Supreme Court Top 10 List

The Constitution has been famously described as a living, breathing, document. This is not meant to be taken literally. Instead, this means that although the basic principles of the Constitution are eternal, the precise meaning and scope of the words are constantly evolving and interpretted with the times. The law is always changing. Since I graduated law school, the Supreme Court has issued many landmark decisons that fundamentally have changed the law in our country, some for better, some for worse. Here in my opinion are the most historically significant

  1. Salinas v. Texas (2013) Ruled that defendants must orally invoke their right to remain silent when interrogated by the police. If they dont’t, the prosecutor can argue to the jury that the silence is acknowledgment of guilt. This is a huge shift from the principle that the state can never comment on a person’s silence during interrogation.

  2. Atkins v. Virginia. (2002) Supreme Court that mentally retarded people may not be executed

  3. Roper v. Simmons (2005) Children may not be given the death penatly.

  4. National Federation of Independent Business v. Sebelius (2012) The Supreme Court upheld the legality of Obamacare. However, the case struck down as unconstitutional the provison that required states to expand Medicaid to the poor. This part of the decision is usually ignored but it was a major victory for state right sadvocates and put limits on the federal government’s ability to regulate the economy.

  5. Shelby County v. Holder (2013) Supreme Court struck down portion of Voting Rights Act of 1965 as being unconstitutional, States with a hisotry of racial discrimination are no longer required to get permission from the justice department before changing voting laws within their state. After this case was decided, these states enacted voter identification laws and other laws that have been argued were enacted to suppress the vote of minorities.

  6. District of Coulumbia v. Heller (2008) Supreme Court ruled for the first time that the Second Amendment protects an individual’s right to own a firearm. Prior to this decison, the Supreme Court had ruled that the Second Admendment dealt with militias and not the individual’s right ti own a gun.

  7. Lawrence v. Texas (2003) The Supreme Court struck down as unconstitutional a Texas law making consensual homosexual intercourse a crime. This was a huge victory for advocates of the right of privacy.

  8. Obergelfell v. Hodges (2015) States can’t ban same sex marriages.

  9. McCutcheon v. FEC (2014) Although Congress can limit the amount an indivudual can donate to a particular candidate, there are no longer limits on the amount of candidates to whom an individual can donate money. This will allow wealthy individuals to donate money to every local state and federal candidate in each election cycle. This will result in massive amounts of money poured into local campaigns by wealthy donors.

  10. Citizens United v. FEC (2010) Corporations can spend unlimited money in support of political campaigns. As politicians feel the need ro raise more and more money to compete in elections, they become more beholden to rich donors instead of to the people.

Posted on Nov 07, 2016