Prior to the emergence of the Warren Court, few, if any previous courts have had the impact that the Warren Court demonstrated. Precedential value - The Warren Court has remain unmatched within this area The Warren Court decided a number of important constitutional issues during its time and those decisions continue to influence our daily lives Court takes on the personality of its Chief Justice Earl Warren - appointed Chief Justice in 1953 by President Eisenhower.
Considered the most influential advocates for social progress in the United States. The Warren Court dealt with controversial cases on civil rights and civil liberties and the very nature of the political system. Many political historians have suggested that the Warren Court “created the image of the Supreme Court as a revolutionary body, a powerful force for social change.” Viewed as the greatest liberal Court in the twentieth century.
The Three Periods of the Warren Court Period 1 - 1953-1956 much of the time of the Court was spent on school desegregation cases. Period 2 - 1957-1961 few controversial cases were heard. Period 3 - 1962-1968 The “heyday of the Warren Court” Moved in an aggressively liberal direction on numerous constitutional issues ranging from racial to civil rights, to legislative apportionment, to church state relations, to freedom of speech, to criminal justice.
Liberals did not hold a majority on the Supreme Court until 1962. “Justices are not simply black robed repositories of objective wisdom, but rather are influenced by politics, by society, each bringing to the Court their individual legal philosophies and moral attitudes that come out of his or her background.” Does the Supreme Court really stand outside of American politics or is it in fact a part of it? Does judicial independence actually exist or is it just a myth?
Landmark Cases Brown v. Board of Education, 1954 Gideon v. Wainwright, 1963 Escobedo v. Illinois, 1964 Miranda v. Arizona, 1966 In Re Gault, 1967
Brown v. Board of Education, 1954 The case was actually a collection of five cases from four states and the District of Columbia. Court scheduling put the Brown case before Briggs on the Supreme Court docket when the five cases were combined for argument and decision The five cases included Gebhart v. Belton, (Delaware) Brown v. Board of Education, (Kansas) Briggs v. Elliott, (South Carolina)Davis v. County School Board of Prince Edward County (Virginia) and Bolling v. Sharpe (District of Columbia) The Court heard them all together under the name of Brown because they all dealt with the same issue of racially segregated schools.
Brown v. Board of Education, 1954 The court ruled, to separate those children from others of similar age and qualification solely because of their race generates a feeling of inferiority as to their status in the community that may affect the hearts and minds in a way unlikely ever to be undone…Separate educational facilities are inherently unequal…Any language in Plessy v. Ferguson contrary to these findings is rejected.” Warren was careful in his decision not to place blame on any group for the years of discrimination.
Gideon v. Wainwright, 1963 Clarence Earl Gideon was arrested in Florida for breaking and entering into a poolroom and stealing coin from the vending machines there. Brought to trial, he asked the judge to appoint a lawyer for him. He had no money to pay for an attorney. The judge informed Mr. Gideon that the state of Florida only had to provide a court appointed attorney in capital crimes. Gideon then tried to act as his own attorney and put on a defense for himself. Unfortunately, he did an extremely poor job.
Gideon v. Wainwright, 1963 Although the trial judge tried to assist him, he did not know what questions to ask or the procedure to follow. The jury found him guilty and he was sentenced to jail time in the Florida State prison. While in prison he petitioned the Supreme Court requesting that the justices review his case on the grounds that the Sixth amendment, made applicable to the states by the Fourteenth amendment, guarantees the right to counsel. Gideon was mistaken on this point for the states were not required by the Constitution to provide a free attorney. This only applied in federal courts.
Gideon v. Wainwright, 1963 Once the Supreme Court accepted the appeal from Gideon, Chief Justice Warren appointed a brilliant attorney Abe Fortas to defend Gideon’s argument in front of the Supreme Court. In the end the justices ruled unanimously to overturn the 1942 ruling in Betts v. Brady case. Defendants in state court accused of a felony now must be provided with a free court appointed attorney.
Escobedo v. Illinois, 1964 The decision in this case expanded the meaning of the right of counsel guaranteed by the Sixth amendment to include not only one’s defense at a criminal trial, but also during a police interrogation. The Court ruled by a slim vote of five to four “… that when the investigation is no longer a general inquiry… but has begun to focus on a particular suspect…and where the suspect has been taken into custody…and the suspect has requested a lawyer…and the police have not informed him of his rights to remain silent, the accused has been denied…counsel in violation of the sixth Amendment.”
Miranda v. Arizona, 1966 Earl Warren instructed his clerks to look for cases that would lay out the groundwork for police procedure. Four cases were chosen including Miranda v. Arizona. This case became one of the most controversial cases in criminal procedure during the entire Warren era. Ernesto Miranda was arrested for the kidnapping and rape of a woman in Arizona. He was taken to the police station where after two hours of police questioning he signed a confession statement. He was never told of his right to remain silent or his right to see a lawyer. At his trial his signed confession was used against him and he was found guilty of the crimes. While in prison he appealed his case to the Supreme Court arguing that his confession should not have been used at his trial because the police had not told him of his rights and he answered questions because he did not know he could remain silent. His lawyer said that he was frightened while in custody and the police atmosphere was intimidating.
Miranda v. Arizona, 1966 Warren announced the Miranda decision on June 23, 1966. Justices Black, Brennan, Douglas, and Fortes made up the majority along with Warren. Miranda begins with the statement of the four things the police must state before they question suspects. They have the right to remain silent; anything they say can be used against them; they have the right to counsel, and if they cannot pay for counsel, lawyers will be provided for them.
Small Group Activity Working cooperatively, each group will review the brief summary of the In Re Gault Case Answer the questions that follow 1.Should juveniles and adults have the same rights as guaranteed by the United States Constitution? 2.What rights would Gerald have had if his case were being heard in an adult court? 3.What do you think is the goal of a juvenile court? What is the goal of an adult court? 4.Do you think juvenile courts are too soft on the youth of
5. What do you think Warren meant when he stated that the written opinion of Justice Fortas would be known as the Magna Carta for juveniles?8 6. For more than a century the juvenile court system has operated separately from the adult criminal courts. Juvenile courts were designed to provide flexibility to young people in trouble. The philosophy behind juvenile justice has always been to rehabilitate young offenders rather than punish them. But the trade-off means that juveniles have fewer due process rights than adults. Do you think this is fair?