Welcome to Justia’s US Supreme Court Center. Review recent and most-read decisions or browse through our free collection of United States Supreme Court full-text opinions from 1791 to the present. Early editions of US Reports also include opinions by the courts of Pennsylvania from as early as 1754.

The United States Supreme Court (“USSC”) is the highest court in the United States. Opinions rendered by this court are considered the law of the land and the Court is the final arbiter on issues regarding the United States Constitution. The Court consists of a Chief Justice and eight Associate Justices who are nominated by the President of the United States and confirmed by the United States Senate.

Browse Opinions 1791-Present    Year | Volume

Recent Supreme Court Decisions

Murr v. Wisconsin (June 23, 2017)
A valid merger under state law of contiguous lots with limited individual uses means that the lots should be regarded as a single unit in determining whether a government action regarding the property was a regulatory taking.

Lee v. United States (June 23, 2017)
Just because a defendant has no viable defense does not mean that he automatically cannot show prejudice based on alleged ineffective assistance of counsel.

Perry v. Merit Systems Protection Board (June 23, 2017)
A federal district court has the authority to review the dismissal of a case by the Merit Systems Protection Board that involves a mixture of federal anti-discrimination and Civil Service Reform Act claims.

Turner v. United States (June 22, 2017)
Withheld evidence is material under Brady only if there is a reasonable probability that the result of the proceeding would have been different, considering the context of the entire record. If the evidence is too little, too weak, or too distant from the main evidentiary points, there is no violation.

Weaver v. Massachusetts (June 22, 2017)
If a defendant fails to preserve or raise an error during jury selection on direct review but instead raises it in an ineffective assistance of counsel claim, a new trial may be granted only if the defendant can show prejudice.

Maslenjak v. United States (June 22, 2017)
To get a conviction for illegally procuring citizenship, the prosecution needs to show that the defendant's illegal conduct was material to or influenced the decision to grant them citizenship.

Packingham v. North Carolina (June 19, 2017)
States may not prohibit a sex offender from accessing social media if they know that minor children may be members or have personal web pages on the site, since this law is unconstitutionally overly broad under the First Amendment and does not withstand strict scrutiny.

Matal v. Tam (June 19, 2017)
The registration of a name as a trademark may not be denied on the basis that the trademark disparages or brings into contempt any living or dead people or groups, since this violates the free speech protections of the First Amendment.

Ziglar v. Abbasi (June 19, 2017)
Bivens remedies apply only to unreasonable searches and seizures by federal agents rather than civil rights claims based on the conditions of confinement, which may be brought only against state officials.

Jenkins v. Hutton (June 19, 2017)
The miscarriage of justice exception to the procedural default bar on a habeas review only applies if the appellate court is shown by clear and convincing evidence that no reasonable juror would have reached the same decision as the lower court.

Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. v. Superior Court of California (June 19, 2017)
The primary issue in a specific jurisdiction evaluation is whether the case arose out of the defendant's contacts with the forum state, specifically whether the burden imposed on the defendant is reasonable. There must be a link between the state and the claims of the non-residents.

McWilliams v. Dunn (June 19, 2017)
An indigent defendant facing the death penalty must receive access to a competent psychiatrist who will conduct an appropriate examination and assist the evaluation, preparation, and presentation of the defense, or habeas relief may be appropriate.

Most Read Opinions

Tennessee v. Garner, 471 US 1 (1985)
Under the Fourth Amendment of the US Constitution, a police officer may use deadly force to prevent the escape of a fleeing suspect only if the officer has probable cause to believe that the suspect poses a significant threat of death or serious physical injury to the officer or others.

Terry v. Ohio, 392 US 1 (1968)
Under the Fourth Amendment of the US Constitution, a police officer may stop a suspect on the street and frisk him or her without probable cause to arrest, if the police officer has a reasonable suspicion that the person has committed, is committing, or is about to commit a crime and has a reasonable belief that the person "may be armed and presently dangerous."

Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, 347 US 483 (1954)
The Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution prohibits states from segregating public school students on the basis of race. This marked a reversal of the "separate but equal" doctrine from Plessy v. Ferguson that had permitted separate schools for white and colored children provided that the facilities were equal.

Miranda v. Arizona, 384 US 436 (1966)
Under the Fourth Amendment, any statements that a defendant in custody makes during an interrogation are admissible as evidence at a criminal trial only if law enforcement told the defendant of the right to remain silent and the right to speak with an attorney before the interrogation started. The prosecution also must be able to prove that any waiver of these rights was both knowing and voluntary.

Brady v. Maryland, 373 US 83 (1963)
The government's withholding of evidence that is material to the determination of either guilt or punishment of a criminal defendant violates the defendant's constitutional right to due process.

Roe v. Wade, 410 US 113 (1973)
A person may choose to have an abortion until a fetus becomes viable, based on the right to privacy contained in the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. Viability means the ability to live outside the womb, which usually happens between 24 and 28 weeks after conception.

Mapp v. Ohio, 367 US 643 (1961)
The prosecution is not allowed to present evidence that law enforcement secured during a search that was unconstitutional under the Fourth Amendment.

Lawrence v. Texas, 539 US 558 (2003)
A Texas law criminalizing consensual, adult homosexual intercourse violates the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.

Plessy v. Ferguson, 163 US 537 (1896)
Later overruled by Brown v. Board of Education, this decision embraced the now-discredited idea that “separate but equal” treatment for whites and African-Americans is permissible under the Fourteenth Amendment.

Tinker v. Des Moines School District, 393 US 503 (1969)
Since First Amendment protections extend to students in public schools, educational authorities who want to censor speech will need to show that permitting the speech would significantly interfere with the discipline needed for the school to function.