Notable Supreme Court cases
A selection of notable Supreme Court decisions from the last half-century.
2012: Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act
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 and offers subsidies to lower-income families and requires legal residents to obtain health insurance. (June 28, 2012)
2012: Arizona immigration law
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 their June 25, 2012 decision, 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 immigrant if it does not meet the federal department's priorities. Also, Arizona police can no longer detain anyone on a suspected immigration violation. (June 22, 2012)
In Hamdan v Rumsfeld, the U.S. 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 driver for Osama bin Laden. A sketch artist renders the courtroom. (2007)
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 George W. Bush, with Florida's 25 electoral votes, to be elected president over challenger Al Gore. (2007)
1977: National Socialist Party of America v. Village of SkokieIn 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 file photo. (1977)
United States v. Nixon.
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 coverup. This file photo shows Nixon at a news conference. (1973)
1973: Roe v. Wade.
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 file photo shows a demonstrator in Washington.
1972: Flood v. KuhnThis 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 file photo. (1970)
1971: New York Times Co. v. United StatesThe U.S. Supreme Court's 6-3 ruling allowed the New York Times and 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. This is a file photo of the New York Times city room. (1971)
1967: Loving v. Virginia.
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.
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 pictured here in this 1965 file photo.
1963: Gideon v. Wainwright.
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 file photo, Gideon is seen shortly after his release from prison.
1954: Brown v. Board of Education of TopekaThe U.S. 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. In this file photo, Linda Brown Smith, right, and her two children pose in their home. Smith was a third-grader when her father started the class-action suit of the Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka. (1974)