Supreme Court Cases of the 1990's

Cruzan v. Missouri Department of Health

Who or what was involved in the case?

              The Cruzan family, and the State of Missouri

What was the Constitutional issue involved that allowed it to be appealed to the Supreme Court?

             The Constitutional issue was whether the State of Missouri had the power to require a family to present evidence in order to remove someone from life support.

Nancy Cruzan (above) was declared as being in a persistent                                                                           vegetative state after losing control of her car

What was the case about?

      -Nancy Cruzan lost control of her car and crashed in a ditch

      -After a few weeks, she was listed as being in a persistent vegetative state

      - She was hooked up to feeding tubes for long term care

      -Her family realized that there was no hope and wanted her removed from life support

What was the supreme court ruling?

      The Supreme court ruled in favor of the Missouri Department of Health. The court upheld that people had the right to refuse medical treatment. Since there was no evidence that Nancy Cruzan wanted to be removed from life support, the court upheld the states policy.


Planned Parenthood v. Casey

Who was involved in this case?

       The state of Pennsylvania, abortion clinics, and women

What was the constitutional issue involved that allowed it to be appealed to the Supreme Court?

       The Constitutional issue was whether it was constitutional to require a women to obtain informed consent, and wait twenty-four hours before getting an abortion. Would this violate their right of abortion stated in Roe v. Wade.

What was the case about?

      -Provisions of the Pennsylvania Abortion Control Act were questioned as being unconstitutional under Roe v. Wade case.

      -The five provisions included:

                         -Doctors had to provide women with information about health risks that could be caused from having an abortion.

                         -Women had to give their husbands prior knowledge before the abortion occurs.

                         -If the women is a minor, parental consent has to be provided.

                         -Women had to wait 24 hours before obtaining the abortion.

                         -Imposition of reporting requirements on facilities providing abortions.

What was the Supreme Court ruling?

       The Supreme Court reaffirmed the ruling in the Roe v.Wade case, but four of the five provisions were upheld. The provision of providing husbands with knowledge of the abortion was the only provision taken out.

Vernonia v. Acton

Who or what was involved in the case?

       Local public schools in Vernonia, Oregon and student athletes.

What was the constitutional issue involved that allowed it to be appealed to the Supreme Court?

       The issue was whether it was constitutional to hold random drug tests to student athletes at public schools in Vernonia, Oregon.

What was the case about?

      -School officials began to notice an increase in drug use by student athletes

      -Students were getting injuries attributable to drug use

      -School districts began to provide classes to reduce the drug use

      -A drug testing program began. All athletes were tested at the beginning  of the season. During the season, 10 percent of the athlete were randomly selected to submit a test every week. If an athlete tested positive, the student had to either go through counseling and submit six weekly drug tests or sit out the rest of the season, and the following season.

What was the Supreme Court ruling?

       The Supreme Court ruled that it was constitutional to have random drug tests for student athletes. Although the tests were under the Fourteenth Amendment, the Supreme Court ruled the tests were the schools interest in preventing teenage drug use.