The extent and limits of personal liberty have often been argued in front of the Supreme Court. Check out these important cases where the court took up this important issue.
Kent v. Dulles (1958)
The Court ruled that “freedom to travel is, indeed, an important aspect of the citizen’s ‘liberty.’ ” Read More.
Griswold v. Connecticut (1965)
In stating a “right to privacy,” the Court determined that a married couple’s decision to use birth control was a personal decision and not subject to government regulation. Read More.
Loving v. Virginia (1967)
Virginia’s anti-miscegenation law banning inter-racial marriages was declared an unconstitutional violation of the Equal Protection Clause because it had no legitimate purpose “independent of invidious racial discrimination.” Read More.
Roe v. Wade (1973)
The Court found that “the right of personal privacy includes the abortion decision.” Read More.
Bowers v. Hardwick (1986)
The Court found no right to engage in homosexual activities in the Constitution. Read More.
Rotary International v. Rotary Club of Duarte (1987)
California state law requiring Rotary Clubs to admit women to membership is constitutional and does not violate “expressive association.” Any small infringement of members’ rights is “justified by the State’s compelling interest in eliminating discrimination against women and assuring them equal access to public accommodations.” Read More.
Washington v. Glucksberg (1997)
The Court held that the right to physician-assisted suicide did not exist in the Constitution and that state prohibitions were constitutional. Read More.
Stenberg v. Carhart (1999)
A Nebraska law prohibited “partial birth abortion” except where the procedure was necessary to save the life of the mother. The Supreme Court found this law to be unconstitutional because it violated a person’s right to privacy. More specifically, the Court used the “undue burden” test to strike down the legislation. They concluded that this legislation placed a substantial “undue burden” in the path of women seeking an abortion which was protected by an individual’s right to privacy. Read More.
Boy Scouts of America v. Dale (2000)
Forcing the Boy Scouts to admit a homosexual as a scout leader would violate the private organization’s right of freedom of association. Forced inclusion of an unwanted person infringes on the group’s rights if that person’s presence affects the group’s ability to advocate its viewpoints; this is a right of “expressive association.” Read More.
Owasso Independent School District v. Falvo (2001)
Peer grading of student papers was upheld by the Court as this does not violate the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act. Read More.
Lawrence v. Texas (2003)
The Court ruled that Texas’ anti-sodomy law “furthers no legitimate state interest which can justify its intrusion into the personal and private life of the individual,” and this law is unconstitutional because it violates the Due Process clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. Read More.
Sell v. United States (2003)
Forced medication of a mentally incompetent defendant is constitutionally acceptable when the courts follow specific guiding principles in order to have him participate in his trial. Read More.
Smith v. Doe (2003)
The Court upheld Alaska’s Sex Offender Registration Act as a civil sanction in the interest of public safety; therefore, the enforcement of the law does not violate the Ex Post Facto clause of the Constitution. Read More.
Gonzales v. Carhart (2007)
A federal law banning late-term abortion procedure, partial birth abortion, was upheld. The law was not unconstitutionally vague, and did not impose an undue burden on mothers. Further, because Congress had determined that the procedure was never medically necessary, and an exception for the health of the mother was not needed. This decision overturned the holding of Stenberg v Carhart (1999). Read More.
More of this Category
Assembly and Association
Discover landmark court cases where the right to peaceably assemble and associate was tested. The right to peaceably assemble is essential to the maintenance of a free government. Throughout American history, individuals have gathered to ensure their voice is heard by their government. Learn more by exploring these cases.
How has the Supreme Court defined the right to citizen juries? Explore these landmark Supreme Court cases to find out.
Criminal Procedure, Search and Seizure, and Due Process
How has the Supreme Court interpreted rights concerning criminal procedure, search and seizure, and due process? Explore these landmark Supreme Court cases to find out.
The division of power between national, state, and local governments is complex and not always clear. Explore these Supreme Court cases to learn how the court has interpreted this important political principle.
Freedom of Petition
How has the Supreme court interpreted the right to petition? The right to petition the government for a redress of grievances is protected by the first amendment. Explore these Supreme Court cases to learn more about this important right.
Freedom of Speech: Campaign Finance
Where does the right to free speech intersect with elections? Find out how the court ruled on this important constitutional question in these cases.
Freedom of Speech: Commercial
Do commercial organizations have free speech protections? Explore these landmark Supreme Court cases to find out how the court has interpreted this constitutional question.
Freedom of Speech: General
How has the Freedom of Speech been interpreted by the Supreme Court? Explore these landmark cases to better understand this important constitutional right.
Freedom of the Press
Explore various landmark court cases where the right to a free press was tested. Freedom of the Press is essential to the maintenance of free government and is guaranteed by the first amendment. Learn more about this right in the cases below.
How has the Supreme Court incorporated the Bill of Rights to the States? The process of incorporation has played out over many years and through many cases. Explore these landmark cases to learn more.