Overview of the 2007 Supreme Court Term

The Supreme Court ended its 2007 Term by rejecting a centerpiece of the Bush administration’s crumbling Guantánamo policy for the third time in four years while recognizing, for the first time in American history, an individual right to bear arms under the Second Amendment.

Statistically, the Court decided even fewer cases than last Term, when it set a modern low. There were also significantly fewer 5-4 decisions. And, unlike last Term, Justice Kennedy was not on the winning side in every 5-4 case.

In the 2007 Term, the ACLU has brought or been involved in various cases including key arguments in criminal justice and the death penalty, due process, and voting rights.

Read a summary of all of the Court's major civil liberties-related cases from this Term >>

Supreme Court Cases

Boumediene v. Bush and Al Odah v. United States Decided

Due Process

6/12/2008 - Whether the detainees at Guantánamo can be deprived of any meaningful right to challenge the lawfulness of their detention without charges or trial. DECIDED

CBOCS West Inc. v. Humphries Decided


5/27/2008 - Whether a federal law enacted shortly after the Civil War that grants all persons the same right to make and enforce contracts regardless of race protects those who complain about discrimination from retaliation. DECIDED

Herring v. United States

Criminal Justice

5/20/2008 - Whether the exclusionary rule requires the suppression of evidence seized in violation of the Fourth Amendment when the Fourth Amendment violation was based on misinformation sent by law enforcement officials in another county.

Crawford v. Marion County Election Board Decided

Voting Rights

4/28/2008 - Whether Indiana's voter ID law unconstitutionally burdens the right to vote absent any evidence of voter fraud. DECIDED

Baze v. Rees Decided

Death Penalty

4/16/2008 - Whether Kentucky's lethal injection protocol violates the constitutional ban on cruel and unusual punishment by using a combination of drugs that creates an unnecessary and avoidable risk of excruciating pain. DECIDED

Crawford v. Nashville Decided


4/16/2008 - Whether employees who cooperate with an internal investigation of alleged sexual harassment are protected against retaliation under Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act.

Engquist v. Oregon Department of Agriculture Decided


2/27/2008 - Whether public employees who are subject to arbitrary discrimination can raise an equal protection claim without also being required to show that the discrimination was based on membership in a protected class. DECIDED

Kennedy v. Louisiana Decided

Death Penalty

2/21/2008 - Whether a state may constitutionally impose the death penalty for the rape of a child. DECIDED

Riley v. Kennedy Decided

Voting Rights

2/21/2008 - Whether voting changes that result from a state court decision need to be precleared under Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act. DECIDED

Kimbrough v. United States Decided

Criminal Justice

12/10/2007 - Whether a federal trial judge may take into account the fact that the current Sentencing Guidelines for crack cocaine have proven unsound and been rejected by the Sentencing Commission itself when sentencing a crack offender. DECIDED

Virginia v. Moore Decided

Criminal Justice

12/10/2007 - Whether the Fourth Amendment bars the government from relying on evidence seized following an arrest that state law prohibits. DECIDED

Ali v. Achim

Immigrants' Rights

11/28/2007 - Whether the Attorney General can create a category of "particularly serious crimes" beyond what Congress has designated as "aggravated felonies" and then deny asylum and witholding of removal to a refugee on the basis of such crimes and, if so, whether the decision to remove someone from the country based on a "particularly serious crime" without any regard for individual mitigating circumstances is subject to judicial review? CASE DISMISSED

Danforth v. Minnesota Decided

Criminal Justice

7/17/2007 - Whether a state can permit an inmate to raise constitutional claims in state post-conviction proceedings that would be barred in federal habeas proceedings. DECIDED

New York State Board of Elections v. Lopez Torres Decided

Voting Rights

7/13/2007 - Whether New York State's method for electing judges is unconstitutional because it deprives insurgent candidates and their supporters of a meaningful opportunity to participate in the electoral process. DECIDED

Statistics image