should be limited in scope and focused only on finding the specific evidence that prompted the search. The Court cautioned that schools should not use searches as a general means of rooting out student misbehavior or other types of wrongdoing.

New Jersey v. T.L.O. had a significant impact on public school policies throughout the country, as it established the legal standard for searches conducted by school officials. The decision also raised important questions about the rights of students, the scope of Fourth Amendment protections, and the responsibilities of school officials to maintain discipline and safety on school grounds.

Legal commentators have noted that the decision in T.L.O. remains relevant in today’s legal landscape, as schools continue to grapple with difficult issues related to student privacy, safety, and discipline. The decision serves as a reminder that schools must balance the need to maintain order and safety with the rights of individual students, and that any searches conducted by school officials must be governed by established legal standards and limits.

Overall, New Jersey v. T.L.O. represents an important moment in American legal history and underscores the need to balance individual rights with societal concerns related to public safety and order. The case demonstrates the Supreme Court’s commitment to carefully weighing the facts and legal principles in order to arrive at a just and appropriate decision, and highlights the continuing importance of legal precedents in guiding policy and practice in the field of education.


The Supreme Court has an extensive history in hearing cases in which the Amendments contained in the Bill of Rights are the issue of an alleged violation or infringement situation. However, the majority of the cases deal with adults in real-world situations.

On certain occasions, the question as to how the Constitution applies to students or those not legally considered adults arises.

A case in the 1960s, known as Tinker v. Des Moines, is an example of students and the application of Constitutional rights. The subject would arise some twenty years later once again in New Jersey v. TLO. The case of New Jersey v. TLO is in regards to a student being searched on school grounds because she was thought to be smoking in a non-smoking area of the campus. Even though TLO–such as the girl was referred to due to her name not being released because of her age–denied the accusations of her smoking, she was brought to the principal’s office.

Once there, the assistant vice-principal searched TLO’s purse, in which she found marijuana, several forms of paraphernalia, and letters that indicated that she was involved in dealing with marijuana at her school. Subsequently, TLO would be brought up on charges by the local police and sentenced to one-year probation. The matter was brought to the New Jersey Supreme Court, in which the probation charges were overturned on the grounds that the Fourth Amendment of the Constitution had been violated on TLO’s behalf. The State of New Jersey would then appeal to the United States
Supreme Court.

Warren E. Burger was the Chief Justice presiding over New Jersey v. TLO. After reviewing the case and the application of the Fourth Amendment under these circumstances, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of New Jersey. The Fourth Amendment was used to argue that the search conducted by the school official was unwarranted, and therefore, a violation of TLO’s Constitutional rights. The main the issue at hand was that even though the Fourth Amendment is to be applied to all people of the United States, in certain instances there has to be a balance in which its application cannot extend its limits that disrupt certain procedures affecting safety and the overall well-being of a group of people.

Such was the case in New Jersey v. TLO, in which it was determined that a school or
educational setting warrants some modification regarding the scope in which Students’ rights are applied. Though the Supreme Court did not denounce that the Fourth Amendment did not apply to students, a certain consideration to its application in this type of setting required some lax interpretations. The Fourth Amendment states that a search and seizure cannot be lawfully conducted without a warrant or probable cause.

However, in a school setting, a search is considered to be reasonable and within the constraints of the Fourth Amendment if there is reasonable suspicion that criminal activity is suspected. However, the Supreme Court also rested its the decision that such types of searches are to be conducted by the school themselves and that if law enforcement was to be involved, it could be in breach of a student’s Fourth Amendment rights.