This podcast series features landmark U.S. Supreme Court cases that have shaped history and continue to affect American life. In each episode we briefly discuss a different landmark case with a law professor. We explain the case's background, the key arguments, the decision and why the case is still important today.
Select a landmark case below to listen to an episode.
Brown v. Board of Education (1954)
In the 1950s segregation laws in many states prohibited African American children and white children from attending the same schools. Linda Brown, an African American girl, could not attend a less-crowded white school a few blocks from her home in Topeka, Kan.
Mapp v. Ohio (1961)
In 1961, police officers forced their way into Dollree Mapp's house without a proper search warrant. Mapp argued that her Fourth Amendment rights had been violated by the search, and eventually took her appeal to United States Supreme Court.
Texas v. Johnson (1989)
The 1984 Republican National Convention was held in Dallas, Texas. During the convention Gregory Lee Johnson and a group of political activists marched through the streets protesting. While protesting, Johnson burned an American flag and was arrested.
Tinker v. Des Moines (1969)
At a public high school in Des Moines, Iowa, students planned to wear black armbands to school to protest the Vietnam War, but the principal found out about the protest and told the students they would be
suspended if they wore the armbands.
New Jersey v. T.L.O. (1985)
In a New Jersey high school, a teacher found two girls smoking in the bathroom and took them to the principal's office. One girl, known as T.L.O., denied smoking. The principal demanded to see the girl's purse and
found evidence that she was also selling marijuana at school.
Hazelwood v. Kuhlmeier (1988)
Journalism students in Hazelwood East High School in St. Louis
produced a school newspaper. One issue featured stories on teen pregnancy and divorce. The school's principal thought the stories were inappropriate and deleted the two pages containing the offensive stories.
Gideon v. Wainwright (1963)
Clarance Earl Gideon was accused of breaking into a bar in Panama City, Florida. Police arrested Gideon and put him in jail. Gideon could not afford a lawyer at his trial and asked the judge to appoint one. The judge denied his request and Gideon had to represent himself in court.
Miranda v. Arizona (1966)
Ernesto Miranda was arrested and questioned by the police for two hours until he confessed to the crimes. During the interrogation, police did not
Miranda about his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination or his Sixth Amendment right to an attorney.
New York Times v. Sullivan (1964)
The New York Times ran an advertisement openly criticizing the police department in the city of Montgomery, Alabama. The police commissioner took offense to the ad and sued the New York Times arguing that he had been libeled.