Unit 4 Court Cases McCulloch v. Maryland (1819)



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Unit 4 Court Cases


McCulloch v. Maryland (1819)

  • Supreme Court ruled that the necessary and proper clause and Congress’ power to coin and borrow money both implied the power to create a national bank.


Anderson v. Dunn (1821)

  • Court recognized the power of Congress to investigate and held that either branch could punish a person other than a member of Congress for contempt of its authority.


Gibbons v. Ogden (1824)

  • Court ruled that New York’s waterway laws requiring substantial navigation fees for out-of-state boats unlawfully exercised a power reserved to and exercised by the US Congress. (Commerce Clause)


City of Clinton v. Cedar Rapids and Missouri RR Co. (1868)

  • Supreme Court adopted “Dillion’s Rule” which holds that local governments are merely political subdivisions of the state, which exists only to carry out administrative duties delegated by the states. (By 2000, however, most states have now allowed “home rule” charters that grant more local control of local matters.)


Youngstown Sheet & Tube v. Sawyer (1952)

  • During Korean War, workers at Youngstown… went on strike. President Truman then issued an Executive Order enabling the national government to take over the steel mills. The Supreme Court held that Truman improperly invaded Congress’s exclusive constitutional authority to make laws necessary and proper to carry out the powers vested by Congress.”


Heart of Atlanta Motel v. United States (1964)

  • Court ruled that an Atlanta motel that discriminated against African Americans had to comply with the Civil Rights Act because it was a business that served mostly interstate travelers. (Power to Regulate Interstate Commerce)


Reynolds v. Sims (1964)

  • The Court held that both houses of bicameral state legislatures had to be apportioned on a population basis. States were required to "honest and good faith" efforts to construct districts as nearly of equal population as practicable.


Wesberry v. Sanders (1964)

  • Supreme Court adopted rule of “one person, one vote” regarding congressional districts.

United States v. Nixon (1974)

  • The President is not entitled to automatic immunity from the legal process.


Train v. City of New York (1975)

  • President cannot refuse to spend money that Congress has appropriated unless Congress gives the president discretion to do so.


South Dakota v. Dole (1987)

  • Court upheld Congress’s attempt to regulate the drinking age by tying receipt of national highway funds to adoption of a uniform minimum drinking age of 21. Court also approved of their spending power as an indirect way to promote the general welfare.


United States v. Lopez (1995)

  • Curtailed Congress’s powers to regulate state and local activities by relying on the Commerce Clause. Court struck down “Gun-Free School Zones Act” of 1990 as exceeding its regulatory powers under the commerce clause.


Gonzalez v. Raich (2005)

  • Court upheld Congress’s authority to regulate the interstate market in drugs. This ruling did not overturn medical marijuana laws, but does mean that anyone who uses marijuana for pain control risks legal action by federal agencies. (DEA)


Hamdan v. Rumsfeld (2006)

  • Supreme Court ruled that the President cannot create special military commissions for trying suspected terrorists (not authorized by Congress) and that the commissions violated the Uniform Code of Military Justice and the Geneva Convention. (Congress passed 2006 law authorizing military tribunals.)




Court Case Summaries from Oyez: US Supreme Court Media (http://www.oyez.org/) & “We the People: The Citizen and the Constitution” Level 3 Textbook. Page




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