Describe the Warren Court and the expansion of individual rights as seen in the Miranda decision.

Earl Warren was chief justice of the Supreme Court from 1953 until 1969. He sought after the chief justice position after being denied the Republican nomination for the presidency. Warren’s court was known to be very liberal, and the highest point to this point in history for judicial power. Warren presided over some of the most historic cases in United States history and was seen to advance the Civil Rights Movement in his rulings. Some of the historic cases he presided over are:

Brown v. Board of Education

This case primary dealt with the idea of separate but equal. This was done because the Brown family lived a while away from their elementary school that was all black and  had a difficult time getting to their bus stop in the morning. The Brown family lived in Topeka, Kansas where schools were separated by race. The Brown family brought their case to the Supreme Court, saying that the idea of separate but equal was not fair. The court decided that the separate but equal notion violated the fourteenth amendments free protection clause and as a result was unconstitutional.

Gideon v. Wainwright

Earl Gideon was arrested for a crime he did not commit, being theft when he was found near the scene of the crime. As a result he was tried and when he asked the court to appoint him a lawyer they refusing, making him represent himself and causing him to be found guilty. As a result he wrote a letter to the Supreme Court asking that they review the decision that was made and they unanimously ruled in his favor stating that the sixth amendment requires courts to have a lawyer to appoint to the defendant if they do not have the money to get their own.

Reynolds v. Sims

In Alabama legislative districts were still being regulated based on a 1900s census. It was argued that since then the urban population of Alabama had dramatically increased since then the state legislative houses did not represent the population effectively and that the urban populations voices were being stifled. The Supreme Court ruled that this was unconstitutional, using the Fourteenth Amendment of equal protection to back its decision. The Alabama state legislature had to start accurately representing the population of Alabama.

Griswold v. Connecticut

Griswold an executive of planned parenthood was fined 100 dollars for illegally giving out contraceptives in Connecticut. At the time using or giving contraceptives in the state was considered illegal. Griswold appealed to the Supreme Court believing that it was unconstitutional that a state could put a restriction on something such as contraceptives. The Supreme Court ruled in his favor 7 to 2 using the first, third, fifth, ninth, and fourteenth amendments to make a privacy clause that allows legal situations to be ruled based on privacy that should be guaranteed.

Miranda v. Arizona

Miranda argued that his confession needed to be excluded from the trial after not being told of his fifth amendment rights against self-incrimination and his sixth amendment rights that grant him an attorney. After getting the Supreme Court to hear his plea, the court agreed that the police had not properly informed Miranda of his rights. This began the idea of your Miranda rights, and now police are required to tell you them upon being arrested.

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The court cases that were decided on during the reign of Chief Justice Warren are monumental in the sense that they permanently changed the way our law was interpreted for the better. The decisions gave people rights that in today’s society are used often. People now get to hear there rights when they are arrested, go to the same school as everyone else, have adequate court representation, have better representation in courts, and more privacy in their lives. Many of these constitutional views would not have been changed without these important court decisions.



Project: Court Cases by Andrew Cox


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