Sunday, January 09, 2011

Which of the following decisions have had the most significant impact in the U.S.? Why? (Can you give your top 3?)

1. Gitlow v. New York
2. Powell v. Alabama
3. Mapp v. Ohio
4. Gideon v. Wainwright
5. Near v. Minnesota
6. Griswold v. Connecticut
7. Roe v. Wade
8. Brandenburg v. Ohio
9. Schenck v. United States
10. Hustler Magazine, Inc. v. Falwell
11. Miller v. California
12. Texas v. Johnson
13. Miranda v. Arizona
14. Tinker v. Des Moines
15. Webster v. Reproductive Health Services
16. Planned Parenthood of Southeastern PN v. Casey
17. Bowers v. Hardwick
18. Lemon v. Kurtzman
19. Weeks v. United States
20. Furman v. Georgia

29 comments:

dboyce said...

All of these have had a big impact on America. To decide which is more important depends on which amendments are viewed to be more important because these cases regard different rights. So on has to ask themselves which is most important. Free speech, right to privacy, freedom of the press, and so on. As for as the top three goes, one of my choices would be Gideon v. Wainwright because it enforces the fact that the courtmust appint an attorney for the defendent even if he can't afford one. Giswold v. Connecticut also had a very huge impact on America. This case brought forth right to privacy and greatly influenced the decision in Roe v. Wade. Whether you agree with the decision about this case or not, you have to admit that it did have a big impact on America for better or worse. Near v. Minnesota also had a large impact on america because it greatly influenced freedom of the press.What became of this case is that the government cannot censor or prohibit publication when the print atacks local officials.

M. Francis said...

Well, Roe v. Wade is mentioned in about 5 of the other 19 cases, so it obviously had a significant impact on other cases which have impacted our right to privacy. I think that Near v. Minnesota is a close second because it is an essencial right to the press. The government cannot punnish or censor publication in advance, that would be like charging someone for an thought or intention, not an actual action. This ruling has had a significant impact on the press's ability to publish stories that are potentially very necessary for the public to know. My third case would have to be Schenck v. United States. This case has the most potential to impact all of America in the future. This case gives an extreme amount of power to the government during times of war, when free speech can pretty much get thrown out the window.

KSASS said...

The first decision that significantly impacted the U.S. within the justice system is Powell v. Alabama (1932). I find that if this case had not been decided to protect the Due Process Clause of the 14th Amendment, then more often than not people would not have an opportunity to secure counsel. This means that defendants would not have a chance of enough time for their defense, and quite possibly that innocent defendants would be charged with crimes more often.
The second decision, in my opinion, that impacted the U.S. tremendously was Roe v. Wade (1973). Because of this decision, women have a right to privacy and can terminate a pregnancy if a woman so chooses. As the citizens of the U.S. find it necessary to defend their rights, I see this decision as absolutely necessary to secure the rights of women.
To go alongside the importance of Roe v. Wade (1973), the third most significant decision, in my opinion, that impacted the U.S. was Lemon v. Kurtzman (1971). The outcome of this case created the Lemon Test, which is used to decide whether a law constitutes an establishment of religion. Separating religion and government is absolutely critical so that the government is not influenced by religious principles and can run efficiently without nonsecular interruptions.
I view Roe v. Wade alongside Lemon v. Kurtzman because of the fact that pro-life individuals are supported by religious beliefs. In order for religion and government to be separate in the matter of whether or not the government can ban abortions, legislature must be able to pass the Lemon Test. This poses a problem for pro-life thinkers to be able to ban abortion without a nonsecular text and religious support.

ckruesel said...

I think that the 3 most important cases in this list are Gitlow V. New York, Near V. Minnesota, and Roe V. Wade. Gitlow V. New York is important because it showed how a person’s freedom of speech is not always protected. In Gitlow’s case his speech was considered unconstitutional because the Supreme Court believed it caused potential danger. Near V. Minnesota is important because it showed how much freedom the press has, by prevented the government from censoring them. Roe V. Wade is important because it shows how the Supreme Courts will follow the Constitution before it follows moral standards. Also since abortion is such a controversial subject to this day Roe V. Wade continues to come up in politics.

KMatusinec said...

The Supreme Court cases that I would choose as the top three are Mapp v. Ohio, Lemon v. Kurtzman, and Schenck v. United States.
Mapp v. Ohio established the exclusionary rule for evidence, a rule that eliminates all illegally obtained evidence from a trial. Obviously, this can greatly change the outcome of a case if important evidence was obtained in an illegal way or without a proper search warrant, but it protects the right to privacy of the accused.
Lemon v. Kurtzman created the precedent for the Lemon test, which gives government guidelines to test whether an action or event promotes or discriminates against religion. This allows for a fair separation between church and state, something that is vital to the impartiality of our courts and laws. It prevents any favoring towards either the religion of the majority or the religions of the minorities.
Schenck v. United States is important because it is basically an exception to the rule. In this particular case, the Supreme Court ruled against freedom of speech because speaking out against the government and promoting protest during wartime can create clear and present danger to the country and its citizens. This case decides that freedoms tolerable during times of peace can be withheld from the citizens during times of war.

Rjohnson-evers said...

I would say that the case with the most significant impact in the U.S. would be Lemon v. Kurtzman. Although it is difficult to compare cases that cover different areas of the law, I think that the precedent that this case set is extremely important. The outcome of this case supported the separation of church and state, which is fundamental to the U.S. political culture. This particular case also led to the Lemon test, which is important even now in determining whether other activities violate the separation of church and state.

KRodenbeck said...

I believe that Roe vs. Wade is has the most significant impact on the U.S. because it gives Americans the ability to kill fetuses. Second most important would have to be Miranda vs. Arizona because the decision resulted in the 5th Amendment to the Bill of Rights. Third most important would have to be Schenck vs. United States because the Supreme Court decided that the First Amendment doesn't apply in all situations and that our constitution isn't really that important.

Hillary said...

I believe that all of these court cases have had a large impact on America; however, there are a few cases that have been viewed more significantly. First of all, Lemon V. Kurtzman has had a large impact on the U.S.. As a result of this case the lemon test has been developed which asks three important questions dealing with religion establishment. Also, Miranda V. Arizona is another important case becuase now the police must outline necessary aspects to suspects and list their rights. Finally another important case is Weeks v. United states because as a result this lead to the exclusionary rule which is an important part of our society.

eboecker said...

First, I believe Tinker v. Des Moines has had a significant impact, as it deals with the free speech of students on school grounds. The Court ruled that the symbolic protest the students carried out was protected under the First Amendment. Second would be Near v. Minnesota. In this case, the Court upheld that restraining material prior to its publishment was in violation of the First Amendment. However, after publishment the material can become censored and/or punishable. The third case that has had a large impact on society is Roe v. Wade, if only for the controversy it has caused in American culture. It affected the laws of 46 of the 50 states, so it definitely caused a major change in American policy and mindset.

twerner said...

Although I believe each one of these court cases had a significant impact in the United States, There are three that seem to be most important: Roe v. Wade, Miranda v. Arizona, and Lemon v. Kurtzman. Roe v. Wade was a very controversial case dealing with abortion. The Court decided that the woman’s right to an abortion falls within the right to privacy, therefore it is her decision. This ruling was used in many court cases that proceeded and affected the laws of 46 states. Miranda v. Arizona was also very important in the U.S. because it decided that police officers must tell people their rights when they are arrested. Finally, Lemon v. Kurtzman was important because brought about the Lemon Test, which determined whether a challenged law was constitutional or not by asking three questions. This test is used in many other cases.

LWundrock said...

Each and every one of the preceding court cases is important to the ever-changing legal system within the United States. In its own way, the different outcomes of each circumstance have influenced the law to be what is today, and it is still developing with every case to come. When I think of three major cases out of the twenty given that have perhaps affected American policy to the greatest degree, I would recognize Roe vs. Wade, Texas vs. Johnson, and Lemon v. Kurtzman, as the main titles on that last.
Roe vs. Wade immediately sticks out to me because it deals directly with human life, starting as early as the first trimester of fetal development. The decision made to allow abortions has influenced millions of women as they may or may not have decided to terminate an early pregnancy; it is most relevant even today, as abortion still remains an extremely controversial topic. It will be interesting to see what types of other cornerstone cases, much like this one, come to be as it is further debated in the future.
The next case that I consider to be of major significance is that of Texas vs. Johnson. Although burning the American flag to some people may be thought of us “un-American” or obscene, I believe that it’s important as a democratic society to recognize the freedom of expression that each citizen has in this country. It is a great example of the fact that not all the same beliefs and ideals are shared by all people, but there still has to be a level of tolerance, acceptance, and freedom established if we are all to be thriving individuals.
Finally, the case of Lemon vs. Kurtzman is also one that I view as particularly significant of all the other cases. It created a still-applicable “Lemon test” for questionable policies involving religion. It solidified the idea of separate church and state, and emphasized that the government should be an entity of its own, completely independent from religion of any kind. I feel that this was an important ruling because it eliminated gray lines between the role of government and the personal beliefs that people have for their own lives; without this distinction, it would be too hard to control the balance of a government and a religion.

jwaltz said...

All these cases have had an impact in the U.S., but I think that Lemon v. Kurtzman has had a larger impact than most. What the case is concerned with and discusses is important and has influence in our political culture as a country. Lemon v. Kurtzman introduced the Lemon Test, which is an active part in determining whether or not activities are secular or not (separation between church and state). Roe v. Wade also has had a significant impact in the U.S. because women's right to privacy and whether abortion is moral or not has been part of the cultural war. Both the progressive and orthodox views struggle to compromise and this case contributes to the difficulty of this "war." Miranda v. Arizona is important in the U.S. because it decided that police officers must tell people their rights when they are arrested. To be read our "Miranda Rights" is like a privilege in this country. Being able to have this right has had a strong impact on our law enforcement in the U.S.

cziolkowski said...

I would have to say that there were many important cases that have gone through the supreme court but the case with the biggest impact has to be Roe v. Wade. I think this has had the most impact because it affect the largest group of people. The right of abortion has always been a very conserversial subject but I feel that this case has really been the most debated. I am not saying that the decision is a good or bad thing but the most people will be affected by it. I think the top three cases with the most impact are Roe v. Wade, Near v. Minnisota, and Lemon v. Kurtzman. All of these cases has been really close to the people and the decision really affect people everyday.

mpavelko said...

I believe the court case that had the most significant impact in the U.S. was Roe v. Wade case because it gave women more rights over there body. Aborition happens very often now in the U.S. even though some disagree with this policy of killing the fetus. The next biggest case in my opinion was the Powell v. Alabama case because the black teens were not appointed attorney's that even helped them which then gave them the right to a fair trial which is implicated in todays courts. The last largest case that had significant impact was hustler magazine v. Falwell because this was given to the Hustler magazine because of the freedom of speech because it was a magazine that was not known for news. It was a parody.

nspoerk said...

First of all, just let me say that I don't like this post on the grounds that it doesn't give me the opportunity to show some political cynicism.

Anyways, my top three most impactful cases are Griswold v. CT, Near v. MN, and Lemon v. Kurtzman.

Griswold v. CT is extremely important because it defines, for the first time, the right to privacy. Even outside of the realm of contraceptives, this case has a huge impact on the future course of American politics. It shows that individual rights do not have to be spelled out in the Constitution, but can be derived from others according to the probable intent of the founders as it would be applied to today's circumstances.

Near v. MN is another extremely imfluential case because is sets the tone for many future disputes on free press. It defines the restrictions of prior restraint. Because of the ruling of this case, the Constutional practice of prior restraint was established, meaning the government essentially has to let the speech happen, even if it is punishable after the fact.

My third choice of Lemon v. Kurtzman is important because it too, like my first two cases, establishes a practice to be applied to future cases. In this case, the ruling established a three-part test, called the Lemon test, to decide whether or not a practice can be viewed as favoring religion. The significance of this is that this test is now applied to all actions that are contested as having a lopsided religious prupose.


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caseymedved said...

I believe that the case with the biggest impact on the U.S. was Miranda v. Arizona. This is because of several reason. One, with all the reality t.v. shows now-a-days, one can't turn on the t.v. without hearing some one say, "I know my rights," or a police officer actually reading someone their rights. Secondly, this case also expanded the knowledge of falsey and rightly convicted criminals to ensure their right to a fair trial. In this way, the Miranda v. Arizona decision has affected all court cases since its' decision. My follow up cases would be Roe v. Wade, for the obvious reason of the peoples wide spead knowledge of that case and the controversial issue it dealt with, and Powell v. Alabama, because in questioning the 14th amendment, that case was able to protect the American people from prejudice.

Hillary said...

Also, in addition to the cases that i have mentioned before another very important case in the United States would be Near v. Minnesota because it is an essential right for the press to have. This means that the government cannot censor publication in advance because they stated that it would be like charging someone for having a certain thought, not for actual action. This court case has had a major impact on the press and them being able to inform the public on issues that need to be heard by U.S. citizens.

PAnderson said...

My three most significant cases are Near V. Minnesota, Roe V. Wade, and Lemon V. Kurtzman. These have all had a significant impact on the United States and on future court cases.

Near V. Minnesota exhibited and example of prior restraint and was therefore a violation against the free press provision of the First Ammendment. This case made it so the government couldn't censor publications in advance. This gave a new meaning to freedom of press.

Roe V. Wade affected the laws of 46 other states by establishing that an abortion fell in the right to privacy. The fact that abortion was legalized after this case and has been hotly debated in the decades since is why this is definately in the top three most significant cases.

Lemon V. Kurtzman established a separation between church and state with it's three part test. This is truely vital in the United States' legal system so that the government is not affiliated with a specific religion. This served as the basis for many cases involving religion and government.

Rjohnson-evers said...

To round out my top three, I would say that Brandenburg v. Ohio and Powell v. Alabama are among the three top cases in terms of the impact they had on the U.S. In both of these cases, the court ruled against the common perception of some people to ensure that individuals are guaranteed their rights. In Bradenburg v. Ohio, a KKK leader made a speech. I would imagine that many people were angered at his words and wanted him punished. However, the court decided that he had a right to say the things he did even though they were not accepted by everyone, or even the majority. In Powell v. Alabama, the Supreme Court ruled that even black teens in the south are guaranteed the rights to an attorney and a fair trial. In both cases, the court made an important ruling that was likely controversial but upheld individual's constitutional rights.

JHoltman said...

The three cases that I would say have the most significant impact in the United States are Roe v. Wade, Near v. Minnesota, and Lemon v. Kurtzman. The decision in Roe v. Wade established a right to privacy for women seeking an abortion, and has influenced numerous Court decisions as a result. The Court's decision in Near v. Minnesota gave the press more freedom when it comes to publishing stories, and the government cannot censor it in advance. And Lemon v. Kurtzman helped establish the Lemon Test, giving guidelines to future courts on if something discriminates or advances a religion.

AHanna said...

From this list of Supreme Court decisions, the 3 with the most significant impact (I believe) are these...

3) Lemon v. Kurtzman
- The impact of Lemon v. Kurtzman was huge on our American system of society as well as our political system. Religious freedom is something that is cherished by Americans, both extremely and moderately devout. Yet the government enfringes ever closer upon our personal lives. Lemon v. Kurtzman established what is tagged as the "Lemon Test," setting standards for whether a law is constitutional or not based on its involvement with relgion. This test settles any decisions between things near and dear to us - our relgion - and our government - the supreme power of the land.

2) Roe v. Wade
- It is without a doubt that Roe v. Wade is one of the most impactful Supreme Court cases in recent history. The decision that an abortion is part of an individual's privacy right, a right indirectly implied by the Constitution (not explicitly stated) sets a standard for the hottest and most contested cultural war in our nation. Although it was decided in 1973, the decision still sparks heated debate between the orthodox and the progressives, with the progressives advocating the decision of Roe v. Wade and the orthodox advocating pro-life.

And my top decision...

1) Gitlow v. New York
- Why Gitlow v. New York as what I believe to be the most significant Supreme Court decision out of these? Well, it's not because of the freedom of speech and 1st Amendment decision of the case. Rather, it is the incorporation aspect of the case. Gitlow v. New York was the Supreme Court decision that made all of the other decisions in this list significant! The Court decided that the rights outlined in the 1st Amendment apply to the states, not just the federal government. Most of these other cases involved lawsuits at the state and local level. If it wasn't for Gitlow v. New York, the rights of the 1st Amendment could not have been argued against the state statutes in many of these other cases. Therefore, it is without a doubt what I believe to be the most significant civil liberties decision of the Supreme Court.

twerner said...

After the discussions we have had in class this week, I would also like to add Near v. Minnesota to the list of most influential court cases. This case had a huge impact on the freedom of press and showed what the government can and cannot censor.

M. Francis said...

Good one Spoerk, although I'm not sure you applied the 3-pronged test

moconnor said...

I think that the three most important cases are Roe v. Wade, Lemon v. Kurtzman, and Mapp v. Ohio. I think that Roe v. Wade was important because it was almost the fondation for the debate of privacy in the U.S. Multiple other cases have been ruled based on the ruling of Roe v. Wade so there is defenetly a significant impact that the case has on the U.S. I also believe that Lemon v. Kurtzman has had a significant impact on the U.S. It has stated that there is a seperation between church and state. This case also created the "Lemon test" to determine whether or not some sort of event promotes or discriminates against a religion. Finally, I believe that Mapp v. Ohio has had a significant impact on the U.S. because this case confirmed that the government could not perform an unreasonable search and siezer. The court said that if evidence is found in an illegal way then it cannot be used in court.

sscheidt said...

Gitlow v. New York
This case was extremely important because it posed the question of whether the First Amendment rights of free speech apply to the states. In the end, the Court held that the freedom of speech and press are protected by the Due Process Clause of the 14th Amendment from impairment by the states. The decision also incorporated the "clear and present danger" test that came out of Shenck v. New York and the bad tendency test that came out of Abrams v. United States.

Roe v. Wade
In this case the court held that a woman's right to abortion fell within the (implied) right to privacy protected by the Bill of Rights. The decision gave a woman complete autonomy over her pregnancy during the first trimester ad defined different levels of state interest for the 2nd and 3rd trimesters. The case was significant because it protected a right to privacy not specifically outlined in the Bill of Rights and set a standard for many similar cases to come.

Lemon v. Kurtzman
This case asked whether state statues violated the Establishment Clause of the 1st Amendment by making state financial aid available to "church-related educational institutions". In the end the court ruled that the statues did indeed violate the 1st Amendment by influencing the establishment of a religion. From this case came the Lemon Test for dealing with future religious establishment that declared that, to be constitutional, a law must:
(1) have a secular purpose
(2) neither advance nor inhibit religion
(3) not foster an excessive government entanglement with religion.
This test has been applied to other cases, and helps set a standard for government involvement in religion.

Although all these cases are clearly important for having some kind of profound effect on U.S. law, these three seem to be the most important to me. They deal with extremely important and relevant issues, and their rulings have been applied to numerous other cases that reach the Supreme Court. Because of this, they were not only important in their respective time periods, but will continue to be significant in future rulings.

SMiller said...

Although all of these cases have had a significant impact on America since their Court decisions, I feel the three most impactful (in no specific order) are as follows:

Roe v. Wade (1973): This was a groundbreaking case in the area of abortion. A large part of today’s culture war, much of the legislation on abortion has been based on this decision. By ruling pro-choice during the first trimester of a pregnancy (states cannot control abortion during this period), the court left this issue open to debate in the decades following the decision.

Miranda v. Arizona (1966): This was a vital case in terms of the rights of the convicted. By establishing the Miranda rights, the court has prevented self-incrimination issues in decades of court cases and has thus guaranteed a more fair trial for those convicted persons.

Lemon v. Kurtzman (1971): This court case was groundbreaking in its establishment of the Lemon Test, thus giving the courts a basis on which to decide in future cases concerning if a law that may entangle religious and governmental spheres is constitutional.

Zyork said...

While all these cases have made a lasting impact on the U.S., the cases that I think have had the biggest impact have been: Roe v. Wade, Near v. Minnesota, Miller v. California, and Lemon v. Kurtzman. Roe v. Wade is extremely important because it decided on the controversial issue of abortion and set the precedent for allowing abortion. Near v. Minnesota is important because it says that the government can't use prior restraint to censor the press. Miller v. California is important because it established the Miller test for obscene material. Lemon v. Kurtzman is important because it established the lemon test to decide on religious/government issues.

msenk said...

I think that the most influential of these decesions is Roe v. Wade. It was a contraversial case when it was decided and is an even more contraversial case now. This case is also one of the fronts in the culture war which greatly affects the United States.

nwalters said...

The most important court case has to be Roe v. Wade because the decision by the court to allow women to abort their unborn babies. The reason I think this court case is the most important is because it has opened up the widely controversial debate about abortions. The debate will never be won by either side. This is why Roe v. Wade may be the most important court cases that has made its way to the supreme court.