Further information on Winter 2020 courses


John Robison: Key Contemporary U.S. Supreme Court Decisions


Expanded description


Schedule of classes (subject to modification)

We will focus on the cases in bold; the other cases will be used for background.

1. Introduction and Right of Privacy

    A. Introduction to certain key provisions

     1. Bill of Rights and incorporation

     2. 14th Amendment

    B. Griswold v. Connecticut (1965)

2. Reproductive Rights and Sexual Conduct

    A. Roe v. Wade (and Doe v. Bolton) (1973)

        Planned Parenthood v. Casey (1992)

    B. Bowers v. Hardwick (1986)

        Lawrence v. Texas (2003)

3. Marriage

    A. Loving v. Virginia (1967)

        Obergefell v. Hodges (2015)

4. Politics

    A. Bush v. Gore (2000)

    B. Baker v. Carr (1962)

        Reynolds v. Sims (1964)

        Rucho v. Common Cause (2019)

5. Political Speech and Freedom of the Press

    A. Citizens United v. Federal Elections Commission (2010)

6. Freedom of Religion

    A. Engel v. Vitale (1962)

    B. Lemon v. Kurtzman (1971)

         Van Orden v. Perry (2005)

        McCreary County, Kentucky v. ACLU of Kentucky (2005)

        Town of Greece v. Galloway (2014)

    C. Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc., (2014)

7. Criminal Rights and Right to Bear Arms

    A. Gideon v. Wainwright (1963)

        Miranda v. Arizona (1965)

    B. District of Columbia v. Heller (2008)

8. Freedom of the Press; Conclusion

    A. New York Times Inc. v. Sullivan (1964)
   B. Conclusion: what have we learned?  

Additional cases if we have time:

Free Speech – What are the limits?

    A. Brandenburg v. Ohio (1969)

    B. Texas v. Johnson (1989)

    C. Miller v. California (1973)

Commerce and Property

    A. Wickard v. Filburn (1942)

        Heart of Atlanta Motel v. United States (1964)

        Katzenbach v. McClung (1964)

        United States v. Lopez (1995)

        National Federation of Independent Businesses v. Sebelius (2012)

    B. Kelo v. City of New London (2005)