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Click on a date to learn more about Supreme Court developments during a specific time period.
1787 1794 1810 1833 1857 1866 1874 1883 1896 1910 1918 1930 1935 1941 1954 1963 1966 1973 1981 1989 1995 2000 2005
A New Era Begins
In Roper v. Simmons, the Court holds that capital punishment for juveniles aged 17 and younger is "cruel and unusual" punishment and therefore a violation of the Eighth Amendment. The decision cites "evolving" social attitudes in the United States as well as internationally and notes that only five other countries in the world permit the execution of juveniles.

In a narrow 5-4 ruling, the Court decides in favor of the American Civil Liberties Union, which had brought suit against two Kentucky counties for displaying the Ten Commandments in courthouses and public schools. The decision in McCreary County v. ACLU holds that the display is in violation of the First Amendment's Establishment Clause, which states that "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion."

Photo of George W. Bush and John G. Roberts.
In 2005, President George W. Bush appointed John G. Roberts as the 17th Chief Justice of the Supreme Court.

Photo obtained from
President Bush nominates Samuel Alito to replace Associate Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, who has decided to retire. The Senate will confirm Alito in January 2006.

President George W. Bush appoints John Roberts Chief Justice.

In a case dealing with the due process rights of a former chauffeur to Osama bin Laden, the Court rules that the military tribunals set up by the Bush Administration violate the Geneva Convention. The decision in Hamdan v. Rumsfeld states that because the executive branch does not possess the inherent power to authorize the tribunals, and because no act of Congress has explicitly authorized them, the tribunals are not constitutionally permissible. In the absence of other legislation, both the Geneva Convention and the Uniform Code of Military Justice apply, and Hamdan's trial, parts of which he had been excluded from in violation of these codes, was therefore illegal.