Notable Supreme Court cases
A selection of notable Supreme Court decisions over the last six decades, from Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka in 1954 to the legalization of same-sex marriage in 2015.
2015: Same-sex marriage legalized nationwide(Credit: AP / Manuel Balce Ceneta)
On June 26, 2015, the Supreme Court declared that same-sex couples have a right to marry anywhere in the United States. Gay and lesbian couples already could marry in 36 states, plus the District of Columbia. The 14 remaining states had banned same-sex marriage, but the court ruled 5-4 that those bans must fall, and that gay and lesbian couples have the same right to marry under the Constitution as everyone else. Above, supporters celebrate outside the Supreme Court in Washington after the ruling.
2015: Affordable Care Act upheld a second time(Credit: AP / Jacquelyn Martin)
The Supreme Court upheld the nationwide tax subsidies that are a cornerstone of the Affordable Care Act in a 6-3 decision on June 25, 2015. The court ruled that the subsidies that 8.7 million people receive to help pay for their health care coverage do not depend on where they live, as opponents had argued. With the second major victory for his signature domestic policy at the court, President Barack Obama says that the ACA "is here to stay." Above, supporters of the act hold up signs as the ruling is reported outside the Supreme Court in Washington.
2012: Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act(Credit: Getty Images)
The Supreme Court upheld President Barack Obama's health care mandate in a 5-4 decision June 28, 2012. The controversial law expands health insurance to 33 million of the currently 53 million uninsured Americans, offers subsidies to lower-income families and requires legal residents to obtain health insurance.
2012: Arizona immigration law(Credit: AP)
The Supreme Court approved the Arizona law's most controversial segment, requiring police to check the immigration status of people they stop who they have reason to believe may be in the U.S. illegally, which many argue promotes ethnic profiling. In its decision on June 25, 2012, the court struck down provisions in Arizona's law that overrode federal law, removing any power the state had to have federal immigration officers pick up immigrants if it does not meet the federal department's priorities. Also, police in Arizona can no longer detain anyone on a suspected immigration violation. Above, Petra Falcon, executive director of Promise Arizona, wipes her forehead as Arizona politicians and immigration rights groups reacted to the decision at the Arizona Capitol in Phoenix.
2006: Hamdan v. Rumsfeld(Credit: AP / Gerald Herbert)
In Hamdan v. Rumsfeld, the Supreme Court on a 5-3 vote invalidated the military commissions President George W. Bush's administration set up to try detainees at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. The case was brought by Salim Ahmed Hamdan, a Yemeni who was a driver for Osama bin Laden and being held at Guantanamo Bay. Above, Lt. Commander Charles Swift, right, and Neal Katyal, co-counsel for Hamdan, speak outside federal court in Washington after arguments in the case on April 7, 2005.
2000: Bush v. Gore(Credit: AP)
A 5-4 U.S. Supreme Court decision that a valid recount could not be completed by a Dec. 12, 2000, Florida deadline opened the way for Republican George W. Bush, with Florida's 25 electoral votes, to be elected president over Democratic opponent Al Gore. They are shown years later in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, where the president posed for a photo with the former vice president and other 2007 Nobel Prize recipients on Nov. 26, 2007.
1977: National Socialist Party of America v. Village of Skokie(Credit: AP)
In this landmark freedom of assembly decision, the Supreme Court by a 6-3 vote upheld the right of the National Socialist Party of America, founded by a former member of the American Nazi Party, to march through the largely Jewish community of Skokie, Ill. Nazi leader Frank Collin speaks at a news conference in this 1977 photo.
1974: United States v. Nixon(Credit: AP)
A unanimous Supreme Court ruling rejecting President Richard M. Nixon's claim to "an absolute, unqualified Presidential privilege of immunity from judicial process under all circumstances" forced Nixon to turn over the Watergate tapes to a special prosecutor investigating the break-in and cover-up. This file photo shows Nixon at a news conference in 1973.
1973: Roe v. Wade(Credit: AP)
This 7-2 decision finding abortion a constitutional right arose from a lawsuit filed by Norma L. McCorvey against the state of Texas, which, at the time, allowed abortion only in the cases of rape and incest. This 1976 photo shows a demonstrator in Washington.
1972: Flood v. Kuhn(Credit: AP)
This 5-3 U.S. Supreme Court ruling rejected a challenge to baseball's antitrust exemption by St. Louis Cardinals outfielder Curt Flood, who refused a trade to the Philadelphia Phillies. However, because the decision stated baseball was interstate commerce and its antitrust exemption was an "anomaly," it ultimately led to an arbiter's ruling that allowed for free agency in all professional sports. Flood is shown warming up for a game in this photo from 1970.
1971: New York Times Co. v. United States(Credit: AP)
The Supreme Court's 6-3 ruling allowed The New York Times and The Washington Post to publish the Pentagon Papers, a secret Department of Defense history of the U.S.'s involvement in Vietnam that contradicted previous public statements. The Times' city room is shown in 1971.
1967: Loving v. Virginia(Credit: AP)
Mildred Loving, of African and Native American descent, and Richard Perry Loving, who was white, had been sentenced to a year in prison under a Virginia law that, among other things, banned marriage between a white person and a non-white person. The law was struck down by a unanimous Supreme Court, ending race-based restrictions on marriage in the United States. The Lovings are pictured in this 1965 photograph.
1965: Griswold v. Connecticut(Credit: AP)
By a 7-2 vote, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of Estelle Griswold, the executive director of the Planned Parenthood League of Connecticut, in finding that the Constitution protected a right to privacy, invalidating a Connecticut law that prohibited the use of contraceptives. Griswold is shown here in a 1965 photo.
1963: Gideon v. Wainwright(Credit: AP)
A unanimous Supreme Court decision ruled that courts are required to provide attorneys for those, like accused burglar Clarence Earl Gideon, who are unable to afford hiring their own attorneys. In this 1963 photo, Gideon is seen shortly after his release from prison.
1954: Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka(Credit: AP)
The Supreme Court unanimously struck down state laws establishing separate public schools for white and black students by ruling in favor of Oliver L. Brown, whose daughter had to attend a segregated black school instead of a white school in their neighborhood. Above, Linda Brown Smith, right, and her two children pose in their home in 1974. Smith was a third-grader when her father started the class-action suit of Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka.