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.
Recent Supreme Court Decisions
Hernandez v. Mesa (June 26, 2017)
The Fourth Amendment and a Bivens remedy may apply when a federal agent standing in the U.S. shoots a Mexican national standing in Mexico.
Trinity Lutheran Church of Columbia, Inc. v. Comer (June 26, 2017)
A church may not be denied an otherwise generally available public benefit like a government grant because of its religious status under the First Amendment.
Trump. v. International Refugee Assistance Project (June 26, 2017)
Injunctions preventing the enforcement of an executive order restricting the entry of certain foreign nationals are inappropriate as applied to foreign nationals who have no good-faith relationship with any person or entity in the U.S.
California Public Employees’ Retirement System v. ANZ Securities, Inc. (June 26, 2017)
Section 13 of the Securities Act of 1933 provides a three-year limitation on bringing claims under Section 11 that functions as a statute of repose and is not subject to equitable tolling.
Davila v. Davis (June 26, 2017)
Ineffective assistance of counsel after a conviction is not a basis to excuse a procedural default on a claim of ineffective assistance of appellate counsel.
Pavan v. Smith (June 26, 2017)
States must issue birth certificates including the female spouses of women who give birth in the state if they include male spouses of women who give birth.
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.
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.