TLW's U.S. Supreme Court Historyscope™
By T.L. Winslow (TLW), the Historyscoper™
© Copyright by T.L. Winslow. All Rights Reserved.
Original Pub. Date: May 20, 2016. Last Update: Mar. 28, 2017.
Westerners are not only known as history ignoramuses, but double dumbass history ignoramuses when it comes to U.S. Supreme Court (SCOTUS) history. Since I'm the one-and-only Historyscoper (tm), let me quickly bring you up to speed before you dive into my Master Historyscope.
So far since 1789 there have been 112 U.S. Supreme Court justices, with a makeup consisting of almost all lily-white male Protestants (incl. 33 Episcopalians, 9 Unitarians, 5 Methodists, and 3 Baptists) until Louis Brandeis (Jewish) (1916), Thurgood Marshall (African-Am., 1967), Antonin Scalia (Italian-Am., 1986), Sandra Day O'Connor (female, 1981), and Sonia Sotomayor (Hispanic, female, 2009); the current court consists of five Roman Catholics (John Roberts, Anthony Kennedy, Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito, Sonia Sotomayor), three Jews (Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer, Elena Kagan), and no Protestants; there have been 17 chief justices. 17 Supreme Court justices incl. two chief justices served on the U.S. House of Representatives.
The most momentous event in human history since Eden, and the genius of compromise is enshrined in a monarchy (president), oligarchy (Senate), and democracy (House of Reps.) wedded into a menage a trois? On Sept. 15, 1787 after Gouverneur Morris makes the final revision of the draft and writes the Preamble, the U.S. Constitution is approved by the Constitutional Convention in Philly; that evening the 55 delegates party at a tavern, drinking 54 bottles of Madeira, 60 bottles of claret, eight bottles of whiskey, 22 bottles of porter, eight bottles of hard cider, 12 bottles of berr,and seven bowls of alcoholic punch"; on Sept. 17 "an assembly of demi-gods" (Jefferson), presided over by George Washington assembles, and 12 of 13 states (R.I.) sign it (a total of 39 signers, not incl. John Hancock, who only signed the DOI), with Washington going first, followed by the states going from N to S; George Reed signs for John Dickinson of Del., who is sick; Maj. William Jackson (1759-1828) of S.C., secy. of the convention (later Pres. Washington's 1st term private secy.) is the 40th signer; George Mason of Va. refuses to sign because it doesn't have a bill of rights, like he drafted for Va. in 1776, and which he later becomes the father of; Edmund Randolph of Va. refuses because it gives the pres. too much power; Elbridge Gerry of Mass. refuses because it gives the federal govt. too much power and has insufficient protection for the liberties of the people (to gerrymander?); Howard Chandler Christy (1873-1952) paints a famous Portrait of the Signing of the U.S. Constitution; in 1936 Barry Faulkner (1881-1966) paints a 14 ft. x 35 ft. Mural of the Signers of the U.S. Constitution for the rotunda of the Nat. Archives in Washington, D.C.; Ben Franklin weeps after he signs it, then delivers a moving address, saying, "I have happiness to know that it is a rising and not a setting sun"; the delegates celebrate at the City Tavern; it is pub. on Sept. 19, delivered to the Congress in New York City on Sept. 20 as part of a 6-page report along with a letter from Washington, and submitted to the states for ratification on Sept. 28 after efforts to censure the convention for exceeding its authority are defeated; after the convention adjourns, Washington predicts that the Constitution won't last for more than twenty years; the words "federal" and "democracy" are not mentioned in the final version, as the govt. is assumed to be a republic with qualified electors appointing officials, and everybody knows that the new constitution's aim is to correct the defects of the old one by strengthening the federal govt.?; the federal govt. is given 20 different powers, not jillions like it comes to believe by the 20th cent.?; Penn. State Assembly asst. clerk and calligrapher Jacob Shallus (1750-96) is hired for $30 to "engross" (write out in large letters on a parchment with ink using a turkey feather quill) the actual document, four pages measuring 29" x 24" (check out that cool "We the People") (page two has 1,054 words); the U.S. Constitution has seven articles and a total of 24 sections, and doesn't mention God, Christ or the Bible, although it is dated "In the year of our Lord"; I: the Congress (10 sections) (a rep. must be 25-y.-o. and a U.S. citizen for 7 years, a senator must be 30-y.-o. and a citizen for 9 years); II: the President (4); III: the Courts (3); IV: Interrelation between state and federal govt., Full Faith and Credit (Sect. 1), "Privileges and Immunities" (Sect. 2), Admission of New States (Sect. 3), "Republican form of govt." guaranteed for each state (Sect. 4); V: Amendment Process (1), VI: Supreme Law of the Land et al. (1), VII: Manner of Establishment (ratification by 9 of the 13 original states) (1); the Preamble uses eight key verbs (form, establish, insure, provide, promote, secure, ordain, establish) and six key goals (Union, Justice, Tranquility, Defence, Welfare, Liberty); originally it listed the states ("We the People of the United States of New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, etc."): "We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America"; the Am. Founding Founders score a 5K Year Leap, making possible more human progress in the next 200 years than in the last 5K? - feel a little bit dance schooley?
On Sept. 24, 1789 the First U.S. Congress (1st session) passes the U.S. Judiciary Act of 1789 according to Article III Section 1 of the U.S. Constitution, creating a U.S. atty. gen. and a U.S. court system, consisting of the U.S. Supreme Court (SCOTUS) with six justices, district courts for each of 13 judicial districts (one for each state except two for Mass. and Va.) (N.C. and R.I. haven't ratified the Constitution yet), and three circuit courts; on Sept. 26 Edmund Jennings Randolph (1753-1813) becomes the first U.S. atty. gen. (until Jan. 26, 1794); on Sept. 26 New York City-born John Jay (1745-1829) becomes the first U.S. Supreme Court chief justice (until June 29, 1795); on Sept. 26 John Rutledge (1739-1800) of S.C. (brother of DOI signer Edward Rutledge) becomes the 2nd (associate) justice (until Mar. 4, 1791); on Sept. 27 William Cushing (1732-1810) becomes #3 (until Sept. 13, 1810); on Sept. 29 Scottish-born DOI signer James Wilson (1742-98) of N.C. (most erudite of the Founding Fathers) becomes #4 (until Aug. 21, 1798); on Sept. 30 John Blair Jr. (1732-1800) of Va. (2nd most erudite?) becomes #5 (until Oct. 25, 1795); Robert Hanson Harrison (1745-90) of Md. (George Washington's 2nd private secy. in 1775 after Joseph Reed) is selected as #6 to fill out the first U.S. Supreme Court, but declines for health reasons; the All Writs Act, attached to the Judiciary Act gives U.S. courts the power to "issue all writs necessary or appropriate in aid of their respective jurisdictions and agreeable to the usages and principles of law". On Sept. 25 Congress proposes 12 amendments to the U.S. Constitution, incl. the 10-article Bill of Rights, which is sent by Pres. Washington to the states for approval in Oct.; aborted amendment #1 would have required one U.S. rep. for every 30K pop.
On Feb. 2, 1790 the U.S. Supreme Court (chief justice and four associate justices) holds its first session in the Royal Exchange Bldg. on Broad Street in New York City near Federal Hall before an eager crowd, but it adjourns on Feb. 10 because it has no cases to hear; the first members are John Jay (1745-1820) of N.Y. (#1) (Sept. 26, 1789-June 29, 1795), John Rutledge (1739-1800) of S.C. (#2) (Sept. 26, 1789-Mar 4, 1791), William Cushing (1732-1810) of Mass. (#3) (Sept. 27, 1789 to Sept. 13, 1810), James Wilson (1742-98) of Penn. (#4) (Sept. 29, 1789 to Aug. 21, 1798), John Blair Jr. (1732-1800) (#5) (Sept. 30, 1789 to Oct. 25, 1795), and James Iredell (1751-99) of N.C. (#6) (May 12, 1790 to Oct. 20, 1799) (youngest).
On Nov. 7, 1791 after John Rutledge resigns on Mar. 4 and he is nominated by Pres. Washington on Oct. 31, Thomas Johnson Jr. (1732-1819) is confirmed by the U.S. Senate as U.S. Supreme Court justice #7, and on Aug. 6, 1792 he is sworn-in, resigning on Jan. 16, 1793 after 163 days due to the difficulties of circuit-riding, becoming the shortest tenure (until ?).
On Dec. 15, 1791 while godless revolutionists grab unlimited power in France, the really revolutionary power-limiting U.S. Bill of Rights (Amendments 1-10) (proposed and sent to the states by the first session of the First Congress in Federal Hall in New York City) is ratified after Va. becomes the 11th state to approve it; in 1941 Dec. 15 is declared U.S. Nat. Bill of Rights Day; by the year 2000 it is amended an average of once every 12 years; 1: freedom of religion, speech, press, assembly and petition; 2: right to bear arms; 3: quartering of soldiers limited; 4: searches and seizures; 5: due process; 6: right to an atty.; 7: right to trial by jury; 8: unfair punishment forbidden; 9: reservation of rights by citizens; 10: reservations of rights to states or people; 11: rules for lawsuits against states (1795); 12: new way of selecting pres. and vice-pres. (1804); 13: slavery abolished (1865); 14: equal protection under law (1868); 15: black voting rights (1870); 16: federal income tax (1913); 17: U.S. senators directly elected (1913); 18: sale of alcohol banned (1919); 19: voting rights for women (1920); 20: date of pres. and congressional terms set (1933); 21: 18th amendment repealed 1933); 22: pres. limited to two terms (1951); 23: people in D.C. given right to vote for pres. (1961); 24: no poll taxes in federal elections (1964); 25: pres. succession and disability (1967); 26: voting age lowered to 18 (1971); 27: congressional salaries regulated (1992).
On Aug. 11, 1792 the U..S. Supreme Court rules in Georgia v. Brailsford that "a State may sue in the Supreme Court to enjoin payment of a judgment in behalf of a British creditor taken on a debt, which was confiscated by the State, until it can be ascertained to whom the money belongs", becoming the first U.S. Supreme Court case in which a state appears as a party, and the first written option by a justice, Thomas Johnson Jr.
On Feb. 18, 1793 the U.S. Supreme Court rules 4-1 in Chisholm v. Georgia that federal courts have power to hear disputes between private citizens and states, becoming the first significant case they decide, and leading to the 11th Amendment of 1795.
On Mar. 4, 1793 after Pres. Washington nominates him on Feb. 27 for the seat vacated by Thomas Johnson Jr., County Antrim, withdraws it on Feb. 28 to satisfy the Ineligibility Clause of the U.S. Constitution (Art. 1, Sect. 6), and renominates him after his term as U.S. Sen. expires, Ireland-born William Paterson (1745-1806) of N.J. becomes U.S. Supreme Court justice #8 (until Sept. 9, 1806), going on to preside over trials of people indicted for treason in the Whiskey Rebellion.
On Feb. 7, 1795 the Eleventh (11th) (XI) Amendment to the U.S. Constitution is ratified, blocking the judicial power of the U.S. from extending to suits against a state or a foreign state.
On June 30, 1795 DOI signer Edward Rutledge's brother John Rutledge (1739-1800) of S.C. (justice #5 in 1789-91) takes office as U.S. chief justice #2 (until Dec. 28, 1795) as a recess appointee (first ever by a U.S. pres., and it's George Washington?), but later in the year the Senate rejects his appointment, and he only serves one term; Pres. Eisenhower later makes three recess appointments: Earl Warren (1953), William Brennan (1956), and Potter Stewart (1958).
On Feb. 4, 1796 Samuel Chase (1741-1811) of Md. becomes U.S. Supreme Court justice #9 (until June 19, 1811) to replace John Blair (1789-96); on Mar. 8 Oliver Ellsworth (1745-1807) of Conn., who coined the term "United States" becomes chief justice #3 and the 10th justice (until Dec. 15, 1800).
On Dec. 20, 1798 after being appointed by Pres. Adams on Sept. 29 after John Marshall declines, 36-y.-o. Mount Holly, Va.-born peachfuzz cheeks Bushrod Washington (1762-1829) of Va. (nephew of George Washington) (one of the first members of Phi Beta Kappa at the College of William and Mary, who inherits Mt. Vernon in 1799 to boot) is confirmed by the U.S. Senate, becoming U.S. Supreme Court justice #11 next Feb. 4 (until Nov. 26, 1829) to replace James Wilson (1789-98).
On Apr. 21, 1800 New Hanover County, N.C.-born 4'5" Alfred Moore (1755-1810) becomes U.S. Supreme Court justice #12 (until Jan. 26, 1804) to replace James Iredell (1790-99) (who died suddenly in office), becoming the 2nd justice from N.C. and the shortest justice (until ?); too bad, he suffers from poor health and doesn't do much except render an opinion that France is an enemy of the U.S.
On Jan. 31, 1801 Pres. Adams appoints his secy. of state John Marshall (1755-1835) as the 4th U.S. chief justice and 13th justice (until July 6, 1835) to replace Oliver Ellsworth (1796-1800) in a Supreme Court regarded as ineffectual, and he is sworn in on Feb. 4, serving simultaneously as secy. of state until Mar. 4; both Marshall and Thomas Jefferson are descended from William Randolph - so the nation is in good hands with Allstate?
Like sausage, it's better if you don't see it made? On Feb. 10, 1801 knowing of his defeat before the electoral votes are formally counted on Feb. 11, U.S. Pres. Adams closes his admin. with his controversial U.S. Midnight Judges Act (Appointments) (Judiciary Act of 1801), which is passed on Feb. 27 by the outgoing Federalist-controlled U.S. Congress, repealing the 1789 act and reducing the Supreme Court from six justices to five, while raising the number of circuits from three to six and establishing five new judicial districts, for a total of 18, creating 16 circuit courts that Adams appoints Federalist officers to, incl. William Marbury (1762-1835) to the office of justice of the peace in the District of Columbia; the incoming Jefferson admin. views the act as a Federalist trick to keep a Repub. from being appointed to the court, and gets it repealed next year. Big day in U.S. history as the judiciary claims its turf? On Feb. 24, 1803 after Pres. Jefferson takes advantage of the failure of former secy. of state John Marshall (now U.S. chief justice) to deliver the commission to Federalist William Marbury to become justice of the peace in the District of Columbia, and orders his secy. of state James Madison not to deliver it, causing Marbury to appeal to guess what under the Judiciary Act of 1789 for a writ of mandamus compelling Madison to do so, the U.S. Supreme Court under clever John Marshall in Marbury v. Madison denies Marbury his commission, declaring that the act was unconstitutional, and that as chief justice he can't issue writs of mandamus, but at the same time he defuses the conflict between the admin. and the Federalist judiciary, while claiming the much greater new power of judicial review; the Supreme Court is now the supreme arbiter of the Constitution itself, and can declare acts of the Congress and U.S. pres. "unconstitutional"; "It is emphatically the province and duty of the judicial department to say what the law is"; since "the constitution is superior to any ordinary act of the legislature", "an act of the legislature, repugnant to the constitution, is void".
On Jan. 26, 1804 justice (since Apr. 21, 1800) Alfred Moore resigns, and on May 7 after Pres. Johnson nominates him on Mar. 22, Charleston, S.C.-born William Johnson (1771-1834) becomes U.S. Supreme Cout justice #14 (until Aug. 4, 1834), becoming the first non-Federalist, known for frequent articulate dissents from the Federalist majority.
On July 27, 1804 the Twelfth (12th) (XII) Amendment to the U.S. Constitution is ratified, requiring separate votes for pres. and vice-pres., starting with this year's election.
On Nov. 30, 1804 U.S. Supreme Court justice (since Jan. 27, 1796) Samuel Chase (1741-1811) goes on trial, accused of political bias against Repubs. while serving as a trial judge in lower circuit courts; on Mar. 1, 1805 he is acquitted by the Senate, bolstering the principle of judicial independence as long as judges avoid the appearance of political partisanship.
On Jan. 20, 1806 Princeton-educated Henry Brockholst Livingston (1757-1823), from the long line of N.Y. Livingstons, cousin of DOI signer Robert R. Livingston and brother-in-law of John Jay (with whom he went on a diplomatic mission to Spain) is appointed as U.S. Supreme Court justice #15, and confirmed on Nov. 10 (until Mar. 18, 1823), giving it six members (William Cushing, Samuel Chase, Bushrod Washington, John Marshall, William Johnson).
On Mar. 3, 1807 after Congress changes the number of justices on the U.S. Supreme Court to seven, and Pres. Jefferson nominates him on Feb. 28, Thomas Todd (1765-1826) of Va. becomes U.S. Supreme court justice #16 (until Feb. 7, 1826), going on to issue only one dissenting opinion in Finley v. Lynn and establish the rule in Riggs v. Taylor that if an original document can't be introduced into evidence for reasons out of one's control, secondary evidence can be used.
On Mar. 16, 1810 in Fletcher v. Peck the U.S. Supreme (Marshall) Court by 4-1 overturns the recission by the Ga. legislature of the Yazoo Land Fraud grant, upholding the law of property and contracts from legislative interference, and resulting in corporations being shielded from state regulations for the rest of the cent., becoming the first time the U.S. Supreme Court rules a state law unconstitutional, hinting that Native Ams. don't told title to their own lands; in 1814 Congress awards the lucky speculators $4.2M.
On Nov. 23, 1811 Gabriel Duvall (1752-1844) of Md. (until Jan. 14, 1835) and Joseph Story (1779-1845) (a Repub. Mass. rep. who became House Speaker this year) (until Sept. 10, 1845) (youngest until ?) become U.S. Supreme Court justices #17 and #18 to replace William Cushing (1789-1810) and Samuel Chase (1796-1811), keeping the number of members at lucky seven; no more changes for over a decade (1823); Duvall, who replaces fellow Marylander Chase goes on to become the "most insignificant U.S. Supreme Court justice", while Story goes on to a brilliant and storied career.
On Mar. 6, 1819 the U.S. Supreme (Marshall) Court unanimously rules in McCulloch v. Maryland that Md. can't tax the Second Bank of the U.S., nor any state tax any federal agency, paving the way for broad federal powers and a nat. state under the guise of implied powers of Congress to pass laws not expressly listed in the Constitution if they are useful in furtherance of the express powers, prohibiting state actions to impede valid constitutional exercises of power by the federal govt.
On Mar. 12, 1819 Va. becomes the 13th and final state required to ratify the Original 13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, reading: "If any citizen of the United States shall accept, claim, receive, or retain any title of nobility or honour, or shall without the consent of Congress, accept and retain any present, pension, office, or emolument of any kind whatever, from any emperor, king, prince, or foreign power, such person shall cease to be a citizen of the United States, and shall be incapable of holding any office of trust or profit under them, or either of them"; too bad, after 1876 it mysteriously disappears from the records; all members of the Am. Bar Assoc. (ABA) acquire the British title of nobility of esquire, and that's why?
On Feb. 28, 1823 the U.S. Supreme Court unanimously rules in Johnson v. M'Intosh that Native Ams. have the right of occupancy but not title to lands in the U.S., and hence can't sell it to private citizens but only to the U.S. govt.
On Sept. 1, 1823 after the U.S. Supreme Court goes a record 11 years, 8 mo. without a change in membership (1811-23), New York-born former U.S. navy. secy. #6 (since Jan. 1, 1819) Smith Thompson (1768-1843) is appointed as the U.S. Supreme Court justice #19 (until Dec. 18, 1843) to replace Henry Brockholst Livingston (1806-23), and confirmed by the U.S. Senate on Dec. 9, giving the court a lame eight members; an opponent of chief justice John Marshall, Thompson goes on to run unsuccessfully for gov. of N.Y. from the bench in 1828.
In 1823 U.S. Supreme Court justice Bushrod Washington (George Washington's nephew) decides the federal court case of Corfield v. Coryell, providing a list of the "privileges and immunities" enjoyed by U.S. citizens, incl. the right to life, liberty, property, and happiness, but unfortunately not the right for non-residents to harvest oysters and clams in N.J.
On Mar. 2, 1824 the U.S. (Marshall) Supreme Court rules 6-0 in Gibbons v. Ogden that the federal govt. alone regulates interstate commerce and that this extends to navigation after Robert Fulton and his financial backer Robert R. Livingston (1746-1813), cousin of recently-deceased U.S. Supreme Court justice Henry Brockholst Livingston receive a monopoly to operate commercial steamboats from the state of New York, conflicting with Thomas Gibbons' federal license under the U.S. Coasting Act, and the court rules that the Congressional power to regulate commerce, "like all others vested in Congress, is complete in itself, may be exercised to its utmost extent, and acknowledges no limitations other than are prescribed in the constitution"; states eventually discover they have a concurrent jurisdiction over commerce, but only so long as they do not come in conflict with the big bad feds.
On May 9, 1826 after being nominated on Apr. 11, Berkeley County, Va.-born Ky.-raised Robert Trimble (1776-1828) of Ky. becomes U.S. Supreme Court justice #20 (until Aug. 25, 1828) to replace Thomas Todd (1807-26) of Ky., leaving the court at eight members, becoming Pres. J.Q. Adams' only appointment, on the advice of secy. of state Henry Clay; he goes on to write the majority opinion in Ogden v. Saunders, in which John Marshall writes the dissenting opinion.
On Feb. 19, 1827 the U.S. Supreme Court rules 4-3 in Ogden v. Saunders that La. citizen Ogden (represented by Henry Clay) can use state bankruptcy laws to avoid paying Ky. citizen Saunders (represented by Daniel Webster), and that Congress' power to pass bankruptcy laws can be trumped by certain state laws that make future contracts part of the contracts themselves; John Marshall issues his only dissenting opinion, with the soundbyte: "Contracts derive their obligation from the act of the parties, not from the grant of government."
On Mar. 7, 1829 after being appointed by Pres. Jackson on Mar. 6, Morris County, N.J.-born, Warren County, Ohio-born U.S. postmaster gen. #6 (since 1823) John McLean (1785-1861) of N.J. becomes U.S. Supreme Court justice #21 (until Apr. 4, 1861) to replace Bushrod Washington (1798-1829) (last 18th cent. appointee to leave), leaving the court at seven members; he goes on to become known as "the politician on the Supreme Court" for his habit of switching from party to party, from Jacksonian dem. to anti-Jacksonian Dem., Anti-Mason, Whig, Free Soil, and finally Repub.
On Jan. 6, 1830 Yale-educated middle-of-the-roader (epileptic) Henry Baldwin (1780-1844) of Penn. (who finds slavery morally repugnant but legal) becomes U.S. Supreme Court justice #22 (until Apr. 21, 1844), giving it eight members again; in 1832 a seizure leaves him a little deranged, and he becomes the first justice to pub. his dissenting opinions, later becoming the lone dissenting vote in the Amistad case.
In 1830 Harvard grad. Lemuel Shaw (1781-1861) becomes chief justice of the Mass. Supreme Court, going on to write 2K+ majority opinions and settle whole areas of U.S. law; Oliver Wendell Holmes calls him "the greatest magistrate which this country has produced." In Mar. 1842 the Mass. Supreme Court (chief justice Lemuel Shaw) makes a landmark ruling in Commonwealth v. Hunt that the formation of a trade union is not in itself illegal, nor a demand that employers hire only union members, and that workers may strike whenever an employer hires nonunion labor; the opinion frees labor unions from the old doctrine of criminal conspiracy, and is hailed as "Labor's Magna Carta" - let that dog hunt? In 1849 in Sarah C. Roberts v. City of Boston, the Mass. Supreme Court (chief justice Lemuel Shaw) originates the doctrine of "separate but equal" regarding school segregation. In 1851 the Mass. Supreme Court (chief justice Lemuel Shaw) refuses to release fugitive slave Thomas Sims and justifies the constitutionality of the 1850 Fugitive Slave Act.
On Mar. 18, 1831 the U.S. Supreme (Marshall) Court rules 4-2 in Cherokee Nation v. Georgia that the Cherokees are a "domestic nation", not a typical foreign state, and that they have "an unquestionable right" to their lands; they actually ignore their plea to issue an injunction to the state of Ga. to not interfere with their rights by claiming that they have no jurisdiction over a foreign nation, while at the same time acknowledging that it is a dependent nation with a relationship to the U.S. like that of a "ward to its guardian".
On July 20, 1831 Md.-born Roger Brooke Taney (1777-1864) becomes U.S. atty. gen. #11 (until Nov. 14, 1833), beginning his rise to U.S. chief justice on Mar. 28, 1836, which is hampered by being Roman Catholic in a WASP society, but made up for by being on the side of the crackers.
On Dec. 26, 1831 Am. financier-philanthropist Stephen Girard (b. 1750) dies in Philadelphia, Penn., leaving $7.5M fortune, largest in the U.S., the bulk designated for philanthropic purposes, incl. improved police and municipal improvements in Philly, and for the erection of a school for "poor, white, male orphans", with all religious ministers of any sect excluded from entering the premises or working in it, which freaks the heirs, causing them to contest it in court in 1836, going all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, where Daniel Webster makes a famous Plea for the Christian Religion in 1844 but loses, and Girard College is founded in 1848.
On Jan. 7, 1835 Pres. Jackson nominates Princeton-educated James Moore Wayne (1790-1867) (whose sister Mary is the great-grandmother of Girl Scouts founder Juliette Gordon Low) as U.S. Supreme Court justice #23, and on Jan. 9 he is confirmed, and sworn-in on Jan. 14 (until July 5, 1867) to replace H. Brockholst Livingston (1806-33), William Johnson (1804-34) (who resigned on Aug. 4, 1834, one week before dying) and Gabriel Duvall (1811-35) (who resigns on Jan. 14 from deafness), giving the court only five members (Joseph Story, Smith Thompson, John McClean, Henry Baldwin); Wayne goes on to support the Union against the Confederates even though his son Henry C. Wayne becomes a Confed. gen.; he goes on to rule in Louisville, Cincinnati & Charleston Railroad Co. v. Letson (1844) that a citizen of one state can sue a corp. chartered in another state because it is "a person, though an artificial one, inhabiting and belonging to that state, and therefore entitled, for the purpose of suing and being sued, to be deemed a citizen of that state."
On Mar. 15, 1836 Roger Brooke Taney (1777-1864) (pr. TAW-nee), pres. Jackson's atty.-gen. (1831-3) and treasury secy. (1833-4) becomes the 5th chief justice and 24th justice of the U.S. Supreme Court (until Oct. 12, 1864), and Philip Pendleton Barbour (1783-1841) of Va. becomes U.S. Supreme Court justice #25 (until Feb. 25, 1841), giving the court six members; Taney becomes the first Roman Catholic justice, causing a big protest; by 2010 the court has no WASP members left, only Roman Catholics and Jews.
On Mar. 8, 1837 Penn.-born John Catron (1786-1865) of Tenn. becomes U.S. Supreme Court justice #26 (until May 30, 1865); on Sept. 25 Culpeper County, Va.-born Ky.-raised Ala. sen. John McKinley (1780-1852) becomes U.S. Supreme Court justice #27 (until July 19, 1852), giving it nine members for the first time; no more changes until 1841.
On July 1, 1839 Spanish sloop La Amistad (Sp. "friendship"), carrying 50 African slaves recently sold in Havana, Cuba is taken over by the slaves, who kill the captain and one crewman, and hold two Spaniards captive to act as navigators to sail them back to Africa; a U.S. naval vessel intercepts them, releases the Spaniards and imprisons the Africans, and they are indicted for murder, causing U.S. abolitionists to take up their cause. In 1840 former U.S. pres. (1825-9) John Quincy Adams (1767-1848) argues before the U.S. Supreme Court on behalf of the African slaves illegally abducted by the Spanish in the Amistad Case, using African-born translator James Covey (Kai Nyangua) (1819-), with the soundbyte: "The Africans were in possession, and had the presumptive right of ownership; they were in peace with the United States... They were not pirates; they were on a voyage to their native homes... The ship was theirs, and being in immediate communication with the shore, was in the territory of the State of New York; or, if not, at least half the number were actually on the soil of New York, and entitled to all the provisions of the law of nations, and the protection and comfort which the laws of that State secure to every human being within its limits." On Mar. 9, 1841 after eloquent arguments by former U.S. pres. J.Q. Adams, the U.S. Supreme Court rules 8-1 in U.S. vs. Schooner Amistad to set the Amistad prisoners free, and private funds are raised to send the 35 survivors back to Africa; Yale-educated middle-of-the-roader (epileptic) Henry Baldwin (1780-1844) of Penn. becomes the lone dissenter, becoming the first justice to pub. his dissenting opinions.
On Mar. 3, 1841 Peter Vivian Daniel (1784-1860), of old white colonial Va. stock becomes U.S. Supreme Court justice #28 (until May 31, 1860) to replace Philip Pendleton Barbour (1836-41), keeping the court at nine members; Daniel shows his colors by siding with the majority in the Dred Scott case.
On Mar. 1, 1842 the U.S. Supreme (Taney) Court rules 6-3 in Prigg v. Pennsylvania that state liberty laws designed to circumvent the U.S. Fugitive Slave Act of 1793 are unconstitutional, the slave owner's right to his property taking precedence over state legislation; at the same time, it holds that the enforcement of the law is entirely a federal responsibility, and that state officers have no obligation to help them round up Uncle Toms or Little Lizas.
In 1846 Va.-born slave Dred Scott (1795-1858), who was sold in St. Louis to an army surgeon as a body slave then taken to Ft. Armstrong, Ill., followed by Ft. Snelling in Minn. (Wisconsin Territory), then back to St. Louis in 1838, is sold to Eliza Emerson in St. Louis, Mo. after his master's death in 1843, then with help from white friends sues for the freedom of himself and his family in the Missouri courts; a jury decides in his favor, but the state supreme court rules against him; the case is finally resolved in a monkey's barrel of a U.S. Supreme Court decision in 1857; his atty. is Ky.-born Montgomery Blair (1813-83), mayor of St. Louis, Mo. in 1842-3 and judge in 1843-9, who later joins the new Repub. Party.
On Sept. 22, 1851 Harvard-educated Watertown, Mass.-born Benjamin Robbins Curtis (1809-74) becomes the 31st U.S. Supreme Court justice (until Sept. 30, 1857) to replace Levi Woodbury (1845-51), giving the court nine members; he goes on to become one of the two dissenters in the Dred Scott case, and resigns in protest.
The pro-slavery powers pull their final rabbit out of their black hat, and it's dressed in a black robe, with a white lining? Talk about bad timing? On Mar. 6, 1857 (two days after Pres. Buchanan's inauguration) the U.S. Supreme Court led by Roman Catholic chief justice (1836-64) Roger Brooke Taney (1777-1864) (pr. TAH-nee) rules 7-2 in Dred Scott v. Sandford (their worst decision?) (dissent by John McLean and Benjamin R. Curtis) that blacks "had for more than a century been regarded as... so far inferior, that they had no rights which the white man was bound to respect", and therefore are not human beings but only one-fourth human, and property of their white masters, and cannot become citizens, even if taken by their masters into free states (incl. any of them new free or popular sovereignty states that them !*?!* nigger-loving abolitionists are trying to railroad in?); the defunct Missouri Compromise is nullified ex post facto, and popular sovereignty is ruled defunct, since Congress does not have the power to ban slavery in the territories; the decision "seemed a mortal blow to the newly created Republican Party" (Encyclopedia Britannica), putting it in a war with the court; speaking of blow, after the decision, Dred Scott and his family are sold to Peter Blow, the son of Scott's first owner (Joe Blow?), who gives them their freedom papers on May 26; all but one of the justices who join Marylander Taney are Southerners; - Roger B. Taney's portrait looks like one of those orangutan judges in the movie "Planet of the Apes", and Dred Scott's portrait looks like Levar Burton in "Roots"?
Ask your doctor if which anti-depression drug is right for you? On Jan. 12, 1858 after being nominated last Dec. 9 by Pres. James Buchanan, and vigorously opposed by anti-slavery forces, Rumney, N.H.-born "Old Yankee" strict constructionist (Doughface Dem.) Nathan Clifford (1803-881) is confirmed by the U.S. Senate by a slim 26-23 vote as U.S. Supreme Court justice #34 (until July 25, 1881) to replace Benjamin R. Curtis (1851-57), keeping the court at nine members; no more changes until 1860.
It's court-packing time at the Washington Zoo? In 1862 them pesky Southerners out of the way in Congress, and three Supreme Court justices having recently kicked the bucket (Peter Vivian Daniel in 1860, John McClean and John A. Cambell in 1861), Pres. Lincoln appoints three new justices who have their minds right, Noah Haynes Swayne (1804-84) (#35) (Jan. 24) (until Jan. 24, 1881), Ky.-born Samuel Freeman Miller (1816-90) (#36) (July 16) (until Oct. 13, 1890), and David Davis (1815-86) (#37) (Oct. 17) (until Mar. 4, 1877) (no relation to Jefferson Davis?), giving the court a full nine members; too bad, pesky Roger B. Taney (1836-64) still has a couple of years left? As good whites kill bad whites in the South, PC whites are allocated land in the West to breed like rabbits?
It's court-packing time once again at the Washington Zoo? On Mar. 10, 1863 after Congress changes the number of justices to 10 to make double sure it's packed against any rebel sympathizers, Haddam, Conn.-born Unionist Dem. (chief justice #5 of Calif since Sept. 20, 1859) Stephen Johnson Field (1816-99), brother of cable man Cyrus W. Field and law reformer David Dudley Field Jr. becomes justice #38 (until Dec. 1, 1897).
On Oct. 12, 1864 chief justice (since Mar. 15, 1836) Roger B. Taney (b. 1777) finally kicks the lily-white paint bucket on the same that that his home state Md. abolishes slavery, and on Dec. 6 Cornish, N.H.-born U.S. treasury secy. #25 (1861-4) Salmon Portland Chase (1808-73) becomes the 6th chief justice and 39th justice of the 10-member U.S. Supreme Court (until May 7, 1873); no more changes till the war is safely won in 1870.
The Confederacy is done for, stick it with a fork? On Jan. 31, 1865 after abolitionist Ohio Repub. Rep. (1859-9) James Mitchell Ashley (1824-96) (House floor mgr.) (known for traveling with John Brown's widow to see his execution, writing a bill to abolish slavery in the District of Columbia, and introducing the first bill for a constitutional amendment to abolish slavery on Dec. 14, 1863) moves for a reconsideration on Jan. 6, causing a month-long House debate with crowded galleries, giving Ashley time to swing some lame duck Dems., and Pres. Lincoln sends a last minute trick message to the House claiming that he has "no knowledge" of Southern peace reps. in Washington, D.C. even though he sent Repub. leader Francis Preston Blair Sr. (1791-1876) to Richmond, Va. to persuade Jefferson Davis to send commissioners incl. vice-pres. Alexander Stephens to discuss peace terms, and had them held up at Gen. Grant's HQ in Va. on Jan. 29 to help the amendment pass, and Radical Repub. leader Thaddeus Stevens (1792-1868) on Jan. 13 cops-out and claims it's only to create "equality before the law" rather than racial equality, weathering sarcastic questions from Copperhead Dem. N.Y. rep. (1863-5) (Tammany Hall sachem) Fernando Wood (1812-81) and Ohio rep. (1857-85) (pro-slavery leader) "Gentleman" George Hunt Pendleton (1825-89), the Thirteenth (13th) Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, abolishing slavery and involuntary servitude except as punishment for a crime, originally introduced by U.S. Sen. (R-Ill.). (1855-73) Lyman Trumbull (1813-96) (chmn. of the Senate Judiciary Committee) is approved by the 38th Congress by 119-56-8 to a great cheer incl. blacks in the gallery, and sent to the states for ratification on Feb. 1, and after Ga. becomes state #27 of 36 to ratify it on Dec. 6, on Dec. 18 it is officially adopted by U.S. secy. of state William Seward; Stevens later utters the soundbyte: "The greatest measure of the nineteenth century was passed by corruption, aided and abetted by the purest man in America"; Lincoln could have waited until Mar. to call a special session of the Congress, with enough votes to pass it assured, but claims that prompt bipartisan approval would show nat. unity; he really thinks it can't be passed if the war ends first?; in 1864 the Cooperheads pub. the pamphlet Abraham Africanus I: His Secret Life, Revealed under the Mesmeric Influence, claiming that Lincoln signed a contract with the Devil to become pres. for life and "subvert the liberties of the American people and debach their civic aspirations", which doesn't keep the amendment from passing; Fla. ratifies it on Dec. 28, N.J. in 1866, Tex. in 1870, Del. in 1901, and Ky. in 1976; Mo. and Tenn. abolish slavery by state action in Jan.; too bad, the Southern states soon exploit the loophole that slavery is permissible as punishment for crimes, soon getting freed slaves sentenced to "time at hard labor" sans prisons, creating the Convict Lease Labor Racket, which lasts until WWII although in 1928 Ala. becomes the last state to do it officially; it takes until Feb. 7, 2013 for Miss. to finally ratify it after it's ratified in 1995 but the notification isn't sent to Congress until the Oct. 8, 2012 Steven Spielberg film Lincoln alerts U. of Miss. profs. Ranjan Batra and Ken Sullivan to kick the Miss. secy. of state in the pants.
On Feb. 2, 1866 a black delegation led by Frederick Douglass meets with Pres. Johnson to discuss black suffrage, but Johnson continues his opposition; on Apr. 9 Congress overrides Johnson's veto and passes the U.S. Civil Rights Act of 1866, conferring citizenship and equal rights on blacks, and imposing criminal penalties on violators; on July 9 S.C. becomes the 28th state to approve the Fourteenth (14th) (XIV) Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, guaranteeing due process and equal protection to all citizens, and granting United States citizenship to blacks; the term "United States" starts being used as a singular instead of a plural noun.
On July 23, 1866 Pres. Johnson signs the U.S. Judicial Circuits Act, which reorganizes the U.S. circuit courts, reducing the number from 10 to nine, and provides for the gradual elmination of U.S. Supreme Court justices from 10 to seven.
On Dec. 20, 1869 Edwin McMasters Stanton (b. 1814) is appointed by Pres. Grant as U.S. Supreme Court justice #?, to replace retiring James M. Wayne (1835-57), then dies on Dec. 24 after taking the oath on his deathbed, a record for shortness of term.
In 1869 the U.S. Judiciary Act of 1869 raises the number of members of the U.S. Supreme Court to nine, with a chief justice and eight associated justices, any six of whom would constitute a quorum; it also requires that each justice to sit at least one term in one of the nine circuit courts every two years.
The last of three amendments to the formerly white-men-only U.S. Constitution is complete? On Feb. 3, 1870 the Fifteenth (15th) (XV) Amendment to the U.S. Constitution is ratified by the states, extending suffrage to male African-Ams. (blacks) (Negroes) (jungle bunnies, porch monkeys, Ubangi night-fighters?); the Am. Anti-Slavery Society is finally disbanded; #13=set them free, #14=guarantees due process to keep them from slavery disguised as law enforcement, #15=gives them the vote if they can dodge the ropes on the way to the voting station and can pass literacy tests, pay poll taxes, and pass the grandfather clause (prove that their fathers had the right to vote)? - amendment number what guarantees justice to somebody in court other than the police?
On Feb. 18, 1870 Somers, Conn.-born Yale U. grad William Strong (1808-95) becomes U.S. Supreme Court justice #40 (until Dec. 14, 1880) to replace Robert C. Grier (1846-70), and on Feb. 7 Pres. Grant nominates Berne, N.Y.-born Rutgers U. grad Joseph Philo Bradley (1813-92) for a new seat to become U.S. Supreme Court justice #41 (until Jan. 22, 1892), and he is confirmed by the Senate on Mar. 21 (until Jan. 22, 1892), giving the court nine members again.
On Apr. 20, 1871 the U.S. Second Enforcement (Civil Rights) (Ku Klux Klan) Act of 1871 is passed, outlawing many activities of the KKK, incl. the wearing of disguises; in Oct. Pres. Grant suspends habeus corpus in nine counties in upcountry S.C., and pursues mass prosecutions, bringing a halt to KKK actions; Section 1983 permits citizens to sue public officials for violating their rights, which the courts proceed to gut in favor of absolute prosecutorial immunity; a Congressional committee gathers 12 vols. of testimony on KKK activity; the new U.S. Justice Dept. carries out further prosecution, substantially reducing Klan activity; too bad, it doesn't stop state officials until the Feb. 20, 1961 U.S. Supreme Court case Monroe v. Pape.
On Dec. 11, 1872 Utica, N.Y.-born Ward Hunt (1810-86) becomes U.S. Supreme Court justice #42 to replace Samuel Nelson (1845-72) (until 1882); meanwhile on May 7 chief justice (1864-73) Salmon P. Chase dies.
On Apr. 14, 1873 the U.S. Supreme Court by 5-4 decides the Slaughterhouse Cases, caused by the state of La. attempting to regulate the New Orleans butchers, upholding the police power of states and recognizing a state citizenship distinct from U.S. citizenship.
Honey Do I Look Fat? The bones from the U.S. Civil War nicely bleached and forgotten, the Robber Baron Era in the U.S. begins with a Darwin-friendly Supreme Court? On Mar. 4, 1874 Conn.-born Repub. Skull & Bones Yale U graduate Morrison Remick "Mott" Waite (1816-88) becomes the 7th chief justice and 43rd justice of the 9-member U.S. Supreme Court (until Mar. 23, 1888); his court reclaims some of the lost prestige of the Chase court, and is marked by friendliness towards corporations and indifference to the civil rights of individuals, causing the Robber Barons to arise in the U.S., using Social Darwinism to get away with and justify riding on the backs of the less fortunate, keeping wages low, hours long, and unemployment high, and using totally amoral survival of the fittest tactics to heap up giant fortunes they don't know what to do with, while keeping their own countrymen down - morrison over, son, and wait?
On Nov. 29, 1877 Boyle County, Ky.-born Princeton-educated conservative Repub. (Union col.) John Marshall Harlan (1833-1911) (named after chief justice #1 John Marshall) (first with a law degree) becomes U.S. Supreme Court justice #44 (until Oct. 14, 1911) to replace David Davis (1862-77), leaving the court at nine members; a Christian fundamentalist, he goes on to become known as "the Great Dissenter" for opposing "Plessy v. Ferguson" (1896) et al. - how many can read French?
On Dec. 21, 1880 Newark, Ohio-born U.S. Civil War Brig. Gen. William Burnham Woods (1824-87) becomes U.S. Supreme Court justice #45 (until May 14, 1887) to replace William Strong (1870-80), leaving the court at nine members; he goes on to reject the applicability of the Bill of Rights to the states - now throw me a pitch like we're outside?
On May 12, 1881 Thomas Stanley Matthews (1824-89) of Ohio becomes U.S. Supreme Court justice #46 (until Mar. 22, 1889) to replace Nathan Clifford (1858-81) and Noah H. Swayne (1862-81), leaving the court at a lame eight members.
On Aug. 5, 1881 Am. Sioux chief Spotted Tail (b. 1823) is killed on Rosebud Indian Rez, S.D. by Crow Dog, who is arrested by Chief Hollow Horn Bear (1850-1913) and found guilty of murder and sentenced to hang until the U.S. Supreme Court rules in Ex parte Crow Dog (Dec. 17, 1883) that the federal court in Deadwood, S.D. has no jurisdiction, causing Crow Dog to be freed, establishing the sovereignty of Indian tribes, after which federal and Indian tribal courts begin hashing out their division of powers, with the tribes getting the short end of the arrow with the 1885 U.S. Major Crimes Act and the U.S. Plenary Power Doctrine.
On Dec. 20, 1881 Boston-born Harvard-educated Horace Gray (1828-1902) is appointed as U.S. Supreme Court justice #47 (until Sept. 15, 1902), followed next Mar. 22 by N.Y.-born Columbia-educated Samuel Blatchford (1820-93) (until July 7, 1893) as U.S. Supreme Court justice #48 to replace Ward Hunt (1873-82), bringing the number of members back up to Beatle John Lennon's number nine.
On Mar. 3, 1883 the U.S. "Mongrel" Tariff Act of 1883 imposes a 10% tax on imported vegetables, but exempts "fruits, green, ripe or dried", with tomatoes considered as vegetables and taxed, pissing-off Westerners and Southerners, who start a court case that goes all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court (1893).
On Oct. 15, 1883 in Five Civil Rights Cases Testing the Civil Rights Act of 1875, the U.S. Supreme (Waite) Court by an 8-1 vote overturns the act, declaring that freed slaves are just individuals on their own now in a white world and entitled to no sacred cow protections against individual discrimination or private violations of their civil rights, disclaiming federal responsibility for the protection of individual civil rights other than "prohibition against state laws and state proceedings affecting those rights and privileges", declaring a policy that is continued until after WWII; the lone dissenter is Southerner and former slave owner John Marshall Harlan, who was gung-ho for slavery and vehemently against black civil rights until he witnessed the excesses of the KKK in Frankfort, Ky., and considers it a matter of honor to pay for abuse of white power.
On Dec. 17, 1883 the U.S. Supreme Court rules in Ex Parte Crow Dog that the federal govt. has no jurisdiction to try cases involving Indians when the offense has already been tried by a tribal council, pissing-off Congress, who enacts the U.S. Major Crimes Act in 1885, placing 15 major crimes under federal jurisdiction when committed by one Indian against another on a rez or tribal land, launching the plenary power doctrine limiting tribal sovereignty to Great White Father's whim.
On Jan. 16, 1888 Ga.-born former math, logic, metaphysics and law prof. Lucius Quintus Cincinnatus Lamar II (1825-93), a Civil War Confed. Lt. Col. and judge advocate, later U.S. Rep. and Sen. from Miss., followed by U.S. interior secy. (1885-7) becomes U.S. Supreme Court justice #49 (until Jan. 23, 1893) to replace William Burnham Woods (1881-7); on Oct. 8 Melville Weston Fuller (1833-1910) of Maine becomes U.S. chief justice #8 and 50th justice (until July 4, 1910) to replace Morrison R. Waite (1874-88).
On Dec. 18, 1889 after being nominated on Dec. 4 by Pres. Benjamin Harrison to fill a seat vacated by Stanley Matthews, Smyrna, Turkey-born David Josiah Brewer (1837-1910) becomes U.S. Supreme Court justice #51 (until Mar. 28, 1910).
On Dec. 29, 1890 South Lee, Mass.-born Yale-educated Henry Billings Brown (1836-1913) (classmate at Yale U. of David Josiah Brewer, whom he calls Henrietta) becomes U.S. Supreme Court justice #52 (until May 28, 1906) to replace the seat vacated by Samuel F. Miller (1862-90) (keeping the court at nine members), going on to stink himself by writing the majority opinion in Plessy v. Ferguson.
On Feb. 29, 1892 the U.S. Supreme Court rules unanimously in Church of the Holy Trinity v. the U.S. that foreign Christian ministers are not foreign laborers under the 1885 U.S. Alien Contract Labor Law because the U.S. is a Christian nation, and that makes them exempt, with Justice Brewer writing the soundbytes: "Nor are we bound by any expressions in the Constitution, as some have strangely supposed, either not to punish at all, or to punish indiscriminately the like attacks upon the religion of Mahomet or of the Grand Lama, and for this plain reason, that the case assumes that we are a Christian people, and the morality of the country is deeply engrafted upon Christianity, and not upon the doctrines or worship of those impostors", "These, and many other matters which might be noticed, add a volume of unofficial declarations to the mass of organic utterances that this is a Christian nation", and "It is a familiar rule, that a thing may be within the letter of the statute and yet not within the statute, because not within its spirit, nor within the intention of its makers", introducing the Soft Plain Meaning Rule, in opposition to textualism, which later pisses-off Justice Antonin Scalia, who calls it "nothing but an invitation to judicial lawmaking". In 1905 Brewer pub. The United States: A Christian Nation, containing the soundbyte: "But in what sense can it be called a Christian nation? Not in the sense that Christianity is the established religion or that people are in any matter compelled to support it. On the contrary, the Constitution specifically provides that "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof." Neither is it Christian in the sense that all of its citizens are either in fact or name Christian. On the contrary, all religions have free scope within our borders. Numbers of our people profess other religions, and many reject all. Nor is it Christian in the sense that a profession of Christianity is a condition of holding office or otherwise engaging in public service, or essential to recognition either politically or socially. In fact, the government as a legal organization is independent of all religions. Nevertheless, we constantly speak of this republic as a Christian Nation - in fact, as the leading Christian Nation of the world. This popular use of the term certainly has significance. It is not a mere creation of the imagination. It is not a term of derision but has substantial basis - one which justifies its use."
On July 19, 1892 Pittsburgh, Penn.-born Yale-educated George Shiras Jr. (1832-1924) is appointed by Pres. Harrison as U.S. Supreme Court justice #53 to fill the vacancy left by Joseph P. Bradley (1870-92), keeping the court at nine members; on July 26 he is sworn-in (until Feb. 23, 1903), going on to support Plessy v. Ferguson (1896), and become the judge who allegedly decides the vote ruling the 1894 U.S. income tax unconstitutional, causing the 16th Amendment to be passed in 1913 to get around it - they're gonna do it shiras shootin'?
On Feb. 18, 1893 after Pres. Harrison nominates him on Feb. 2 to replace Lucius Quintus Cincinnatus Lamar II (1888-93) (who died on Jan. 23), Paris, Tenn.-born Dem. Howell Edmunds Jackson (1832-95) becomes U.S. Supreme Court justice #54 (until Aug. 8, 1895) reducing the court to eight members until next year after Samuel Blatchford (1820-93) dies on July 7; Jackson becomes the first justice to hire a law school grad as his clerk, future U.S. Supreme Court justice James Clark McReynolds.
On Mar. 12, 1894 lily white Thibodaux, La.-born former sugar cane plantation owner Edward Douglass White Jr. (1845-1921) (Confed. soldier in the U.S. Civil War), a maternal relative of the Lee family of Va. becomes U.S. Supreme Court jutice #55 (until Dec. 18, 1910), bringing it back up to nine members.
On Apr. 8, 1895 the U.S. Supreme Court rules 5-4 in Pollock v. Farmers' Loan and Trust Co. that the 1894 U.S. Income Tax Act is unconstitutional because it imposes direct taxes without apportioning them between states, necessitating a constitutional amendment.
On Dec. 3, 1895 Albany, N.Y.-born Rufus Wheeler Peckham (1838-1909) of N.Y. (friend of John D. Rockefeller, J.P. Morgan, and Cornelius Vanderbilt, and brother of Boss Tweed prosecutor Wheeler Hazard Peckham, who was nominated by Pres. Cleveland last year, but blocked by his rival Sen. David Hill of N.Y. in favor of Edward Douglass White) is nominated by Pres. Cleveland as U.S. Supreme Court justice #56 to fill the vacancy created by short-timer Howell E. Jackson (1893-5), and is confirmed on Dec. 9, taking office in Jan. (until Oct. 24, 1909), leaving the court at nine members.
On May 18, 1896 after passing-for-white passenger Homer Plessy (1863-1925) (African-Am. great-grandmother) of New Orleans, La. is set up by the New Orleans Committee of Citizens and refuses to leave a railroad car reserved for (pure) whites only and is jailed under a La. law, allowing the committee to fight it in court, the U.S. Supreme (Fuller) Court rules 7-1 in Plessy v. Ferguson that no person is denied any of his rights under the 14th Amendment (due process) if the states provide "separate but equal" (white and black) public facilities (overturned in 1956); justice David Josiah Brewer doesn't participate in the decision; John Marshall Harlan dissents, claiming that segregating the races on public transports denies blacks equal protection of the laws; the decision shuts blacks out for the next 75 years, and stiffens black determination, with the committee uttering the soundbyte: "We, as freemen still believe that we were right and our cause is sacred" - what about that skunky African armpit odor, and what if a black buck is left alone with an unattended prime white female - case closed until the Jews come to the rescue?
On Jan. 29, 1898 Philly-born U.S. Rep. (R-Calif.) (1885-92) and U.S. atty. gen. #42 (since Mar. 5, 1897) Joseph McKenna (1843-1926), son of Irish Roman Catholic immigrants becomes U.S. Supreme Court justice #57 (until Jan. 5, 1925) after being appointed by Pres. McKinley on Jan. 28 to replace the vacancy left by the last Civil-War appointee Stephen J. Field (1863-97), enrolling for classes at Columbia U. Law School to improve his legal education before taking his seat; no more changes until 1902; he goes on to write the dissent in Caminetti v. U.S. (1917), claiming tht the 1910 U.S. Mann (White Slave Traffic) Act only applies to commercial vice ("immoralities having a mercenary purpose").
On Aug. 11, 1902 Pres. Teddy Roosevelt appoints liberal Mass. chief justice (since Aug. 2, 1899) Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr. (1841-1935) (lt. col. in the Union army in the U.S. Civil War, son of Boston lit. lion you know who Sr.) (author of the std. reference "The Common Law", 1881) as U.S. Supreme Court justice #58 to fill the vacancy left by Horace Gray (d. 1902); on Dec. 4 he is sworn in, and serves 29 years (until Jan. 12, 1932), issuing concise and pithy opinions and becoming known as "the Great Dissenter".
In 1902 the U.S. Supreme (Fuller) Court begins hearing Kansas v. Colo., with Kansas claiming that Colo. takes too much water from the Arkansas River, reducing the value of it land; it strings along for over a cent., with rulings in 1907, 1943, 1995, 2001, 2004, and 2009.
On Apr. 17, 1905 the U.S. Supreme Court rules 5-4 in Lochner v. New York that mandatory limits to working time violate the 14th Amendment due process clause, which contains "the right and liberty of the individual to contract", launching the free market-friendly Lochner Era, in which the Supreme Court invalidates several state and federal statutes attempting to regulate working conditions incl. min. wage, federal child labor laws, and banking, insurance, and transportation regulations, which Robert Bork calls "the symbol, indeed the quintessence, of judicial usurpation of power"; it ends with the New Deal case West Coast Hotel Co. v. Parrish (1937); "You go to a case like the Lochner case, you can read that opinion today and it's quite clear that they're not interpreting the law, they're making the law." (John Roberts)
On Mar. 23, 1908 the U.S. Supreme Court rules 8-1 in Ex parte Young that a federal court may issue an injunction against a state officer to prevent the enforcement of an unconstitutional state law; Justice Rufus Wheeler Peckham authors the majority opinion.
Poisoned by a bad can of tomatoes? As the 1910s decade begins, six U.S. Supreme Court justices die in a 2-year period, most this year. On Dec. 16, 1910 Marion, Ind.-born Willis Van Devanter (1859-1941) becomes U.S. Supreme Court justice #63 (until June 2, 1937); on Dec. 17 Ga.-born Joseph Rucker Lamar (1857-1916) (cousin of justice Lucius Lamar II) becomes U.S. Supreme Court justice #64 (until Jan. 2, 1916), filling the vacancies left by David Josiah Brewer (1890-1910) and "Plessy v. Ferguson" lone dissenter John Marshall Harlan (1877-1911); on Dec. 19 assoc. justice (since Mar. 12, 1894) (Roman Catholic) Edward Douglass White (1845-1921) becomes U.S. chief justice #9 (until May 19, 1921) to fill the vacancy left by Melville Fuller (b. 1883) (1888-1910), who died on July 4, with Pres. Taft appointing him because he knew that the fat old fart didn't have long left and he wanted to become his successor?
On Mar. 13, 1912 Morristown, N.J.-born, Princeton-educated Mahlon Pitney (1858-1924) of N.J. (great-grandfather of "Superman" actor Christopher Reeve) becomes U.S. Supreme Court justice #65 (until Dec. 31, 1922) to fill the vacancy left by John M. Harlan (1877-1911), bringing the number of justices back to nine; Pitney becomes the only Supreme Court justice nominated by Pres. Taft who also serves during his tenure as chief justice; too bad, the recent tendency to appoint old farts keeps the boat rocking?
6 score and 17 (1913 - 1776 = 137) years into Project U.S.A., a silent coup by bankers J.P. Morgan, John D. Rockefeller, and Paul Warburg ends the freedom of Americans with the most insidious attack on individual liberty, which slides in real easy, puts out hooks, and can't be pulled out without gutting the patient? On Feb. 3, 1913 the Sixteenth (16th) (XVI) Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, giving Congress the power to levy an individual income tax, written by U.S. rep. (D-Tenn.) Cordell Hull (1871-1955) is ratified (not really, but Philander Knox lies to the public to get it in for his banker buddies?), and goes into effect on Feb. 25, along with a home mortgage deduction; too bad, the big secret that "income" can only constitutionally mean profits from corporate activity and not wages for labor is not grasped by the masses, and as the decades go by the greedy govt. begins grooming suckers to accept their word games and let them impose income tax on wages, gambling winnings, etc., then institute automatic tax withholding, finally tricking them into "voluntarily" filing income tax returns without a law requiring them to do so, then using the laws of perjury to "catch" them in lying, assess them penalties and interest, and file liens and seize property from helpless people unable to pay lawyers to fight back, thereby enslaving the U.S. pop. in a Communist Manifesto-inspired effort to redistribute income and set up a New World Order One World Govt.?; the whole idea goes back to the Roman Catholic Church and its 1166 income tax to help take back the Holy Land?; initially the payment date each year is June 30 - (6 + 30 = 36 = six sixes); 13 16 19 (one 3 one 6 one 9 = one 18 = one 6+6+6?
On June 21, 1915 the U.S. Supreme Court rules 8-0-1 in Guinn v. U.S. that white grandfather clauses to lit. tests in the state constitutions of Okla., Md., Ala., Ga., La., N.C., and Va. violate the 15th Amendment and are therefore unconstitutional, which doesn't stop state legislatures from passing new laws attempting to restrict blacks from voting.
On Jan. 28, 1916 Pres. Wilson nominates "the People's Lawyer" Louis Dembitz Brandeis (1856-1941) (first Jewish member) (chmn. of the Zionist Provisional Emergency Committee since 1914) as U.S. Supreme Court justice #67, and he is sworn in on June 1 (until Feb. 13, 1939), followed on July 24 by New Lisbon, Ohio-born John Hessin Clarke (1857-1945) (until Sept. 18, 1922) as U.S. Supreme Court justice #68 (until Sept. 18, 1922) to fill the vacancies left by Charles Evan Hughes (1910-16) and Joseph Rucker Lamar (1910-16); no changes until 1921; Clarke goes on to hate his job, dissenting 57x and developing enmity with James Clark McReynolds, ultimately causing him to resign; Brandeis' nomination is bitterly opposed by former U.S pres. William Howard Taft (whom Brandeis called a "muckraker"), who causes the Senate Judiciary Committee to hold its first-ever public hearing on a Supreme Court nomination, which takes 4 mo., and is almost blocked by WASPs led by Harvard U. pres. (since 1909) Abbott Lawrence Lowell, but Brandeis fights back by exposing Lowell's Back Bay dirty laundry; did Jewish Zionist atty. Samuel Untermeyer (Untermyer) (1858-1940) blackmail Wilson over an affair with a colleague's wife at Princeton U. to get fellow Zionist Brandeis in? - there goes the neighborhood?
On Jan. 7, 1918 the U.S. Supreme Court rules unanimously in Arver vs. U.S., AKA the Selective Draft Law Cases to uphold the U.S. Selective Service Act of 1917 along with conscription, which doesn't violate the 1st and 13th Amendments.
On Jan. 16, 1919 Neb., Wyo. and Mo. become the 36th-38th states to ratify Prohibition via the Eighteenth (18th) (XVIII) Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which outlaws the manufacture, sale, or transportion of intoxicating liquors (alcohol) for beverage purposes in the U.S.; it goes into effect in one year.
On Mar. 3, 1919 the U.S. Supreme (White) Court rules unanimously (9-0) in Schenck v. U.S. that speech can be criminalized that poses a "clear and present danger" (Holmes) of a crime being incited; on Nov. 10 the U.S. Supreme Court votes 7-2 in Abrams v. United States to uphold Schenck v. United States and Debs v. United States in upholding the conviction under the 1918 Sedition Act of Socialists for distributing leaflets denouncing U.S. military intervention against Bolshevik Russia; Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr. joins Louis Brandeis in a dissenting opinion championing freedom of speech, requiring a "clear and present danger" to be criminalized, not just potentially dangerous ideas, which makes him a libertarian hero; meanwhile poor Eugene V. Debs serves a 10-year sentence for being a big bad pacifist who dares to speak his mind in the USA - why don't you arrest me just for opening my mouth?
On June 4, 1919 the U.S. Senate passes the Susan B. Anthony Amendment, AKA the Women's Suffrage Bill, AKA the Nineteenth (XIX) (19th) Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, giving women the right to vote (originally written by Susan B. Anthony and introduced to Congress in 1878), and it is sent to the states by the 66th Congress (ratified Aug. 26, 1920).
On June 30, 1921 Pres. Harding appoints former Repub. pres. #27 (1909-13) William Howard Taft (1857-1930) as the 10th chief justice of the U.S. and its 69th justice to fill the vacancy left by Edward Douglass White (1910-21), and he is sworn-in on July 11 (until Feb. 3, 1930), becoming the first person to have held both offices (until ?).
On Sept. 5, 1922 after being nominated by Pres. Harding, English-born U.S. Rep. (R-Utah) (1901-3) and U.S. Sen. (1905-17) Alexander George Sutherland (1862-1942) becomes U.S. Supreme Court justice #70 (until Jan. 17, 1938); on Dec. 21 Dakota County, Minn.-born Dem. Pierce Butler (1866-1939) (son of Irish Roman Catholic immigrants) becomes U.S. Supreme Court justice #71 (until Nov. 16 1939) (firt from Minn.) to fill the vacancies left by John H. Clarke (1916-22), William D. Day (1903-22), and Mahlon Pitney (1912-22), leaving the court at eight members until next year, and going on to become two of the Four Horsemen who strike down FDR's New Deal legislation.
On Jan. 29, 1923 after Pres. Harding nominates him on Jan. 24 to the seat vacated by Mahlon Pitney upon the advice of chief justice William Howard Taft, Knoxville, Tenn.-born Edward Terry Sanford (1865-1930) is appointed as U.S. Supreme Court justice #72 (until Mar. 8, 1930), bringing the court members back up to nine.
On Feb. 5, 1925 after being appointed by Pres. Coolidge, Chesterfield, N.H.-born liberal Harlan Fiske Stone (1872-1946) of N.Y. becomes U.S. Supreme Court justice #73 (until July 3, 1941) to fill the vacancy left by Joseph McKenna (1898-1925), leaving the court at nine members, only three of them (Stone, Holmes, Brandeis) liberal; no changes until 1930.
On June 8, 1925 the U.S. Supreme Court rules 7-2 in Gitlow v. New York to uphold the criminal conviction of N.Y. Communist Benjamin "Ben" Gitlow (1891-1965) just for pub. a pamphlet calling for the establishment of Socialism by strikes and class action; Justice Edward Terry Sanford writes the majority opinion; Oliver Wendell Holmes objects that his poopy little pamphlet "had no chance of starting a present conflagration", hence was not a "clear and present danger"; the Court also holds that the 14th Amendment applies to the states, reversing Barron v. Baltimore (1833) and opening the barn door to the entire Bill of Rights; the first major First Amendment case argued before the U.S. Supreme Court by the Am. Civil Liberties Union (ACLU); the police now get busy sweeping the streets of pamphlet publishers; Gitlow later becomes a prominent anti-Communist - not really, but what the heck, he's a Commie, so fork the 1st Amendment protections and let him love it or leave it?
The U.S. likes the Bell Curve a little too much, or, I'm Mister Opportunity, and I'm not getting knocked up? On May 2, 1927 the U.S. Supreme Court rules 8-1 in Buck v. Bell to allow forced sterilization of the mentally retarded for the purpose of eugenics, starting with Carrie Elizabeth Buck (1906-83) of Lynchburg, Va. (same town as Rev. Jerry Falwell, born 1933, what happened?); Pierce Butler is the lone dissenter, and declines to write an opinion; Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr. writes for the majority: "It is better for all the world, if instead of for their imbecility, society can prevent those who are manifestly unfit from continuing their kind", concluding with the soundbyte: "The Constitution guarantees due process of law to all", er, "Among the inalienable rights are the right to life", er, "Three generations of imbeciles are enough", and an appeal to equal protection "was the usual last resort of constitutional arguments"; the U.S. eugenics movement has a green light, and sterlizations increase 10x; later reporters visit Buck and find her and her daughter to be of normal intelligence; the court finally reverses itself in 1942 - is that like three strikes and you're out only called on account of purple rain?
Hoover packs the Supreme Court just in time to stifle his ideological opponent FDR, but Charles Evans becomes the liberals' indispensable Hughes? On Feb. 3, 1930 William Howard Taft (b. 1857) resigns for health reasons, then dies on Mar. 8, and on Feb. 33 N.Y.-born conservative Charles Evans Hughes (1862-1948), on the bench of the Permanent Court of Internat. Justice at The Hague since 1928 is appointed by Pres. Hoover as the 11th U.S. chief justice and 62nd justice, and is confirmed by the Senate by 52-26 on Feb. 13 and sworn-in on Feb. 24 (until June 30, 1941), becoming the oldest to be nominated; on May 20 after Hoover's nomination of John Johnston Parker (1885-1958) of N.C. is defeated by one vote, Philly-born Owen Josephus Roberts (1875-1955) becomes U.S. Supreme Court justice #74 (until July 31, 1945) to fill the vacancy left by Edward T. Sanford (1922-30) (who dies on Mar. 8, the same day as his mentor Taft), leaving the court with nine members; the two new members, along with the other four conservative justices (Willis Van Devanter, James Clark McReynolds, George Sutherland, and Pierce Butler) cause the conservative laissez-faire agenda to reign supreme during FDR's admin., opposing New Deal legislation and overturning 9 of 16 cases that come before it in 1934-6; Hughes becomes a bright spot, supporting some of FDR's liberal measures and giving a 5-4 majority.
On Mar. 2, 1932 liberal U.S. Supreme Court justice Oliver Wendell Homes Jr. is replaced by Pres. Hoover with liberal agnostic Jewish Columbia-educated Benjamin Nathan Cardozo (1870-1938) as U.S. Supreme Court justice #75 (until July 9, 1938), joining liberal justices Louis Dembitz Brandeis (1856-1941) and Harlan Fiske Stone (1872-1946) and becoming known as the pro-New Deal Three Musketeers, retaining the 6-3 conservative majority; he is confirmed by a unanimous voice vote in the Senate on Feb. 24 after the deans of the Harvard, Yale, Columbia, and U. of Chicago law schools endorse him, and justice Harlan Fiske Stone offers to give up his seat for him, becoming Hoover's greatest appointment?; the Three Musketeers start a war (ends 1937) with the conservative anti-New Deal Four Horsemen, incl. justices Pierce Butler (1866-1939)>, James Clark McReynolds (1862-1946), Alexander George Sutherland (1862-1942), and Willis Van Devanter (1859-1941), with Justice Owen Josephus Roberts (1875-1955) controlling the balance.
On Mar. 3, 1932 the XX (20th) (Lame Duck) Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, sponsored by Repub. "Fighting Liberal" George W. Norris of Neb. is sent to the states by the 72nd Congress, fixing the terms of the U.S. pres. and vice-pres. as Mar. 4-Jan. 20, and the Congress as Mar. 4-Jan. 3, determining what is to be done when there is no pres.-elect; too bad, it has a hole allowing Congress to hold lame duck sessions anyway (until ?); it is adopted on Jan. 23, 1933, and takes effect on Oct. 15.
On Mar. 29, 1937 after Roberts breaks and flops, the U.S. Supreme Court rules 5-4 in West Coast Hotel Co. v. Parrish to uphold the constitutionality of min. wage legislation, ending the court's Lochner Era (begun 1905), with the soundbyte: "It was recognized in the cases cited, as in many others, that freedom of contract is a qualified, and not an absolute, right"; the majority incl. chief justice Charles E. Hughes, Louis Brandeis, Harlan F. Stone, Owen J. Roberts, and Benjamin Cardozo; the minority incl. George Sutherland, Willis Van Devanter, James C. McReynolds, and Pierce Butler.
On Aug. 19, 1937 after being nominated by the impatient FDR (first of nine nominees, and last to go except William O. Douglas) on Aug. 12 to fill the vacancy left by retiring William Van Devanter (Dec. 6, 1910 - June 2), and becoming the first nominee to be referred to the Judiciary Committee, which approves him on Aug. 16 by 13-4, then confirmed by the Senate on Aug. 17 by 63-16 (10 Repub. and 6 Dem. no votes), liberal pro-New Deal U.S. Sen. (D-Ala.) (since Mar. 4, 1927) Hugo Lafayette Black (1886-1971) becomes U.S. Supreme Court justice #76 (until Sept. 18, 1971), slimming the conservative majority to 5-4; in Sept. it is revealed that Black was once a member of the KKK, causing a nat. uproar; Black goes on to become a literalist reader of the U.S. Constitution, while believing in the Theory of Incorporation, that the 14th Amendment causes the Bill of Rights to be imposed on the states; limited govt. champ Devanter resigned after Congress voted full pay for justices over 70, but is suspected of being forced out by FDR.
On Apr. 25, 1938 the U.S. Supreme (Hughes) Court rules 8-1 in U.S. vs. Carolene Products Co. that the federal govt. has the power to prohibit filled (with non-dairy oil) milk from being shipped in interstate commerce, adding Footnote Four, which creates levels of judicial scrutiny, from "rational basis test" for economic laws to "strict scrutiny" for laws stepping on minorities, launching the theory of substantive due process, the invention of rights not enumerated in the Constitution, which critics call legislating from the bench.
On Dec. 12, 1938 the U.S. Supreme Court rules 6-2 in Missouri ex rel. Gaines v. Canada that rejection of African-Am. applicant Lloyd Gaines by the all-white U. of Mo. Law School violates equal protection under the law as mandated by the 14th Amendment because there is no black law school in Mo.; white racist justice (1914-41) James Clark McReynolds (1862-1946) stinks himself up in court by swiveling his chair and facing the wall while black atty. ("the Man Who Broke Jim Crow") Charles Hamilton Houston (1895-1950) is arguing his case, and becomes one of the two dissenters, along with Pierce Butler; too bad, Lloyd Gaines disppears and never attends the U. of Mo.
On Feb. 13, 1939 liberal justice (since June 1, 1916) Louis Dembitz Brandeis resigns; on Feb. 27 the U.S. Supreme Court rules 5-2 in NLRB v. Fansteel Metallurgical Corp. that the Nat. Labor Relations Board (NLRB) can't order employees to rehire workers fired after a sit-down strike, the union favorite.
On Jan. 4, 1940 FDR appoints William Francis "Frank" Murphy (1880-1949) of Mich. to the U.S. Supreme Court, and on Jan. 18 he is sworn in as justice #81 (until July 19, 1949), bringing the court back up to nine members; Murphy goes on to become known for letting emotions rule his reason, spawning the expression "tempering justice with Murphy", allying with justices Rutledge, Douglas, and Black to incorporate Bill of Rights protections into the 14th Amendment; on June 3 the 8-1 U.S. Supreme (Hughes) Court decision in Minersville School District v. Gobitis causes a nationwide outburst of violence against the Jehovah's Witnesses for refusal to salute the U.S. flag, which the court says can be compelled by the state even against religious conscience; the students are expelled - and now can go door-knocking full time?
On Nov. 12, 1940 the U.S. Supreme Court rules in Hansberry v. Lee that a racially-restrictive real estate covenant in the Washington Park subdiv. of Chicago, Ill. covering Carl Augustus Hansberry (1895-1946), father of writer Lorraine Vivian Hansberry (1930-65) is invalid, allowing them to move in even though they are treated as pariahs, causing Lorraine to write "A Raisin in the Sun" (1959); on May 3, 1948 they rule in Shelley v. Kraemer (after attys. Thurgood Marshall and Loren Miller argue before the court) that such covenants can only be enforced by state actions, which are barred by the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment. On Mar. 11, 1959 Hansberry debuts her play A Raisin in the Sun at the Ethel Barrymore Theater in New York City, becoming the first Broadway play written by a black playwright.
FDR now has all cylinders working as he plunges the U.S. into WWII? On July 3, 1941 after Charles Evans Hughes retires, along with all four of the conservative justices, Chesterfield, N.H.-born liberal pro-FDR Harlan Fiske Stone (1872-1946) takes over as the 12th chief justice of the U.S. Supreme Court (until Apr. 22, 1946), to which FDR has already appointed liberals Hugh L. Black (1937), Stanley F. Reed (1938), Felix Frankfurter (1939), William O. Douglas (1939), and Frank Murphy (1940), and to which on July 8 he appoints Charleston, S.C.-born Irish-Am. James Francis Byrnes (1879-1972) (until Oct. 3, 1942), followed on July 11 by Spring Creek, Penn.-born Robert Houghwout Jackson (1892-1954) (who never attended college) (until Oct. 9, 1954) as Supreme Court justices #81 and #82; only Hoover appointee Owen J. Roberts hangs on for un-PC conservatism; the new PC U.S. Supreme Court upholds the U.S. Federal Wage and Hour Law - this little ole light of mine, I'm gonna let it shine?
On Feb. 11, 1943 after FDR appoints him, Cloverport, Ky.-born Wiley Blount Rutledge Jr. (1894-1949) becomes U.S. Supreme Court justice #83 (until Sept. 10, 1949) to replace the seat vacated by James F. Byrnes, going on to join Justices Murphy, Douglas, and Black in the opinion that the 14th Amendment should incorporate Bill of Rights protections, opposing Justice Frankfurter's ideology of judicial restraint; John Paul Stevens becomes one of his law clerks.
Jehovah melts the American heart of Stone? On June 14, 1943 (Flag Day) in Taylor v. Mississippi the U.S. Supreme (Stone) Court by 6-3, led by justice Robert Houghwout Jackson reverses its June 14, 1940 Gobitis (Hughes Court) decision in West Virginia State Board of Education v. Barnette, affirming the right of Jehovah's Witnesses to refuse to salute the U.S. flag or say the Pledge of Allegiance on First Amendment grounds, becoming the first time that the Supreme Court admits it isn't perfect and flip-flops; meanwhile on June 14 the Australian High Court rules unanimously in Adelaide Co. of Jehovah's Witnesses v. Commonwealth that the 1940 Nat. Security (Subversive Orgs.) Regs., under which their HQ was seized in Jan. 1941 as "prejudicial to the defence of the Commonwealth" and the "efficient prosecution of the war" does not infringe on Section 116 of the Australian Constitution providing for freedom of religion, however, the action does exceed the scope of the Commonwealth's defense power in Section 51(vi), so the police have to give it back - now that the Allies are winning the war who needs these pansies clogging our jails, ay mate?
On Dec. 17, 1944 the U.S. Army announces that it is ending its policy of excluding Japanese-Ams. from the West Coast; on Dec. 18 the U.S. Supreme Court rules 6-3 in Korematsu v. U.S. to uphold the wartime relocation of Japanese-Americans, but also prohibits the detention of undeniably loyal ones - Go Joe DiMaggio?
On Sept. 22, 1945 Bowdoin-educated former Cleveland, Ohio mayor (1935-41) and U.S. Sen. (R-Ohio) (1941-5) Harold Hitz Burton (1888-1964) becomes Supreme Court justice #84 (until Oct. 13, 1958) to replace the seat vacated by Hoover's last appointee Owen J. Roberts (1931-45), and the 9-member court is now as liberal as it can be; Burton becomes the last sitting member of Congress to be appointed to the Court (until ?).
On June 20-21, 1946 U.S. treasury secy. #53 (since July 23, 1945) Frederick Moore "Fred" Vinson (1890-1953) of Ky. is appointed by his longtime buddy Pres. Truman as the 13th chief justice of the U.S. Supreme Court and its 86th justice (until Sept. 8, 1953) to replace liberal Repub. Harlan Fiske Stone (1941-6), keeping the number of justices at nine, all liberal.
In 1946 Ada Lois Sipuel Fisher (1924-95) applies to the U. of Okla. Law School, and is denied because of race, causing the NAACP led by Thurgood Marshall to take her case to the U.S. Supreme Court, which rules unanimously on Jan. 12, 1948 in Sipuel v. Board of Regents of Univ. of Okla. that Okla. must provide instruction for blacks equal to that of whites, serving as a precursor of Brown v. Board of Education; after Okla. creates the Langston U. Law School in Tulsa, another lawsuit proves that it is not equal but inferior, causing Sipuel to be admitted to the U. of Okla. Law School on June 18, 1949; too bad, she has to sit in a special chair marked "Colored" that is chained off from the rest of the class, and ditto in the lunchroom, which doesn't stop white students from crawling under the chain to eat with her and hundreds of people from donating funds to pay her way; she graduates in 1951 and begins practicing law in Chickasha, Okla. in 1952; in 1992 Okla. Gov. David Walters appoints her to the U. of Okla. board of regents.
WWII turns into a big V for Secularism without firing a shot back home? On Feb. 10, 1947 the U.S. Supreme Court rules 5-4 in Everson v. Board of Education of Ewing Township to uphold a N.J. statute reimbursing parents for the cost of transporting their children to and from parochial school, an apparent V; too bad, Am. Jewish Congress atty. Leo Pfeffer gets the Court to rule that the Establishment Clause in the First Amendment applies to the states through the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, and gets Justice Hugo Black to inject the phrase "wall of separation between church and state" into the majority opinion, throwing down the old wall of separation between Jew, er, state and federal govt., giving the feds a lever to begin systematically throwing all religion out of public institutions and erecting a new wall, inaugurating the separatist (secularist) era of the court, when all the ACLU has to do is ask and they'll okay tearing down religious symbols on public property (ends ?), turning a big corner leading to total secularization of all state govts. while Christian ministers wring their hands and cry wolf; Hugo Black writes the majority opinion, which incl. the soundbyte: "The 'establishment of religion' clause of the First Amendment means at least this: Neither a state nor the Federal Government can set up a church. Neither can pass laws which aid one religion, aid all religions or prefer one religion over another. Neither can force nor influence a person to go to or to remain away from church against his will or force him to profess a belief or disbelief in any religion. No person can be punished for entertaining or professing religious beliefs or disbeliefs, for church attendance or non-attendance. No tax in any amount, large or small, can be levied to support any religious activities or institutions, whatever they may be called, or whatever form they may adopt to teach or practice religion. Neither a state nor the Federal Government can, openly or secretly, participate in the affairs of any religious organizations or groups and vice versa. In the words of Jefferson, the clause against establishment of religion by law was intended to erect 'a wall of separation between Church and State.'"
On Mar. 8, 1948 the U.S. Supreme Court rules 8-1 in McCollum v. Board of Education that state public schools can't set aside class time for religious instruction.
On Nov. 2, 1948 Texas Rep. (since 1937) Dem. Lyndon Baines Johnson is elected to the U.S. Senate by 66.2% over Repub. Jack Porter after winning the primary over Tex. gov. Coke R. Stevenson by a suspicious 87 votes out of 988,295 cast, incl. 200 votes cast in alphabetical order in Jim Wells County, and using atty. Abe Fortas to get U.S. Supreme Court justice Hugo Black to overturn a federal district court ruling backed by Stevenson to remove his name from the gen. election ballot, causing him to become known as "Landslide Lyndon".
On Aug. 19, 1949 after Pres. Truman appoints him despite charges of cronyism and his refusal to testify at his confirmation hearing, where he is confirmed with only eight dissenting votes, U.S. atty.-gen. #59 (since June 27, 1945) Thomas Campbell "Tom C." Clark (1899-1977) of Tex. becomes U.S. Supreme Court justice #86 (until June 12, 1967) to fill the vacancy created by Frank Murphy, going on to vote with chief justice Fred Vinson 85% of the time; later after he votes to strike down his seizure of steel mills after advising him as atty.-gen. that he had the legal authority to do so, Truman utters the soundbyte: "Tom Clark was my biggest mistake... It isn't so much that he's a bad man. It's just that he's such a dumb son of a bitch"; on Sept. 15 Pres. Truman nominates U.S. Sen. (D-Ind.) (1935-41) Sherman Minton (1890-1965) of Ind. to fill the vacancy created by Wiley B. Rutledge, and on Oct. 3 after a long debate over his partisanship and support of court packing while a U.S. sen. he is approved by the Senate by 48-6, and on Oct. 12 he becomes U.S. Supreme Court justice #87 (until Oct. 15, 1956), becoming the court's most educated justice, first from Ind. (until ?), and last former or sitting member of Congress to be appointed.
On Sept. 22, 1950 the U.S. McCarran Internal Security Act is passed over Pres. Truman's veto, establishing the Subversive Activities Control Board and requiring subversive (Communist) orgs. to register with the U.S. atty.-gen., prohibiting their members from becoming U.S. citizen and from crossing the U.S. border; the Pres. is given the authority to apprehend and detain "each person as to whom there is a reasonable ground to believe that such person probably will engage in, or probably will conspire with others to engage in, acts of espionage or sabotage", allowing the detention of dangerous, disloyal, or subversive persons in times of war or "internal security emergency"; the picketing of a federal courthouse is made a felony if intended to obstruct the court system or influence trial participants incl. jurors; on Nov. 15, 1965 the U.S. Supreme Court rules 8-8 in Albertson v. Subversive Activities Control Board to overturn the requirement for Communists to register with the govt. on Fifth Amendment grounds; on Dec. 11, 1967 in U.S. v. Robel it overturns the prohibition of Commies working for the federal govt. or defense plants on First Amendment freedom of association grounds.
On Jan. 15, 1951 the U.S. Supreme (Vinson) Court rules 6-3 in Feiner v. New York that a "clear and present danger" of incitement to riot is not protected free speech and can be used as an excuse for a police action to destroy your entire civil rights even though all you did was open your mouth in public, despite the court's attempt to separate the content of the speech from the crowd's possible reaction to it - that's life in Dirty Denver?
On Mar. 10, 1952 the U.S. Supreme (Vinson) Court rules in Harisiades v. Shaughnessy and Mascitti that Congress has an absolute (plenary) power to bar entry or deport persons (e.g. Communists) considered a threat to nat. security, and hence the courts have no power to question their motives.
On Apr. 9, 1952 Pres. Truman seizes the nation's steel mills in order to prevent a nat. strike scheduled later that day, causing the steel cos. to sue; on Apr. 29 the U.S. district court of Washington, D.C. rules the seizure unconstitutional, and on June 2 the U.S. Supreme Court upholds its ruling 5-4 in Youngstown Sheet & Tube Co. v. Sawyer (AKA the Steel Seizure Case), causing Truman to order U.S. commerce secy. Charles Sawyer to return the steel mills to their owners, after which the steelworkers go on strike again for 53 days until July 24 after Truman threatens to use the U.S. Selective Service Act to seize them again; from now on the authority of the U.S. pres. to act "must stem either from an act of Congress or from the Constitution itself."
In 1952 Dorothy Jane Krueger (1913-), daughter of U.S. gen. Walter Krueger fatally stabs hubby Col. Aubrey Dewitt Smith in their U.S. Army quarters in Japan, is court-martialed, and given hard labor for life, after which in 1957 the U.S. Supreme Court rules that military trials of civilians are unconstitutional, causing her release.
On June 8, 1953 the U.S. Supreme (Warren) Court rules in District of Columbia v. John R. Thompson Co. Inc. that an 1873 law prohibiting District of Columbia restaurants from refusing to serve black patrons is still in force.
On Oct. 5, 1953 Norwegian-Swedish-Am. Calif. gov. #30 (since Jan. 4, 1943) Earl Warren (1891-1974) is sworn-in chief justice #14 of the U.S. and the 89th U.S. Supreme Court justice (until June 23, 1969), succeeding Fred M. Vinson (d. 1953), who was chief justice since June 20, 1946 but nobody remembers because the New Deal was settled and the court wasn't into civil rights activism yet?
On May 3, 1954 the U.S. Supreme (Warren) Court rules unanimously in Hernandez v. Texas that Mexican-Ams. and other racial groups beyond "white" and "negro" in the U.S. have equal protection under the 14th Amendment, and that each has a right to have fellow Mexican-Ams. on their jury, which Tex. had been denying for over 25 years by claiming that they were white, just not as white as non-Mexican-Am. whites?; the first case in which Mexican-Am. attys. appear before the U.S. Supreme Court.
Let's skip the genealogies and go straight to the war? The greatest moment in Supreme Court history since the Dredd Scott decision of 1857, and the beginning of the Second Reconstruction of the Am. South (first in 1867)? On May 17, 1954 after hearing arguments by NAACP counsel Thurgood Marshall (1908-93), and pressure by Justice Harold Hitz Burton to bring unanimity, the U.S. Supreme (Earl Warren) Court (which incl. three Southerners) rules unanimously 9-0 in Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka that "separate but equal" public schools are inherently unequal and therefore unconstitutional, citing the 14th Amendment to reverse the 1896 Plessy v. Ferguson decision, and ending "the long habit of deception and evasion" (Ralph Ellison); assoc. justice Robert Jackson leaves the hospital (heart attack) to be present; chief justice Earl Warren (in office for 6 mo.) begins at 12:52 p.m. and meanders until 1:20 without indicating the decision made (no advance copies given to the press), then says: "To separate [black kids] from others of similar age and qualifications solely because of their race generates a feeling of inferiority as to their status in the community that may affect their hearts and minds in a way never to be done... We conclude that in the field of public education the doctrine of 'separate but equal' has no place. Separate educational facilities are inherently unequal"; the term "integration" is never used; the Court then says it will withhold compliance instructions until its fall term, when all sides are to prepare arguments on whether the federal district courts or a special master (sorry, crackers?) should be in charge; 17 states and the District of Columbia require school segregation by law, and four other states permit it, affecting 12M school children; Ga. and S.C. go especially bonkers; 1924 Dem. vice-pres. candidate John William Davis (1873-1955), known for arguing the most (140) cases before the U.S. Supreme Court loses his last one trying to defend S.C.'s public school segregation laws; a Gallup poll following the decision finds that over half the country approves; Pres. Eisenhower repents his decision to appoint Warren to the court, saying it's "the biggest damnfool mistake I ever made", and adds "The fellow who tries to tell me that you can do these things by force is just plain nuts", but obeys the court and immediately desegregates all District of Columbia schools, and goes further, ending segregation on all Navy bases; in Jan. 1953 he had already appointed Bostonian Lois H. Lippman (-1999) as the first black member of the White House secretarial staff, along with E. Frederic Morrow (1906-94) as his admin. asst., becoming the first black to hold an executive position at the White House; the whole thing was started in 1950 by black Topeka, Kan. schoolteacher Lucinda Wilson "Cindy" Todd (1903-96), who was angry because her daughter Nancy Jane Todd (b. 1941) couldn't play in a school concert, and by Oliver L. Brown, who wanted his 9-y.-o. daughter Linda Brown (b. 1943) to attend white Sumner Elementary School in Topeka; the nine justices are Warren, Douglas, Black, Frankfurter, Jackson, Clark, Minton, Burton, and Reed; by 1964 less than 10% of Southern black students attend white schools; Cleveland, Miss. starts a court battle that lasts until May 16, 2016.
On May 31, 1955 the U.S. Supreme (Warren) Court rules in Brown v. Board of Education II that U.S. school systems must abolish their racially-dual systems "with all deliberate speed" - yes, Warren, yawn? On June 1 the first Dollar General
On Apr. 2, 1956 the U.S. Supreme (Warren) Court rules 6-3 in Penn. v. Nelson that Penn.'s sedition law is unenforceable because it is superseded by a federal law, the 1940 U.S. Alien Registration (Smith) Act, and that regulation of sedition is "pervasive" and "left no room for the states to supplement it".
On Apr. 23, 1956 the U.S. Supreme (Warren) Court rules in South Carolina Electric & Gas Co. v. Flemming that Columbia, S.C. African-Am. domestic worker Sarah Mae Flemming (1933-93) has no right to sue a bus co. for kicking her off the bus for trying to sit in the whites-only section and punching her in the stomach when she tries to eit the front door, causing the NAACP to work to set up another bus co. for a final V in the U.S. Supreme Court.
On Mar. 25, 1957 after being appointed by Pres. Eisenhower and confirmed by the Senate on Mar. 19, Troy, Kan.-born Charles Evans Whittaker (1901-73) (college classmate of Pres. Harry S. Truman) becomes the 91st U.S. Supreme Court justice (until Mar. 31, 1962) to replace the vacancy left by Stanley Forman Reed (1938-57), who left on Feb. 25.
On Jan. 13, 1958 the U.S. Supreme (Warren) Court rules 5-4 in One Inc. v. Olesen that pro-homosexual writing is not obscene per se, freeing gay mags. from govt. censorship.
On Jan. 13, 1958 the U.S. Supreme (Warren) Court rules 7-2 in Staub v. City of Baxley that a city ordinance requiring a permit for union soliciting is unconstitutional.
On Oct. 14, 1958 after he is confirmed by the U.S. Senate by a 70-17 vote, with all 17 no votes coming from Southern Dems., Jackson, Mich.-born Potter Stewart (1915-85) becomes U.S. Supreme Court justice #92 (until July 3, 1981) to fill the vacancy created by Harold H. Burton (1945-58), going on to become a swing vote, dissenting in school-sponsored prayer and Bible reading cases, and denying that there is a right of privacy in the 14th Amendment's due process clause; he later asks Pres. Nixon to remove him from consideration to replace chief justice Warren Burger for fear of the publicity.
On July 15, 1959 the 1959 U.S. Steel Strike (ends Jan. 15) begins with 500K steelworkers (85% of the industry) going on strike, virtually halting steel production and causing the U.S. Defense Dept. to grow concerned, going to federal court seeking an injunction ordering them back to work; on Nov. 7 the U.S. Supreme Court rules 8-1 in Steelworkers v. U.S. that the U.S. Taft Hartley Act is constitutional, and affirms the injunction.
On June 20, 1960 the U.S. Supreme (Warren) Court rules 5-4 in Flemming v. Nestor that Section 1104 of the 1935 U.S. Social Security Act (in which Congress reserves to itself the power to amend the benefits schedule) is constitutional, as is Section 202 (n), which terminates benefits for an alien deported for membership in the Communist Party, because a payer into the system obtains no property rights thereby, and is only protected by due process, which is satisfied because it's not irrational and arbitrary to think that beneficiaries will spend their payments in the U.S. and increase U.S. purchasing power et al.
On Dec. 5, 1960 the U.S. Supreme (Warren) Court rules 7-2 in Boynton v. Virginia that segregation in public transit is illegal because it violates the U.S. Interstate Commerce Act, leading to the creation of the Freedom Riders next year to test it; Justice Hugo Black writes the majority opinion.
On June 19, 1961 the U.S. Supreme Court rules unanimously in Torcaso v. Watkins to strike down a provision in the constitution of Md. requiring state officeholders to profess a belief in the existence of God - is that your final answer?
On June 19. 1961 the U.S. Supreme Court rules 9-3 in Mapp v. Ohio that the Fourth Amendment's rule against using evidence obtained by police in "unreasonable searches and seizures" applies to states, broadening the 1949 case of Wolf v. Colorado and the 1914 case of Weeks v. U.S.
On Nov. 20, 1961 the U.S. Supreme (Warren) Court rules unanimously in Hoyt v. Florida, to uphold a Fla. law exempting women from jury duty unless they volunteer, rejecting the arguments of the attys. of Gwendolyn Holt that an all-male jury is unfair in her trial on charges of killing her hubby with a baseball bat; meanwhile Ala., Miss., and S.C. prohibit women from jury duty, and 18 states allow them to be excused on the basis of gender; the ruling is reversed 8-1 on Jan. 21, 1975 in Taylor v. Louisiana.
On Mar. 5, 1962 the U.S. Supreme Court rules in Griggs v. Alleghenty County that airports must compensate people living in the near vicinity for noise and vibrations.
On Apr. 16, 1962 after JFK passes over the first African-Am. federal judge (1937-9) William Henry Hastie Jr. (1904-76) (teacher at Howard U. of Thurgood Marshall) for being too conservative, claiming that he will appoint him later, Ft. Collins, Colo.-born U. of Colo. football star and deputy U.S. atty.-gen. Byron Raymond "Whizzer" White (1917-2002) becomes the 94th U.S. Supreme Court justice (until June 28, 1993) to fill the vacancy left by Ike's appointee Charles Evans Whittaker (1957-1962), becoming the first U.S. Supreme Court law clerk to make it (for Fred M. Vinson); on Sept. 28 U.S. labor secy. #9 (since Jan. 21, 1961) Arthur Joseph Goldberg (1908-90) becomes the 95th justice (until July 26, 1965), replacing retiring Jewish justice Felix Frankfurter (d. 1965), becoming the 2nd Jewish justice.
On June 25, 1962 the U.S. Supreme Court rules 6-1 in Engel v. Vitale that the use of a 22-word unofficial, nondenominational prayer in New York public schools is unconstitutional after Engel, a Jewish resident of Long Island, N.Y., backed by the Am. Jewish Congress, ACLU, and the Ethical Cultural Society sue to have the Regents Prayer ("Almighty God, we acknowledge our dependence on Thee, and we beg Thy blessings upon us, our parents, our teachers, and our country") banned from New York Public Schools, even as a recommendation; a public outcry follows, led by N.C. Sen. Sam Ervin, who issues the soundbyte: "The Supreme Court has made God unconstitutional", Pres. Herbert Hoover (1874-1964), "a disintegration of one of the most sacred of American heritages", Ala. Rep. George Andrews, "They put the Negroes in the schools, and now they've driven God out", and topped by Rev. Billy Graham: "This is another step towards the secularization of the United States... the framers of our Constitution meant we were to have freedom of religion, not freedom from religion"; MLK Jr. calls it "a sound and good decision reaffirming something that is basic in our Constitution, namely separation of church and state"; meanwhile on June 25 the U.S. Supreme Court rules 6-1 in Manual Enterprises v. Day that photos of nude men are not obscene, decriminalizing nude male porno mags., becoming a straight 6 V for gays. On June 26-27 steel workers in Italy strike for higher wages and a 5-day workweek.
On Mar. 18, 1963 the U.S. (Warren) Supreme Court rules unanimously (9-0) in Gideon v. Wainwright that not just federal but state courts are required by the 6th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution to provide counsel in criminal cases to defendants unable to afford their own attys., allowing Fla. drifter Clarence Earl Gideon (1910-72), represented by atty. Abe Fortas to get a new trial which acquits him of breaking into a cruddy pool hall; Justice Hugo Black writes the majority opinion.
On May 20, 1963 the U.S. Supreme (Warren) Court rules 7-2 in Silver v. New York Stock Exchange that the New York Stock Exchange is not immune to antitrust laws, but does not say if it is liable for monopolistic practices to the same extent as private corps.
On May 28, 1963 the U.S. Supreme Court unanimously bans "indefinite delay" in school desegregation, ordering Memphis, Tenn. to desegregate its parks and playgrounds immediately; this doesn't stop federal judge Seybourn Harris Lynne (1917-2000) from refusing to order total desegregation of Birmingham, Ala. schools, saying on May 29 that the school board's "good faith" has not been tested yet.
On June 3, 1963 the U.S. Supreme (Burger) Court rules in Goss v. Board of Education that a desegregation plan in Tenn. allowing students to transfer from a school where their race is in the minority is unconstitutional, causing William O. Douglas to berate his colleague Hugo L. Black in the courtroom, startling onlookers.
On June 4, 1963 after a 49-year struggle with Calif., the state of Ariz. wins a U.S. Supreme Court decision over the right to more water from the Colorado River.
On June 10, 1963 the U.S. Supreme (Burger) Court rules 5-4 in Ker v. Calif. that the Fourth Amendment applies to the states via the 14th Amendment.
On June 17, 1963 the U.S. Supreme (Burger) Court rules 8-1 in Abington School District v. Schempp to strike down rules requiring the recitation of the Lord's Prayer or reading of Biblical verses in public schools (along with similar laws in four other states, and optional Bible reading laws in 25 states; 11 states had their laws declared unconstitutional by state courts) after primary student Ellery (Ellory) Schempp (1940-) and his Unitarian Universalist father Edward Schempp (1908-2003) (Unitarian-Universalists) protested then sued the Abingdon Township School District in Penn. in 1956 to stop the obligatory reading of 10 verses of the Bible plus the Lord's Prayer on each school day; after founding American Atheists (originally Society of Separationists), Pittsburgh, Penn.-born Madalyn Murray O'Hair (1919-95) ("The most hated woman in America" - Life mag.) enters the spotlight in a parallel case, Murray v. Curlett, seeking to have obligatory Bible reading stopped in Baltimore, where her son William J. "Bill" Murray III (1946-) (who later becomes a Baptist minister) is enrolled; the two cases are combined, and Schempp's case is chosen as primary because Unitarians are a larger group than Atheists; Bible teaching is still okay as long as it is "taught objectively as part of a secular program", but fears of the ACLU plus growing illiteracy result in only 8% of U.S. public schools offering Bible courses by the end of the cent.
On Feb. 17, 1964 the U.S. Supreme (Burger) Court rules 6-3 in Wesberry v. Sanders that congressional districts within each state have to be roughly equal in pop.
On Mar. 9, 1964 the U.S. Supreme Court rules unanimously in New York Times Co. v. Sullivan to reverse a $500K judgment in favor of Montgomery, Ala. city commissioner L.B. Sullivan, who sued the paper for claiming that Martin Luther King Jr.'s arrest for perjury was part of a campaign to destroy his integration and black voting efforts, and lucked out when the "truth defense" was ruined by factual errors in the article; instead, the court comes up with the new "actual malice" test, that the publisher must have had "actual malice", i.e., knowledge that the info. was false in advance of pub., or have pub. it with reckless disregard of its truth or falsity, with malicious intent being irrelevant, forcing the person alleging defamation to have to prove untruth to recover damages, rather than the defendant prove truth, and in addition have to prove the publisher's mental state prior to pub. - so always say "I'm really exposing this guy" rather than "I'm really smearing this guy" when on the phone?
On June 15, 1964 the U.S. Supreme Court rules 8-1 in Reynolds v. Sims that unlike the U.S. Senate, both chambers of state legislative districts must be roughly equal in pop.
On June 22, 1964 the U.S. Supreme Court rules 6-3 in Nico Jacobellis v. Ohio that the 1958 French film "The Lovers" (Les Amants) is not obscene, even though obscene films may be regulated by states, with Potter Stewart uttering the soundbyte "I know it when I see it" (followed by "and the motion picture involved in this case is not that"), although he later admits that this isn't a tenable standard.
On May 24, 1965 the U.S. Supreme Court rules in Lamont v. Postmaster General to declare the 1962 U.S. Postal Service and Federal Employees Salary Act unconstitutional that allowed the U.S. Post Office to intercept "Communist political propaganda" and hold it until the addressee requests it.
On June 7, 1965 the U.S. Supreme Court rules 7-2 in Griswold v. Connecticut that the 1879 Conn. Comstock law prohibiting the sale of contraceptives to married couples is unconstitutional because of a right to privacy; "Specific guarantees in the Bill of Rights have penumbras, formed by emanations from those guarantees that help give them life and substance (William O. Douglas); "The right of freedom of speech and press includes not only the right to utter or to print, but the right to distribute, the right to receive, the right to read... and freedom of inquiry, freedom of thought, and freedom to teach"; JFK apointee Byron White votes with the majority, but doesn't go along with the existence of a Constitutional right of privacy, which is later used to legalize unmarried sex in Eisenstadt v. Baird (1972), abortion in Roe v. Wade (1973), and gay sex in Lawrence v. Texas (2003); Hugo Black also dissents after failing to agree on a right of privacy in the Constitution, with the soundbyte: "It belittles that [4th] Amendment to talk about it as though it protects nothing but 'privacy'... 'Privacy' is a broad, abstract, and ambiguous concept... The constitutional right of privacy is not found in the Constitution."
On July 28, 1965 Pres. Johnson nominates liberal Jew Abraham "Fiddlin' Abe" Fortas (1910-82) to the U.S. Supreme Court to fill the vacancy left by liberal Jew Arthur J. Goldberg, who resigned to become U.S. rep. to the U.N.; on Aug. 11 he is confirmed as the U.S. Supreme Court justice #95, and is sworn-in on Oct. 4 (until May 14, 1969) - can the Supreme Court have too many Jews and the U.N. not enough? On Aug. 4, 1968 Abe Fortas' name is withdrawn for chief justice by Pres. Johnson after the Senate fails to end a Repub. filibuster.
6/6+6+1/66: Ich bin ein Berliner is extended to all Americans? On June 13, 1966 the U.S. Supreme Court issues its landmark 6-3 decision in Miranda v. Arizona, requiring the police to issue a Miranda Warning before questioning, invented by former DA Harold Berliner (1924-2010): "You have the right to remain silent; anything you say may be used as evidence against you; you may request the presence of an attorney, either retained by you or appointed by the court, and you have the right to remain silent", resulting in a stunning curbing of police power to obtain confessions, causing a furor when guilty defendants get off using this as a technicality; Justice Harlan calls the decision "dangerous experimentation" at a time of a "high crime rate that is a matter of growing concern"; the defendant Ernesto Arturo Miranda (1941-76) is retried sans confession, and still convicted, spending 11 years in prison before making parole in 1975, then getting stabbed to death in a bar in Phoenix - God bless the power of high-priced attorneys to get rich clients off?
On Nov. 14, 1966 the U.S. Supreme Court rules 5-4 in Adderley v. Fla. that protesters arrested for trespassing on govt. property are not protected by the First Amendment, even though the dissenters point out that the govt. shouldn't be able to decide which public property can and can't be used for protesting.
On Feb. 10, 1967 the Twenty-Fifth (25th) Amendment to the U.S. Constitution (pres. disability and succession by vice-pres.) is ratified and goes into effect, calming fears of a repeat of an assassinated pres. followed by a vice-pres. who once had a heart attack.
On May 15, 1967 the U.S. Supreme Court rules 8-1 in In re Gault that juveniles accused of crimes have the same due process rights as adults; the majority opinion is written by Justice Abe Fortas; Justice Potter Stewart dissents, arguing that juvenile courts are for correction not punishment.
At least they both wear thick black glasses? On June 13, 1967 ("Thoroughly Good Day") after doing some wheeling-dealing in a hurry to quiet the racial unrest going on, Pres. Johnson nominates thoroughly good U.S. solicitor-gen. Thurgood Marshall (1908-93) (great-grandson of a slave, who won 29 of the 32 cases he argued for the NAACP before the Supreme Court, incl. the 1954 Brown v. Board of Education case) to be the first African-Am. justice on the U.S. Supreme Court after convincing fellow Dem. Texan (U.S. atty.-gen. in 1945-9) Thomas "Tom" Campbell Clark (1899-1977) (on the court since 1949) to resign on June 12 because his left-wing civil rights activist son William Ramsey Clark (1927-) was appointed on Mar. 10 as U.S. atty.-gen. #66 (until Jan. 20, 1969); Marshall is confirmed as U.S. Supreme Court justice #96 on Aug. 30, and sworn-in on Oct. 2 (until June 28, 1991).
On Dec. 18, 1967 the U.S. Supreme Court rules 8-1 in Katz v. U.S. to extend the unreasonable search and seizure clause of the Fourth Amendment to wiretapping under a person's "reasonable expectation of privacy", with the soundbyte that the amendment "protects people, not places"; Justice Hugo Black is the lone dissenter, arguing that the amendment only protects tangible items from physical searches and seizures - even though we all live in virtual reality?
On Apr. 22, 1968 the U.S. Supreme Court rules 6-3 in Ginsberg v. New York that although legal for adults, obscene material may be harmful to children, and its marketing may be regulated by the govt.; Justice William O. Douglas dissents, claiming that the First Amendment is absolute, the definition of obscenity is subjective, and there would be no theoretical limit to what groups the govt. can decide to "protect" from viewing it.
On June 9, 1969 the U.S. Supreme (Waren) Court rules unanimously in the case of Red Lion Broadcasting Co. v. FCC that the FCC's 1949 "Fairness Doctrine" enhances rather than infringes the freedoms guaranteed by the First Amendment; too bad, it's abolished in 1987.
On June 9, 1969 the U.S. Senate confirms St. Paul, Minn.-born Warren Earl Burger (1907-95) (nominated on May 21) as the 15th chief justice of the U.S. and the 97th U.S. Supreme Court justice, succeeding Earl Warren, and he is sworn-in on June 23 (until Sept. 26, 1986); the Supreme Court begins its 180th term on Oct. 6, and he begins reversing the liberal direction of the court - does this have something to do with Wimpy's Hamburgers, Hamburger Hill, or the Turnabout Intruder episode of Star Trek, or the fact it's the year '69, or all four?
On June 23, 1969 Warren Earl Burger is sworn-in as chief justice of the U.S. by the man he is succeeding, Earl Warren - doo doo doo doo doo doo doo doo?
On June 23, 1969 the U.S. Supreme Court rules 7-2 in Chimel v. Calif. that after arresting a person in his home, police can't search the rest of the house without a search warrant, only the area within immediate reach of the person; the majority opinion is written by Justice Potter Stewart, with the soundbyte: "There is ample justification, therefore, for a search of the arrestee's person and the area 'within his immediate control' - construing that phrase to mean the area from within which he might gain possession of a weapon or destructible evidence. There is no comparable justification, I however, for routinely searching any room other than that in which an arrest occurs - or, for that matter, for searching through all the desk drawers or other closed or concealed areas in that room itself. Such searches, in the absence of well recognized exceptions, may be made only under the authority of a search warrant. The 'adherence to judicial processes' mandated by the Fourth Amendment requires no less."
On Oct. 29, 1969 the U.S. Supreme Court unanimously rules in Alexander v. Holmes Board of Education to order immediate school desegregation, superseding the previous "with all deliberate speed" ruling, pissing-off George Wallace, who calls the Burger Court "no better than the Warren Court", and calls the justices "limousine hypocrites" - hey, you can still watch The Brady Bunch and pretend?
On Jan. 19, 1970 Pres. Nixon nominates Irwinton, Ga.-born Southerner (closet gay?) George Harrold Carswell (1919-92) to the U.S. Supreme Court, but his past racial views get the nomination in trouble, and he is rejected on Apr. 8 by a 51-45 vote, with 13 Repubs. flopping, after which Nixon nominates conservative Minn. judge Harry A. Blackmun. On May 12, 1970 the U.S. Senate votes unanimously to confirm chief justice Warren Burger's lifelong friend, Nashville, Ill.-born Harry Andrew Blackmun (1908-99) (Nixon's 3rd choice for Abe Fortas' seat) as U.S. Supreme Court justice #98; on June 9 he is sworn in (until Aug. 3, 1994), becoming known as the "Lone Ranger" for his 8-1 minority stands, although he does author the majority opinion in "Roe v. Wade" (1973) - at least he was born in a town called Nashville (Ill.)?
On Apr. 15, 1970 after congressional Repubs. led by Mich. Repub. rep. Gerald R. Ford begin an effort to impeach U.S. Supreme Court justice (1939-75) William Orville Douglas (1898-1980) on the basis of financial irregularities, incl. his defense of the film "I Am Curious (Yellow)", getting paid $350 for an article in Avant Garde, the mag. that the court had deemed pornographic in 1966, and his presidency of the Parvin Foundation, financed by the sale of the Flamingo Hotel by Albert Parvin (really his liberal pro-environment, anti-monopoly, and pro-civil rights stances, and/or the failed nominations of Clement Haynsworth and/or G. Harrold Carswell?), Ford utters the soundbyte: "An impeachable offense is whatever a majority of the House considers it to be at a given moment in history", which is correct since the House decides the definition of "misdemeanors" (bad behavior) by a majority vote, after which the Senate can convict on a 2/3 vote; the effort fails after the coverstory allegations prove unfounds, but from now on all Supreme Court nomination hearings become more political.
On Feb. 23, 1971 the U.S. Supreme Court rules 8-1 in Younger v. Harris that U.S. federal courts must abstain from hearing any civil rights tort claims by a person who is still being prosecuted by a state for a matter arising from that claim, which is later called the Younger Abstention, with Justice Black writing that the Court must have a "proper respect for state functions, a recognition of the fact that the entire country is made up of a Union of separate state governments, and a continuance of the belief that the National Government will fare best if the States and their institutions are left free to perform their separate functions in their separate ways."
On Feb. 24, 1971 the U.S. Supreme Court rules 5-4 in Harris v. New York that its 1966 Miranda decision still makes a suspect's statement inadmissible as evidence if he has not been read his rights, but that the prosecution may still use the statement to contradict his testimony if he gives up the right to remain silent at a trial - in other words, poor people without attorneys can be legally gang-raped?
On June 7, 1971 the U.S. Supreme Court rules 5-4 in Cohen v. Calif. that it's not a crime of disturbing the peace for a man to wear a jacket with the words "Fuck the Draft" in a courthouse.
On Jan. 25, 1971 the U.S. Supreme Court rules unanimously in Phillips v. Martin Marietta Corp. that Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act prohibits "not only overt discrimination but also practices that are fair in form, but discriminatory in operation", outlawing separate hiring policies for men and women, becoming the first Title VII sex discrimination case to reach the Court.
On Mar. 8, 1971 the U.S. Supreme Court rules 8-1 in Gillette v. U.S. that conscientious objectors must show that they are opposed to all wars not just the Vietnam War to get draft exemption.
On Mar. 8, 1971 the U.S. Supreme (Burger) Court rules 8-0 in Griggs v. Duke Power Co. that Title VII of the 1964 U.S. Civil Rights Act prohibits "objective" criteria such as a high school diploma or IQ score minimum for hiring employees if they result in a "disparate impact", i.e., a relative disadvantage to dumb, er, blacks without a "compelling business interest", and the employer has the burden of proof that the tests are "reasonably related" to the job for which they are required, with the soundbyte: "Congress has now provided that tests or criteria for employment or promotion may not provide equality of opportunity merely in the sense of the fabled offer of milk to the stork and the fox"; William J. Brennan Jr. recuses himself; in 1991 the 1964 U.S. Civil Rights Act is amended to eliminate the employer's burden of proof.
Them pesky college students didn't win on Vietnam, but they did get accepted by the system? On Mar. 10, 1971 the U.S. Senate by 94-0 approves the Twenty-Sixth (26th) (XXVI) Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, giving 18-year-olds the vote, which they have been clamoring for ever since FDR lowered the military draft age to 18 in WWII; on Mar. 23 it is passed by the House of Reps by 401-19, and sent to the states for ratification by the 92nd Congress, and it is ratified on July 1 (fastest ratification ever) after Ohio becomes the 37th state to approve it on June 30, followed by N.C. and Okla. on July 1; Pres. Nixon certifies it on July 5, talking about his "confidence that America's young generation will provide what America needs as we approach our 200th birthday, not just strength and not just wealth but the Spirit of '76, a spirit of moral courage, a spirit of high idealism in which we believe in the American Dream, but in which we realize that the American Dream can never be fulfilled until every American has an equal chance to fulfill it in his own life"; it goes into effect on July 7; Fla., Ky., Miss., Nev., N.M., N.D., S.D. and Utah never ratify it - TLW turned 18 on January 18, and doesn't care since he never votes, preferring to influence votes with his mind instead and avoid jury duty?
On June 28, 1971 the U.S. Supreme Court unanimously (8-0-1, with Thurgood Marshall recusing himself) rules in Clay v. U.S. to overturn boxer Muhammad Ali's 1967 draft evasion conviction, ruling that he had been drafted improperly and that the govt. failed to properly specify why his application for conscientious objector status was denied, with the soundbyte: "The record shows that [Ali's] beliefs are founded on tenets of the Muslim religion as he understands them" - after ruining his career with their endless deliberations they announce their total ignorance of the Muslim doctrine of jihad to permit all Muslims to refuse to fight for the infidel U.S.?
On June 28, 1971 the U.S. Supreme Court rules 8-1 in Lemon v. Kurtzman to strike down a Penn. law permitting taxpayer funding of salaries and supplies for mostly Roman Catholic parochial schools, with the soundbyte: "First, the statute must have a secular legislative purpose; second, its principal or primary effect must be one that neither advances nor inhibits religion; finally, the statute must not foster an excessive government entanglement with religion", becoming known as the Lemon Test, which ends up being enforced in a patchwork pattern by lower courts, causing religious conservatives to predict that it will be reversed; the lone dissenter is Byron White; Justice Antonin Scalia later calls the Lemon Test a "ghoul in a late night horror movie".
On June 30, 1971 the U.S. Supreme Court rules 6-3 in New York Times Co. v. U.S. that they could go on and pub. the classified Pentagon Papers, overrriding Pres. Nixon's executive order thanks to the First Amendment, with Hugo Black writing the soundbyte: "In the First Amendment the Founding Fathers gave the free press the protection it must have to fulfill its essential role in our democracy. The press was to serve the governed, not the governors. The Government's power to censor the press was abolished so that the press would remain forever free to censure the Government. The press was protected so that it could bare the secrets of government and inform the people. Only a free and unrestrained press can effectively expose deception in government... The word 'security' is a broad, vague generality whose contours should not be invoked to abrogate the fundamental law embodied in the First Amendment"; dissenters incl. Justices Burger, Harlan, and Blackmun.
On Oct. 21, 1971 Pres. Nixon nominates asst. U.S. atty.-gen. (since 1969) William Hubbs Rehnquist (1924-2005) (from Milwaukee, Wisc.) (a right-winger who graduated #1 from Stanford Law School and campaigned for Barry Goldwater in 1964) to the U.S. Supreme Court to replace John Marshall Harlan II (1955-71) (who retired on Sept. 17) and Lewis Franklin Powell Jr. (1907-98) (from Richmond, Va.) to replace Hugo L. Black (1937-71) (who died on Sept. 24); Nixon considered nominating Calif. state appeals court judge Mildred Lillie (1915-2002), but the ABA reported her to be unqualified; Powell is confirmed as U.S. Supreme Court justice #99 (until June 26, 1987) by the Senate 89-1 on Dec. 6, followed by Rehnquist (hiding from a white supremacist past?) as U.S. Supreme Court justice #100 by a creaky 68-26 vote on Dec. 10 (until Sept. 3, 2005) after his supporters invoke cloture to stop a filibuster; Powell later moves to the center-left, while Rehnquist stays to the right. On Jan. 7, 1972 Suffolk, Va.-born Lewis Franklin Powell Jr. (1907-98) (until June 26, 1987) and Milwaukee, Wisc.-born William Hubbs Rehnquist (1924-2005) (until Sept. 3, 2005) are sworn-in as the 99th and 100th members of the U.S. Supreme Court.
On June 29, 1972 the U.S. Supreme Court rules 5-4 in Furman v. Georgia (a black rapist) that the death penalty is unconstitutional as possible "cruel and unusual punishment", causing state capital punishment laws to be revised; the U.S. joins 37 other countries in abolishing the death penalty, leaving only France and Spain in Europe; "These death sentences are cruel and unusual in the same way that being struck by lightning is cruel and unusual... My concurring brothers have demonstrated that, if any basis can be discerned for the selection of these few to be sentenced to death, it is the constitutionally impermissible basis of race." (Potter Stewart)
The U.S. Supreme Court rows and wades into the government-backed slaughter of infants (until ?) On Jan. 22, 1973 (Mon.) (after reading what version of the U.S. Constitution?) the U.S. Supreme Court rules 7-2 in Roe v. Wade that women don't have an absolute right "to terminate her pregnancy at whatever time, in whatever way, and for whatever reason she alone chooses", but that she does have the right to surgical infanticide (abortion) during the first 3 mo. (trimester) of pregnancy, after which for the next 3 mo. the state may "regulate the abortion procedure in ways that are reasonably related to maternal health", after which during the last 10 weeks the state may prohibit abortion, splitting the nation into two camps, politicizing abortion, and giving the Repub. Party a mission from God to overturn it (until ?); justices William Rehnquist and Byron White (a JFK appointee who also dissented in the Miranda case) are the dissenters, with Rehnquist writing the minority opinion, and White calling the decision "an exercise in raw judicial power" that will result in "interposing a constitutional barrier to state efforts to protect human life"; Harry A. Blackmun writes a long majority opinion containing a history of abortion that has nothing to do with the Constitution, and ending up citing a "right of privacy" sans an explicit mention in it; Cardinal Krol of Philly calls it an "unspeakable tragedy for this nation", while Planned Parenthood Federation of Am. pres. Alan F. Gutmacher calls it "a wise and courageous stroke for the right to privacy and for the protection of a woman's physical and emotional health"; Jane Roe later turns out to be La.-born Norma Leah McCorvey (1947-) who grew up in Tex., was sent at age 15 to board with a distant relative who raped her, got a job as a roller-skating carhop in a cowgirl outfit and married a patron who later beat her, discovered she was bi, and got pregnant and gave three babies up for adoption before the decision came down, then later becomes an anti-abortion activist after admitting that at least the pregnancy in question wasn't caused by rape, and that her attys. Sarah Ragle Weddington (1945-) of Tex. and Linda Nellene Coffee (1942-) used her to start the case against notorious Dallas DA Henry Wade; every year after this a March for Life is held on Jan. 22 in Washington, D.C. to protest the decision, politicizing all future U.S. Supreme Court nominations (until ?); meanwhile French police arrest a physician for performing an abortion, causing 10K to march in protest and legislation to legalize abortion to be introduced in the French parliament, which is passed next year; meanwhile 14M new IUDs are inserted in women in China, up from 6M in 1973, but that doesn't stop pop. growth.
On May 14, 1973 the U.S. Supreme Court rules 8-1 in Frontiero v. Richardson that the U.S. military cannot discriminate on the basis of gender when giving benefits to the family of service members, and that USAF Lt. Sharron Frontiero can claim her husband Joseph as a dependent even though he isn't dependent on her for more than half his support, because they allow it when the situation is reversed, saying that gender discrimination is "inherently suspect" and that laws classifying on the basis of gender should be presumed unconstitutional and subjected to "strict scrutiny", and allowed only if the court finds it "narrowly tailored" to serve a "compelling" govt. interest.
Miller tastes better and is less filling? On June 21, 1973 the U.S. Supreme Court rules 5-4 in Miller v. California that states may ban materials found to be obscene according to local standards, which becomes known as the Miller (3-Prong) Obscenity Test, incl. the requirement that it appeal to the prurient interest according to community standards, that it depicts or describes sexual conduct or excretory functions in a patently offensive way as defined by state law, and that the work taken as a whole lacks serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value (SLAPS Test) to the U.S. as a whole; on June 21, 1973 the U.S. Supreme Court rules 5-4 in Paris Adult Theatre I v. Slaton that a state can ban the showing of obscene films in movie theaters; dissenters incl. Justices William O. Douglas, William J. Brennan Jr., Potter Stewart, and Thurgood Marshall.
On Jan. 21, 1974 the U.S. Supreme (Burger) Court rules 7-2 in Cleveland Board of Education v. LaFleur that pregnant teachers can no longer be forced to take long leaves of absence because they violate the 5th Amendment's Due Process Clause and the 14th Amendment; dissenters incl. Justices Warren E. Burger and William Rehnquist.
On Jan. 21, 1975 the U.S. (Burger) Supreme Court rules 8-1 in Taylor v. Louisiana that all-male juries are unconstitutional, overturning Hoyt v. Florida (1961) with the soundbyte: "If it ever was the case that women were unqualified to sit on juries, or were so situated that none of them should be required to perform jury service, that time is long past"; William Rehnquist is the lone dissenter.
On Nov. 28, 1975 Pres. Ford nominates Chicago-born Repub. federal judge John Paul Stevens (1920-) (Protestant) of Ill. to the U.S. Supreme Court seat vacated by William O. Douglas (b. 1898), who has served since 1939 (longest in history); he is confirmed as U.S. Supreme Court justice #101 on Dec. 17, and is sworn-in on Dec. 19 (until June 29, 2010); thought to be a moderate conservative at first (he's from Chicago and...) he becomes the "key 5th vote" in pro-liberal votes on abortion and limitation of pres. power, although Ford later says he wants his presidency judged on the soundness of his choice - now all we need is a John Paul in the Vatican for balance?
On July 2, 1976 the U.S. Supreme (Burger) Court rules 7-2 in Gregg v. Georgia to lift the 1972 "Furman v. Georgia" ban on the death penalty in murder cases, but prohibits mandatory death sentences that have no provision for mercy based on the characteristics of the offender; dissenting justices William Joseph Brennan (Roman Catholic) and Thurgood Marshall (black) continue to insist that the death penalty doesn't deter crime and that it is no longer an appropriate vehicle for retribution - can I get a salad with that?
On Jan. 25, 1977 the U.S. Supreme (Burger) Court rules 6-3 in Oregon v. Mathiason that a suspect who voluntarily enters a police station not under arrest may be interrogated without being informed of his Miranda rights, even when police lie to him to entice him to confess - the Bill of Rights is suspended as soon as you walk through the door?
On Mar. 1, 1977 the U.S. Supreme Court rules 7-1 in United Jewish Orgs. of Williamsburgh Inc. v. Carey that legislative voting districts may be reapportioned based on race to comply with the 1964 U.S. Voting Rights Act.
On June 28, 1977 the U.S. Supreme Court rules 7-2 in Nixon v. Gen. Services Admin. to uphold the seizure of Pres. Nixon's private papers, but orders him to be compensated $16M, giving him a net profit from the Watergate Scandal and resignation.
On Mar. 25, 1978 the U.S. Supreme Court rules 5-4 in Frank W. Bowman v. Transportation Co. Inc. that blacks and other minorities are entitled to retroactive job security.
On Mar. 28, 1978 the U.S. Supreme Court rules 5-3 in Stump v. Sparkman that a judge is immune from lawsuits if he acts within his jurisdiction; Justice Potter Stewart dissents, saying "A judge is not free, like a loose cannon to inflict indiscriminate damage whenever he announces that he is acting in his judicial capacity."
It's a long road back from nowhere to nowhere? On June 28, 1978 the U.S. Supreme (Burger) Court votes 5-4 in Regents of the U. of Calif. v. Bakke to order the medical school at the U. of Calif. at Davis to admit white Marine Corps. vet Allan Paul Bakke (1940-), who claimed to be a victim of reverse racial discrimination under Title VI of the Civil Rights Act, and bans quotas, while a different 5-4 majority votes to allow race to be used as one factor in a mix of admissions criteria to promote "diversity", which becomes the new PC buzzword; there were 3,737 applicants for 100 seats, of which 16 were reserved for minorities only; Brennan, Marshall, White, Blackmun, and Powell concur, and Stevens, Stewart, Burger, and Rehnquist dissent.
On June 27, 1979 the U.S. Supreme (Burger) Court by 5-2 definitively supports affirmative action in United Steelworkers v. Weber, ruling that the 1964 U.S. Civil Rights Act does not bar employers from favoring women and minorities to remedy historical inequities; William Rehnquist writes the dissenting opinion, with Warren E. Burger joining; Lewis F. Powell Jr. and John Paul Stevens recuse themselves.
On June 16, 1980 the U.S. Supreme (Burger) Court rules 9-0 in Bryant v. Yellen that Calif. Imperial Valley farmers may continue to receive Colorado River water despite not complying with a 1926 law limiting farm size to 160 acres.
On June 30, 1980 the U.S. Supreme (Burger) Court rules 6-3 in Harris v. McRae that states don't have to fund nontherapeutic abortions with Medicaid if the 1976 U.S. Hyde Amendment won't pay for them with federal funds; in 2009 justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg utters the controversial soundbyte: "Frankly, I had thought that at the time Roe was decided, there was concern about population growth and particularly growth in populations that we don't want to have too many of. So that Roe was going to be then set up for Medicaid funding for abortion... But when the court decided McRae, the case came out the other way."
On July 2, 1980 the U.S. Supreme (Burger) Court rules 6-3 in Fullilove v. Klutznick that Congress has authority to redress past racial discrimination via minority quotas in govt. contract awards, such as by a 10% setaside; too bad, three separate majority opinions are written, plus two minority opinions by dissenters Stewart and Rehnquist; the decision is overruled Adarand Constructors Inc. v. Pena (1995), which adopts strict scrutiny for federal contracting.
On July 2, 1980 the U.S. Supreme (Burger) Court rules 7-1 in Richmond Newspapers v. Virginia that the press and public have a right to attend criminal trials because it's "implicit in the guarantees of the First Amendment" to not only speak but receive info.
On Oct. 20, 1980 the U.S. Supreme (Burger) Court rules 6-3 in Jarrett v. Jarrettt that a woman doesn't forfeit custody of her children by fornicating with a live-in boyfriend, like 1.1M others in the U.S., 25% of their households having children; a survey of 106K women by Cosmopolitan mag. finds that 41% of married women have had extramarital affairs, up from 8% in 1948 - it seems you have us outnumbered, but I'm holding your gun?
On June 18, 1981 U.S. Supreme Court Justice (since 1958) Potter Stewart announces his retirement; on Sept. 25 after Reagan appoints her on Aug. 19, Sandra Day O'Connor (1930-) becomes U.S. Supreme Court justice #102 (until Jan. 31, 2006), the first woman; pro-abortion and pro-ERA, she sat on the Ariz. state appeals court only 18 mo., and graduated #3 from Stanford U. Law School (#1 was William Rehnquist).
On June 25, 1984 the U.S. Supreme (Burger) Court rules unanimously in Chevron USA Inc. v. Natural Resources Defense Council Inc. to define the doctrine of Chevron Deference, the limits of deference to a govt. agency's interpretation of a statute it administers; on Apr. 21, 1999 in U.S. v. Haggar Apparel Co. it unanimously rules to back it for regulations issued by Customs on behalf of the Treasury.
On June 30, 1986 the U.S. Supreme (Burger) Court rules 5-4 in Bowers v. Hardwick that a Ga. law criminalizing oral and anal sex between private consenting adults is constitutional, with chief justice Warren E. Burger writing the soundbyte: "To hold that the act of homosexual sodomy is somehow protected as a fundamental right would be to cast aside millennia of moral teaching"; Harry Blackmun dissents based on the right to privacy, with the soundbyte: "That certain, but by no means all, religious groups condemn the behavior at issue gives the State no license to impose their judgments on the entire citizenry. The legitimacy of secular legislation depends, instead, on whether the State can advance some justification for its law beyond its conformity to religious doctrine"; too bad, the Ga. law also criminalized hetero oral sex.; after the Internet shoves it in everybody's face 24/7, it flip-flops on June 26, 2003 in Lawrence v. Texas with a 6-3 decision - all interfaces are now open for fun?
On Sept. 17, 1986 the Senate confirms the nomination by Pres. Reagan of William H. Rehnquist (Protestant) (#100) as the 16th chief justice of the U.S. by a 65-33 vote (more negative votes than any other justice confirmed previously); on Sept. 17 Trenton, N.J.-born, Elmhurst, Queens, N.Y.-raised Antonin Gregory Scalia (1936-2016) (Roman Catholic son of an Italian immigrant Romance languages prof.) wins confirmation unanimously (98-0), becoming the first Italian-Am. justice; they are sworn-in on Sept. 26, with Rehnquist becoming U.S. chief justice #16 (until Sept. 3, 2005), and Scalia becoming U.S. Supreme Court justice #103 (until Feb. 13, 2016), serving as the conservative pillar until his unexpected death throws conservatives into a panic.
On Mar. 25, 1987 the U.S. Supreme (Rehnquist) Court rules 5-4 in Johnson v. Transportation Agency that Title VII of the 1964 U.S. Civil Rights act permits less qualified women to be promoted over men, and that employers may sometimes favor women and members of minority groups over men and whites in hiring and promotions in order to eliminate "manifest imbalance" in "traditionally seregated job categories", becoming the first SCOTUS case to address sex-based affirmative action in employment (until ?).
On July 1, 1987 after Lewis Powell retires on June 27, Pres. Reagan ignores warnings from Dems., the ACLU et al. and nominates conservative "original intent of the framers" champion federal appeals court judge Robert Heron Bork (1927-2012) (pro-executive supremacy, anti-civil rights incl. right to privacy) to the U.S. Supreme Court, causing Sen. Ted Kennedy to give a speech in the Senate lying like hell about him: "Robert Bork's America is a land in which women would be forced into back-alley abortions, blacks would sit at segregated lunch counters, rogue police could break down citizens' doors in midnight raids, schoolchildren could not be taught about evolution, writers and artists could be censored at the whim of the Government, and the doors of the Federal courts would be shut on the fingers of millions of citizens for whom the judiciary is - and is often the only - protector of the individual rights that are the heart of our democracy... President Reagan is still our president, but he should not be able to reach out from the muck of Irangate, reach into the muck of Watergate and impose his reactionary vision of the Constitution on the Supreme Court and the next generation of Americans. No justice would be better than this injustice", causing Bork to reply: "There was not a line in that speech that was accurate"; on Sept. 15-19 Bork tells the Senate Judiciary Committee that his philosophy is "neither liberal nor conservative" and that he would "interpret the law and not make it"; on Oct. 23 the Senate votes 58-42 to deny his confirmation - which is conservative by definition?
On Nov. 11, 1987 after Bork was borked, Pres. Reagan announces his choice of Sacramento, Calif.-born Anthony McLeod Kennedy (1936-) (Roman Catholic) from Calif. (no relation to the Kennedy Dynasty) for the U.S. Supreme Court to replace Lewis F. Powell Jr., who retired on June 27; he is confirmed as U.S. Supreme Court justice #104 on Feb. 3, 1988, and sworn in on Feb. 18 (until ?) - a Reagan appointing a Kennedy? On Nov. 11 Vincent Van Gogh's 1889 painting Irises
The U.S. confronts its own contradictions and is held together by a wet whisker? On June 21, 1989 the U.S. Supreme Court rules 5-4 in Texas v. Johnson that burning the U.S. flag as a form of political protest is protected by the First Amendment, William Brennan uttering the soundbyte: "If there is a bedrock principle underlying the First Amendment, it is that the government may not prohibit the expression of an idea simply because society finds the idea itself offensive or disagreeable"; on June 27 Pres. Bush, who represents millions who don't "get" it calls for a constitutional amendment to get around them, on the emotional jerkwater theory that soldiers died for "the flag" - we're talking about privately-owned facsimilies of U.S. flags, not govt.-owned flags, which are already protected? What's next, a cake with flag icing?
On June 23, 1989 the U.S. Supreme Court rules 5-4 in Murray v. Giarratano that indigent death row inmates don't have the right to a state-appointed atty.
On June 23, 1989 the U.S. Supreme Court unanimously rules in Sable Communications of Calif. vs. FCC that Congress had gone too far in passing a law banning all sexually-oriented phone message services AKA dial-a-porn, drawing a distinction between indecent and obscene speech, with only the latter not being protected; it also recognizes a govt. need to protect children from speech that could be obscene to minors even if not to adults.
On Apr. 18, 1990 the U.S. Screwpreme Court rules 6-3 in Osborne v. Ohio that states may make it a crime to possess or look at child pornography, even in the privacy of one's home, regardless of the First Amendment - the Christian Right sees an opportunity using children to 'get' adults who don't go with their moral views?
On July 20, 1990 liberal U.S. Supreme Court justice (since 1956) William J. Brennan (b. 1906) announces his retirement; on July 23 Pres. Bush announces his choice of Melrose, Mass.-born "stealth justice" David Hackett Souter (1939-) (Protestant) (never been married) of N.H. to succeed him; he is confirmed as U.S. Supreme Court justice #105 on Oct. 2, and sworn-in on Oct. 9 (until June 29, 2009). On July 20 a federal appeals court sets aside Oliver North's three Iran-Contra convictions, reversing one outright.
The token black on the court changes faces, but the difference is between the legs not the ears? On June 28, 1991 liberal black U.S. Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall (since 1967) retires, and on July 1 conservative black Pin Point, Ga.-born U.S. Court of Appeals judge for the District of Columbia (since 1990) (chmn. of the EEOC in 1982-90) Clarence Thomas (1948-) is nominated by Pres. George H.W. Bush, winning Senate confirmation by 52-48 on Oct. 15 after a bumpy confirmation process, championed by U.S. Sen. (R-Mo.) John Claggett "Jack" Danforth (1936-); on Oct. 23 he becomes U.S. Supreme Court justice #106 (until ?), and the 2nd African-Am.; his confirmation is plagued by criticism by civil rights groups for his opposition to affirmative action programs and school desegregation busing, and is almost derailed by a leaked FBI report on allegations of sexual harassment made by U. of Okla. (Norman) law prof. Anita Faye Hill (1956-), who had worked for him at the Dept. of Ed. and the EEOC, and publicly woo-woos about his sexual advances on her, incl. his bragging about the size of his brains?; in early Oct. the Senate Judiciary Committee, chaired by Sen. Joseph Robinette "Joe" Biden Jr. (1942-) (D-Del.) explores the charges, which Thomas calls a "high-tech lynching", but they decide are not conclusive; after joining the court, Thomas converts to Roman Catholicism; "He told me that if I ever told anybody, it would ruin his career" (Hill).
On May 5, 1992 the Twenty-Seventh (27th) Amendment to the U.S. Constitution is finally ratified after Md. became the 1st state to ratify it on Dec. 19, 1789; it prohibits any law that increases or decreases the salary of members of Congress from taking effect until the start of the next set of terms of office for representatives; the last amendment until ?.
On June 1, 1993 the U.S. Supreme (Rehnquist) Court rules 6-3 in Smith v. U.S. that giving a gun in exchange for drugs constitutes use of a firearm during and in relation to drug trafficking; on Dec. 10, 2007 the U.S. Supreme (Roberts) Court rules 9-0 in Watson v. U.S. that receiving a gun in exchange for drugs doesn't - that changes how P.E. classes work?
On June 14, 1993 Pres. Clinton chooses 5'0" New York City-born opera loving Jewish federal judge (appointed by Pres. Carter) Ruth Bader Ginsburg (1933-) to serve on the U.S. Supreme Court; a liberal who had been gen. counsel of the ACLU and the first dir. of the ACLU's Women's Rights Project, she is so artful at dodging direct questions during her Senate confirmation hearings that it becomes known as the Ginsburg Rule; on Aug. 3 she is confirmed as U.S. Supreme Court justice #107 by a 96-3 vote, and is sworn in on Aug. 10 (until ?), becoming the 2nd female justice on the court.
On June 28, 1993 the U.S. Supreme (Rehnquist) Court rules 5-4 in Shaw v. Reno that redistricting based on race must be held to a standard of strict scrutiny under the Equal Protection Clause to make sure it complies with the 1965 U.S. Voting Rights Act; dissenters incl. Justices Byron White, Harry Blackmun, John Paul Stevens, and David Souter; the 2000 U.S. Census becomes the first to apply the ruling.
On Nov. 3, 1993 Colo. Amendment 2 passes in Colo., prohibiting all govt. entities from giving protected status based on homosexuality or bisexuality, which causes a nat. boycott of the "Hate State"; on May 20, 1996 the U.S. Supreme Court by 6-3 rules in Romer v. Evans that it is unconstitutional because of the Equal Protection Clause and because it fails a rational basis review; Justice Antonin Scalia writes the soundbyte: "And the Supreme Court said, 'Yes, it is unconstitutional.' On the basis of - I don't know, the Sexual Preference Clause of the Bill of Rights, presumably. And the liberals loved it, and the conservatives gnashed their teeth."
On July 29, 1994 San Francisco, Calif.-born Stephen Gerald Breyer (1938-) is confirmed as U.S. Supreme Court justice #108, and is sworn in on Aug. 3 (until ?) becoming its 2nd Jewish member along with Ruth Bader Ginsburg, and the last appointee of the millennium (next is John Roberts on Sept. 29, 2005).
On June 29, 1995 the U.S. Supreme (Rehnquist) Court rules 5-4 in Rosenberger v. Rectors and Visitors of the U. of Va. that a state univ. cannot withhold funding from student religious pubs. that it provides to similar secular student pubs.
On June 13, 1996 the U.S. Supreme (Rehnquist) Court rules 7-2 in Jaffee v. Redmond to create a psychotherapist-patient privilege in the federal rules of evidence; Justice Antonin Scalia dissents, questioning the relative social importance of psychotherapy and the propriety of elevating pshrinks above "parents, siblings, best friends, and bartenders - none of whom was awarded a privilege against testifying in court", adding that Congress should create such a law, not the court.
Beat it? On June 26, 1997 the U.S. Supreme Court rules unanimously in Reno v. Am. Civil Liberties Union to strike down all of the anti-indecency provisions of the 1996 U.S. Communications Decency Act (CDA) as violating the First Amendment, with Justice John Paul Stevens writing the soundbyte: "We are persuaded that the CDA lacks the precision that the First Amendment requires when a statute regulates the content of speech. In order to deny minors access to potentially harmful speech, the CDA effectively suppresses a large amount of speech that adults have a constitutional right to receive and to address to one another. That burden on adult speech is unacceptable if less restrictive alternatives would be at least as effective in achieving the legitimate purpose that the statute was enacted to serve... It is true that we have repeatedly recognized the governmental interest in protecting children from harmful materials. But that interest does not justify an unnecessarily broad suppression of speech addressed to adults. As we have explained, the Government may not "reduc[e] the adult population... to... only what is fit for children."
On June 26, 1997 the U.S. Supreme Court rules 9-0 in Vacco v. Quill and Washington v. Glucksberg that doctor-assisted suicide has no obvious constitutional protection from the Due Process Clause or anything else, while leaving the door open to a future case involving a terminally-ill patient suffering intolerable pain - I fought the law and the law won?
On June 25, 1998 the U.S. Supreme (Rehnquist) Court rules 8-1 in Nat. Endowment for the Arts v. Finley that the govt. may deny grants to artists whose work is deemed indecent by "general standards", upholding the U.S. National Foundation on the Arts and Humanity Acts of 1990; it also rules 6-3 that attorney-client privilege does not end with death - afternoon tea with a couple of close friends is safe?
On Mar. 2, 1999 the U.S. Supreme (Rehnquist) Court rules 7-2 in Holloway v. U.S. that the federal carjacking law only requires "conditional intent" to harm the driver if he resists.
On Mar. 3, 1999 the U.S. (Rehnquist) Court rules 7-2 in Cedar Rapids Community School District v. Garret F. that the 1990 U.S. Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) requires public schools to fund "continuous, one-on-one nursing care for disabled children" regardless of cost, establishing the Bright-Line Rule, by which "the services of a physician (other than for diagnostic and evaluation pruposes) are subject to the medical services exclusion, but services that can be provided in the school setting by a nurse of qualified layperson are not"; dissenting Justices Clarence Thomas and Anthony M. Kennedy claim that the ruling "blindsides unwary states".
Police power vs. fleeing people, the New Millennium Look for the U.S.? On Jan. 12, 2000 the increasingly something U.S. Supreme Court rules 5-4 in Illinois v. Wardlow that police are justified in conducting a stop-and-frisk search on anyone who arouses their suspicion merely by fleeing from them, reversing the Ill. Supreme Court - would make sense if they are black not white like me, moo, moo?
On June 28, 2000 the U.S. Supreme (Rehnquist) Court rules 5-4 in Stenberg v. Carhart ito invalidate a Neb. law outlawing partial-birth abortions as violating the Due Process Clause because it didn't allow exception for the health of the woman; Justice Antonin Scalia dissents, with the soundbyte: "I am optimistic enough to believe that, one day, Stenberg v. Carhart will be assigned its rightful place in the history of this Court's jurisprudence beside Korematsu and Dred Scott. The method of killing a human child... proscribed by this statute is so horrible that the most clinical description of it evokes a shudder of revulsion."
Can't prove it, but Bush stole the election? "George Bush" is an anagram for "He bugs Gore"? On Nov. 7, 2000 after $3B spent over four years on campaigning, the 2000 U.S. Pres. Election is the closest in decades, with the electoral vote so close (Gore 267, Bush 246, with 270 needed to win) on election night that Florida's 25 are fated to decide the winner; Tim Russert of NBC-TV introduces red-blue color-coding to electoral maps, with Repubs. colored red and Dems. blue, reversing the longstanding pattern of red for radicals and leftists and blue for conservative bluebloods; too bad, the use of a "butterfly ballot" confuses many voters, putting the nation on hold as Bush's slim lead in Fla. leads to an automatic recount, while a con game begins with the "hanging chad" problem (see the year 667 C.E.) with its butterfly ballots, and on Nov. 11 the Repubs. file a federal suit to block manual recount which might change Bush's lead to a Gore lead, forcing the election to be decided by the Repub.-controlled courts; Dems. force a manual recount in four counties, but it goes too slow, allowing millionaire Repub. Fla. secy. of state Katherine Harris (1957-) (whose beauty queen makeup becomes the butt of jokes on late-night TV) to set a Nov. 14 deadline for the recount, but she is overruled on Nov. 21 by the Fla. Supreme Court, which extends it to Nov. 26, on which day Harris (in her 15 min. of fame) certifies her boss, er, Bush as the winner by a 537-vote margin out of 6M votes cast, giving Fla.'s 25 electoral votes to Bush, along with the most interesting job in the world; on Nov. 22 Bush appeals to the U.S. Supreme Court to have the Fla. counting stopped in Bush v. Gore, argued by future U.S. solicitor gen. (2001-4) Theodore Bevry "Ted" Olson (1940-), which on Dec. 4 remands the case to the Fla. Supreme Court, headed by chief justice (since 1994) Charles T. Wells (1939-), which on Dec. 8 orders the recount to resume and to be completed by Dec. 10, since an 1887 federal law permits electors to be certified on Dec. 12 in time for the convening of the electoral college on Dec. 18; too bad, on Dec. 9 the U.S. Supreme Court votes 5-4 on partisan lines to order the recount stopped for lack of an objective standard after allowing audio recording of arguments before the justices for the first time ever (still forbidding cameras to see the fat wallets they're sitting on?); on Dec. 12 they rule 5-4 that the recount is unconstitutional, with chief justice Rehnquist sending an unsigned ruling at 10 p.m. to stop, giving Fla.'s electoral votes to Bush; dissenter John Paul Stevens issues the soundbyte: "Although we may never know with complete certainty the identity of the winner of this year's presidential election, the identity of the loser is perfectly clear. It is the nation's confidence in the judge as an impartial guardian of the rule of law"; on Dec. 13 Bore, er, Gore, trying to think of the nation and not foul it up with indecision any longer issues the soundbyte: "While I strongly disagree with the court's decision, I accept it"; thanks to the Court, er, People, Texas Gov. George Walker Bush (1946-) and Richard Bruce "Dick" Cheney (1941-) win over Dem. candidates Albert Arnold "Al" Gore Jr. (1948-) and Conn. Sen. Joseph Isadore "Joe" Lieberman (1942-); Gore carries the West Coast (Calif., Wash.), the Upper Midwest (Iowa, Ill., Mich., Minn.), the Northeast (N.J., N.Y., Penn., Washington D.C.), and all of New England except N.H.; Bush carries the small-state "heartland"; 19K "unmarked" ballots are discarded in heavily Dem. Palm Beach County, throwing the election to Fla. Gov. Jeb Bush's bro'?; Ralph Nader of the Green Party (who claims that the two main parties are the same, so don't vote for either one, vote for him) gets 97K votes (3%), incl. enough votes to have given Gore N.H. and Fla., making him the winner, and pissing him off, along with many of Nader's own Nader's Raiders, esp. in retrospect; to add insult to injury, Bush officially receives 50,456,062 popular votes (47.9%) and 271 electoral votes to Gore's 50,996,582 popular (48.4%) and 266 electoral votes, becoming the 4th time (1824, 1876, 1888) that the winner of the popular vote loses the election; the voter participation rate is a bored 50.7%; Mo. has now picked the winner in 11 straight pres. elections, Ohio, Tenn. and Ky. in 10, La. and Ark. in 8; like with John Adams and his son John Quincy Adams (1767-1848), a competent but uninspiring vice-pres. succeeds a charismatic pres., is defeated after one term by a liberal Southerner, then lives to see his near namesake son become pres. despite losing the popular vote to a populist from Tenn.; shell-shocked loser Abraham, er, AAG (Al A. Gore) begins growing a beard in Valencia, Spain; Hillary Rodham Clinton (1947-) becomes the first First Lady to run for and be elected to office (U.S. Dem. Sen. from N.Y.) (until ?), winning 55% of the vote; the Repubs. gain control of the White House, enjoying their first long run of govt. since the 1920s, and retain their narrow majority in the House of Reps., while Dems. secure 50 of the 100 U.S. Senate seats; meanwhile the slow decline in executive power is reversed bigtime since the Repubs. had the money and the packed judiciary ready to throw behind a Repub. pres. all the time?
On June 11, 2001 the U.S. Supreme (Rehnquist) Court rules 5-4 in Kyllo v. U.S. to prohibit the use of a FLIR (forward looking infrared) thermal imaging device by police on a home without a warrant.
On June 20, 2002 the U.S. Supreme (Rehnquist) Court rules 6-3 in Atkins v. Va. that the U.S. Constitution bars the execution of mentally retarded (intellectually disabled) offenders, but permits states to define who is and is not intellectually disabled; Justice Antonin Scalia dissents, writing that it would not have been considered cruel and unusual punishment to execute a midly mentally retarded convict in 1791, and that the Court had failed to find any nat. consensus against the practice.
On June 23, 2003 the U.S. Supreme (Rehnquist) Court votes 6-3 in Gratz v. Bollinger to strike down the U. of Mich. undergrad affirmative action program because its point system is too quotalike; the same day they vote 5-4 in Grutter v. Bollinger to uphold affirmative action at the U. of Mich. law school as long as race is part of a nuanced review of each applicant; in the first vote Stevens, Ginsburg, and Souter dissent; in the 2nd Kennedy, Rehnquist, Scalia, and Thomas dissent, and the deciding vote is cast by O'Connor; Pres. Bush. issues a statement applauding the court for recognizing the value of diversity - how did such a tiny number of people get in this position anyway?
On June 26, 2003 the U.S. (Rehnquist) Supreme Court rules 6-3 in Lawrence v. Tex. that states can't enforce sodomy (gay sex) laws because they violate the Constitutional right to privacy first invented, er, enunciated in Griswold v. Conn. (1965), overturning Bowers v. Hardwick (1986); "The State cannot demean their existence or control their destiny by making their private sexual conduct a crime" (Anthony Kennedy) - so you like English muffins?
On Jan. 12, 2005 the U.S. Supreme (Rehnquist) Court rules 5-4 in U.S. v. Booker to strike down the federal mandatory sentencing guidelines, making them advisory only.
On Jan. 24, 2005 the U.S. Supreme (Rehnquist) Cour rules 8-0-1 in Commissioner v. Banks that a taxpayer's settlement is income, even the contingency fee he pays his atty., except for in employment cases, which are exempted by the 2004 U.S. Am. Jobs Creation Act; Rehnquist recused himself.
A vacant adult gives millions a magic moment with the Void? On Jan. 24, 2005 the U.S. Supreme (Rehnquist) Court clears the way for the plug to be pulled on brain-damaged 41-y.-o. Theresa Marie "Terri" Schiavo (nee Schindler) (b. 1963), who has been kept on life support in Fla. since potassium deficiency and an eating disorder induced a heart attack on Feb. 25 1990, interrupting oxygen flow to her brain for 5 min. and leaving her in a persistent vegetative state (she can open her eyes, but can't think, and depends on a feeding tube); after years of fruitless therapies, her hubby Michael decides to have her feeding tube removed, but her parents Robert and Mary Schindler don't, and they begin a court battle; Repub. Gov. Jeb Bush successfully lobbies the Fla. legislature to pass a law to keep her alive; when the U.S. Supreme Court again clears the way, her feeding tube is pulled on Mar. 18 in her hospice in Pinellas Park; on Mar. 21 the U.S. House by 203-58 passes an emergency law throwing her case into Fla. District Court, which sides with her hubby against her parents; on Mar. 22 Terri's parents beg a federal appeals court to order her feeding tube reinserted; the U.S. Supreme Court refuses to intervene in the case for the 6th time on Mar. 30 at 10:40 p.m., less than 2 hours after the request is filed; she dies on Mar. 31 at 9:05 a.m. amid a throng of protesters; House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-Tex.) asks the House Judiciary Committee to examine the case and make recommendations on how to address a politicized "arrogant, out-of-control" federal judiciary, that he says will have to answer for its actions; on Apr. 13 he apologizes for his remarks, calling them "inartful" (he is a marked man now?); on June 15 an autopsy is released backing Michael's contention that she was in a persistent vegetative state.
Live fast and leave a good-looking corpse? On Mar 1, 2005 the U.S. Supreme (Rehnquist) Court rules 6-3 in Roper v. Simmons to reverse Stanford v. Kentucky (1989), raising the min. age for capital punishment from 16 to 18; dissenters incl. Justices Antonin Scalia, William Rehnquist, and Clarence Thomas, who argue that it is for Congress to set an age not the court; Scalia disses the court for quoting foreign law, with the soundbyte that the court would "invoke alien law when it agrees with one's own thinking, and ignore it otherwise"; a total of 72 people on state death rows around the U.S. are saved - never too old though?
On June 6, 2005 the U.S. (Rehnquist) Supreme Court rules 6-3 in Gonzales v. Raich (Ashcroft v. Raich) that people can be prosecuted for violating federal drug laws for smoking marijuana even if their doctors prescribe it and the state approves it, citing the Commerce Clause and the Necessary and Proper Clause; Justice Antonin Scalia writes that Congress may regulate intrastate activities if it is a necessary part of a more gen. regulation of interstate commerce; Sandra Day O'Connor and Clarence Thomas dissent - I thought I'd never side with a white woman and a black man against a bunch of white men?
On June 27, 2005 the U.S. Supreme (Rehnquist) Court rules 7-2 in Town of Castle Rock v. Gonzales that a town and its police dept. can't be sued in federal court for failing to enforce a restraining order, which led to the murder of a woman's three children by her estranged husband.
On June 27, 2005 the U.S. Supreme (Rehnquist) rules 5-4 in Van Orden v. Perry that it's okay to display the Ten Commandments on govt. property at the Tex. State Capitol in Austin because it is a "passive monument"; meanwhile the same day the court rules 5-4 in McCreary County v. ACLU of Ky. to ban the same kind of display in Ky.; Stephen Breyer is the swing vote in both cases - just blank out the non-PC ones?
On Sept. 22, 2005 after intending him to replace retiring justice Sandra Day O'Connor until chief justice William Rehnquist dies, giving Pres. George W. Bush an idea, the Senate Judiciary Committee by a 13-5 vote approves John Roberts' chief justice nomination; all 10 Repubs. back him, plus three Dems.; Edward Kennedy (Mass.), Joseph Biden (Del.), Dianne Feinstein (Calif.), Charles Schumer (N.Y.), and Dick Durbin (Ill.) vote against him; on Sept. 29 Buffalo, N.Y.-born John Glover Roberts Jr. (b. 1951) (Roman Catholic) becomes the 17th chief justice of the U.S. and assoc. justice #109 (until ?) just hours after the Senate votes 77-23 to confirm him; 22 Dems. (exactly half) join all 55 Repubs.
Ready, jump? On Oct. 31, 2005 Pres. Bush picks extremely right-wing Catholic N.J. native 3rd Circuit U.S. Appeals Court Judge (since 1990, when he was unanimously confirmed by the Senate for the position) Samuel Anthony Alito Jr. (1950-) for Sandra Day O'Connor's seat on the U.S. Supreme Court four days after withdrawing Harriet Miers' name; Sen. Dem. leader Harry Reid of Nev. questions the choice, saying that Alito is "too radical for the American people"; Reid also nixes Judge J. Michael Luttig of the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals and Judge Priscilla Owen of the 5th Circuit; a 1985 application for a promotion in the Reagan. admin. is disclosed by the White House, showing Alito's 1972-87 membership in the Concerned Alumni of Princeton, which lobbied against the university's affirmative action policies; his confirmation will give the court a Roman Catholic majority; ironically, Dem. Catholic Mass. Sen. Edward Kennedy soon drops his membership in the Owl Club, a Harvard college social club that bans women members after it is pointed out to him; Alito is approved by the Senate 58-42 on Jan. 31, 2006, the closest vote since the 1991 52-48 Clarence Thomas vote, becoming U.S. Supreme Court justice #110 (until ?); the lone Repub. Sen. to vote no is Lincoln Chafee (son of Sen. John Chafee, whose seat he was appointed to when he died in 1999) from Dem.-leaning R.I., which Kerry won by 20 points in 2004; Chafee was the only Repub. sen. to vote against the Iraq War resolution; four Dems. vote for Alito, Robert C. Byrd of W.V., Kent Conrad of N.D., Tim Johnson of S.D., and Ben Nelson of Neb. (all from states carried by Pres. Bush in 2004); he is sworn-in as U.S. Supreme Court justice #110 (becoming first in the all-time alphabetized list?), and Sandra Day O'Connor retires and returns to Ariz. On Jan. 11, 2006 Judge Samuel Alito's wife (since 1985) Martha-Ann Bomgardner weeps during Senate confirmation hearings as the Dems. attack his record and credibility, and leaves the room with a migraine headache; on Jan. 31 Alito is sworn-in as U.S. Supreme court justice #110 (until ?).
On May 30, 2006 the U.S. Supreme Court scales back protections for govt. whistleblowers in a 5-4 decision in which Samuel Alito casts the deciding vote; dissenting are David Souter, John Paul Stevens, Ruther Bader Ginsburg, and Stephen Breyer.
On June 29, 2006 the U.S. Supreme Court rules 5-3 in Hamadan v. Rumsfield that Pres. Bush's decision to try Guantanamo Bay detainees in miliatry tribunals violates U.S. and internat. law, incl. the Uniform Code of Military Justice and the four Geneva Conventions of 1949, esp. Common Article 3; Alito goes with the minority, and Roberts does not vote; the biggest rebuke of an overreaching U.S. pres. since Truman and the steel mills in 1952?
On Oct. 1, 2006 the annual Red Mass of Roman Catholic U.S. Supreme Court justices is held at the Cathedral of St. Matthew the Apostle in Washington, D.C., led by Archbishop Donald Wuerl, and is attended by 4 of the 5 Roman Catholics on the court, except Alito.
On Dec. 10, 2007 the U.S. Supreme (Roberts) Court rules 7-2 in Kimbrough v. U.S. that federal district judges may impose sentences outside the federal sentencing guidelines for crack cocaine offenses.
On Mar. 18, 2008 the U.S. Supreme Court begins hearing a challenge to the 1976 Washington D.C. ("murder capital of the U.S.") law banning handguns, and the justices orally indicate that they are finally going to rule that the in-your-face 2nd Amendment to the U.S. Constitution protects the individual's right to own guns, which the court has avoided for over 200 years; "A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the People to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed" -by the government; seems clear, right? wrong, ever since the flintlock was superseded by the Colt 45, yet the one thing Americans believe makes them different than the rest of the world is their right to have a personal arsenal, and if the govt. ever tries to take their guns away, it will be only after prying them from their cold dead fingers?
On Mar. 19, 2008 the U.S. Supreme (Roberts) Courts rules 7-2 in Snyder v. La. that prosecutors may not use peremptory strikes to remove African-Am. jurors solely on the basis of race; Justices Clarence Thomas and Antonin Scalia dissent on the grounds that the court is merely second-guessing the decisions of the trial court, and doesn't really know the true reasons.
On June 25, 2008 the U.S. Supreme (Roberts) Court rules 5-4 in Kennedy v. La. that the 8th Amendment's Cruel and Unusual Punishments Clause does not permit a state to execute child rapists, and on Oct. 1 refuses to reconsider after it is informed that it overlooked a recent federal law authorizing capital punishment for members of the military.
On June 27, 2008 after policeman Dick Heller challenges the District of Columbia's de facto handgun ban (a 1976 law requiring handguns to be registered, while never issuing any registrations) it rules 5-4 in District of Columbia v. Heller that Washington, D.C. may not ban personal gun ownership, and that there is an individual right to bear arms independent of militias for self-defense, throwing the zillions of state and local gun laws up for grabs, and giving anti-Second Amendment forces their Roe v. Wade later when Scalia suddenly dies; "Undoubtedly, some think that the Second Amendment is outmoded in a society where our standing army is the pride of the nation, where well-trained police forces provide personal security and where gun violence is a serious problem. That is perhaps debatable, but what is not debatable is that it is not the role of this court to pronounce the Second Amendment extinct" (Antonin Scalia); "Today's ruling recognizes that gun ownership, like the freedom of speech or the right to freely assemble, is a fundamental right" (U.S. Sen. Wayne Allard); "Like most rights, the Second Amendment right is not unlimited. It is not a right to keep and carry any weapon whatsoever in any manner and for whatever purpose" (Scalia); the ruling only applies to weapons "in common use" incl. handguns, and not to dangerous or unusual weapons; the ruling only applies to D.C. until "McDonald v. City of Chicago" (2010); on June 27 the NRA sues San Francisco, Calif. to overturn its ban on guns in public housing.
On Apr. 21, 2009 the U.S. Supreme Court rules 5-4 in Ariz. v. Gant that police may search the passenger compartment of a vehicle after the occupant is under arrest without a warrant only if it is reasonable to believe tht the persn might access the vehicle at the time of the search, or that the vehicle contains evidence of the offense for which they are being arrested, unless there is an actual and continuing threat to officer safety, overturning New York v. Belton (1981) and Thornton v. U.S. (2004); Justices Alito, Roberts, Kennedy, and Breyer dissent.
On Apr. 22, 2009 the U.S. Supreme Court hears arguments on a reverse discrimination suit by white firefighters in New Haven, Conn., appearing divided; on June 29 in Ricci v. DeStefano they rule 5-4 in favor of the firefighters (even though the appeals court led by Sonia Sotomayor ruled against their case with the "disparate impact" excuse), with the soundbyte "an employer could not cast aside a selection method based on a statistical disparity alone"; Ruth Bader Ginsburg dissents, writing "Relying heavily on written tests to select fire officers is a questionable practice, to say the least."
On May 26, 2009 after David Souter announces his retirement (June 29), Pres. Obama nominates New York City-born U.S. Appeals judge (since 1998) Sonia Sotomayor (1954-) (whose parents were immigrants from Puerto Rico, and who is known for ending the 1994 ML baseball strike) for the U.S. Supreme Court, becoming the first Hispanic nominated; Repubs. immediately dredge up her past statements showing she might be a budding judicial activist and/or Latin racist and vow to fight; in 2001 she uttered the soundbyte "Justice O'Connor has often been cited as saying that a wise old man and wise old woman will reach the same conclusion in deciding cases... I am also not so sure that I agree with the statement... I would hope that a wise Latina woman with the richness of her experiences would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a white male who hasn't lived that life", causing Newt Gingrich to call her a "reverse racist" and call for her to withdraw, and Christian televangelist Pat Robertson to call her nomination an "outrage", calling her "one of the most left-wing judges that there is in the United States"; on May 29 the Obama admin. backs down a little, calling her choice of words "poor". On July 13 the U.S. Senate begins confirmation hearings for judge Sonia Sotomayor, who claims that her guiding principle is "fidelity to the law"; hostile Sen. (since 2003) Lindsey Olin Graham (1955-) (R-S.C.) (successor to Strom Thurmond) utters the soundbyte: "Unless you have a complete meltdown, you're going to get confirmed", since the Dems. have enough votes to confirm her without Repub. help; four anti-abortion protesters are arrested, incl. original Roe v. Wade "Jane Roe" litigant Norma Leah McCorvey (1947-); on July 14 Graham questions her judicial temperament, saying that she "sticks out like a sore thumb" compared to other judges; she says that she will have an "open mind" on gun rights, adding "I have friends who hunt", says that she considers the question of abortion rights to be "settled law" along with a constitutional right to privacy, and attempts to defuse critics of her "wise Latina" remarks by calling it a "misunderstanding", and uttering the soundbyte: "To give everyone assurance, I want to state up front and without doubt, I do not believe that any racial, gender, or ethnic group has an advantage in sound judgment", adding "Life experiences have to influence you. We're not robots who listen to evidence and don't have feelings. We have to recognize those feelings, and put them aside"; she also contradicts Pres. Obama's "empathy" criterion, with the soundbyte "I wouldn't approach the issue of judging in the way the president does. He has to explain what he meant by judging. I can only explain what I think judges should do, which is judges can't rely on what's in their heart. They don't determine the law. Congress makes the laws; on July 15 it turns into a circus, with Sen. Al Franken asking her in which episode of Perry Mason he lost his only case; answer: The Case of the Deadly Verdict (Oct. 17, 1963) - but Latina women are wiser than white men, and her friends hunt fish with fishing poles? On Aug. 6 the U.S. Senate confirms her by a 68-31 vote, with 9 of 40 Repubs. voting for her, incl. Lamar Alexander of Tenn.; John McCain of Ariz. votes against her, and Jeff Sessions of Ala. says that at least Obama won't nominate any more judges who claim to be guided by empathy; new Dem. Sen. Al Franken presides over the Senate during the vote; on Aug. 8 she is sworn in as U.S. Supreme Court justice #111 (until ?), becoming the first Hispanic and Latina U.S. Supreme Court justice, 3rd female, and 12th Roman Catholic (until ?).
On Jan. 21, 2010 the U.S. Supreme Court rules 5-4 in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission that corps. can spend freely on political campaigns, and don't have to go through PACs; justice John Paul Stevens writes the dissenting opinion, dissing the court for stretching its jurisdiction over the film "Hillary: The Movie" in order to create a broad sweeping opinion; the Obama admin. responds with the U.S. Disclosure Act to get around it, which Repubs. unite to stop from passing with a filibuster; in Mar. the IRS begins closely scrutinizing orgs. with certain words in their names that are applying for tax-exempt status under Section 501(c)(4), developing the "Be on the Look Out List" in Aug.; too bad, it flags the words "Tea Party", "patriots", "Israel", "occupy", "progressive", and "9/12 Project", leading to the 2013 IRS Scandal. On Apr. 9 U.S. Supreme Court justice John Paul Stevens announces his retirement at the end of the session in June, leaving the court with no Protestants for the first time ever (until ?); he turns 90 on Apr. 20.
On June 28, 2010 the U.S. Supreme Court by 5-4 in McDonald vs. Chicago strikes down the 28-y.-o. handgun ban in Chicago, Ill., extending rights to own guns to every state and city in the U.S., declaring that the right to self-defense with them as espoused in "District of Columbia v. Heller" (2008) is fundamental, becoming a giant V for pro-gun forces; Obama's appointee Sonia Sotomayor sides with the minority, as does retiring justice John Paul Stevens; the plaintiffs are represented by Israel-born DC v. Heller atty. Alan Gura. On June 28 the U.S. Supreme Court rules 5-4 in Christian Legal Society v. Martinez that a public law school (U. of Calif. Hastings) did not violate the First Amendment by withdrawing recognition from a Christian student group that discriminated against gay/lez students; dissenter Samuel A. Alito Jr. calls it "a serious setback for freedom of expression in this country."
On May 10, 2010 Pres. Obama nominates New York City-born U.S. solicitor gen. #45 (since Mar. 19, 2009) (dean #11 of Harvard Law School since July 1, 2003, the first female) (never been a judge) (Jewish) (closet lesbian?) Elena Kagan (1960-) for the U.S. Supreme Court, calling her a "trailblazing lady" who was admired "across the ideological spectrum", and is known for a "habit of understanding before disagreeing"; she is known for the soundbyte "Someone suspected of helping finance al-Qaida should be subject to battlefield law - indefinite detention without a trial - even if he were captured in a place like the Philippines rather than a physical battle zone"; at Harvard she accepted a $20M gift from the Saudi royal family to establish a center for Islamic studies, incl. horrible Sharia law; the 850-member Rabbinical Alliance of Am. says that she is "not kosher" and "not fit to sit on this court or any court" because "she will function as a flame-throwing radical, hastening society's already steep decline into Sodom and Gomorrah"; on Aug. 5 she is confirmed by the Senate by 63-37, with five Repubs. for and one Dem. against; on Aug. 7 she is sworn-in as U.S. Supreme Court justice #112 (until ?), becoming the first Hispanic and Latina U.S. Supreme Court justice, 4th woman, and 12th Roman Catholic (until ?), also the youngest (until ?), giving the court a record three women members (one-third); she recuses herself from nearly half of the 51 cases before the Oct. 4 term because of potential conflicts of interest.
On June 1, 2010 the U.S. Supreme Court rules 5-4 in Berguis v. Thompkins that criminal suspects must explicitly invoke their right to remain silent to force police to stop questioning; new justice Sonia Sotomayor dissents, saying "Today's decision turns Miranda upside down. Criminal suspects must now unambiguously invoke their right to remain silent - which, counterintuitively, requires them to speak."
On Mar. 2, 2011 the U.S. Supreme (Roberts) Court rules 8-1 in Snyder v. Phelps that protests by the anti-gay Westboro Baptist Church of Topeka, Kan. at military funerals where they shout that God is killing U.S. soldiers to punish the U.S. for homosexuality are constitutionally protected, trumping a jury verdict that they're offensive; Samuel Alito is the lone dissenter, saying a family has a right to bury their dead sons in peace.
On May 26, 2011 the U.S. Supreme Court rules 5-3 in Chamber of Commerce v. Whiting to uphold the 2007 Ariz. law revoking licenses of businesses knowingly employing illegal aliens, becoming a big D for the Obama admin.; dissenters incl. Justices Stephen Breyer, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, and Sonia Sotomayor; Kagan recused herself.
On May 31, 2011 the U.S. Supreme Court by 8-0 throws out the lawsuit against former U.S. atty.-gen. John Ashcroft by Am.-born Muslim Abdullah al-Kidd, with justice Antonin Scalia writing: "Qualified immunity gives government officials breathing room to make reasonable but mistaken judgments about open legal questions."
On June 20, 2011 the U.S. Supreme Court unanimously rejects a class action for gender discrimination in Wal-Mart Stores Inc. v. Dukes, but splits 5-4 over the scope of the decision.
On June 27, 2011 the U.S. Supreme (Roberts) Court by 5-4 in McComish v. Bennett strikes down a key provision of an Ariz. public financing law, giving those who opt for campaign funds from the govt. to apply for more if their privately-financed opponents spend more than they get, saying that a "trigger mechanism" violates the free speech rights of the opponents.
On June 27, 2011 the U.S. Supreme (Roberts) Court rules 7-2 in Brown (Schwarzenegger) v. Entertainment Merchants Assoc. that states don't have the power to act as parents and censor violent games for minors, voiding a 2005 Calif. law.
On Jan. 11, 2012 the U.S. Supreme (Roberts) Court rules 9-0 in Hosanna-Tabor Evangelical Lutheran Church and School vs. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission that churches have the right to make employment decisions free from govt. interference over discrimination laws with the "ministerial exception", handing the Obama admin. a big D.
On Jan. 18, 2012 the U.S. Supreme (Roberts) Court rules 6-2 in Golan v. Holder that Congress has the power to renew copyrights beyond their expiration dates, throwing the works of Sergei Prokofiev et al. back under copyright.
On Jan. 23 the U.S. Supreme (Roberts) Court rules 9-0 in U.S. v. Jones that law enforcement must get a warrant to use GPS devices to track suspects.
On Jan. 7, 2013 the U.S. Supreme Court dismisses an appeal from scientists trying to block federal funding of stem cell research on human embryos.
On Feb. 19, 2013 the U.S. Supreme Court rules unanimously in Fla. v. Harris that police may use dogs to sniff for undercover illegal drugs if they ae tested and certified.
On June 3, 2013 the U.S. Supreme Court rules 5-4 in Md. v. King that police can take DNA from arrestees without a warrant, with Anthony Kennedy calling it "a legitimate police booking procedure"; Antonin Scalia sides with the women (Ginsburg, Sotomayor, Kagan) in dissenting.
On June 13, 2013 the U.S. Supreme Court unanimously rules in Assoc. for Molecular Pathology v. Myriad Genetics Inc. that human genes cannot be patented, but permits patenting of synthetic DNA; meanwhile it fails to announce rulings on affirmative action, voting rights, and gay marriage.
On June 17, 2013 the U.S. Supreme Court rules 5-4 in Salinas v. Tex. that prosecutors can use a person's silence in court against them if it comes before he's read his Miranda rights; Justice Alito was the force behind this insane travesty?
On June 25, 2013 the U.S. Supreme Court by 5-4 strikes down Section 4 of the 1965 U.S. Voting Act, designating "covered jurisdictions" of the U.S. that must have changes to their voting laws cleared by the federal govt., because the "pervasive... flagrant... widespread... rampant" discrimination in 1965 is kaput, and "today's statistics tell an entirely different story"; the real statistics prove otherwise?
A new meaning for "to have and to hold" in America? On June 26, 2013 the U.S. Supreme Court by 5-4 strikes down the 1996 U.S. Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) for violating the Fifth Amendment by depriving people of equal liberty, meaning that legally married (in their state) gay married couples can't be treated differently than legally married straight couples by the federal govt.; John Roberts, Antonin Scalia, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Bryer, and Elena Kagan are opposed by Anthony Kennedy, Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito, and Sonia Sotomayor; John Roberts writes for the majority that the private proponents of Calif. Proposition 8 don't have standing to defend the measure in federal courts, but that same-sex couples are entitled to federal benefits; Anthony Kennedy writes the soundbyte that DOMA "violates basic due process and equal protection principles applicable to the federal government", and calls it "an intrusion on states' traditional role defining marriage", adding "DOMA undermines both the public and private significance of state-sanctioned same-sex marriages, for it tells those couples, and all the world, that their otherwise valid marriages are unworthy of federal recognition"; Pres. Obama calls DOMA "discrimination enshrined in law", uttering the soundbyte: "It treated loving, committed gay and lesbian couples as a separate and lesser class of people. The Supreme Court has righted that wrong, and our country is better off for it. We are a people who declared that we are all created equal, and the love we commit to one another must be equal as well"; Obama announces that he has directed his admin. to "review all relevant federal statutes to ensure this decision, including its implications for federal benefits and obligations, is implemented swiftly and smoothly", adding "The laws of our land are catching up to the fundamental truth that millions of Americans hold in our hearts: when all Americans are treated as equal, no matter who they are or whom they love, we are all more free"; he calls the plaintiffs in the Calif. Proposition 8 case from Air Force One en route to Senegal to congratulate them, with the soundbyte: "It's because of your leadership things are heading the right way." On June 28 after the U.S. Supreme Court ruling striking down DOMA, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals lifts its stay on same-sex marriage, making Calif. state #11, causing a rush of applications.
On Dec. 31, 2013 U.S. Supreme Court justice Sonia Sotomayor puts a temporary stay on the Obama admin. from forcing some religious-affiliated groups to provide health insurance coverage of birth control or face penalties.
On Feb. 25, 2014 the U.S. Supreme Court rules 6-3 in Fernandez v. Calif. that although an objecting co-resident may stop police from searching a dwelling, if he is removed via a lawful arrest and another co-resident consents, police may do the search, giving them the option of you know what to get what they want.
On Apr. 2, 2014 the U.S. Supreme Court rules 5-4 in McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission that the First Amendment invalidates aggregate contribution limits to nat. party and federal candidate committees; Justice Clarence Thomas decries all contribution limits.
On Apr. 22, 2014 the U.S. Supreme Court rules 6-2 in Schuette v. Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action that voters in Mich. have the right to ban race-based preferences in college admissions, upholding the 2006 Mich. Civil Rights Initiative.
On May 5, 2014 the U.S. Supreme Court rules 5-4 in Town of Greece v. Galloway that legislative sessions may be begun with prayers.
On June 23, 2014 the U.S. Supreme Court rules that the Obama admin. has no authority to require some cos. to draft new plans for cutting CO2 emissions as part of the permit process for expanding or building new facilities; the more ambitious program to cut CO2 emissions from new power plants by 30% by 2030 is unaffected.
On June 25, 2014 the U.S. Supreme Court rules unanimously in Riley v. Calif. that warantless cell phone searches are unconstitutional; it also rules 6-3 in Am. Broadcasting Cos. v. Aereo Inc. that a video-streaming device allowing users to capture and view broadcast TV content on portable devices violates copyright law.
On June 26, 2014 the U.S. Supreme Court rules that Pres. Obama overstepped his authority by trying to circumvent the U.S. Senate and install recess nominees to key positions, saying that he must wait for Congress to break for at least 10 days before he can use his recess powers, and that the lawmakers get to decide what constitutes a recess.
On June 30, 2014 the U.S. Supreme Court rules 5-4 in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores Inc. that closely-held corps. can opt out of a regulation for religious objections incl. providing contraception coverage under Obamacare.
On Oct. 6, 2014 (Mon.) the U.S. Supreme Court begins its session, promptly denying seven petitions regarding same-sex marriages, allowing them to to proceed in five states incl. Va.
On Feb. 4, 2015 U.S. Supreme Court justice Ruther Bader Ginsburg utters the soundbyte at Georgetown U. that there will be enough women on the court when "there are nine".
On June 1, 2015 the U.S. Supreme Court rules by 8-1 in EEOC v. Abercrombie & Fitch that employers must accomodate job applicants and employees with religious needs incl. wearing a hijab even if they don't reveal their religion and the employer at least has an idea.
On June 8, 2015 the U.S. Supreme Court sides with Pres. Obama and criticizes Congress for "overstepping its bounds", rejecting an appeal from Menachem Binyamin Zivotofsky to have his passport list "Jerusalem, Israel" as his birthplace, causing Palestinian Authority spokesman Nabil Abu Rudeineh to issue the soundbyte: "The decision sends an obvious message that Israel is an occupying power of East al-Quds, the West Bank, and the Gaza Strip"; Israeli immigration minister Ze'ev Elkin replies that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel and "will remain that for eternity."
On June 10, 2015 a coalition of religious groups incl. the Common Good Foundation, Liberty Council, and Vision America Action pub. a full-page ad in the Washington Post, which vows that they will not accept a U.S. Supreme Court ruling in favor of same-sex marriage, with Common Good Foundation founder (Roman Catholic deacon) Keith Fournier uttering the soundybte: "One of the silver linings of this dark cloud, and it is a dark cloud is that we're coming together, Evangelicals, Protestants out of the mainstream traditions, Catholics and Orthodox, and faithful Jews and other people of good will are coming together to stand up again for what cannot be changed, and that is the nature of marriage."
On June 25, 2015 the U.S. Supreme Court rules 6-3 to uphold Obamacare despite contested language in the fine print, essentially rewriting the law at will; so-called conservative Chief Justice John Roberts saves Obamacare for the 2nd time; Justice Anton Scalia issues a scathing dissent, with the soundbytes: "Having transformed two major parts of the law, the Court today has turned its attention to a third. The Act that Congress passed makes tax credits available only on an 'Exchange established by the State. This Court, however, concludes that this limitation would prevent the rest of the Act from working as well as hoped. So it rewrites the law to make tax credits available everywhere. We should start calling this law SCOTUScare... And the cases will publish forever the discouraging truth that the Supreme Court of the United States favors some laws over others, and is prepared to do whatever it takes to uphold and assist its favorites"; "Perhaps sensing the dismal failure of its efforts to show that 'established by the State' means 'established by the State or the Federal Government', the Court tries to palm off the pertinent statutory phrase as 'inartful drafting. This Court, however, has no free-floating power 'to rescue Congress from its drafting errors'." (Justice Antonin Scalia)
On June 26, 2015 (Fri.) the U.S. Supreme (Roberts) Court rules 6-3 in Obergefell v. Hodges that all states must issue same-sex marriage licenses, and recognize those from other states, citing the "fundamental right to marry"; there are 390K married same-sex couples in the U.S. already, and 37 states that permit same-sex marriage; after calling gay plaintiff Jim Obergefell, Pres. Obama praises the decision as "a victory for America", saying that it's an example of a day when justice "arrives like a thunderbolt", with the soundbyte: "This morning the Supreme Court recognized that the Constitution guarantees marriage equality. In doing so, they've reaffirmed that all Americans are entitled to the equal protection of the law, that all people should be treated equally regardless of who they are or who they love"; Repub. appointee Anthony Kennedy joins the liberal wing of Stephen Breyer, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Sonia Sotomayor, and Elena Kagan to back the ruling, with Kennedy delivering the majority opinion, with the soundbyte: "No union is more profound than marriage, for it embodies the highest ideals of love, fidelity, devotion, sacrifice, and family. In forming a marital union, two people become something greater than once they were. As some of the petitioners in these cases demonstrate, marriage embodies a love that may endure even past death. It would misunderstand these men and women to say that disrespect the idea of marriage. Their plea is that they do respect it, respect it so deeply that they seek to find its fulfillment for themselves. Their hope is not to be condemned to live in loneliness, excluded from one of civilization's oldest institutions. They ask for equal dignity in the eyes of the law. The Constitution grants them that right"; dissenter Chief Justice John Roberts sets a precedent by reading his dissent from the bench, saying that gays should celebrate their ruling, but "do not celebrate the Constitution. It had nothing to do with it. This court is not a legislature. Whether same-sex marriage is a good idea should be of no concern to us"; Justice Antonin Scalia, joined by Justice Clarence Thomas issue a scating dissent calling the decision a "putsch", and Kennedy's lightweight reasoning "the mystical aphorisms of a fortune cookie" and a "threat to American democracy" threatening the main principle of the Am. Rev., viz. "the freedom [of the People] to govern themselves", destroying the age-old definition of marriage as one man and one woman "in an opinion lacking even a thin veneer of law", "a naked judicial claim to legislative - even super-legislative -power; a claim fundamentally at odds with our system of government", dissing the "notorious nine" as "hardly a cross-section of America", all people from elite law schools sans a single person from middle-America, or a single Protestant, which has turned the U.S. govt. 180 degrees from "no taxation without representation" to "social transformation without representation", comparing it with the Pearl Harbor Attack by saying the decision will live in infamy, implying that the Court is drunk with power and is moving "one step closer to being reminded of our impotence"; "Today's decree says that my Ruler, and the Ruler of 320 million Americans coast-to-coast, is a majority of the nine lawyers on the Supreme Court. The opinion in these cases is the furthest extension in fact - and the furthest extension one can even imagine - of the Court's claimed power to create 'liberties' that the Constitution and its Amendments neglect to mention. This practice of constitutional revision by an unelected committee of nine, always accompanied (as it is today) by extravagant praise of liberty, robs the People of the most important liberty they asserted in the Declaration of Independence and won in the Revolution of 1776: the freedom to govern themselves"; dissenting Justice Clarence Thomas writes the soundbyte that the court's "decision threatens the religious liberty our Nation has long sought to protect.. In our society, marriage is not simply a governmental institution; it is a religious institution as well. Today's decision might change the former, but it cannot change the latter. It appears all but inevitable that the two will come into conflict, particularly as individuals and churches are confronted with demands to participate in and endorse civil marriages between same-sex couples. The majority appears unmoved by that inevitability"; Michelle Cretella, pres. of the Am. College of Pediatricians utters the soundbyte: "The SCOTUS has just undermined the single greatest pro-child institution in the history of mankind: the natural family. Just as it did in the joint Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton decisions, the SCOTUS has elevated and enshrined the wants of adults over the needs of children" - it's all the women's fault, hence it's time to not only impeach the justices but repeal the 19th Amendment? ;)
On June 29, 2015 the U.S. Supreme Court by 5-4 rules to block Pres. Obama's EPA mercury and air toxics standards, saying that the admin. failed to adequately consider the $10B price tag.
On Dec. 9, 2015 during arguments over Fisher v. Texas questioning affirmative action, U.S. Supreme Court justice Antonin Scalia utters the soundbyte that maybe it's a good thing to exclude African-Am. students from top-tier universities because they could go to a "less advanced school, a slower-track school where they do well", adding "Most black scientists do not come from advanced schools. It does not benefit them. They benefit from a slower track", pissing-off the PC police.
On Feb. 12/13, 2016 (night) Antonin Scalia (b. 1936), conservative pillar of the U.S. Supreme Court unexpectedly dies of a heart attack on a hunting trip in Tex., throwing conservatives into a panic and changing the stakes of the pres. election; he dies after attending a meeting of the secret Internat. Order of St. Hubertus linked to the all-male Bohemian Grove?; his death is a leftist conspiracy?
On Mar. 16, 2016 Pres. Obama nominates centrist judge Merrick Brian Garland (1952-) for the U.S. Supreme Court, causing Repub. Sen. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to utter the soundbyte: "The Senate will continue to observe the Biden Rule so that the American people have a voice in this momentous decision", referring to a speech vice-pres. Joseph Biden gave in the Senate on June 25, 1992, which contains the soundbyte: "Action on a Supreme Court nomination must be put off until after the election campaign is over. That is what is fair to the nominee and is central to the process."
On Apr. 4, 2016 the U.S. Supreme Court unanimously rules in Evenwel et al. v. Texas. Gov. Abbott et al. that non-citizens incl. illegal immigrants can be counted by states when drawing legislative districts.
On Apr. 5, 2016 43 U.S. senators led by majority leader Mitch McConnell present a brief to the U.S. Supreme Court in the case of U.S. v. Tex., questioning the legality of the DREAM (Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents) policy, claming that Pres. Obama is seeking to "implement his policy preferences" in regard to certain classes of illegal aliens "by the extra-constitutional assertion of a unilateral executive power."
On Apr. 20, 2016 the U.S. Supreme Court by 6-2 rules that $2B in frozen Iranian assets must be turned over to the families of Americans killed in the 1983 U.S. Marine Corps Barracks bombing.
On June 23, 2016 the U.S. Supreme Court by 4-4 rules that Pres. Obama's mass amnesty plan shielding 4M from immigration lacks authority, becoming a big D.
On July 11, 2016 U.S. Supreme Court justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg gives an interview to the New York Times, dissing Donald Trump and saying that if he were elected "it's time for us to move to New Zealand", causing Trump to demand her resignation for getting involved in politics, after which on July 14 she backs down and apologizes.
On Jan. 31, 2017 Pres. Trump nominates Denver, Colo.-born federal judge Neil McGill Gorsuch (1967-) (son of former EPA head Anne Gorsuch) for the U.S. Supreme Court, causing Dems. to run half-scared at the likelihood of his approval?