the Constitution

Cruzan v. Missouri Department of Health (1990)

The U.S. Supreme Court case in which the Court held that family members could not refuse life-sustaining medical treatment -- such as a feeding tube -- on behalf of incompetent patients, absent clear and convincing evidence that the refusal was in accordance with the patients' wishes.

Plyler v. Doe (1982)

Plyler v. Doe is a U.S. Supreme Court case in which the Court struck down a Texas statute that denied funding to local school districts for the education of children who were not "legally admitted" into the United States, and which authorized local school districts to deny enrollment to such children.

Furman v. Georgia (1972)

The U.S. Supreme Court case in which the Court ruled that the death penalty was unconstitutional because states imposed it in an arbitrary -- and sometimes racially biased -- manner. The Court also ruled that the death penalty could not be imposed for rape. After this decision, states rewrote their laws to address the Court's concerns, and the death penalty was reinstated in 1976 in the case of Gregg v. Georgia.

In Re Gault (1967)

The U.S. Supreme Court case in which the Court ruled that juvenile criminal defendants are entitled to due process protection under the Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Among other things, due process protection includes the right to timely notice of criminal charges, the right to confront and cross-examine witnesses, the right not to testify against oneself, and the right to counsel (representation by a lawyer).

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