What Are Some Famous Civil Cases?

Griswold vs. Connecticut is a famous 1965 civil case that prohibited state legislatures from banning contraceptives, notes PBS. In 1954, Brown vs. Board of Education declared segregated schools to be unconstitutional. The 1966 Miranda vs. Arizona case prohibited police from questioning detainees without informing them of their legal rights.

In the Griswold vs. Connecticut case, Estelle Griswold and Dr. C. Lee Buxton were arrested and convicted for educating the public about contraceptive options at birth control clinics operated by the Planned Parenthood league, according to the American Bar Association. When the appeal reached the Supreme Court, seven justices voted to overturn the conviction on the grounds that banning contraceptives violated the privacy of marital couples.

Brown vs. Board of Education encompassed five cases in which Thurgood Marshall argued that segregation conflicted with the equal protection rights outlined in the 14th Amendment, according to the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts. A major milestone of the case was the use of social sciences as evidence that segregation was “inherently unequal” and contributed to feelings of inferiority among black children.

In Miranda vs. Arizona, the Supreme Court determined that individuals suspected of a crime must be read certain rights in order for a confession to be valid, PBS states. Suspect Ernesto Miranda confessed to rape, robbery and kidnapping, leading to his conviction. Upon appeal, Miranda’s defense contested the fairness of his conviction, especially because Miranda had limited education, was considered mentally unstable and didn’t have legal representation in the original proceedings. This case is the origin of “Miranda rights.”