The Founding Fathers established a system of checks and balances to insure that one branch of government did not become more powerful than the other two branches. The U.S. Constitution gives the Judicial Branch the role of interpreting the laws. In 1803, the power of the Judicial Branch was more clearly defined with the landmark supreme court case Marbury v. Madison. This court case and the others listed have had a significant impact on the United States of America.
judicial review. The ruling cemented the authority of the Judicial Branch to declare a law unconstitutional and firmly established the checks and balances the founding fathers had intended.
Kansas-Nebraska Act and ruled that just because a slave was living in a "free" state, they were still slaves. The ruling increased tensions between the North and South in the build up to the Civil War.
Civil Rights movement. In fact, President Eisenhower sent federal troops to force desegregation of a school in Little Rock, Arkansas based on this decision.
interned with other Japanese-Americans during World War II. This ruling placed the security of the United States over individual rights and again has entered the political landscape with the detention of suspected terrorists at the Guantanamo Bay prison under President George W. Bush.