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March 21, 2007


Well, are we supposed to guess what they are? Give our nominations?

Mapp v. Ohio (1961--illegal searches & exclusionary rule)

Baker v. Carr (1962--reapportionment)

Heart of Atlanta Motel v. united States (1964--upheld Civil Rights Act ban on discromonation in public accommodations)

Griswold v. Connecticut (1965--birth control can't be outlawed for married couples)

That's four off the top of my head for starters.

I've always been fond of Tinker v. Des Moines, though that was late enough in the decade that I guess it had more effect on the 1970s.

Gideon v. Wainwright, 1963 - From Yale.edu, The Legacy of the Warren Court by Joan Rapczynski:

"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. 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.

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."

If we are on Gideon v. Wainwright, I just now remember Miranda vs. Arizona.

I agree on Gideon, definitely. It was very important. I thought about Miranda for my original list, but since the exclusionary rule was really articulated in Mapp v. Ohio, I went with that. But Miranda certainly affected TV drama the most, and should probably make the list for that reason if no other.

BTW, I didn't put this title up. Who did? Why? Is there more? Is this like one of those billboards that you have to keep watching to see what it is really about?

The supreme court itself lists the 1960s in the center of this sequence spanning three decades, a useful reference of all the opinions Scotus wrote then. While the title of the post above is alluring, its authorship remains anonymous now two days later. Yet, a little web research proved interesting enough to provide a plan for several books worth writing. It was interesting to see the mention of Fortas near the top of the thread, a name also in the news around the time of the Thurmond plan to nominate JGRoberts to Scotus courtesy of Frist Cheney + co's memory lapse about which political party precisely had utilized the filibuster in the US Senate so effectively in the Fortas nomination process.

Looking beyond that skirmish, one Northwestern U website provided an interesting reminder of the kind of demiliberalism we endured under LBJohnson, where in the posted one-page biography of Arthur Goldberg we read the oblique history of Goldberg's transitory tenure as a Scotus Associate Justice, his reluctance to cooperate with LBJohnson's gambit to send him to the UN representative post and vacate Scotus.

Reflectively, I could see what many modern constitutional scholars are writing, that the foundations of some good liberal legislation got written by the fertile environment of opinions Scotus wrote in the 1960s, as if it were an invitation to devise socially progressive legislation in the next decade, the 1970s.

Living in CA at that time, the memories remain fresh concerning many legislative environmental and electoral precedents set in CA in the 1970s, the coastal protection zone which developed from the public initiative process which was very vigorous in CA at that time; and the leadership CA assumed in forcing EPA to heed the warning signs written boldly in the thick fog-smoke in LA, which people had begun calling smog, as CA repeatedly took Detroit manufacturers of vehicle engines to task in court to force compliance with CA smog regulations.

Associate Justice Goldberg's work in three cases mentioned in the biography there proved to be a viable platform from which to launch my own investigation of the currents which placed him on the Supreme Court, and removed him, as well as the trends of the time which provided raison d'etre for some conservative groups to plan to pack the justice system with ideologues more to their liking than the Warren court. For what they are worth, Goldberg's 1960s cases of which he was most proud were (at least according to thie NWUniv biography]: Escobedo v. Illinois [coercion of prisoner](1964), Gibson v. Florida Legislative Investigation Committee [race](1963), Zemel v. Rusk[international diplomacy] (1965).

During the search in response to the authorless [hacked?] post title, I reviewed some interesting environmental cases, as well, such as the Disney Corporation's plan to build a ski resort on top of some pristine Sierra landscape, which Disney abandoned; the early prototype of a massive oil spill which occurred when an accident occurred in a drilling rig that workers plugged but which then burst its safety seal and besmirched a hundred miles of CA beach near Sta. Barbara, which incident led to congress realizing it was time to write the NEPA law.

But those were only chapter titles in my series of books. Some pretty garrulous characters from social movements took pleadings to Scotus in the 60s, a few cases drifting thru appeals and returning for supremes to adjudge in the early 1970s; many of this latter class of suits actually foundered before reaching Scotus.

Incidentally I am reminded this week during the purge of unloyal Republican federal prosecutors scandal that the chief justice at Scotus served up a lot of anticivil rights memos for Fred Fielding during the Reagan administration, and now Fielding once again is involved in an executive privilege tussle with congress.

I don't know if this post was an accident or incomplete but I think it's a good idea - kind of like a guided open thread. There are a lot of smart readers to flesh out these kind of lists or suggestive titles. Best Republican civil rights leader of the 1960s? Best infrastructure investment in the US? That kind of thing.

Check out this from a former member of the DoJ civil rights section; formal remarks from a hearing this past week in the House Judiciary subcommittee on civil rights and the constitution.


Warren, Earl California Eisenhower October 5, 1953 June 23, 1969
Burger, Warren Earl Virginia Nixon June 23, 1969 September 26, 1986

Black, Hugo Lafayette Alabama Roosevelt, F. August 19, 1937 September 17, 1971
Frankfurter, Felix Massachusetts Roosevelt, F. January 30, 1939 August 28, 1962
Douglas, William Orville Connecticut Roosevelt, F. April 17, 1939 November 12, 1975
Clark, Tom Campbell Texas Truman August 24, 1949 June 12, 1967
Harlan, John Marshall New York Eisenhower March 28, 1955 September 23, 1971
Brennan, William J., Jr. New Jersey Eisenhower October 16, 1956 July 20, 1990
Whittaker, Charles Evans Missouri Eisenhower March 25, 1957 March 31, 1962
Stewart, Potter Ohio Eisenhower October 14, 1958 July 3, 1981
White, Byron Raymond Colorado Kennedy April 16, 1962 June 28, 1993
Goldberg, Arthur Joseph Illinois Kennedy October 1, 1962 July 25, 1965
Fortas, Abe Tennessee Johnson, L. October 4, 1965 May 14, 1969
Marshall, Thurgood New York Johnson, L. October 2, 1967 October 1, 1991

Ruth Bader Ginsberg draws a profile of the US judiciary environment's rapid morphology from a male only bastion to a 1/3 share women over the four decades 1960-2000: See her remarks before the American Sociological Association annual meeting in Montreal August 11, 2006.

Sara, If you happen to look at this thread again, six weeks after you began it Tom Goldstein wrote an interesting summary with a political slant at his Aikin Gump site, there. I appreciated your followup post about the 1950s Supreme Court cases segue into the 60s, for your enrichment of the historic perspective. Goldstein practices in the Supreme Court, and has provided expert background on NPR on occasion. He calls himself part of the postBork generation, as that excellent defeat of a misaligned nomination occurred as Tom was completing grad school. In trying to read about Tenet around the time of the CenterStorm publication May 2007, I followed GeorgeT's career as a US Senate worker for D-OK DLBoren, which latter senator voted For Bork. Though, even with your series of articles on Tenet's new apologesis, I think we have a long way to go before we obtain a clear view of the course of his agency in these times when ostensibly it has endured many rapid transformations.

i need this by tomorrow morning so i can get a box of monsters. but what was the court case called for birth control legalization?

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