Ranked by the editors of Human Events
10. U.S. Term Limits v. Thornton
1995 decision that denied the peoples of the states the right to set term limits on their congressional representatives even though the Constitution is silent on term limits and the 10th Amendment leaves to the states and the people powers that the Constitution does not explicitly give to the federal government or expressly deny to the states.
9. Baker v. Carr
1962 decision that laid the groundwork for the “one man, one vote” standard ending county representation in state legislatures and forcing states, unlike the U.S. Senate, to redistrict based solely on population.
8. Plyer v. Doe
1982 decision that said that the 14th Amendment’s Equal Protection Clause requires state governments to provide public education to illegal aliens.
7. Grutter v. Bollinger
2003 decision that said the University of Michigan Law School could use race as a factor in admissions so it could achieve a “critical mass” of a particular racial group.
6. Wickard v. Filburn
1942 decision that said Congress could regulate a farmer’s growing of wheat for his own use on his own property under the constitutional language that authorizes Congress to regulate commerce “among the several states.”
5. McConnell v. Federal Election Commission
2003 decision that upheld the McCain-Feingold law’s prohibitions on political speech.
4. Berman v. Parker
1954 case that said the District of Columbia could seize a department store and hand it over to a private developer to redevelop a “blighted” neighborhood, even though the department store itself wasn’t “blighted.” Decision set the stage for the 2005 Kelo v. New London decision allowing government to take property other than for direct “public use.”
3. Everson v. Board of Education
1947 decision that said 1st Amendment Establishment Clause erected a “wall of separation” between church and state. Precursor to the 1971 Lemon v. Kurtzman decision that created a three-pronged test for when “wall of separation” was breached and led to cases such as McCreary County v. ACLU of Kentucky, which prohibited the posting of the 10 Commandments in a courthouse.
2. Lawrence v. Texas
2003 decision that declared same-sex sodomy a constitutional right, creating the rationale for the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court to declare a right to same-sex marriage.
1. Roe v. Wade
1973 decision that declared abortion-on-demand a constitutional right, overturning the abortion laws of the states, and led to further abominations such as Stenberg v. Carhart, which declared partial birth abortion a constitutional right.