Constitution Daily

Smart conversation from the National Constitution Center

Supreme Court

The United States Supreme Court is the highest court of the judicial branch of government—its duty is to interpret the law. Since 1803, the Supreme Court has been understood to have the power to declare national, state, and local laws unconstitutional. Article III of the Constitution defines the Supreme Court and which cases it can hear, and how other federal courts are established.

On this day, Supreme Court invalidates key FDR program

May 27, 2019 By NCC Staff

On May 28, 1935, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down an important part of President Franklin Roosevelt’s NIRA plan, when the Court invalidated poultry industry regulations.

Rediscovering the ancient “bill of attainder”

May 24, 2019 By Lyle Denniston

Federal and state judges these days are finding a new assignment: reading up on what the Supreme Court once called “the infamous history of bills of attainder.” A federal judge in Sherman, Texas, is going to be doing that soon, and there is a real prospect that a judge in New York State will also be doing so shortly.

Looking back at Romer, a key Supreme Court decision about gay rights

May 20, 2019 By NCC Staff

On May 20, 1996, the Supreme Court issued an early landmark decision supporting the right of gays under the Constitution to seek protection from discrimination.

Plessy’s place in the list of worst Supreme Court decisions

May 18, 2019 By NCC Staff

On May 18, 1896, the Supreme Court’s Plessy v. Ferguson decision upheld the legality of racial segregation in America. Plessy was later overturned, and it holds a controversial place in the Court’s legacy.

Brown v. Board: When the Supreme Court ruled against segregation

May 17, 2019 By NCC Staff

The decision of Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka on May 17, 1954 is perhaps the most famous of all Supreme Court cases, as it started the process ending segregation. It overturned the equally far-reaching decision of Plessy v. Ferguson in 1896.

How a C-grade college term paper led to a constitutional amendment

May 7, 2019 By Scott Bomboy

The 27th Amendment is the most recent amendment to the Constitution, and its existence today can be traced to a college student who proposed the idea in a term paper and was given a C by his professor for the idea.

The day the Supreme Court killed Hollywood’s studio system

May 4, 2019 By Scott Bomboy

Today marks the anniversary of an important Supreme Court case that helped to end the Hollywood studio system and fuel a young television industry in the late 1940s.

Supreme Court hears extended arguments in 2020 census case

April 25, 2019 By Scott Bomboy

On Tuesday, the nine Supreme Court Justices heard arguments for and against including a citizenship question in the 2020 census, a case considered on an expedited basis due to a pending deadline to print the census form.

On this day, Supreme Court Justice William Brennan is born

April 25, 2019 By NCC Staff

On April 25, 1906, future Supreme Court Justice William J. Brennan was born in New Jersey. During his nearly 34 years at the Court, Brennan wrote the second-most opinions in the Court’s history, including several landmark majority decisions.

Major rulings on gay and transgender rights coming

April 22, 2019 By Lyle Denniston

The Supreme Court on Monday agreed to settle the meaning of a 1964 civil rights law that bans discrimination in the workplace based on sex – and, specifically, whether that law protects workers who are gay or lesbian, and those who are transgender.

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