What I get under ACLU’s most important cases

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I have listed some of the cases that I found interesting for various reasons. Go check out “The “Lectric Law Library’s” entire decade by decade list. Do you agree with their list?? Why?

“1925 Gitlow v. New York Our first Supreme Court landmark. Though
upholding the defendant’s conviction for distributing his call to
overthrow the government, the Court held, for the first time, that the
Fourteenth Amendment “incorporates” the free speech clause of the First
Amendment and is, therefore, applicable to the states.

1927 Whitney v. California Though the Court upheld a conviction for
membership in a group that advocated the overthrow of the state, Justice
Brandeis explained, in a separate opinion, that under the “clear and
present danger test” the strong presumption must be in favor of  “more
speech, not enforced silence.” That view, which ultimately prevailed,
laid the groundwork for modern First Amendment law.

1947 Everson v. Board of Education A trailblazer: The Court found school
boards’ reimbursement of the public transportation costs incurred by
parents whose children attended parochial schools constitutional, but
Justice Black’s statement — “In the words of Jefferson, the
clause…was intended to erect a `wall of separation between church and
State’…” — was the Court’s first major utterance on the meaning of
Establishment Clause.

1954 Brown v. Board of Education In perhaps the most far-reaching
decision of this century, the Court declared racially segregated schools
unconstitutional and overruled the “separate but equal” doctrine
announced in its infamous 1896 decision in Plessy v. Ferguson.

1958 Kent v. Dulles The Court ruled that the State Department had
exceeded its authority in denying artist Rockwell Kent a passport
because he refused to sign a “noncommunist affidavit.” The right to
travel, said the Court, is protected by the Due Process Clause of the
Fifth Amendment.

1958 Speiser v. Randall Arguing before the Court on his own behalf, ACLU
lawyer Lawrence Speiser won his challenge to a California law requiring
that veterans sign a loyalty oath to qualify for a property tax

1967 In re Gault The most important landmark for juveniles, it
established specific due process requirements for state delinquency
proceedings and stated, for the first time, the broad principle that
young persons have constitutional rights.

1969 Brandenburg v. Ohio After the ACLU’s 50-year struggle against laws
punishing political advocacy, the Court now adopted our view of the
First Amendment — that the government could only penalize direct
incitement to imminent lawless action — and invalidated, in one fell
swoop, the Smith Act and all state sedition laws restricting radical
political groups.

1975 O’Connor v. Donaldson The Court’s first ruling on the rights of
mental patients supported a non-violent man who had been confined
against his will in a state hospital for 15 years. Mental illness alone,
said the Court, could not justify “simple custodial confinement” on an
indefinite basis.

1983 Bob Jones University v. United States The Court rejected two
fundamentalist Christian schools’ claim, supported by the Reagan Justice
Department, that the First Amendment guarantee of religious liberty
forbade the denial of income tax exemptions to educational and religious
institutions that practice racial discrimination. Instead, the Court
held that the IRS is empowered to set rules enforcing a “settled public
policy” against racial discrimination in education.

1990 Cruzan v. Director of the Missouri Department of Health The Court’s
first “right-to-die” case, in which the ACLU represented the family of a
woman who had been in a persistent vegetative state for more than seven
years. Although the Court did not go as far as the ACLU urged, it did
recognize living wills as clear and convincing evidence of a patient’s

1992 R.A.V. v. Wisconsin An important First Amendment victory. A
unanimous Court struck down a local law banning the display, on public
or private property, of any symbol “that arouses anger, alarm or
resentment in others on the basis of race, color, creed, religion or


~ by devildog6771 on March 29, 2005.

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