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: Aug. 21, 2019.
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 113 U.S. Supreme Court justices, with a makeup consisting of almost all lily-white male Protestants (incl. 34 Episcopalians, 18 Presbyterians, 15 nondenominational Protestants, 9 Unitarians, 5 Methodists, 3 Baptists, 1 Lutheran, and 1 Quaker) until Louis Brandeis (Jewish) (1916), Thurg, 2009ood Marshall (African-Am., 1967), Antonin Scalia (Italian-Am., 1986), Sandra Day O'Connor (female, 1981), and Sonia Sotomayor (Hispanic, female); 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; each U.S. Supreme Court term begins on the first Mon. in Oct. (Zodiac sign Libra, indicating the scales of justice?), and continues until the end of June; landmark decisions of the U.S. Supreme Court cover virtually every aspect of life in the U.S.; other decisions are too numerous to cover here, and only the most interesting for a historyscoper will be covered; currently the court gets about 7K requests a year to hear cases, and they usually pick about 80, plus another 50 they decide without hearing arguments.
On July 3, 1753 English barrister Sir William Blackstone (1723-80) gives up his practice to embark on a series of lectures on English common law, the first of their kind, becoming a big hit and leading to the 1756 pub. of the bestseller An Analysis of the Laws of England (by Clarendon Press), getting him appointed on Oct. 20, 1758 as the first Vinerian Prof. of Common (later English) Law at Oxford U., leading to another series of lectures and the 1758 pub. of A Discourse on the Study of the Law, followed in Nov. 1765 by vol. 1 of 4 of his bestselling magnum opus Commentaries on the Laws of England (1765-9), incl. vol. 1 (rights of persons), vol. 2 (rights of things), vol. 3 (private wrongs), and vol. 4 (public wrongs), which becomes a std. work and is later used by the Am. Founding Fathers, and quoted from in opinions of the U.S. Supreme Court.
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 U.S. Supreme Court chief justice #1 (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.; Pres. Washington becomes the first U.S. pres. to name a majority of justices to the U.S. Supreme Court, followed by Abraham Lincoln, Andrew Jackson, William Taft, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, and Dwight David Eisenhower.
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), who becomes U.S. Supreme Court justice #2 on June 30, 1795 (until Dec. 28, 1795), 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).
In Feb. 1791 the U.S. Supreme (Jay) Court accepts its first docketed case, Van Staphorst v. Md., regarding an Am. Rev. War loan that Md. reneged on; it is settled before oral arguments.
On Aug. 3, 1791 the U.S. Supreme (Jay) Court rules unanimously in West v. Barnes that a writ of error (appeal) must be issued within 10 days by the clerk of the Supreme Court, not by a circuit court, causing Congress to pass section 9 of the U.S. Judicial Act of 1793 to permit it, becoming the first U.S. Supreme Court decision and the first calling for oral argument., which are all pub. by Philly lawyer Alexander James Dallas (1759-1817), the first (unofficial) Supreme Court Reporter in the U.S. Reports starting with vol. 2 (vol. 1 contains Penn. court decisions); in 1817 Congress makes the Reporter of Decisions an official salaried position; they are printed privately until 1874, when the govt. starts funding them.
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. 5, 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 ?) after becoming the first member to author a written opinion; he later becomes a member of the commission which lays out the city of Washington, D.C.
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).
In 1791 the U.S. Supreme Court moves from Independence Hall in Philly to the Federal style Old City Hall in Philly at 5th and Chestnut St. until 1800, after which it has no permanent meeting location until 1810.
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. 2, 1793 after Pres. Washington calls for changes in his annual address to Congress in Nov. at the urging of U.S. atty. gen. Edmund Randolph, the U.S. Judiciary Act of 1793 is passed by the 2nd U.S. Congress (2nd session), authorizing circuit courts to function with only one U.S. Supreme Court justice, modifying regs on who can take bail payments, making rules for writs of ne exeat and injunction, authorizing inter-district subpoenas and limiting witnesses in civil cases to traveling 100 mi., authorizing courts to make their own rules et al.
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.
In 1793 Pres. George Washington lays the cornerstone of the North Wing of the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C. (finished 1805).
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 U.S. Supreme Court chief justice #3 and the 10th justice (until Dec. 15, 1800).
On Mar. 8, 1796 the U.S. Supreme (Ellsworth) Court rules in Hylton v. U.S. that a tax on the possession of goods is not a direct tax that must be apportioned under Article I of the Constitution, as a tax on land would be, becoming the first time the court exercises judicial review, challenging the constitutionality of an act of Congress; the same year the court rules in Ware v. Hylton that an article in the 1783 Treaty of Paris supersedes Va. law under the Supremacy Clause, becoming the first court nullification of a state law; John Marshall gives an eloquent argument to the court that helps make him a star.
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 June 4, 1800 the White House in Washington, D.C. is completed; in Nov. the U.S. Senate relocates from Philly to Washington, D.C., holding sessions in the North Wing of the U.S. Capitol (begun 1793), which is completed in early 1805, housing both houses of Congress, the Supreme Court, and the Library of Congress.
On Jan. 31, 1801 Pres. Adams appoints his secy. of state John Marshall (1755-1835) as the 4th chief justice of the U.S. Supreme Court 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 Feb. 27, 1804 the U.S. Supreme (Marshall) Court unanimously rules in Little v. Barreme that the U.S. pres. doesn't have "inherent authority" or "inherent powers" to ignore a law passed by the U.S. Congress.
On July 27, 1804 after the bad experiences with Thomas Jefferson and Aaron Burr, 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).
In Jan. 1807 former U.S. vice-pres. #3 (1801-5) Aaron Burr Jr. (1756-1836) learns that Gen. James Wilkinson (1757-1825) (gov.. #1 of La. Territory since 1805) has betrayed him as he nears Natchez, Miss., and makes a run for Pensacola, Fla., but on Feb. 19 he is arrested in Ala. and taken to Richmond, Va., and indicted on June 24 for treason for plotting with Wilkinson, Jonathan Dayton et al. to create an empire encompassing the Mississippi Valley, Mexico, and the Am. West; he claims he only wanted to farm 40K acres in Tex. leased to him by Spain; he is tried starting on Aug. 3 in Richmond, Va., presided over by Chief Justice John Marshall, with new U.S. atty. gen. Caesar Augustus Rodney and Md.-born atty. William Wirt (1772-1834) (U.S. atty. gen. #9 in 1817-29) as prosecutors, but is acquitted on Sept. 1 for lack of evidence since he had committed no overt treasonable acts and there weren't two witnesses; after his 1825 death, Wilkinson is found to have been a paid agent for the Spanish crown, causing U.S. pres. Theodore Roosevelt to utter the soundbyte: "In all our history, there is no more despicable character"; during the proceedings Marshall attends a dinner given by Burr and his chief defense counsel, and Jefferson refuses a subpoena to appear in court and produce papers, citing executive privilege; Burr has even more charges pending, but skips bail and flees to France to cool his heels, returning to New York in July 1812 to practice law; meanwhile his beloved daughter Theodosia Burr Alston (1783-1813), wife (since 1801) of S.C. gov. #44 (1812-14) Joseph Alston (1779-1816) (first newlywed couple to honeymoon in Niagara Falls) raises money for him and writes letters to Treasury secy. Albert Gallatin and First Lady Dolley Madison pleading his cause, but never sees him again, sailing to New York from Georgetown, S.C. on Dec. 31, 1812 to meet him and mysteriously disappearing, spawning numerous legends - fly away, I'll see you again?
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 the U.S. Supreme (Marshall) Court rules 4-1 in Fletcher v. Peck to overturn the recission by the Ga. legislature of the Yazoo Land Fraud grant, upholding the law of property and contracts from legislative interference, a nd 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; meanwhile British-born neoclassical architect Benjamin Henry Boneval Latrobe (1764-1820) builds a 2nd U.S. Senate chamber on top of the first, allowing the U.S. Supreme Court to move into the lower half of the 1st chamber in the North Wing of the U.S. Capitol, called the Old Supreme Court Chamber until 1812-9, when it vacates Washington, D.C. because of the British invasion, then returns until 1860, when it moves to the Old Senate Chamber (until 1935).
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 Feb. 13, 1812 the U.S. Supreme (Marshall) Court rules unanimously (6-0) in U.S. v. Hudson that in order for federal courts to render a criminal conviction for some activity, Congress must first enact a law criminalizing the activity, attach a penalty, then give the courts jurisdiction, barring them from trying and convicting defendants for common law crimes and introducing the principle of Nulla poena sine lege (Lat. "no penalty without a law"); courts retain implied powers to punish litigants for contempt of court and for defying court orders; Justice Bushrod Washington recuses himself.
On Mar. 20, 1816 the U.S. Supreme (Marshall) Court rules unanimously (6-0) in Martin v. Hunter's Lessee that they have ultimate authority over state courts in civil matters of federal law to provide for a uniform interpretation of federal law throughout the states; Justice John Marshall recuses himself.
On Feb. 2, 1819 the U.S. Supreme (Marshall) Court rules 6-1 in Dartmouth College v. Woodward that the Contract Clause applies to both public and private corporations, helping launch the modern corp. and the U.S. free enterprise system.
On Mar. 6, 1819 the U.S. Supreme (Marshall) Court rules unanimously 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 rules unanimously 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.
I have an army, do you? You show me yours and I'll show you mine? On Mar. 23, 1832 the U.S. Supreme (Marshall) Court rules 6-1 in Worcester v. Ga. that Ga. cannot pass a law making it a crime for non-Native Ams. to trespass on Native Am. lands, declaring that the U.S. govt. is the sole authority to deal with Native Am. nations, and that the embattled Cherokee Nation is a "distinct political community" within which Ga. law has no force, founding the doctrine of tribal sovereignty, pissing-off Pres. Jackson, who sides with Georgia and utters the soundbyte: "Marshall has made his decision, now let him enforce it", allowing Ga. to keep squeezing the hapless Cherokees - wait until the 1960s for the Court to get its racial decisions enforced by a U.S. pres.?
On Feb. 16, 1833 the U.S. Supreme (Marshall) Court rules unanimously in Barron v. Baltimore that the Bill of Rights cannot be forced on the states, painting a target on their foreheads and leading to the 14th Amendment (1866) and the Incorporation Doctrine based on the Due Process Clause to short-circuit it.
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 U.S. Supreme Court chief justice #5 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 Jan. 24, 1842 the U.S. Supreme (Taney) Court rules unanimously in Swift v. Tyson that federal courts hearing cases brought under their diversity jurisdiction (U.S. Constitution Article 3, Para. 2) pursuant to the U.S. Judiciary Act of 1789 must apply the statutory law of the states when their legislatures had spoken on the issue, but don't have to when they hadn't, allowing the development of a federal common law; too bad, it leads to forum shopping instead; overturned in Erie Railroad Co. v. Tompkins (1938).
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 1845 Samuel Nelson (1793-1873) of N.Y. (Feb. 27) (until Nov. 28, 1972) and N.H.-born (Dartmouth grad.) Levi Woodbury (1789-1851) (Sept. 23) (until Sept. 4, 1851) are appointed as the 28th and 29th U.S. Supreme Court justices to replace Smith Thompson (1823-43), Henry Baldwin (1830-44) and Joseph Story (1812-45), leaving the court at a short eight members.
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.
On Mar. 2, 1852 the U.S. Supreme (Taney) Court rules 6-2 in Cooley v. Board of Wardens that a Penn. law requiring all ships entering or leaving Philly to hire a local pilot does not violate the Commerce Clause, with Justice Benjamin R. Curtis writing the soundbyte: "It is the opinion of a majority of the court that the mere grant to Congress of the power to regulate commerce, did not deprive the States of power to regulate pilots, and that although Congress had legislated on this subject, its legislation manifests an intention, with a single exception, not to regulate this subject, but to leave its regulation to the several states."
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.
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 1839 U.S. Rep. (former U.S. pres.) John Quincy Adams introduces a bill to abolish slavery in the U.S., which doesn't get anywhere; next is on Dec. 14, 1863. 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 sets 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. 7, 1859 the U.S. Supreme (Taney) Court rules unanimously in Ableman v. Booth that state courts cannot interfere with federal laws or issue rulings on federal law contradicting decisions of the federal courts, and reaffirms the constitutionality of the U.S. Fugitive Slave Act, ruling that U.S. marshals may not be interfered with by state officials when doing their duty; the Wisc. legislature responds with states' rights resolutions harking back to the Va. and Ky. Resolutions of Jefferson and Madison of 1798 - states' rights aren't only for Southerners?
On Apr. 12, 1861 - May 9, 1865 the horrific U.S. Civil War sees the invention of the first modern weapon when N.C.-born agricultural equipment maker Richard Jordan Gatling (1818-1903) patents the 10-barrel hand-cranked hundreds-of-rounds-per-min. Gatling Gun (the first practical machine gun) just in time for use on some Johnny Rebs; it is first used by the Union Army in 1864, but luckily never sees extensive use.
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?
On Mar. 2, 1863 the U.S. False Claims Act (Lincoln Law) is passed by Congress, allowing whistleblowers to sue federal contractors in the name of the U.S. govt. and collect a percentage of the recovery; sponsored by U.S. Sen. (R-Mich.) (1862-71) Jacob Merritt Howard (1805-71), who utters the soundbyte: "I have based the provision upon the old-fashioned idea of holding out a temptation, and 'setting a rogue to catch a rogue', which is the safest and most expeditious way I have ever discovered of bringing rogues to justice"; too bad, after the requirement of intent to defraud is eliminated in 1934 (but not materiality), it turns into a tool for the FBI and other federal agencies to institute Stalinesque show trials and get felony convictions just for lying to them, with Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg uttering the 1998 soundbyte that the "extraordinary authority" the act "has conferred on prosecutors to manufacture crimes" can be abused to persecute people for nothing, because the act "may apply to encounters between agents and their targets under extremely informal circumstances which do not sufficiently alert the person interviewed to the danger that false statements may lead to a felony conviction... The suspect is not informed of the right to remain silent. Unlike proceedings in which a false statement can be prosecuted as perjury, there may be no oath, no pause to concentrate the speaker's mind on the importance of his or her answers."
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 U.S. Supreme Court Chief justice #6 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; too bad, the 14th Amendment ends up being used as a crowbar for the federal govt. to quash states rights, incl. granting birthright U.S. citizenship, although this is a misinterpretion, as proved by the words of the sponsor, U.S. Sen. (R-Mich.) (1862-71) Jacob Merritt Howard (1805-71): "This amendment which I have offered is simply declaratory of what I regard as the law of the land already, that every person born within the limits of the United States, and subject to their jurisdiction, is by virtue of natural law and national law a citizen of the United States"; "This will not, of course, include persons born in the United States who are foreigners, aliens, who belong to the families of ambassadors or foreign ministers accredited to the government of the United States, but will include every other class of persons."
On Apr. 3, 1866 the U.S. Supreme (Chase) Court rules in Ex Parte Milligan that trying citizens in military tribunals is unconstitutional when civilian courts are operating.
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; the title of chief justice of the U.S. Supreme Court is changed to chief justice of the U.S.
On Mar. 16, 1868 the U.S. Supreme (Chase) Court rules unainimously in Crandall v. Nev. that a state cannot hinder people from leaving by taxing them, invalidating a $1 tax, with Justice Samuel F. Miller writing the soundbyte: "But if the government has these rights on her own account, the citizen also has correlative rights. He has the right to come to the seat of the government... This right is in its nature independent of the will of any State over whose soil he must pass in the exercise of it."
On Apr. 12, 1869 the U.S. Supreme (Chase) Court rules 7-1 in Texas v. White that the U.S. Constitution doesn't permit states to unilaterally secede from the U.S. - a coverup for the winner's side?
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. 13, 1873 (Easter Sun.) the Battle of Colfax, La. (Colfax Massacre) (Colfax Riot) in Grant Parish, La. 100 mi. S of Shreveport, between an ersatz white La. militia and blacks trying to benefit from Reconstruction and protect their right, er, hope to vote ends in tragedy for the blacks as 150 are killed vs. only three whites; it is later called the last battle of the U.S. Civil War, ending carpetbagger rule in the South; for the previous three weeks the blacks had taken control of Colfax, getting their own candidate (a white man) elected as sheriff, and taking over the courthouse to protect him, causing whites to raise a militia and attack them with guns and cannons in the bloodiest act of carnage in Reconstruction, followed by the survivors being hanged or shot; meanwhile the U.S. govt. looks the other way, and in on Mar. 27, 1876 the convictions of eight ringleaders under the 1870 U.S. Enforcement Act are overturned by the 5-4 U.S. Supreme (Waite) Court decision in U.S. v. Cruikshank, which rules that the First Amendment right to assembly was not intended to limit the power of state govts. with respect to their own citizens, and that the Second Amendment only restricts the powers of the federal govt., with the soundbyte: "The right to bear arms is not granted by the Constitution; neither is it in any manner dependent upon that instrument for its existence. The Second Amendment means no more than that it shall not be infringed by Congress, and has no other effect than to restrict the powers of the National Government"; a marble obelisk is later erected in the cemetery for "the Heroes... Who Fell in the Colfax Riot Fighting for White Supremacy".
On Apr. 14, 1873 the U.S. Supreme (Chase) 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 U.S. Chief Justice #7 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 Mar. 1, 1875 Pres. Grant signs the 1875 U.S. Civil Rights (Enforcement) (Force) Act, promising, er, guaranteeing, er, equal rights to African-Ams. in public accommodations and jury duty; on Oct. 15, 1883 the U.S. Supreme (Waite) Court rules 8-1 to invalidate it, and no more civil rights laws are passed for over 50 years (1957), giving white supremacists a free ride.
On Mar. 1, 1877 the U.S. Supreme (Waite) Court rules 7-2 in Munn v. Ill. affirms the constitutionality of state regulation of private industries that affect public interests such as grain storage facilities, upholding an Ill. law backed by the Nat. Grange to set max rates private cos. can charge for storage and transport of agricultural products; reversed in Wabash, St. Louis & Pacific Railway Co. v. Ill. (1886).
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 ?, 1877 the U.S. Supreme (Waite) Court rules in Meister v. Moore that a Mich. law establishing rules for solemnizing marriges didn't abolish pre-existing common-law marriage - more than a mister?
On Jan. 6, 1879 after the Mormons send Brigham Young's secy. George Reynolds as a test case on polygamy, the U.S. Supreme (Waite) Court rules unanimously in Reynolds v. U.S. that religious duty is not a defense to a criminal indictment, becoming the first case to address the Impartial Jury and Confrontation Clauses of the Sixth Amendment.
On Mar. 17, 1879 the U.S. Supreme (Waite) Court rules unanimously in Wilkerson v. Utah that execution by firing squad doesn't violate the Eight Amendment's prohibition of cruel and unusual punishment, which include "punishments of torture" and cases "where the prisoner was drawn or dragged to the place of execution, in treason; or where he was emboweled alive, beheaded, and quartered, in high treason", as well as "public dissection in murder, and burning alive in treason committed by a female."
U.S. evidence law finds a black hole? On Mar. 17, 1879 the accidental shooting death of John Wesley Hillmon by companion John Brown at their campsite near Medicine Lodge, Colo., later reported by widow Sallie Hillmon to collect on three insurance policies totaling $25K ends up with them accusing her of fraud, alleging that Hillmon and Brown had conspired to kill another man, Frederick Adolph Waters, and bury him in Hillmon's clothes; photos of the corpse at the time of burial seem to be a push when compared with the two living photos; the 20-year court fight goes through six trials and two U.S. Supreme Court challenges, and is settled by a letter purporting to be by Walters telling a girlfriend that he planned to travel somewhere with Hillmon, with the U.S. Supreme (Fuller) Court ruling unanimously on May 16, 1891 in Mutual Life Insurance Co. v. Hillmon to create the "state-of-mind exception" to the federal hearsay evidence rule, namely, that a person's expressed intent to do something can be used to prove that he did it; too bad, on Oct. 21, 2006 U. of Colo. profs. announce that they have proved it was Hillmon all along using the 1879 photos, and didn't need DNA evidence, which is good since a 2006 exhumation of the body failed to produce any? - and couldn't Walters just step forward and say welcome, welcome to another year at Hogwarts?
On Mar. 1, 1880 the U.S. Supreme (Waite) Court rules 7-2 in Strauder v. W. Va. that people can't be excluded from juries solely because of their race as a violation of the Equal Protection Clause, becoming the first time the court reverses a state criminal conviction for violating a constitutional provision concerning criminal procedure.
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 Dec. 4, 1882 the U.S. Supreme (Waite) Court rules 5-4 in U.S. v. Lee that the U.S govt.'s seizure of Arlington House from the family of Confed. Gen. Robert E. Lee was illegal, returning it to them; next year they sell it back to the federal govt. for $150K.
In 1882 U.S. Supreme Court Justice Horace Gray hires the first U.S. Supreme Court Law Clerk; by modern times each associate justice is allowed four law clerks, and the chief justice five; seven have gone on eo become Supreme Court justices, incl. Byron White (Vinson, 1946-7), John Paul Stevens (Rutledge, 1947-8), William Rehnquist (Jackson, 1952-3), Stephen Breyer (Goldberg, 1963-4), John Roberts (Rehnquist, 1980-1), Elena Kagan (Marshall, 1987-8), and Neil Gorsuch (Kennedy and White, 1993-4); Alger Hiss, law clerk for Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes in 1929-30 is the only clerk convicted of federal felonies and sentenced to prison.
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. 4, 1886 the U.S. Supreme (Waite) Court rules in Presser v. Ill. that states may prohibit private armies, with the soundbyte: "Unless restrained by their own constitutions, state legislatures may enact statutes to control and regulate all organizations, drilling, and parading of military bodies and associations except those which are authorized by the militia laws of the United States"; it also rules that the Second Amendment limits only the power of Congress and the federal govt. to control firearms, not that of the states, and that the right peaceably to assemble applies only to the right to petition the govt. for redress of grievances.
On May 10, 1886 the U.S. Supreme (Waite) Court rules in Santa Clara County v. Southern Pacific Railroad Co., to definitively accept the doctrine that the word "person" in the 14th Amendment applies to corporations as well as individuals.
On Oct. 25, 1886 the U.S. Supreme (Waite) Court rules 6-3 in Wabash, St. Louis & Pacific Railway Co. v. Ill. to lessen the force of its 1877 Granger ruling regarding state regulatory power, severely limiting the rights of states to control interstate commerce.
On Feb. 4, 1887 after the 1886 U.S. Supreme Court Wabash case declares state Granger laws an unconstitutional attempt to control interstate commerce, Pres. Cleveland signs the U.S. Interstate Commerce Act of 1887, regulating the railroads via the Interstate Commerce Commission (ICC), the first regulatory agency in the U.S. (abolished Jan. 1, 1996); chmn. #1 is former Mich. chief justice (1864-85) Thomas McIntyre Cooley (1824-98).
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 Feb. 3, 1890 the U.S. Supreme (Fuller) Court rules unanimously in Davis v. Beason that federal laws against Islam, er, polygamy don't violate the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment, with Justice Stephen J. Field writing the soundbytes: "However free the exercise of religion may be, it must be subordinate to the criminal laws of the country, passed with reference to actions regarded by general consent as properly the subjects of punitive legislation", and "Swift punishment would follow the carrying into effect of its doctrines, and no heed would be given to the pretense that, as religious beliefs, their supporters could be protected in their exercise by the constitution of the United States."
On May 19, 1890 the U.S. Supreme (Fuller) Court rules in In re Kemmler that execution by electric chair does not violate the Eighth Amendment's prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment, writing the soundbyte: "If the punishment prescribed for an offense against the laws of the State were manifestly cruel and unusual as burning at the stake, crucifixion, breaking on the wheel, or the like, it would be the duty of the courts to adjudge such penalties to be within the constitutional prohibition" - what's wrong with the original idea of trial by ordeal, and if God lets him off, that settles it? On Aug. 6, 1890 (7:00 a.m.) after Thomas Edison helps nix his appeal in hopes that the use of Westinghouse's AC rather than his DC will give them a bad name, convicted common-law wife hatchet murderer William Francis Kemmler (b. 1860) becomes the first person to be executed on an Electric Chair as N.Y. tries out its brand-new 1888 model in Auburn Prison; after being zapped for 17 sec. with 1K volts, he is still breathing, so they juice it up to 2K volts for 70 sec., during which time he catches fire and nauseated witnesses run for it, backfiring on Edison and stinking his name up bigtime, while not harming the rep of AC - the original Green Mile?
On May 19, 1890 the U.S. Supreme (Fuller) Court rules 6-3 in Late Corp. of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints v. United States to uphold the 1887 U.S. Edmunds-Tucker Act, disincorporating the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons); Justice Fuller dissents on the basis that "it is not authorized under the cover of that power to seize and confiscate the property of persons, individuals, or corporations, without office found, because they may have been guilty of criminal practices"; only $381,812 of $3M in assets are seized, and real property isn't touched because the church acts too fast to prohibit polygamy.
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.
In 1891 the practice of circuit riding by U.S. Supreme Court justices (begun 1789) is abolished.
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.1893 is a good year for funky legal pronouncements from on high? On Mar. 3, 1893 after the U.S. Civil War ruins the Southern tomato biz, allowing Caribbean competitors to gain a foothold, the U.S. Congress passes the U.S. Tariff Act of 1883 (Mongrel Tariff Act), which raises tariffs on some items and lowers them on others, exempting fruit not vegetables, pissing-off tomato growers John Nix et al., who sue the U.S. govt. in 1887 on the claim that tomatoes are botanically classified as fruits (ovary and seeds of flowering plants), which New York port collector Edward L. Hedden counters by pointing out that eggplants, cucumbers, squashes, peppers, and peas are commonly regarded as vegetables; on May 10, 1893 the U.S. Supreme (Fuller) Court rules unanimously in Nix v. Hedden to declare the tomato (Solanum lycopersicum, of the nightshade family) to be a vegetable for the purposes of the 1883 Tariff Act, with Horace Gray writing the majority opinion, becoming a highlight for the boring nutty fruitcake full-of-it Melville Fuller court; in 2003 a N.J. state rep. unsuccessfully tries to make the Jersey tomato the state fruit (high-bush blueberry wins), but Ark. makes it the state fruit and vegetable to cover all bases; meanwhile the Southern Calif. Fruit Exchange is founded in Claremont (near Los Angeles), Calif. by orange grower Edward L. Dreher (1877-1964), who becomes "the Father of the Calif. Citrus Industry"; in 1896 lemon growers join; by 1905 it has 5K members (45% of the Calif. citrus industry), dropping the Southern; in 1907 it launches the Sunkist brand; in 1952 it becomes Sunkist Growers Inc.
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 Mar. 1, 1897 the U.S. Supreme (Fuller) Court rules unanimously in Allgeyer v. La. that the word "liberty" in the 14th Amendment's Due Process Clause means economic liberty, leading to the Lochner Era (1905-37), in which the court strikes down several state regs. infringing on a person's right to contract.
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").
The original Wong Raiders of the Lost Ark, or the original Wong Way Corrigan? On Mar. 28, 1898 the U.S. Supreme (Fuller) Court votes 6-2 in U.S. v. Wong Kim Ark that Wong Kim Ark (1873-), a child born in the U.S. to Chinese immigrants ("citizen by the accident of birth") is a U.S. citizen; Jusices Melville Fuller and John M. Harlan dissent; Justice Joseph McKenna recuses himself - the limes are permanently down now and all the white citizens can do is wall the towns?
On Apr. 25, 1898 the U.S. Supreme (Fuller) Court unanimously decides in Williams v. Mississippi that Southern blacks can be tried by all-white juries even when all blacks are kept from serving on juries by state literacy tests, poll taxes, and other subterfuges; an ostensibly fair law like literacy tests and poll taxes to prove people literate and solvent, they can only be voided if its application has been proven to be discriminatory; it is superseded by the 1965 U.S. Voting Rights Act - legal viagra for white Jim Crow supremacists?
On Jan. 8, 1900 the U.S. Supreme (Fuller) Court rules 6-3 in Paquete Habana v. U.S. that U.S. law will respect internat. law, in this case a law made by English King Henry IV in 1403 exempting fishing vessels from prize capture in times of war.
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 Jan. 5, 1903 the U.S. Supreme (Fuller) Court rules unanimously in Lone Wolf v. Hitchcock that Congress has plenary power to unilaterally abrogate treaty obligations made between the U.S. and Native Am. tribes, reversing Cherokee Nation v. Ga. (1831) and Worcester v. Georgia (1832), meaning that Great White Father can defraud Indians of land at will.
On Jan. 30, 1905 the U.S. Supreme (Fuller) Court rules unanimously in Swift & Co. v. U.S. that the Commerce Clause allows the govt. to regulate monopolies if it has a direct effect on commerce, helping Pres. Theodore Roosevelt destroy the Beef Trust, establishing the Stream of Commerce theory, which is superseded by Nat. Labor Relations Board v. Jones & Laughlin Steel (1937).
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 Dec. 12, 1906 Harvard-educated William Henry Moody (1853-1917), a classmate and friend of Teddy Roosevelt who enjoyed his stints as U.S. Navy secy. (1902-4) and U.S. atty.-gen. (1904-6) is appointed as U.S. Supreme Court justice #60 (until Nov. 20, 1910) to fill the vacancy left by Henry B. Brown (1890-1906), and is confirmed on Dec. 17, keeping the court at nine members.
On Feb. 24, 1908 the U.S. Supreme (Fuller) Court rules unanimously in Muller v. Ore. to uphold sex discrimination in labor laws, claiming that some restrictions in working hours of women are justified by the state's interest in protecting their health.
On Mar. 23, 1908 the U.S. Supreme (Fuller) 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.
On Nov. 9, 1908 the U.S. Supreme (Fuller) Court rules 8-1 in Twining v. N.J. that while certain rights enumerated in the Bill of Rights might apply to the states under the Due Process Clause of the 14th Amendment via the Incorporation Doctrine, the Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination is not included, with Justice William Henry Moody writing the soundbyte: "It is possible that some of the personal rights safeguarded by the first eight Amendments against National action may also be safeguarded against state action, because a denial of them would be a denial of due process of law. If this is so, it is not because those rights are enumerated in the first eight Amendments, but because they are of such a nature that they are included in the conception of due process of law"; "The Twining case shows the judicial process at its best - comprehensive briefs and powerful arguments on both sides, followed by long deliberation, resulting in an opinion by Mr. Justice Moody which at once gained and has ever since retained recognition as one of the outstanding opinions in the history of the Court. After enjoying unquestioned prestige for forty years, the Twining case should not now be diluted, even unwittingly, either in its judicial philosophy or in its particulars" (Justice Felix Frankfurter in Adamson v. Calif, 1947); overturned in Mally v. Hogan (1964).
On Nov. 16, 1908 the U.S. Supreme (Fuller) Court rules unanimously in Louisville & Nashville Railroad Co. v. Motley to declare the Well-Pleaded Complaint Rule, that federal question jurisdiction can't be predicated on a plaintiff's anticipation that the defendant will raise a federal statute as a defense, but must arise from a complaint by the plaintiff that the defendant has directly violated some provision of the U.S. Constitution, laws, or treaties; the majority opinion is written by Justice William Henry Moody.
On Dec. 20, 1909 Newport, Ky.-born Dem. Horace Harmon Lurton (1844-1914) (former Confed. soldier) becomes U.S. Supreme Court Justice #61 (until July 12, 1914) to fill the vacancy created by Rufus Wheeler Peckham (1895-1909), becoming the oldest to be appointed for the first time; the first of five appointments by Pres. Taft, becoming his favorite apointee, going on to side with Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr.; too bad, he's so old that he only lasts four years before dying of a sudden heart attack.
As the 1910s decade begins, five U.S. Supreme Court justices retire or die in a 2-year period, most this year, incl. Rufus Wheeler Peckham (Oct. 24, 1909), David Josiah Brewer (Mar. 28, 1910), Melville Fuller (July 4, 1910), William Henry Moody (retires Nov. 20, 1910), and John Marshall Harlan (Oct. 14, 1911).
On May 2, 1910 the U.S. Supreme (Fuller) Court rules 5-2 in Weems v. U.S. that a penalty of 12 years in irons at hard and painful labor fo the crime of falsifying public records is cruel in its excessiveness and unusual in its disproportionality, extending the Eighth Amendment; dissenting Justice Edward D. White writes the soundbyte: "The clause against cruel punishments, which was intended to prohibit inhumane and barbarous bodily punishments, is so construed as to limit the discretion of the lawmaking power in determining the mere severity with which punishments not of the prohibited character may be prescribed"; dissenting Justices White and Holmes do not object to extending the Eighth Amendment so as to ban newly devised bodily punishments that are inhumane and barbarous, but argue that "the prohibition against the infliction of cruel bodily torture cannot be extended so as to limit legislative discretion in prescribing punishment for crime by modes and methods which are not embraced within the prohibition against cruel bodily punishment"; Justice Joseph McKenna writes the soundbyte: "Legislation, both statutory and constitutional, is enacted, it is true, from an experience of evils but its general language should not, therefore, be necessarily confined to the form that evil had theretofore taken. Time works changes, brings into existence new conditions and purposes. Therefore a principle to be vital must be capable of wider application than the mischief which gave it birth. This is peculiarly true of Constitutions. They are not ephemeral enactments, designed to meet passing occasions. They are, to use the words of Chief Justice Marshall, 'designed to approach immortality as nearly as human institutions can approach it'."
On Oct. 10, 1910 after being nominated by Pres. Taft on Apr. 25 and confirmed by the Senate on May 2, Glens Falls, N.Y.-born conservative gov. #36 of N.Y. (since Jan. 1, 1907) Charles Evans Hughes (1862-1948), becomes U.S. Supreme Court justice #62 (until June 10, 1916) to fill the vacancy left by David Josiah Brewer (1889-1910), going on to use the Commerce Clause to weaken lassez-faire capitalism and expand the regulatory powers of state and federal govts. until he resigns to become the Repub. candidate for U.S. pres. against Woodrow Wilson, becoming the last justice to resign to run for elected office (until ?).
On Nov. 20, 1910 after suffering from severe rheumatism and last sitting on the bench on May 7, and Pres. Taft talking him into it after getting Congress to pass a special act to give him retirement benefits without reaching age 70 or 10 years of service, U.S. Supreme Court justice (since Dec. 12, 1906) William Henry Moody retires.
Poisoned by a bad can of tomatoes? 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 Edgar Douglass White (1894-1910) and William Henry Moody (1906-10); on Dec. 19 justice #55 (since Mar. 12, 1894) (Roman Catholic) Edward Douglass White (1845-1921) becomes U.S. Chief Justice #9 of the very white and very right U.S. Supreme Court (until May 19, 1921) to fill the vacancy left by tomato man 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?; White becomes known for the Rule of Reason standard in antitrust law, and for his dissent in the case Pollock v. Farmer's Loan and Trust Co. (1895) declaring the nat. income tax unconstitutional.
On May 15, 1911 the U.S. Supreme (Fuller) Court rules unanimously in Standard Oil Co. of N.J. v. U.S. to find John D. Rockefeller's Standard Oil Co. guilty of monopolizing the petroleum industry, and orders it broken up into 33 corps. (5 major plus 28 smaller corps.), along with the Am. Tobacco Co. for violating the Sherman Antitrust Act; at the same time the court weakens the act by adopting the "rule of reason", finding that only "unreasonable" restraint of trade is forbidden - IOW, we are open to bribes as long as it's not too obvious?
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?
On May 16, 1912 after a "race rider clause" is defeated that would have hamstrung Congress in attempting to override state laws preventing blacks from voting in senatorial elections, the XVII (17th) Amendment (Direct Election of Senators) to the U.S. Constitution is sent by the 62nd Congress to the states for ratification; on Apr. 8, 1913 Conn. becomes the 36th state to ratify it and it is certified by U.S. secy. of state William Jennings Bryan on May 31.
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 Aug. 29, 1914 after being appointed by Pres. Wilson on Mar. 15 as U.S. atty. gen. #48 for his work against the Am. Tobacco Co., then nominated on Aug. 19 to fill the vacancy created by Horace H. Lurton (1910-14), Elkton, Ky.-born U.S. anti-Semitic white racist U.S. atty.-gen. #44 (since Mar. 15, 1913) James Clark McReynolds (1862-1941) (who approved Wilson's decision to segregate the federal govt.) is appointed as U.S. Supreme Court justice #66 (until Jan. 31, 1941), going on to work out of his apt. and stink himself up with white racism by turning his back in court on black atty.
On Feb. 23, 1915 the U.S. Supreme (White) Court rules 9-0 in Mutual Film Corp. v. Industrial Commission of Ohio that motion pictures are commercial speech not protected by the First Amendment, allowing the Puritans to clamp down via obscenity laws; on May 26, 1952 the court reverses itself in Joseph Burstyn Inc. v. Wilson.
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 Apr. 19, 1920 the U.S. Supreme (White) Court rules 7-2 in Mo. v. Holland that treaties made by the federal govt. are supeme over any concerns about states rights under the 10th Amendment; Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes first mentions the idea of a living constitution.
On Dec. 13, 1920 the U.S. Supreme (White) Court rules 8-1 in U.S. v. Wheeler that the Privileges and Immunities Clause doesn't give the federal govt. the power to prosecute kidnappers, leaving only the states with the authority to punish the violation of a person's freedom of movement, with Justice Edward Douglass White writing the soundbyte: "In all the States from the beginning down to the adoption of the Articles of Confederation the citizens thereof possessed the fundamental right, inherent in citizens of all free governments, peacefully to dwell within the limits of their respective States, to move at will from place to place therein, and to have free ingress thereto and egress therefrom, with a consequent authority in the States to forbid and punish violations of this fundamental right"; it takes until June 22, 1932 for the U.S. to pass the U.S. Federal Kidnapping Act AKA the Little Lindbergh Law.
On May 16, 1921 the U.S. Supreme (White) Court rules unanimously in Dillon v. Gloss that Congress when proposing a constitutional amendment may fix a definite period for ratification, incl. the 7-year period they set for passing the 18th Amendment.
On June 30, 1921 Pres. Harding appoints former Repub. pres. #27 (1909-13) William Howard Taft (1857-1930) as U.S. Chief Justice #10 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 Apr. 9, 1923 the U.S. Supeme (Taft) Court rules 5-3 in Adkins v. Children's Hospital that federal minimum wage legislation for women is an unconstitutional violation of liberty of contract as protected by the 5th Amendment's Due Process Clause, with Chief Justice William Taft writing the soundbyte: "Legislatures in limiting freedom of contract between employee and employer by a minimum wage proceed on the assumption that employees, in the class receiving least pay, are not upon a full level of equality of choice with their employer and in their necessitous circumstances are prone to accept pretty much anything that is offered. They are peculiarly subject to the overreaching of the harsh and greedy employer. The evils of the sweating system and of the long hours and low wages which are characteristic of it are well known. Now, I agree that it is a disputable question in the field of political economy how far a statutory requirement of maximum hours or minimum wages may be a useful remedy for these evils, and whether it may not make the case of the oppressed employee worse than it was before. But it is not the function of this court to hold congressional acts invalid simply because they are passed to carry out economic views which the court believes to be unwise or unsound"; dissenting Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes writes the soundbyte: "The earlier decisions upon the same words in the Fourteenth Amendment began within our memory and went no farther than an unpretentious assertion of the liberty to follow the ordinary callings. Later that innocuous generality was expanded into the dogma, Liberty of Contract. Contract is not specially mentioned in the text that we have to construe. It is merely an example of doing what you want to do, embodied in the word liberty. But pretty much all law consists in forbidding men to do some things that they want to do, and contract is no more exempt from law than other acts. Without enumerating all the restrictive laws that have been upheld I will mention a few that seem to me to have interfered with liberty of contract quite as seriously and directly as the one before us. Usury laws prohibit contracts by which a man receives more than so much interest for the money that he lends. Statutes of frauds restrict many contracts to certain forms. Some Sunday laws prohibit practically all contracts during one-seventh of our whole life. Insurance rates may be regulated"; Justice Louis Brandeis recuses himself; overturned by West Coast Hotel v. Parrish (1937).
On Dec. 3, 1923 the U.. Court of Appeals, District of Columbia Circuit rules in Frye v. U.S. that expert testimony incl. polygraph tests must be scientific methods that are sufficiently established and accepted, with the soundbyte: "Just when a scientific principle or discovery crosses the line between the experimental and demonstrable stages is difficult to define. Somewhere in this twilight zone the evidential force of the principle must be recognized, and while the courts will go a long way in admitting experimental testimony deduced from a well-recognized scientific principle or discovery, the thing from which the deduction is made must be sufficiently established to have gained general acceptance in the particular field in which it belongs"; superseded by Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals Inc. (1993).
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 (Taft) 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?
On Nov. 22, 1926 the U.S. Supreme (Taft) Court rules 6-3 in Village of Euclid v. Ambler Realty Co. that newfangled city zoning laws are constitutional as a reasonable extension of police power as long as they are for the public's welfare; on May 14, 1928 it rules unanimously in Nectow v. City of Cambridge that a city zoning ordinance in Mass. was not for the public's welfare, and constituted a "serious and highly injurious" invasion of the owner's property rights.
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?
On May 16, 1927 the U.S. Supreme (Taft) Court rules in Whitney v. Calif. that the First Amendment doesn't protect "utterances inimical to the public welfare, tending to incite crime, disturb the public peace, or endanger the foundations of organized government and threaten its overthrow", boiling it down to words with a "bad tendency", with Justice Louis Brandeis concurring because of 14th Amendment considerations but actually dissenting, with the soundbytes: "Those who won our independence believed that the final end of the State was to make men free to develop their faculties, and that, in its government, the deliberative forces should prevail over the arbitrary. They valued liberty both as an end, and as a means. They believed liberty to be the secret of happiness, and courage to be the secret of liberty. They believed that freedom to think as you will and to speak as you think are means indispensable to the discovery and spread of political truth; that, without free speech and assembly, discussion would be futile; that, with them, discussion affords ordinarily adequate protection against the dissemination of noxious doctrine; that the greatest menace to freedom is an inert people; that public discussion is a political duty, and that this should be a fundamental principle of the American government. They recognized the risks to which all human institutions are subject. But they knew that order cannot be secured merely through fear of punishment for its infraction"; "Every denunciation of existing law tends in some measure to increase the probability that there will be violation of it. Condonation of a breach enhances the probability. Expressions of approval add to the probability. Propagation of the criminal state of mind by teaching syndicalism increases it. Advocacy of lawbreaking heightens it still further. But even advocacy of violation, however reprehensible morally, is not a justification for denying free speech where the advocacy falls short of incitement"; "If there be time to expose through discussion the falsehood and fallacies, to avert the evil by the process of education, the remedy to be applied is more speech, not enforced silence"; reversed in Brandenburg v. Ohio (1969).
On Apr. 9, 1928 the U.S. Supreme (Taft) Court rules in J.W. Hampton Jr. & Co. v. U.S. that Congress may delegate legislative authority to the executive branch as long as it provides an "intelligible principle" to guide it.
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. 13 Glens Falls, N.Y.-born conservative former U.S. Supreme Court justice #62 (1910-16) 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 U.S. Chief Justice #11 and the 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 (first rejection of a SCOTUS nominee since 1894, becoming the start of the modern confirmation process for federal judges), 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 May 18, 1931 after Yetta Stromberg (b. 1910), a teacher at the Communist Pioneer Summer Camp is arrested for engaging in a daily ceremony pledging allegiance to "the workers' red flag, and the cause for which it stands, one aim throughout our lives, freedom for the working class", the U.S. Supreme (Hughes) Court rules 7-2 in Stromberg v. Calif. to declare a 1919 Calif. statute banning red flags unconstitutional as symbolic speech or "expresive conduct", becoming one of the first cases extending the 14th Amendment to force the First Amendment on the states.
On June 1, 1931 the U.S. (Hughes) Court rules 5-4 in Near v. Minn. that prior restraints on publication are unconstitutional violations of the First Amendment via the 14th Amendment, becoming the court's "first great press case" (Anthony Lewis).
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 Jan. 7, 1935 the U.S. Supreme Court rules 8-1 in Panama Refining Co. v. Ryan that the "hot oil" orders of the 1933 Nat. Industrial Recovery Act are unconstitutional for lack of clear criteria to limit pres. power, causing the U.S. Connally Hot Oil Act of 1935, sponsored by Tex. Dem. Sen. (1929-63) Thomas Terry "Tom" Connally (1877-1963) to be passed, allowing the pres. to protect the oil industry from "contraband oil".
On May 27, 1935 the U.S. Supreme (Hughes) Court rules unanimously in A.L.A. Schechter Poultry Corp. v. U.S. (AKA the Sick Chicken Case) that FDR's 1933 U.S. Nat. Industrial Recovery Act (NIRA) is unconstitutional, and that "extraordinary conditions do not create or enlarge constitutional powers"; FDR replies that the court has a "horse and buggy" view of their Constipated Tushie.
In 1935 the U.S. Supreme Court Bldg. at 1 First St., N.E. in Washington, D.C. one block E of the U.S. Capitol is completed, designed by Cass Gilbert (1859-1934), with classical lines and small size, contrasting with the large modernist Federal bldgs. on the Nat. Mall; on May 4, 1987 it is designated a nat. historic landmark.
On Jan. 6, 1936 the U.S. Supreme (Hughes) Court rules 6-3 in U.S. v. Butler that the 1933 Agricultural Adjustment Act is unconstitutional because the 10th Amendment reserves the power to regulate and control agricultural production to the states, causing justice Harlan Fiske Stone to call the opinion of the majority "a tortured construction of the Constitution", adding the soundbyte: "Courts are not the only agency of government that must be assumed to have capacity to govern... The only check upon our own exercise of power is our own sense of self-restraint", being widely touted as a rebuke to court conservatives out to declare all New Deal statutes unconstitutional; Congress reenacts the agricultural program under its commerce power, which the court later upholds.
On Dec. 21, 1936 the U.S. Supreme (Hughes) Court rules 7-1 in U.S. v. Curtiss-Wright Export Corp. that the U.S. pres. has plenary powers to conduct foreign policy, with Justice George Sutherland writing the soundbyte: "The [powers of the federal government in respect of foreign or external affairs and those in respect of domestic or internal affairs] are different, both in respect of their origin and their nature. The broad statement that the federal government can exercise no powers except those specifically enumerated in the Constitution, and such implied powers as are necessary and proper to carry into effect the enumerated powers, is categorically true only in respect of our internal affairs."
On Feb. 5, 1937 Pres. Roosevelt, furious with the anti-New Deal stance of the Hughes Supreme Court proposes the U.S. Judicial Procedures Reform Bill of 1937, AKA the Court-Packing Plan, increasing the number of justices on the U.S. Supreme Court by up to six, overturning the 1869 U.S. Judiciary Act, explaining it to the public on Mar. 9 in his 9th Fireside Chat; too bad, after critics accuse him of attempting to pack the court, Congress defeats his plan, causing vice-pres. Henry Wallace to say that the plan killed the New Deal, after which justices Hughes and Roberts suddenly flip-flop, letting Rosey Belt have it his way, although Hughes worked behind the scenes to defeat the court-packing effort; meanwhile former NRA head Hugh Samuel Johnson denounces his former boss FDR as a dictator for the scheme, and backs Wendell Willkie in the 1940 pres. election, while fending off accusations of Fascist sympathies and of giving a Fascist salute during an NRA parade (he was framed?).
On Mar. 29, 1937 after Pres. Roosevelt's reelection forces the court to depart from its "fortress in public opinion" and begin to bow to him, and Roberts and Evans break and flop (before the announcement of the court-packing plan?), the U.S. Supreme (Hughes) Court rules 5-4 in West Coast Hotel Co. v. Parrish to uphold the constitutionality of min. wage legislation, overturning Adkins v. Children's Hospital (1923) and 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 Evans 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.
FDR's court-stacking program reaches critical mass? On Apr. 12, 1937 the U.S. Supreme (Hughes) Court rules 5-4 to flip-flop on New Deal legislation, upholding the radical 1935 U.S. Nat. Labor Relations (Wagner) Act in National Labor Relations Board v. Jones & Laughlin Steel Corp; on May 24 the court rules 8-1 in Steward Machine Co. v. Davis to uphold the unemployment compensation provisions of the 1935 U.S. Social Security Act despite the states having to surrender their quasi-sovereign existence under the 10th Amendment; it also rules in favor of a minimum wage law for women; between this year and 1941 all four of the remaining conservative justices retire, as well as liberals Benjamin Cardozo (dies 1938) and Louis Brandeis (1939), permitting FDR to stack the court permanently with six new liberal justices.
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 by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette that Black was once a member of the KKK, and given a "gold passport" after winning the 1926 Dem. Ala. Senate primary, uttering the soundbyte "Without the support of the members of this organization I would not have been called, even by my enemies, the Junior Senator from Alabama", 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 Dec. 16, 1937 the U.S. Supreme (Hughes) Court rules 8-1 in Palko v. Conn. that they won't reverse a conviction for murder based on the Double Jeopardy Clause of the Fifth Amendment as applied through the Due Process Clause of the 14th Amendment because it is not "essential to a fundamental scheme of ordered liberty", and the court will use the Selective Incorporation approach of gradually forcing the Bill of Rights onto the states as appropriate cases arise; the court reverses itself in Benton v. Md. (1969).
On Jan. 15, 1938 FDR appoints Ky. liberal Stanley Forman Reed (1884-1980) as the 78th U.S. Supreme Court justice, who takes office on Jan. 27 (until Feb. 25, 1957) to replace liberal Benjamin N. Cardozo (1932-8) and conservative George Sutherland (1922-38), and now all he has to do is get another liberal approved and they will have a 5-4 majority.
On Mar. 28, 1938 the U.S. Supreme (Hughes) Court rules 6-3 in New Negro Alliance v. Sanitary Grocery Co. that blacks have the right to organize a boycott to protest discriminatory hiring practices.
On Apr. 25, 1938 the U.S. Supreme (Hughes) Court rules 6-2 in Erie Railroad Co. v. Tompkins tht federal courts do not have the judicial power to create gen. federal common law when hearing state law claims under diversity jurisdiction, overturning Swift v. Tyson (1842); Justice Benjamin N. Cardozo recuses himself.
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 Jan. 30, 1939 after liberal Louis Dembitz Brandeis resigns, FDR appoints liberals Felix Frankfurter (1882-1965) (a Vienna-born Zionist from deliland New York) (until Aug. 28, 1962), followed on Apr. 17 by Minn.-born bankruptcy law expert William Orville Douglas (1898-1980) (until Nov. 12, 1975) to the U.S. Supreme Court as its 79th and 80th justices, finally giving it a 6-3 liberal majority, thanks to the death of conservative member Pierce Butler (1923-39); only James C. McReynolds and Hoover appointees Charles E. Hughes and Owen J. Roberts hold on for dear old conservatism.
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 Mar. 2, 1939 Mass. finally ratifies the Bill of Rights 150 years after the birth of the U.S. govt.; Ga. (Mar. 18) and Conn. (Apr. 19), the last states to hold out also finally accept it this year - maybe a peek at Hitler put a candle under their pants?
On May 15, 1939 the U.S. Supreme (Hughes) Court rules 8-0-1 (William O. Douglas) in U.S. v. Miller that the federal govt. has the right to issue firearms regulations incl. the 1934 U.S. Firearms Act covering weapons that do not have "some reasonable relationship to the preservation of efficiency of a well regulated militia", citing a short-barreled shotgun, which backfires when it is later discovered that they are commonly used in warfare, becoming a V for both sides of the gun debate, but mainly the pro side.
On June 5, 1939 the U.S. Supreme (Hughes) Court rules 7-2 in Coleman v. Miller that unless Congress sets a deadline, a proposed constitutional amendment is still pending before the state legislatures, covering the 1789 Congressional Apportionment Amendment, the 1810 Titles of Nobility Amendment, the 1861 Corwin Amendment, and the 1789 27th Amendment (ratified on May 7, 1992); it also rules that only Congress can decide whether an amendment has been ratified.
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 May 20, 1940 the U.S. Supreme (Hughes) Court rules unanimously in Cantwell v. Conn. that Jehovah's Witnesses Newton Cantwell and his sons Jesse and Russell can't be forced to get a license to hawk their religious wares in Conn. because the 14th Amendment incorporates the First Amendment against the states.
On June 29, 1940 the U.S. Alien Registration (Smith) Act is passed, making it a federal crime to advocate the overthrow of the U.S. govt. or any state govt. by force; too bad, it is worded so loosely that it becomes a swinging cannon on deck depending on who's in power?
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.
On Jan. 20, 1941 the U.S. Supreme (Hughes) Court rules 6-3 in Hines v. Davidowitz that a Penn. law requiring aliens to register and carry ID cards is superseded by the 1940 U.S. Alien Registration Act under the preemption doctrine.
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 U.S. Chief Justice #12 (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 Nov. 24, 1941 the U.S. Supreme (Stone) Court rules unanimously in Edwards v. Calif. that a state may not enforce an "Anti-Okie Law" making it a crime to bring an indigent person into the state, citing the Commerce Clause and the 14th Amendment's Privileges or Immunities Clause.
On Jan. 19, 1942 the U.S. Supreme (Stone) Court rules 7-2 in Glasser v. U.S. that the Assistance of Counsel Clause of the Sixth Amendment requires reversal of a conviction if the defendant's atty.'s representation was limited by a conflict of interest, and that a jury must be drawn from a "cross-section of the community", meaning that women can't be excluded just because they didn't attend a jury training class or aren't members of the League of Women Voters, becoming the first jury discrimination case to invoke the Sixth Amendment rather than the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment.
On Mar. 9, 1942 the U.S. Supreme (Stone) Court rules unanimously in Chaplinsky v. New Hampshire that a pesky Jehovah's Witness can be jailed for calling a cop a "damned fascist" or "damned racketeer" in public while escorting him to the station, and/or because he started out preaching that "religion is a racket" because it might inflame listeners to violence, although the latter are not subject to arrest, articulating the "fighting words" doctrine; another such conviction is not upheld until ?, although police depts. seize on it to routinely arrest anyone they want just for opening their mouth to a cop, knowing they'll be covered for in the courthouse they bring him to, which reaches nat. proportions with the 2009 arrest of Pres. Obama's personal friend Henry Louis Gates Jr.; meanwhile on Nov. 22, 1943 (the war being won) the court rules in Cafeteria Employees Union Local 302 v. Angelos that the word "fascist" is now "part of the conventional give-and-take in our economic and political controversies", and on May 16, 1949 (after the war is won) it rules 5-3 in Terminiello v. Chicago that a Chicago ordinance outlawing a speech that "stirs the public to anger... or creates a disturbance" is unconstitutional under the 1st and 14th Amendments, and that they should arrest the violent members of the crowd not the speaker.
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 Apr. 3, 1944 the U.S. Supreme (Stone) Court rules 7-1 in Smith v. Allwright that states may not have whites-only primaries, but most open them to voters of all races; Justice Owen J. Roberts is the lone dissenter, siding with the state of Tex., which claims that the Dem. Party is a private org. that can set its own membership rules; the case inspires Fifth Ward resident Barbara Jordan to go into politics.
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 after Fred Toyosaburo Korematsu (1919-2005) objects to this policy, the U.S. Supreme (Stone) 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 Dec. 3, 1945 the U.S. Supreme (Stone) Court rules 8-0 in Internat. Shoe Co. v. Washington that a corp. may be subject to the jurisdiction of a state court if it has "minimum contacts" with that state; Judge Robert H. Jackson recuses himself.
On Jan. 7, 1946 the U.S. Supreme (Stone) Court rules 5-3 in Marsh v. Alabama that a Jehovah's Witness' right to distribute religious materials in front of the post office in Chickasaw, Ala. cannot be denied by using licensing or trespassing laws, even when the town is privately owned, because the more an owner opens his property up to the public in general, the more his rights are circumscribed by the statutory and constitutional rights of those who are invited in, and in this case her First Amendment rights are more important; should apply to Internet monopolies like Google and Facebook to prevent censorship of non-leftists?
On June 3, 1946 the U.S. Supreme (Stone) Court rules 6-1 in Morgan v. Virginia to strike down Va.'s segregation of interstate bus passengers, based on the case of Irene Amos Morgan (Irene Morgan Kirkaldy) (1917-2007); ACLU atty. Thurgood Marshall skips relying upon the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment and uses the Interstate Commerce Clause to win, which causes the court to reverse a string of decisions dating back to 1878; the case did not comment on a state's right to segregate whites from blacks; next Apr. 9-23 16 Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) activists go on the Journey of Reconciliation, riding on interstate Greyhound and Trailways buses through Va. to N.C., where police arrest Bayard Rustin (1912-87), who is convicted of violating N.C. segregation laws and given 22 days on a chain gang; in all, 24 tests result in 12 arrests and mob violence, inspiring the 1961 Freedom Rides.
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 U.S. Chief Justice #13 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.
Luck be my lady tonight? On Jan. 13, 1947 the U.S. Supreme (Vinson) Court rules 5-4 in La. ex rel. Francis v. Resweber that attempting a 2nd electrocution after the first fails does not violate the Eighth Amendment's prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment, nor does it constitute a 2nd imposition of punishment in violation of the Fifth Amendment, with Justice Stanley F. Reed writing the soundbyte: "Our minds rebel against permitting the same sovereignty to punish an accused twice for the same offense. But where the accused successfully seeks review of a conviction, there is no double jeopardy upon a new trial. Even where a state obtains a new trial after conviction because of errors, while an accused may be placed on trial a second time, it is not the sort of hardship to the accused that is forbidden by the Fourteenth Amendment... For we see no difference from a constitutional point of view between a new trial for error of law at the instance of the state that results in a death sentence instead of imprisonment for life and an execution that follows a failure of equipment. When an accident, with no suggestion of malevolence, prevents the consummation of a sentence, the state's subsequent course in the administration of its criminal law is not affected on that account by any requirement of due process under the Fourteenth Amendment. We find no double jeopardy here which can be said to amount to a denial of federal due process in the proposed execution"; dissenting Justice Harold Burton writes the soundbyte: "How many deliberate and intentional reapplications of electric current does it take to produce a cruel, unusual and unconstitutional punishment? While five applications would be more cruel and unusual than one, the uniqueness of the present case demonstrates that, today, two separated applications are sufficiently 'cruel and unusual' to be prohibited. If five attempts would be 'cruel and unusual,' it would be difficult to draw the line between two, three, four and five. It is not difficult, however, as we here contend, to draw the line between the one continuous application prescribed by statute and any other application of the current. Lack of intent that the first application be less than fatal is not material. The intent of the executioner cannot lessen the torture or excuse the result."
WWII turns into a big V for Secularism without firing a shot back home? On Feb. 10, 1947 the U.S. Supreme (Vinson) 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 (Vinson) Court rules 8-1 in McCollum v. Board of Education that state public schools can't set aside class time for religious instruction.
On May 3, 1948 the U.S. Supreme (Vinson) Court rules 6-0-3 in Shelley v. Kraemer that covenants prohibiting the sale of real estate to members of specific racial groups are legally unenforceable; Justices Stanley F. Reed, Robert H. Jackson, and Wiley B. Rutledge recuse themselves.
On May 3, 1948 the U.S. Supreme (Vinson) Court rules unanimously in U.S. v. Paramount Pictures Inc. to ends the monopolistic Hollywood studio system; decision; Justice Felix Frankfurter recuses himself; meanwhile Isidore "Dore" Schary (1905-80) of RKO Pictures (who helped draft the 1947 Waldorf Statement) becomes chief of production at MGM, ending up in a war with founder Louis B. Mayer for wanting the films to have a liberal New Deal message, and in 1951 Mayer is ousted and Schary becomes pres. (until 1956).
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 June 6, 1949 the U.S. Supreme (Vinson) Court rules in Williams v. N.Y. that the Due Process Clause of the 14th Amendment allows a a person convicted in a fair trial to be sentenced by a judge to any sentence authorized by statue, recognizing a shift in the way legislatures set punishments away from fixed terms.
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 June 5, 1950 the U.S. Supreme (Vinson) Court rules 8-0 in Henderson v. U.S. to abolish segregation in railroad dining cars, along with any undue or unreasonable prejudice or disadvantage based on race; Justice William O. Douglas doesn't vote.
On June 5, 1950 the U.S. Supreme (Vinson) Court rules unanimously in Sweatt v. Painter to reverse the "separate but equal" doctrine of racial segregation for law schools.
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 (Warren) 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 June 4, 1951 the U.S. Supreme (Vinson) Court rules by 6-2 Dennis v. U.S. to uphold the 1940 U.S. (Alien Registration) Smith Act and the conviction of 11 Communists because First Amendment protection doesn't extend to a plot to overthrow the govt.; too bad, they didn't actually plot, only preach, causing dissenting Justice Hugo Black to utter the soundbyte: "These petitioners were not charged with an attempt to overthrow the Government. They were not charged with overt acts of any kind designed to overthrow the Government. They were not even charged with saying anything or writing anything designed to overthrow the Government. The charge was that they agreed to assemble and to talk and publish certain ideas at a later date: The indictment is that they conspired to organize the Communist Party and to use speech or newspapers and other publications in the future to teach and advocate the forcible overthrow of the Government. No matter how it is worded, this is a virulent form of prior censorship of speech and press, which I believe the First Amendment forbids. I would hold 3 of the Smith Act authorizing this prior restraint unconstitutional on its face and as applied"; softened in Yates v. U.S. (1957).
On June 4, 1951 the U.S. Supreme (Vinson) Court rules 7-2 in Garner v. Board of Public Works that a municipal loyalty oath covering the previous five years which was enacted more than five years previous is not an ex post facto law or a bill of attainder.
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."
On May 26, 1952 the U.S. Supreme (Vinson) Court rules unanimously in Joseph Burstyn Inc. v. Wilson (AKA the Miracle Decision) that motion pictures are protected by the First Amendment, overturning its Feb. 23, 1915 decision in Mutual Film Corp. v. Industrial Commission of Ohio, putting a damper on Puritanical censorship.
On Dec. 15, 1952 the U.S. Supreme (Vinson) Court rules 8-0 in Wieman v. Updegraff that an Okla. loyalty oath violates the Due Process Clause of the 14th Amendment because it does not give individuals the opportunity to abjure membership in subversive orgs., with Justice Tom C. Clark writing the soundbyte: "Membership may be innocent"; Juston Robert H. Jackson recuses himself.
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 as U.S. Chief Justice #14 and the 88th 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 the U.S. Supreme (Warren) Court rules unanimously in Bolling v. Sharpe to desegregate the public schools of Washington, D.C.; meanwhile on May 17 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 July 4, 1954 (early a.m.) the murder of 4-mo.-pregnant Marilyn Reese Sheppard in her bedroom in Bay Village, Ohio, followed by the arrest of her husband, Cleveland, Ohio-born osteopath-neurologist Dr. Samuel Holmes "Sam" Sheppard (1923-70) becomes sensationalized, and his trial becomes a media circus after he blames it on a "bushy-haired intruder"; on Dec. 21 he is convicted of 2nd degree murder and given life in prison, after which on Jan. 7 his mother shoots and kills herself, and on Jan. 18 his father dies of stomach cancer; maintaining his innocence, in July 1961 he hires defense atty. Francis Lee "F. Lee" Bailey Jr. (1933-), and is helped by the Sept. 17, 1963 debut of the ABC-TV series The Fugitive (ends Aug. 29, 1967); on June 6, 1966 the U.S. Supreme (Warren) Court rules 8-1 in Sheppard v. Maxwell that the trial had a "carnival atmosphere", and that the judge Edward J. Blythin (-1958) was clearly biased against him and failed to protect him from prejudicial publicity, and is granted a new trial, then acquitted on Nov. 16, 1966 after he marries German divorcee Ariane Tebbenjohanns, half-sister of Magda Ritschel, wife of Nazi leader Joseph Goebbels, divorcing her on Oct. 7, 1969; "The Fugitive" Sam Sheppard dies on Apr. 6, 1970 in Columbus, Ohio.
On Nov. 22, 1954 the U.S. Supreme (Warren) Court rules unanimously in Berman v. Parker to uphold the Takings Clause of the 5th Amendment, holding that private property can be taken for a public purpose with just compensation.
On Mar. 16, 1955 after becoming the first nominee to appear before the Senate Judiciary Committee to answer questions on his judicial views (setting a precedent), Chicago, Ill.-born conservative John Marshall Harlan II (1899-1971) (grandson of John Marshall Harlan) is confirmed by a 71-11 vote (9 of the no votes are from the South) as the 90th U.S. Supreme Court justice (until Sept. 23, 1971) to replace the vacancy left by liberal FDR appointeee Robert H. Jackson (1945-54), becoming the "Great Dissenter of the Warren Court", and uttering the soundbyte: "The Constitution is not a panacea for every blot upon the public welfare, nor should this court, ordained as a judicial body, be thought of as a general haven of reform movements."
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 Oct. 15, 1956 after being appointed by Pres. Eisenhower, and every senator except Joseph McCarthy of Wisc. voting for him, William Joseph Brennan Jr. (1906-97) of N.J., son of Irish immigrants becomes U.S. Supreme Court justice #90 (until July 20, 1990) to fill the vacancy left by Sherman Minton (1949-56), becoming the first Roman Catholic on the court, going against type to become an outspoken liberal, esp. on free speech.
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 June 10, 1957 the U.S. Supreme (Warren) Court rules 6-2 in Reid v. Covert that U.S. civilians outside U.S. territorial jurisdiction cannot be tried by U.S. military tribunals but retain the right to trial by jury and other Bill of Rights protections, with Justice Hugo Black writing the soundbytes: "The concept that the Bill of Rights and other constitutional protections against arbitrary government are inoperative when they become inconvenient or when expediency dictates otherwise is a very dangerous doctrine and if allowed to flourish would destroy the benefit of a written Constitution and undermine the basis of our government", and: "No agreement with a foreign nation can confer power on the Congress, or on any other branch of Government, which is free from the restraints of the Constitution"; Justice Charles E. Whittaker recuses himself.
On June 17, 1957 the U.S. Supreme (Warren) Court rules 6-1 in Yates v. U.S. that the First Amendment protects radical and reactionary speech unless it poses a "clear and present danger", softening Dennis v. U.S. (1951).
On June 24, 1957 the U.S. Supreme (Warren) Court rules 5-3 in Roth v. U.S. to reverse the 1868 English case of Regina v. Hicklin (material tending to "deprave and corrupt those whose minds are open to such immoral influences") and define obscenity as material whose "dominant theme taken as a whole appeals to the prurient interest... [to the] average person, applying contemporary community standards"; Justices Hugo Black and William O. Douglas dissent, claiming that the First Amendment protects obscene materials, while John Marshall Harlan II claims that the states have broad power to prosecute obscenity but the federal govt. doesn't; relaxed considerably in Miller v. Calif. (1973).
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 Mar. 31, 1958 the U.S. Supreme (Warren) Court rules 5-4 in Trop v. Dulles that "evolving standards of decency" and the Eighth Amendment make it unconstitutional for the govt. to revoke U.S. citizenship as a punishment because it is "a form of punishment more primitive than tortue", inflicting the "total destruction of the individual's status in organized society"; "The punishment strips the citizen of his status in the national and international political community. His very existence is at the sufferance of the country in which he happens to find himself."
On June 16, 1958 the U.S. Supreme (Warren) Court rules 5-4 in Kent v. Dulles that the right to travel cannot be deprived by the govt. without due process of law under the Fifth Amendment, while not deciding the extent to which this right can legally be curtailed.
On June 30, 1958 the U.S. Supreme (Warren) Court rules unanimously in NAACP v. Ala. that a state can't subpoena an org.'s membership lists because "Immunity from state scrutiny of petitioner's membership lists is here so related to the right of petitioner's members to pursue their lawful private interests privately and to associate freely with others in doing so as to come within the protection of the Fourteenth Amendment", adding that freedom to associate with organizations dedicated to the "advancement of beliefs and ideas" is an inseparable part of the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.
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 Jan. 12, 1959 the U.S. Supreme (Warren) Court rules unanimously in Williams v. Lee that state courts do not have jurisdication on Indian reservations without authorization of Congress.
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.
The 1960s starts out with protections for crazy defendants? On Apr. 18, 1960 the U.S. Supreme (Warren) Court rules in Dusky v. U.S. that a defendant has a right to a competency evaluation before trial; in 1979 the U.S. First Circuit Court of Appeals rules in Rogers v. Okin that a mental patient in a state psychiatric facility has the right to refuse medication in non-emergency conditions until he/she is adjudicated to be incompetent; on June 24, 1993 the U.S. Supreme (Rehnquist) Court rules 7-2 in Godinez v. Moran that the competency standard applies to pleading guilty or waiving the right to counsel.
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 Nov. 14, 1960 after the 1957 U.S. Civil Rights Act allows blacks to register in Tuskegee, Ala., reaching the point of outnumbering white voters, causing the legislature to enact Local Law 140 creating a 28-sided city boundary that excludes almost all the blacks, the U.S. Supreme (Warren) Court rules unanimously in Gomillion v. Lightfoot that an electoral district cannot be gerrymandered to disenfranchise blacks because of the 15th Amendment.
On Dec. 5, 1960 the U.S. Supreme (Warren) Court rules 7-2 in Boynton v. Va. that segregation in public transit is illegal because it violates the U.S. Interstate Commerce Act, extending the ruling in Morgan v. Va. (1946) to bus terminals used in interstate bus service, 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 (Warren) 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 (Warren) 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 Dec. 11, 1961 the U.S. Supreme (Warren) Court rules unanimously in Garner v. La. that states cannot use disturbing the peace laws to oppress peaceful sit-in protesters at dining establishments; JFK's Justice Dept. defends the demonstrators, along with the NAACP.
On Mar. 5, 1962 the U.S. Supreme (Warren) Court rules in Griggs v. Allegheny County that airports must compensate people living in the near vicinity for noise and vibrations.
On Mar. 26, 1962 the U.S. Supreme (Warren) Court rules 7-2 in Baker v. Carr that redistricting issues are judiciable in federal courts and not a political question, and that the constitutional right of equal protection requires "one man, one vote", and that the Tenn. legislature was wrong in giving overrepresentation to small towns and rural areas vis a vis cities, giving federal courts the power to order reapportionment of seats in a state legislature; Earl Warren claims it as his most important decision as chief justice, while dissenter Felix Frankfurter utters the soundbyte: "Courts ought not to enter this political thicket".
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 U.S. Supreme Court justice #93 (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), and first justice from Colo.; on Sept. 28 U.S. labor secy. #9 (since Jan. 21, 1961) Arthur Joseph Goldberg (1908-90) becomes the 94th 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 (Warren) 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".
On June 25, 1962 the U.S. Supreme (Warren) 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 25, 1962 the U.S. Supreme (Warren) Court rules 6-2 in Robinson v. Calif. to strike down a Calif. law that criminalized being addicted to narcotics, becoming its first decision interpreting the Eighth Amendment to prohibit criminalization of particular acts as opposed to prohibiting the use of a particular form of punishment for a crime, with dissenting Justice Byron White writing that the court is "imposing its own philosophical predilections" on the state in this exercise of judicial power, although its historic "allergy to substantive due process" would never permit it to strike down a state's economic regulatory law in such a manner; Justice Felix Frankfurter recuses himself.
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 Mar. 19 the U.S. Supreme (Warren) Court rules 8-1 to strike down the Ga. County Unit System (established 1917), which gives rural voters extra weight in choosing statewide officers; it also unanimously overrules its 1942 decision, holding that states must supply free attys. to all poor persons facing serious criminal charges; U.S. atty. gen. Robert F. Kennedy's only argument before the Supreme Court.
On Apr. 23, 1963 after being refused by Continental Airlines in 1957 and going all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, who unanimously decides that states can make interstate airlines stop racial discrimination in hiring practices, Marlon D. Green (1929-2009) becomes the first African-Am. pilot hired by a major U.S. passenger airline, working for Continental Airlines in 1965-78; meanwhile David Harris (1935-) becomes the first African-Am. pilot in the U.S. at Am. Airlines in 1964-94.
On May 11, 1963 white supremacists bomb a black-owned motel and the home of MLK Jr.'s younger brother in Birmingham, Ala., triggering the May 12 Mother's Day Race Riot by 2.5K pissed-off blacks, 50 of whom are injured after attacking police and burning six stores, overwhelming the pigs despite clubbing all the blacks they can catch, and causing Bull Connor to request reinforcements from Ala. gov. George Wallace, who responds with 700 pistol-wielding crackers, causing Pres. Kennedy to send 3K troops to an air base near the city and take preliminary steps to federalize the Ala. Nat. Guard, saying "This government will do whatever must be done to preserve order, to protect the lives of its citizens, and to uphold the law of the land", pissing-off Ala. gov. George Wallace, who questions his right to send troops, causing Kennedy to back down on May 14 with a telegram to him saying "I trust that we can count on your constructive cooperation", leaving their use up to Wallace; meanwhile Ala.'s congressional delegation petitions JFK to withdraw the troops, and Wallace sues, losing in the U.S. Supreme Court on May 28; Kennedy's chief of staff Ken O'Donnell predicts a "long, hot summer".
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.
Alabama fights the feds in a losing fight? On May 21, 1963 the U.S. Supreme (Warren) Court rules in Smith v. City of Birmingham, Ala. to overturn convictions of 28 black and three white students for sit-in demonstrations, saying that since the cities had official policies of segregation, a store owner's refusal to serve blacks is the state's fault and therefore unconstitutional; on May 21 1.1K black students in Birmingham, Ala. who had been arrested in anti-segregation demonstrations are expelled or suspended from school, causing black leaders to call on the city's other 21,877 black students to start a boycott, but MLK Jr. calls it off after a judge orders the students reinstated on May 23; on May 22 a federal judge orders the U. of Ala. to admit two black students on June 10, causing Ala. gov. George C. Wallace to declare that he will defy the court, pledging to "stand in the schoolhouse door", while univ. officials indicate willingness to admit them, but at a later date - next millennium?
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 (1907-2000) 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 (Warren) 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 (Warren) 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 (Warren) 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 (Warren) 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 (Warren) 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 19, 1985 the U.S. Supreme (Burger) Court rules unanimously in McDonald v. Smith that the same legal limitations apply to the First Amendment's Petition Clause.
On May 18, 1964 the U.S. Supreme (Warren) Court rules 5-3 in Schneider v. Rusk that it is unconstitutional to deprive naturalized citizens of citizenship just because they return to their home country for more than three years, invalidating the 1952 U.S. Immigration and Nationality Act on the grounds of due process under the Fifth Amendment, since no such restriction applies to native-born citizens.
On June 15, 1964 the U.S. Supreme (Warren) Court rules 5-4 in Malloy v. Hogan that the Fifth Amendment is forced on the states by the 14th Amendment, completing the first eight amendments, reversing Twining v. N.J. (1908), with the soundbyte that "the American judicial system is accusatorial, not inquisitorial", requiring both state and federal officials to "establish guilt by evidence that is free and independent of a suspect's or witnesses' statements".
On June 15, 1964 the U.S. Supreme (Warren) 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 19, 1964 the 1964 U.S. Civil Rights Act is approved by the U.S. Senate by 73-27, protecting constitutional rights for blacks in public facilities and public education and prohibiting discrimination in federally-funded programs by citing the commerce clause of the U.S. Constitution; on July 2 Pres. Johnson (an arch-enemy of the Ku Klux Klan) eagerly signs it; Title VII bars discrimination in employment on the basis of "race, color, religion, sex or national origin", and establishes the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) to take complaints, investigate, and impose penalties; U.S. rep. (D-Mich.) (1955-74) Martha Wright Griffiths (1912-2003) led the effort to keep the word "sex" in the bill.
On June 22, 1964 the U.S. Supreme (Warren) Court rules 5-4 in Escobedo v. Ill. that criminal suspects have the right to an atty. during police interrogations under the Sixth Amendment, extending Gideon v. Wainwright (1963), which gives them the right to an atty. at their trial; in Miranda v. Ariz. (1966) the court switches to the Fifth Amendment.
On June 22, 1964 the U.S. Supreme (Warren) 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 Dec. 14, 1964 the U.S. Supreme (Warren) Court rules unanimously in Heart of Atlanta Motel v. U.S. that the 1964 U.S. Civil Rights Act requires public accomodations to refrain from racial discrimination; on Dec. 14 it also rules unanimously in Katzenbach v. McClung that the 1964 U.S. Civil Rights Act applies to restaurants because it serves food that has moved in interstate commerce, stretching it to apply to virtually all businesses.
In 1964 Am. journalist Fred James Cook (1911-2003) pub. Goldwater: Extremist on the Right; after conservative evangelist Billy James Hargis attacks it on his "Christian Crusade" radio broadcast on WGCB in Red Lion, Penn., Cook sues, claiming that he is entitled to free air time to respond under the FCC's 1949 Fairness Doctrine, and on June 9, 1969 the U.S. Supreme Court rules unanimously in Red Lion Broadcasting Co. vs. FCC that the Fairness Doctrine is constitutional, after which the FCC rescinds it in 1987.
On Mar. 8, 1965 the U.S. Supreme (Warren) Court rules unanimously in U.S. v. Seeger (named for Daniel Andrew Seeger, not singer Pete Seeger, although it should be?) to expand the definition of conscientious objector to people who are not members of any religious denomination, such as agnostics and atheists, the test being a "sincere and meaningful belief which occupies in the life of its possessor a place parallel to that filled by the God of those" who had routinely been receiving the exemption.
A Southern white president says we shall overcome? On Mar. 15, 1965 after meeting with Ala. gov. George Wallace and breaking "the runty little bastard" with power politics (without making a martyr of him or inciting a new Civil War) Pres. Johnson addresses a joint session of Congress, calling on it to pass the U.S. Voting Rights Act, a result of the lobbying of U. of Ala. black activist Gracie Hawthorne et al., and delivering his We Shall Overcome Speech, with the soundbyte: "At times, history and fate meet at a single time in a single place to shape a turning point in man's unending search for freedom. So it was at Lexington and Concord. So it was a century ago at Appomattox. So it was last week in Selma", followed by "Their cause must be our cause too, because it's not just Negroes, but really it's all of us who must overcome the crippling legacy of bigotry and injustice. And we shall overcome"; on Mar. 17 he gives a speech attacking literacy tests; it passes on Aug. 6 after Sen. minority leader, Ill. Repub. Sen. (1951-69) Everett McKinley Dirksen (1896-1969) delivers all but two of the Senate Repub. votes, causing LBJ to call him up and tell him "You must have made a hell of a speech out there today", to which Dirksen replies "We are proud"; on Aug. 6 as Johnson signs the law he predicts that it will kill the Dem. Party in the South as blacks vote Dem. and whites flee to the Repub. Party; too bad, it ends up being used to gerrymander congressional districts on racial lines; special provisions that expire in 2007 require the Justice Dept. to approve all changes in election laws in certain jurisdictions like the South, near Indian reservations and in cities with large minority pops.; the U.S. Supreme Court goes on to uphold the 1965 U.S. Voting Rights Act 8-1 in S.C. v. Katzenbach (Mar. 7, 1966), then rules 6-3 that certain section are outdated in Shelby County v. Holder (June 25, 2013).
On May 24, 1965 the U.S. Supreme (Warren) 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 (Warren) 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 after believing that he would notify him in advance if any of his Great Society reforms were about to be deemed unconstitutional, 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 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, becoming the first successful filibuster of a Supreme Court nominee (2nd Gorsuch in 2017).
On Mar. 21, 1966 the U.S. Supreme (Warren) Court rules 6-3 in Memoirs v. Massachusetts to give a V to Fanny Hill over New England's puritanical Comstockian prudes, ruling that material with redeeming social value can't be censored, effectively taking erotic books from under the counter to the shelves of mainstream bookstores; meanwhile the same day it hands down its 5-4 ruling in the case of Ginzburg et al. v. U.S., denying justice to publisher Ralph Ginzburg by upholding the obscenity of his mag. Eros along with his fine and prison sentence even though it isn't obscene under their other ruling, because Ginzburg used "salacious" methods to market it, with dissenting justice Potter Stewart remarking "Moose hockey", er, "Censorship reflects a society's lack of confidence in itself. It is a hallmark of an authoritarian regime. Long ago those who wrote our First Amendment chartered a different course. They believed a society can be truly strong only when it is truly free" - besides I read the stuff myself?
On Mar. 24, 1966 the U.S. Supreme (Warren) Court rules 6-3 in Harper v. Va. Board of Elections that poll taxes in state elections are illegal, extending the 24th U.S. Amendment of 1964, with dissenting Justices John M. Harlan II and Potter Stewart saying that it's a states rights issue, and dissenting Justice Hugo Black saying that new meanings to the 14th Amendment require constitutional amendments.
On June 13, 1966 the U.S. Supreme (Warren) Court rules 7-2 in Katzenbach v. Morgan that Congress may not enact laws stemming from the 14th Amendment Sect. 5 to substantially increase the scope of the rights determined by the judiciary, but may only enact remedial or preventative measures consistent with the court's interpretations.
6/6+6+1/66: Ich bin ein Berliner is extended to all Americans? On June 13, 1966 the U.S. Supreme (Warren) 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 June 20, 1966 the U.S. Supreme (Warren) Court rules 5-4 in Schmerber v. Calif. that warantless blood tests do not violate the Fifth Amendment privilege against self-incrimination, but that a warrant is required unless exigent circumstances are present, e.g., natural metabolism of alcohol, causing the proliferation of breathalyzers.
On Nov. 14, 1966 the U.S. Supreme (Warren) 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 (Warren) 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.
On May 29, 1967 the U.S. Supreme (Warren) Court rules 5-4 in Afroyim v. Rusk that the U.S. govt. can't revoke the citizenship of a U.S. citizen involuntarily, opening the way for dual citizenship; on Apr. 5, 1971 the U.S. Supreme (Burger) Court rules in Rogers v. Bellei that Congress has the authority to revoke the citizenship of a person not born or naturalized in the U.S., and in 1978 Congress repeals the min. period for U.S. residence to be naturalized, causing the U.S. Dept. of State in 1990 to adopt revised policies making it virtually impossible to lose U.S. citizenship without expressly and formally renouncing it.
6/6+6/67 and 6/7+6/7 are Thoroughly Good Black-White Love Days at the U.S. Zoo? Open season for black bucks to go after white wimmen? On June 12, 1967 ("Loving Day") the U.S. Supreme (Warren) Case rules unanimously in Loving v. Virginia; to strike down the 1924 Va. Racial Integrity Act, along with all 16 state laws against "miscegenation" (interracial marriage) (mistaken generation?), legalizing the 1958 marriage of Mildred Delores "Bean" Loving (nee Jeter) (1939-2008) (black) and Richard Perry Loving (1933-75) (white); no surprise, after a decade of civil rights action and ongoing black race riots it causes little public criticism by whites, although S.C. doesn't officially repeal its anti-miscegenation law until 1999; meanwhile on Mar. 17 African-Am. aspiring novelist Alice Walker (1944-) marries Jewish civil rights atty. Melvyn Roseman "Mel" Leventhal, and relocates with him from New York City to Jackson, Miss. to stick it in their faces as the state's first legally married interracial couple; on Nov. 17 1969 (17 mo. after MLK Jr. is shot) they have biracial daughter Rebecca Leventhal Walker (1969-); they divorce in 1976, after which Alice becomes estranged with her daughter, becomes lovers with singer Tracy Chapman, and becomes a supporter of the Palestinian cause.
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 (Warren) 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 (Warren) 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 May 27, 1968 U.S. Memorial Day is celebrated on the last Monday of the month rather than on the 30th for the first time; perhaps to rub it in, on May 27 the U.S. Supreme (Warren) Court rules 8-1 in U.S. v. O'Brien that burning, destroying, or mutilating a draft card is a crime as stated in a 1965 amendment to the U.S. Selective Service Act, and rejects arguments of unconstitutionality; a few days later brother Jesuit priests Philip Francis Berrigan (1923-2002) and Daniel Berrigan (1921-), with seven other Catholic activist priests enter a draft board office in Catonsville, Md., and seize nearly 400 files on young men classified 1-A, then burn them with homemade napalm made from an army recipe, becoming known as the Catonsville Nine; they are all sentenced to prison terms of 2-3.5 years, but Daniel Berrigan escapes and speaks out against the war and writes the 1970 play "The Trial of the Cantonsville Nine" until his Aug. 1970 rearrest - they said it would be illegal to burn draft cards, not draft files?
On May 27, 1968 the U.S. Supreme (Warren) Court rules 6-2 in Menominee Tribe v. U.S. that Native Ams. keep their historical fishing and hunting rights and other treaty rights even after the federal govt. ceases to recognize the tribe unless Congress issues a clear and unequivocal statement terminating them; Justice Thurgood Marshall recuses himself.
On June 10, 1968 the U.S. Supreme (Warren) Court rules 8-1 in Terry v. Ohio that police may stop people on the street and frisk them without probable cause to arrest if they have a reasonable suspicion that they have committed or are committing or are about to commit a crime, and a reasonable belief that the person or persons "may be armed and presently dangerous"; the reasonable belief must be based on "specific and articulable facts", not merely a hunch, and all because "the exclusionary rule has limitations", viz., it is meant to protect persons from unreasonable searches and seizures aimed at gathering evidence, not for other purposes such as prevention of crime of protection of police, causing the proliferation of "stop and frisk" AKA Terry Frisk, later Terry Stop; dissenting Justice William O. Douglas writes the soundbyte: "We hold today that the police have greater authority to make a 'seizure' and conduct a 'search' than a judge has to authorize such action. We have said precisely the opposite over and over again.... To give the police greater power than a magistrate is to take a long step down the totalitarian path. Perhaps such a step is desirable to cope with modern forms of lawlessness. But if it is taken, it should be the deliberate choice of the people through a constitutional amendment."
On June 17, 1968 the U.S. Supreme (Warren) Court rules 7-2 in Jones v. Alfred H. Mayer Co. that Congress can regulate the sale of private property to prevent racial discrimination under the 13th Amendment and the 1866 U.S. Civil Rights Act.
On Feb. 24, 1969 the U.S. Supreme (Warren) Court rules 7-2 in Tinker v. Des Moines Independent Community School District that students have a First Amendment right to express opinions at odds with the govt., incl. wearing an armband protesting the Vietnam War, with the soundbyte: "It can hardly be argued that either students or teachers shed their constitutional rights to freedom of speech or expression at the schoolhouse gate", declaring that schools "must be able to show that [their] action was caused by something more than a mere desire to avoid the discomfort and unpleasantness that always accompany an unpopular viewpoint", but that they may forbid conduct that would "materially and substantially interfere with the requirements of appropriate discipline in the operation of the school" - speaking truth to power?
On Mar. 10, 1969 the U.S. Supreme (Warren) Court rules 8-1 in Shuttlesworth v. City of Birmingham to strike down Birmingham Ordinance 1159 requiring a permit for a civil rights march because although "the Supreme Court of Alabama performed a remarkable job of plastic surgery upon the face of the ordinance" to disguise it as necessary for directing vehicular traffic, the circumstances showed that permits were denied to blacks to censor their expression of ideas; Justice John M. Harlan II recuses himself.
On May 14, 1969 U.S. Supreme Court justice (since Oct. 4, 1965) Abe Fortas (1910-82) resigns over a legal fee scandal involving the Wolfson Family Foundation.
On June 8, 1969 the U.S. Supreme (Warren) Court rules in Brandenburg v. Ohio that the govt. cannot punish inflammatory speech advocating the use or force or violation of the law unless it is "directed to inciting or producing imminent lawless action and is likely to incite or produce such action", overturning Whitney v. Calif. (1927); "If there be time to expose through discussion the falsehood and fallacies, to avert the evil by the process of education, the remedy to be applied is more speech, not enforced silence."
On June 9, 1969 the U.S. Supreme (Warren) 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 U.S. Chief Justice #15 and the 97th U.S. Supreme Court justice, succeeding Earl Warren, who tried in vain to resign last year so that LBJ not Nixon could name his successor, but was prevented by a Senate filibuster, 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 (Warren) Court rules 7-2 in Benton v. Md. that the Double Jeopardy Clause of the Fifth Amendment applies to the states, overturning Palko v. Conn. (1937).
On June 23, 1969 the U.S. Supreme (Warren) 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 (Burger) Court rules unanimously 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 Nov. 21, 1969 the U.S. Senate votes 55-45 to reject the Aug. 18 nomination of Greenville, S.C.-born Dem. Clement Furman Haynsworth Jr. (1912-89) (graduate of and great-great-grandson of the founder of Furman U. in Greenville, S.C.) to the Supreme Court, becoming the first rejection since 1930; New Orleans, La.-born Repub. John Minor Wisdom (1905-99) of the Fifth Circuit Court (known for helping to end segregation) is dumped by Nixon as a candidate after U.S. atty.-gen. John Mitchell calls him a "damn left-winger" who would be "worse than Earl Warren"; Weatherman Mark Rudd later calls Mitchell a "Wall Street Nazi".
On Jan. 14, 1970 the U.S. Supreme Court sets Feb. 1 as a deadline for desegregation of public schools.
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 Mar. 23, 1970 the U.S. Supreme (Burger) Court rules 5-3 in Goldberg v. Kelly that the govt. can't deprive anyone of welfare benefits without holding an evidentiary hearing (not formal trial) under the Due Process Clause of the 14th Amendment; dissenters incl. Justices Warren E. Burger, Potter Stewart, and Hugo Black; Justice Abe Fortas has already resigned.
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 June 15, 1970 the U.S. Supreme Court rules 4-3 in Welsh v. U.S. to broaden the definition of conscientious objector to incl. people without belief in God who profess ethical or moral convictions against war - there were atheists in foxholes before?
On Jan. 25, 1971 the U.S. Supreme (Burger) 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 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 Mar. 8, 1971 the U.S. Supreme (Burger) 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 Apr. 20, 1971 the U.S. Supreme (Burger) Court rules unanimously in Swann v. Charlotte-Mecklenburg Board of Education, to uphold the busing of students to achieve racial desegregation when segregation has been officially sanctioned and/or school authorities offer no acceptable alternative; Justices incl. William O. Douglas, William J. Brennan Jr., Thurgood Marshall, Hugo Black, Byron White, Harry Blackmun, John M. Harlan II, Potter Stewart, and Warren E. Burger; the last time the court is unanimous about racial makeup of schools until ?; in May the U.S. govt. imposes a Big Brother busing plan on yee-haw Austin, Tex., requiring 13K students to be bused at an annual cost of $1M, causing a massive court fight; in July a federal judge rejects it, causing Ala. gov. George Wallace to complain that the Adolf Nixon admin. has done more to desegregate public schools than any previous admin., after which on Aug. 3 Nixon repudiates the plan, ordering that busing be limited "to the minimum required by law".
On June 7, 1971 the U.S. Supreme (Burger) 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 June 21, 1971 the U.s. Supreme (Burger) Court rules 6-3 in Bivens v. Six Unknown Named Agents that an implied cause of action exists for an individual whose Fourth Amendment freedoms have been violated by the Federal Bureau of Narcotics, allowing him/her to sue for the violation itself despite the lack of any federal statute authorizing such a lawsuit, with the existence of a remedy for the violation implied by the importance of the right violated.
On June 28, 1971 the U.S. Supreme (Burger) 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 (Burger) 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 (Burger) 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 Nov. 22, 1971 the U.S. Supreme (Burger) Court rules unanimously in Reed v. Reed that the Equal Protection Clause of the 4th Amendment bars the naming of administrators of estates in a way that discriminates on the basis of sex.
On Mar. 22, 1972 the U.S. Supreme (Burger) Court rules 6-1 in Eisenstadt v. Baird that unmarried people have the same right to possess contraceptives and obtain info. on birth control as married couples as part of their right to privacy, telling the state of Mass. that its law making it a felony is full of it, finishing the process started by Griswold v. Conn (1965), although it admits that states may prohibit and punish sex outside of marriage; Justices Lewis F. Powell Jr. and William Rehnquist are not yet sworn in so they don't vote.
On Apr. 19, 1972 the U.S. Supreme (Burger) Court rules 4-3 in Sierra Club v. Morton to reject a lawsuit by the Sierra Club seeking to block the development of a ski resort in Mineral King Valley in the Sierra Nevada Mts. because it has no standing under the U.S. Administrative Procedure Act; Justices Lewis F. Powell Jr. and William Rehnquist recuse themselves; dissenting Justice William O. Doulas writes the soundbyte that trees should be granted legal personhood, allowing them to sue for their own protection; after the court hints that the Sierra Club can amend their complaint based on club outings in the valley, they do it on June 23, causing Calif. gov. Ronald Reagan to withdraw support for the project in Aug., and the project is never developed.
On June 19, 1972 after St. Louis Cardinals black centerfielder Curtis Charles "Curt" Flood (1938-97) files suit in 1969, the U.S. Supreme (Burger) Court rules 5-3 in Flood v. Kuhn to refuse to lift the immunity from antitrust laws granted to ML baseball by Congress in 1922; Justice Harry Blackmun writes a 7-page intro. titled "The Game", giving a tribute to the game's history with a lengthy listing of 83 baseball stars, becoming one of his claims to fame along with his opinion in Roe v. Wade (1973).
On June 19, 1972 the U.S. Supreme (Burger) Court rules 8-1 in U.S. v. U.S. District Court (Keith Case) that a warrant needs to be obtained before beginning electronic surveillance even if domestic security issues are involved, but not foreign intel operations, because the "inherent vagueness of the domestic security concept" is trumped by the Fourth Amendment, with Justice Lewis F. Powell Jr. writing the soundbyte: "History abundantly documents the tendency of Government - however benevolent and benign its motives - to view with suspicion those who most fervently dispute its policies. Fourth Amendment protections become the more necessary when the targets of official surveillance may be those suspected of unorthodoxy in their political beliefs. The danger to political dissent is acute where the Government attempts to act under so vague a concept as the power to protect 'domestic security'. Given the difficulty of defining the domestic security interest, the danger of abuse in acting to protect that interest becomes apparent"; William Rehnquist recuses himself.
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)
On June 29, 1972 the U.S. Supreme (Burger) Court rules 5-4 in Gravel v. U.S. that the Congressional Speech or Debate Clause extends to Congressional aides, but not to activity outside the legislative process; dissenting Justice Potter Stewart wants it to cover testimony before a grand jury about preparing for legislative acts.
On July 21, 1972 Am. comedian George Carlin (1937-2008) is arrested at the Milwaukee, Wisc. Summerfest for obscenity for reciting his famous "Seven Words You Can Never Say on Television", causing him to call them the "Milwaukee Seven"; charges are dismissed in Dec., after which the FCC fines Pacifica Foundation FM radio station in New York City next year for airing his routine, causing them to fight to the U.S. Supreme (Burger) Court, which on July 3, 1978 rules 5-4 in FCC vs. Pacifica Foundation that the routine is "indecent but not obscene", but that the FCC has the authority to prohibit it during hours when pesky children are likely to be listening; in 2006 Carlin says "No, we haven't made any progress. We're going backwards."
The U.S. Supreme (Burger) 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 Feb. 27, 1973 the U.S. Supreme (Burger) Court rules unanimously in Press v. Silver Spring Pool Club that the private Silver Spring Pool Club in Md. cannot bar residents because of color, with Justice Harry A. Blackmun writing the soundbyte: "When an organization links membership benefits to residency in a narrow geographical area, that decision infuses those benefits into the bundle of rights for which an individual pays when buying or leasing within the area."
On Mar. 21, 1973 the U.S. Supreme (Burger) Court rules 6-3 in San Antonio Independent School District v. Rodriguez that local property taxes may be used to finance a public school system, even though it can lead to wealth-based discrimination, because there is no fundamental Constitutional right to education; new Justice Lewis F. Powell Jr. is the swing vote.
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.
On June 18, 1973 the U.S. Supreme (Burger) Court rules 5-4 in U.S. v. Students Challenging Regulatory Agency Procedures (SCRAP) that a group of law students from George Washington U. have legal standing to sue under Article III of the Constitution to challenge a nationwide railroad freight rate increase approved by the Interstate Commerce Commision, becoming the first full-court consideration of the 1970 U.S. Nat. Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).
On June 21, 1973 the U.S. Supreme (Burger) Court rules 5-4 in Almeida-Sanchez v. U.S. that the U.S. Border Patrol can't stop and search an automobile without probable cause just because it's within 100 nmi. from the border.
Miller tastes better and is less filling? On June 21, 1973 the U.S. Supreme (Burger) 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 Nov. 7, 1973 the U.S. Congress overrides Pres. Nixon's Oct. 24 veto of the July 18-20 U.S. War Powers Act (Resolution) of 1973, giving the U.S. pres. 60 days freedom of action against a perceived enemy threat to the U.S. before Congress can call troops back, but requiring the pres. to consult with Congress before sending troops, and to report to them within 48 hours of deployment; after Nixon, presidents begin ignoring the act on the grounds that Nixon called it unconstitutional - just think of your Congressman's face, how he's the kind of whimp you'd beat up at school, and then thinks he can suddenly push you around in student council? On Nov. 8 Nevada approves pari-mutuel betting on Jai Alai (Basque "merry festival").
In 1973 Alice Childress (1920-94) pub. A Hero Ain't Nothin' but a Sandwich, about a 13-y.-o. black male heroin addict; sold as a book for schoolchildren, it ends up in a lawsuit going to the U.S. Supreme Court, which rules in Island Trees School District v. Plco (1982) that "Local school boards may not remove books from school library shelves simply because they dislike the ideas contained in those books."
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, 1974 the U.S. Supreme (Burger) Court rules unanimously in Oneida Indian Nation of New York v. County of Oneida that there is federal subject-matter jurisdiction for possessory land claims brought by Native Am. tribes based upon aboriginal title, the 1790 U.S. Nonintercourse Act, and Indian treaties, becoming the first modern-day Native Am. land claim litigated in federal court rather than before the Indian Claims Commission, and the first to go to final judgment.
On Apr. 23, 1974 the U.S. Supreme (Burger) Court rules in DeFunis v. Odegaard that it won't decide the case of law student Marco DeFunis, who had been denied admission to the U. of Wash. Law School because of affirmative action because he had been provisionally admitted and was about to graduate, making the case moot, neatly sidestepping the issue of affirmative action until Regents of the U. of Calif. v. Bakke (1978).
On July 25, 1974 in Milliken v. Bradley, the split (5-4) U.S. Supreme (Burger) Court guts the power of federal courts to enforce school desegregation in metro areas when it rules that "white flight" suburbs that have no history of segregation practices cannot be automatically compelled to join a unitary integrated busing area with the inner city, barring multidistrict busing; concurring justices are Stewart, Powell, Blackmun, Burger, and Rehnquist; dissenting justices are Douglas, Brennan, Marshall, and White.
The King is Dead, Long Live the U.S. Constitution? On July 19, 1974 the U.S. House Judiciary Committee recommends that Pres. Nixon stand trial in the U.S. Senate on five impeachment charges; on July 24 the U.S. Supreme (Burger) Court rules 8-0 (William Rehnquist abstaining) in U.S. v. Nixon that Nixon has no absolute right to privacy, and that executive privilege cannot be invoked in criminal cases to withhold evidence, hence he must turn over 64 subpoenaed White House tape recordings to the Watergate special prosecutor as evidence in the trial of six former aides; after Nixon won't give up, the U.S. Supreme (Rehnquist) court rules unanimously on Jan. 13, 1993 in Nixon v. U.S. that it has no power to decide if the U.S. Senate has properly tried an impeachment.
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 June 26, 1975 the U.S. Supreme (Burger) Court rules unanimously in O'Connor v. Donaldson that a state cannot constitutionally imprison a person if they are not a danger to themselves or others and are capable of living in society alone or with help from family members or friends.
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 Feb. 25, 1976 the U.S. Supreme (Burger) Court rules in De Canas v. Bica that states may ban the hiring of illegal aliens.
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 Dec. 20, 1976 the U.S. Supreme (Burger) Court rules 7-2 in Craig v. Boren that the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment bars statutory or administrative sex classifications, incl. different min. ages for purchasing beer.
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 Feb. 22, 1977 the U.S. Supreme (Burger) Court rules unanimously in Whalen v. Roe that a state may pass a law requiring the reporting and storage of info. concerning Schedule II drug prescriptions, with Justice Potter Stewart writing the soundbyte that prior court decisions did not "recognize a general interest in freedom from disclosure of private information".
On Mar. 1, 1977 the U.S. Supreme (Burger) 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 Apr. 20, 1977 the U.S. Supreme Burger) Court rules in Wooley v. Maynard to order N.H. to quit forcing people to have the state motto "Live Free or Die" displayed on their license plates against their will after a Jehovah's Witnesses family is prosecuted for covering the words up and fights back.
On June 9, 1977 the U.S. Supreme (Burger) Court rules 7-2 in Carey v. Population Services Internat. that it is unconstitutional to prohibit anyone other than a licensed pharmacist to distribute nonprescription contraceptives to persons age 16 or over, or to prohibit their distribution by any adult or to prohibit anyone to advertise or display them because the Due Process Clause of the 14th Amendment prohibits a state from intruding on a person's decisions on matters of procreation as protected by privacy rights.
On June 28, 1977 the U.S. Supreme (Burger) 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 (Burger) 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 (Burger) 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."
On June 6, 1978 the U.S. Supreme (Burger) Court rules 7-2 in Monell v. New York City Dept. of Social Services that the 1871 U.S. Civil Rights (Ku Klux Klan) Act applies to muncipalities as well as states.
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 Dec. 18, 1878 despite the 1863 Nat. Bank Act not envisioning credit cards, the U.S. Supreme (Burger) Court rules unanimously in Marquette Nat. Bank of Minneapolis v. First Omaha Service Corp. that nationally-chartered banks can charge the highest rate in the bank's home state nationwide, allowing them to bypass state usury laws, causing S.D. to bolt from the other 49 states and quickly eliminate all usury limits to attract the cos., which works bigtime, allowing them to charge unlimited rates if they can get away with it.
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 in 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 Mar. 23, 1981 the U.S. Supreme (Burger) Court rules 5-4 in Michael M. v. Superior Court of Sonoma County that states can require, with some exceptions, parental notification when teenage girls seek abortions; statutory rape can be made a crime for men but not women.
On May 18, 1981 the U.S. Supreme (Burger) Court rules 9-0 in Edwards v. Arizona that police may not reinterrogate a suspect who has invoked his Miranda rights unless he waives them - unless you're Dirty Harry?
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 May 3, 1982 the U.S. 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals decides in Engblom v. Carey that a state nat. guard is covered by the Third Amendment, becoming the only significant federal case over the amendment when anonymous tipsters are involved.
On July 1, 1982 the U.S. Supreme (Burger) Court rules 7-2 in Miss. U. for Women v. Hogan that a single-sex admissions policy for a state-supported univ. violates the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment, and that a nursing school can't exclude males from admission because it "tends to perpetuate the stereotyped view of nursing as an exclusively women's job".
On July 2, 1982 the U.S. Supreme (Burger) Court rules unanimously in N.Y. v. Ferber that states may ban material depicting children engaged in sexual activity even if it is not obscene.
On Mar. 2, 1983 the U.S. Supreme (Burger) Court rules 5-4 in EEOC v. Wyoming to uphold the U.S. Age Discrimination in Employement Act of 1967 - a no-brainer considering the age of the justices?
On June 8, 1983 the U.S. Supreme (Burger) Court rules 5-4 in Ill. v. Gates to replace the 1964-1969 Aguilar-Spinelli (Underlying Circumstances) Test for probable cause with the Totality of the Circumstances Test.
On June 15, 1983 the U.S. Supreme (Burger) Court rules 6-3 in Planned Parenthood Assoc. of Kansas City, Mo. v. Ashcroft and City of Akron v. Akron Center for Reproductive Health to declare many local abortion restrictions unconstitutional, such as requiring abortions after the first trimester to be performed in a hospital, and "informed consent" by a physician to a patient to tell her that the fetus is a human being from conception and tell her about the consequences of an abortion.
On June 15, 1983 the U.S. Supreme (Burger) Court rules 5-4 in Plyler v. Doe that K-12 public schools may not require proof that a student is a legal citizen but only that he/she lives within the district attendance zone; dissenters incl. Burger, Rehnquist, White, and O'Connor; William J. Brennan writes the majority opinion that "Whatever his status under the immigration laws, an alien is surely a person... guaranteed due process of law by the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments."
On June 23, 1983 the U.S. Supreme (Burger) Court rules 7-2 in INS v. Chadha that the 1-house legislative veto violates constitutional separation of powers.
On June 28, 1983 the U.S. Supreme (Burger) Court rules 5-4 in Solem v. Helm that life prison sentences without the possibility of parole for "relatively minor criminal conduct" (check kiting) are unconstitutional because they are cruel and unusual - isn't this a little late in coming, fellahs?
On June 29, 1983 the U.S. Supreme (Burger) Court rules 5-4 in Mueller v. Allen that a state income tax deduction for parents of school children that incl. private secular and religious schools does not violate the Establishment Clause because it provides for "private choice", funneling money to citizens rather than institutions.
On July 5, 1983 the U.S. Supreme (Burger) Court rules 7-2 in Jones v. Barnes that an atty. doesn't have to raise every nonfrivolous argument of his client in an appeal, with dissenting Justice William J. Brennan Jr. writing the soundbyte: "I cannot accept the notion that lawyers are one of the punishments a person receives merely for being accused of a crime."
On July 5, 1983 the U.S. Supreme (Burger) Court rules in 6-3 in Marsh v. Chambers that govt. funding of chaplains does not violate the Establishment Clause because Congress authorized one for opening their sessions with prayer three days before ratification of the First Amendment in 1791; disenting justice William J. Brennan Jr. writes the soundbyte: "If the Court had struck down legislative prayer today, it would likely have stimulated a furious reaction. But it would also, I am convinced, have invigorated both the 'spirit of religion' and the 'spirit of freedom'."
On Jan. 17, 1984 the U.S. Supreme (Burger) Court rules 5-4 in Sony Corp of Am. v. Universal City Studios Inc. that home video recorders used for time shifting do not infringe on copyrights but are protected by fair use, and that manufacturers such as Betamax are not liable for infringement, creating a boom in the home video market; Justice John Paul Stevens writes the majority opinion; dissenters incl. Justices Harry Blackmun, Thurgood Marshall, Lewis F. Powell Jr., and William Rehnquist.
On Mar. 5, 1984 the U.S. Supreme Court rules 5-4 in Lynch v. Donnelly that cities have the constitutional right to display the Nativity (Creche) Scene as part of their Christmas display, and to use public funds for it.
On May 14, 1984 the U.S. Supreme (Burger) Court rules 8-1 in Strickland v. Wash. to establish a 2-part test for a claim of ineffective assistance of counsel, incl. performance falling below an objective std. of reasonableness, and a reasonable probability that if counsel had performed adequately, the result would have been different; the lone dissenter is Justice Thurgood Marshall, who claims that the new test is unlikely to "improve the adjudication of Sixth Amendment claims", calling the performance std. "so malleable that, in practice, it will either have no grip at all or will yield excessive variation in the manner in which the Sixth Amendment is interpreted and applied by different courts. What does 'reasonable' mean? Should counsel's performance be judged by reference to a reasonable paid attorney or a reasonable appointed one?... A person of means, by selecting a lawyer and paying him enough to ensure he prepares thoroughly, usually can obtain better representation than that available to an indigent defendant, who must rely on appointed counsel, who, in turn, has limited time and resources to devote to a given case", adding "Much of the work involved in preparing for trial, applying for bail, conferring with one's client, making timely objections to significant, arguably erroneous rulings of the trial judge, and filing a notice of appeal if there are colorable grounds therefor could profitably be made the subject of uniform standards."
On May 14, 1984 the U.S. Supreme (Rehnquist) Court rules in U.S. v. Sun Myung Moon to refuse to review the conviction of Rev. Sun Myung Moon on income tax evasion charges, and he goes to prison on July 21, serving 13 mo. of a 18-mo. sentence incl. a $15K fine.
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 rules unanimously to back it for regulations issued by Customs on behalf of the Treasury.
On July 5, 1984 the U.S. Supreme (Burger) Court rules 5-4 in Segura vs. U.S. Supreme Court to weaken the 70-y.-o. "exclusionary rule", ruling that evidence seized with defective court warrants "in good faith" can be used against defendants in criminal trials - how defective?
On Jan. 15, 1985 the U.S. Supreme (Burger) Court rules 5-4 in New Jersey v. T.L.O. that the 4th Amendment allows public school officials to conduct searches of students, with the less strict standard of reasonable suspicion rather than probable cause.
On June 4, 1985 the U.S. Supreme (Burger) Court rules 6-3 in Wallace v. Jaffree to uphold a lower court ruling striking down an Ala. law providing for a daily minute of silence in public schools; Burger, Rehnquist, and White dissent - this is as silly as it gets?
On Dec. 3, 1985 the U.S. Supreme (Burger) Court rules in Heath v. Ala. that the Double Jeopardy Clause of the 5th Amendment doesn't prohibit a state from prosecuting a person for an act for which he has already been convicted and sentenced in another state.
On Apr. 1, 1986 the U.S. Supreme (Burger) Court rules 6-3 in Michigan v. Jackson that police may not initiate questioning of a defendant who has a lawyer or has asked for a lawyer unless the lawyer is present, even if they agree to talk to them without them; Rehnquist, Powell, and O'Connor dissent; in Apr. 2009 when John Paul Stevens, who wrote the majority opinion is the only justice left, the Obama admin. asks the court to reverse itself, which it does by 5-4 in Montejo v. La. (2009).
On June 11, 1986 the U.S. Supreme (Burger) Court rules 5-4 in Thornburgh v. Am. College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists to strike down a Penn. abortion law while reaffirming its 1973 decision establishing a constitutional right to abortion; chief justice Warren Burger reverses his Roe decision, calling for a reconsideration of it; funny coincidence that he's soon replaced?
On June 26, 1986 the U.S. Supreme (Burger Court) rules 7-2 in Ford v. Wainwright that the insane cannot be executed.
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 July 7, 1986 the U.S. Supreme (Burger) Court rules 7-2 in Bethel School District v. Fraser that a school may suspend a student for lewd (sexual double entendres) speech; dissenters incl. John Paul Stevens and Thurgood Marshall; the last case of the Burger Court.
On Sept. 17, 1986 the Senate confirms the nomination by Pres. Reagan of Milwaukee, Wisc.-born William Hubbs Rehnquist (1924-2005) (Protestant) 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 a romance languages prof.) wins confirmation unanimously; they are sworn-in on Sept. 26, with Rehnquist becoming U.S. Chief Justice #16 and justice #100 (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 Nov. 14, 1986 after lobbying by Merck, Wyeth, Lederle, and Connaught, the U.S. Nat. Childhood Vaccine Injury Act (NCVIA) is signed by Pres. Reagan, shielding Big Pharma from vaccine injury lawsuits, steering them to an arbitration board with a Vaccine Injury Trust Fund; on Feb. 22, 2011 the U.S. Supreme Court rules 6-2 (Sotomayor, Ginsburg) in Bruesewitz v. Wyeth to shield drug cos. from all liability for harm caused by vaccines mandated by the govt. if they are "accompanied by proper directions and warnings".
On Jan. 22, 1987 a U.S. federal appeals court rules that court appointment of independent counsels to investigate allegations of wrongdoing by high-ranking govt. officials under the 1978 U.S. Independent Counsel Act is unconstitutional, but that appointment by the U.S. atty. gen. is constitutional despite the argument that the office of independent counsel takes executive power away from the U.S. pres. and creates a hybrid "fourth branch" of govt. answerable to no one; the U.S. Supreme (Rehnquist) Court upholds them 7-1 next June 29 in Morrison v. Olson, claiming that although the U.S. pres. can't fire an independent counsel, he/she is still an officer of the executive branch and hence not under control of the Congress or courts; lone dissenter Antonin Scalia writes that criminal prosecution is an exercise of "purely executive power" and that the law deprives the U.S. pres. of "exclusive control" of that power, adding "I fear the Court has permanently encumbered the Republic with an institution that will do it great harm."
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 Apr. 22, 1987 the U.S. Supreme (Rehnquist) Court rules in 5-4 in McClesky v. Kemp to uphold the death penalty for Warren McClesky, a black man convicted of armed robbery and murder, becaue a mere "racially disproportionate impact" found in a comprehensive scientific study of the Ga. death penalty is not enough to overturn the verdict without showing a "racially discriminatory purpose", pissing-off legal scholars, who call it one of the worst Supreme Court decisions since WWII, with Anthony Lewis claiming that it "effectively condoned the expression of racism in a profound aspect of our law, and Anthony G. Amsterdam calling it "the Dred Scott decision of our time"; later Justice Lewis Powell calls it the one case in which he'd like to change his vote; dissenting Justice William J. Brennan Jr. writes the soundbytes: "Those whom we would banish from society or from the human community itself often speak in too faint a voice to be heard above society's demand for punishment. It is the particular role of courts to hear these voices, for the Constitution declares that the majoritarian chorus may not alone dictate the conditions of social life", and: "The Court next states that its unwillingness to regard petitioner's evidence as sufficient is based in part on the fear that recognition of McCleskey's claim would open the door to widespread challenges to all aspects of criminal sentencing... Taken on its face, such a statement seems to suggest a fear of too much justice."
On June 19, 1987 the U.S. Supreme (Rehnquist) Court rules 7-2 in Edwards v. Aguillard that equal time in public schools for Creation Science along with Darwinian Evolutionary Theory violates the First Amendment Establishment Clause, but that "teaching a variety of scientific theories about the origins of humankind to school children might be validly done with the clear secular intent of enhancing the effectiveness of scientific instruction", giving an opening to the Intelligent Design proponents; in support of the decision, amicus briefs are filed by 72 Nobel Prize winning scientists, 17 state academies of science, and seven other scientific orgs; dissenters incl. Justices William Rehnquist and Antonin Scalia.
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. 2 despite Pres. Reagan's attempts to strongarm them, more Dem. sens. line up against Supreme Court nominee Robert H. Bork; on Oct. 6 the Senate Judiciary Committee votes 9-5 against his nomination; on Oct. 9, his rejection by the Senate a virtual certainty, he angrily tells reporters he will not ask that his nomination be withdrawn; on Oct. 23 the U.S. Senate rejects him by 58-42 - which is conservative by definition?
First he gets borked, then he gets smoked? On Oct. 29, 1987 Pres. Reagan announces his choice of federal appeals court judge Allen Ginsberg (1926-97), er, Douglas Howard Ginsburg (1946-) for the U.S. Supreme Court to replace Lewis Powell, who announced his retirement on June 26; on Nov. 5 revelations of his past marijuana use surface from Nina Totenberg of NPR, and he withdraws his nomination on Nov. 7.
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
On Jan. 23, 1989 the U.S. Supreme (Rehnquist) Court rules 6-3 in City of Richmond v. J.A. Croson Co. that a city-run minority set-aside program with "rigid" racial quotas giving preference to minority business enterprises in the awarding of municipal contracts is unconstitutional under the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment unless the city demonstrates a compelling interest rather than vague claims of past societal discrimination, with Justice Sandra Day O'Connor writing the soundbyte: "To accept Richmond's claim that past societal discrimination alone can serve as the basis for rigid racial preferences would be to open the door to competing claims for 'remedial relief' for every disadvantaged group. The dream of a Nation of equal citizens in a society where race is irrelevant to personal opportunity and achievement would be lost in a mosaic of shifting preferences based on inherently unmeasurable claims of past wrongs. Courts would be asked to evaluate the extent of the prejudice and consequent harm suffered by various minority groups. Those whose societal injury is thought to exceed some arbitrary level of tolerability then would be entitled to preferential classification. We think such a result would be contrary to both the letter and the spirit of a constitutional provision whose central command is equality"; dissenting Justice Antonin Scalia doesn't believe that race-based programs are constitutional, period; the court follows with decisions on June 5 in Wards Cove Packing Co. v. Antonio and on June 12 in Martin v. Wilks weakening affirmative action in procedural ways.
On May 1, 1989 the U.S. Supreme (Rehnquist) Court rules 5-4 in Price Waterhouse v. Hopkins that an employer has the legal burden of proving that its refusal to hire or promote someone is based on legitimate and not discriminatory reasons - another big day for Sandra Day?
The U.S. confronts its own contradictions and is held together by a wet whisker? On June 21, 1989 the U.S. Supreme (Rehnquist) Court rules 5-4 in Tex. v. Johnson that burning the U.S. flag as a form of political protest is protected by the First Amendment, with Justice William J. Brennan uttering the soundbytes: "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", and: "We can imagine no more appropriate response to burning a flag than waving one's own, no better way to counter a flag burner's message than by saluting the flag that burns, no surer means of preserving the dignity even of the flag that burned than by - as one witness here did - according its remains a respectful burial. We do not consecrate the flag by punishing its desecration, for in doing so we dilute the freedom that this cherished emblem represents"; on June 27 clueless 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, 20 years for eating a cake with flag icing?
On June 23, 1989 the U.S. Supreme (Rehnquist) 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 (Rehnquist) Court rules unanimously 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 June 26, 1989 the U.S. Supreme Court rules that the death penalty may be imposed for murderers who committed their crimes as young as age 16, and for mentally-retarded killers as well.
On July 3, 1989 by the U.S. Supreme (Rehnquist) Court rules 5-4 in Webster v. Reproductive Health Services to uphold abortion restrictions in the "show me" state of Mo.
On Apr. 17, 1990 the U.S. Supreme (Rehnquist) Court rules unanimously in Employment Div. v. Smith that the govt. may criminalize acts done as part of a religious ritual incl. use of peyote, although they states may choose to tolerate them, causing Congress to pass the 1993 U.S. Religious Freedom Restoration Act on Nov. 16, 1993 to "ensure that interests in religious freedom are protected", requiring a strict scrutiny standard and a narrowly tailored regulation serving a compelling govt interest in any case substantially burdening the free exercise of religion, but on June 25, 1997 the U.S. Supreme (Rehnquist) Court rules 6-3 in City of Boerne v. Flores that the 1993 U.S. Religious Freedom Restoration Act exceeded the power of Congress under Sect. 5 of the 14th Amendment, which prohibits Congress from substantially increasing the scope of rights determined by the judiciary, and may only enact remedial or preventative measures, hence the law doesn't apply to the states.
On Apr. 18, 1990 the U.S. Screwpreme (Rehnquist) 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 June 14, 1990 the U.S. Supreme Court rules 6-3 in Mich. Dept. of State Police v. Sitz to uphold the Fourth Amendment constitutionality of police checkpoints that examine drivers for signs of intoxication.
On June 25, 1990 the U.S. Supreme (Rehnquist) Court rules 5-4 in Cruzan v. Director, Mo. Dept. of Health that a state may require "clear and convincing evidence" of a patient's wishes for removal of life support, causing the creation of advance health directives.
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.
On Nov. 29, 1990 Pres. Bush signs the U.S. Gun-Free School Zones Act of 1990, introduced by Del. Dem. Sen. Joseph R. Biden Jr., banning possession of handguns near schools; no surprise, on Apr. 26, 1995 the U.S. Supreme Court rules 5-4 in U.S. v. Lopez that it is unconstitutional, becoming the first time in over 50 years that they limit Congressional authority to grab power under guise of the Commerce Clause, causing it to be amended to apply only to guns that have been moved via interstate commerce; "It shall be unlawful for any individual knowingly to possess a firearm that has moved in or that otherwise affects interstate or foreign commerce at a place that the individual knows, or has reasonable cause to believe, is a school zone".
On Mar. 26, 1991 the U.S. Supreme (Rehnquist) Court rules 6-3 in Ariz. v. Fulminante that a confession of murder in prison in exchange of an offer of protection from the other prisoners is coerced, and can't be used against him in court, but that criminal defendants whose coerced confessions are improperly used as evidence are not always entitled to new trials.
On Mar. 26, 1991 the U.S. Supreme (Rehnquist) Court rules in Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. Arabian Am. Oil Co. and ARAMCO Services Co. that the 1964 U.S. Civil Rights Act does not apply to Americans working for U.S. companies abroad; Congress overturns the ruling in the U.S. Civil Rights Act of 1991 (Nov. 21, 1991).
On Mar. 27, 1991 the U.S. Supreme (Rehnquist) Court rules unanimously in Feist Publications Inc. v. Rural Telephone Service Co. that copyright protection is extended by the govt. to cover originality and creativity not mere sweat of the brow such as in telephone books.
On June 13, 1991 the U.S. Supreme (Rehnquist) Court rules 5-3 in McNeil v. Wisc. that a jailed suspect represented by a lawyer in one criminal case sometimes may be questioned by police about another crime without the lawyer present.
On June 24, 1991 the U.S. Supreme (Rehnquist Court rules 5-4 in Cohen v. Cowles Media Co. that the First Amendment does not shield news orgs. from being sued when they publish the names of sources who had been promised confidentiality.
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 May 26, 1992 the U.S. Supreme (Rehnquist) Court rules unanimously in Quill Corp. v. North Dakota that states may not collect sales tax from retail purchases made over the Internet unless the seller has a physical presence in the state; overrruled by "South Dakota v. Wayfair Inc." (2018).
On June 24, 1992 the U.S. Supreme (Rehnquist) Court rules 5-4 in Lee v. Weisman that the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment prohibits schools from sponsoring clergy-led prayers at graduation ceremonies, even non-denominational prayers, even if attendance is voluntary, establishing the Coercion Test, which "seeks to determine whether the state has applied coercive pressure on an individual to support or participate in religion", with Justice Anthony Kennedy writing the soundbyte: "To say a teenage student has a real choice not to attend her high school graduation is formalistic in the extreme. rue, Deborah could elect not to attend commencement without renouncing her diploma; but we shall not allow the case to turn on this point. Everyone knows that, in our society and in our culture, high school graduation is one of life's most significant occasions. A school rule which excuses attendance is beside the point. Attendance may not be required by official decree, yet it is apparent that a student is not free to absent herself from the graduation exercise in any real sense of the term 'voluntary' for absence would require forfeiture of those intangible benefits which have motivated the student through youth and all her high school years"; and "The principle that government may accommodate the free exercise of religion does not supersede the fundamental limitations imposed by the Establishment Clause. It is beyond dispute that, at a minimum, the Constitution guarantees that government may not coerce anyone to support or participate in religion or its exercise, or otherwise act in a way which "establishes a [state] religion or religious faith, or tends to do so"; dissenting Justice Antonin Scalia writes the soundbyte: "In holding that the Establishment Clause prohibits invocations and benedictions at public school graduation ceremonies, the Court - with nary a mention that it is doing so - lays waste a tradition that is as old as public school graduation ceremonies themselves, and that is a component of an even more longstanding American tradition of nonsectarian prayer to God at public celebrations generally. As its instrument of destruction, the bulldozer of its social engineering, the Court invents a boundless, and boundlessly manipulable, test of psychological coercion."
On June 29, 1992 the U.S. Supreme (Rehnquist) Court rules in Planned Parenthood v. Casey to reaffirm Roe v. Wade (1973), with the soundbyte: "Matters, involving the most intimate and personal choices a person may make in a lifetime, choices central to personal dignity and autonomy, are central to the liberty protected by the Fourteenth Amendment", adding the "undue burden" standard for abortion restrictions.
On Apr. 5, 1993 the U.S. Supreme (Rehnquist) Court rules 8-1 in U.S. v. Tex. that state legislatures must operate under the assumption that statutes will be interpreted against the backdrop of common law, with the soundbyte: "Longstanding is the principle that statutes invading the common law are to be read with a presumption favoring retention of existing law except when a statutory purpose to the contrary is evident. This presumption is not limited to state common law or federal maritime law."
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 11, 1993 the U.S. Supreme (Rehnquist) Court rules unanimusly in Church of the Lukumi Babalu Aye v. City of Hialeah that states can't pass laws prohibiting the "unnecessary killing of an animal in a public or private ritual or ceremony not for the primary purpose of food consumption" because the govt. must show a compelling interest to pass a law that targets a religion's ritual (as opposed to a law that happens to burden the ritual but is not directed at it), and failing to show such an interest, the prohibition of animal sacrifice is a violation of the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment.
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 7-2 in Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals Inc. that the Fry Standard (gen. acceptance by the scientific community) for admitting expert testimony in federal courts is not incorporated in the 1975 Federal Rules of Evidence, and is to be replaced by the Daubert Standard, based on a flexible reliability standard.
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 (Rehnquist) Court rules 6-3 in Romer v. Evans that it is unconstitutional because of the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment and because it fails a rational basis review, with the majority calling the provision "grounded in animus"; 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 Apr. 19, 1994 the U.S. Supreme (Rehnquist) Court rules 6-3 in J.E.B. v. Ala. ex rel. T.B that it is unconsitutional to make peremptory juror challenges based solely on the juror's sex, extending Batson v. Ky. (1986), which ruled out race-based challenges, and Edmonson v. Leesville Concrete Co. (1991), which expanded the principle to civil trials.
On June 12, 1994 the U.S. Supreme Court rules 5-4 in Adarand Constructors v. Federico Pena that affirmative action programs are constitutional only when they address specific acts of past discrimination, adopting strict scrutiny, and reversing "Fullilove v. Klutznick" (1980); they also rule 5-4 to reject a sweeping school desegregation plan in Kansas City, Mo.
On June 24, 1994 the U.S. Supreme (Rehnquist) Court rules 5-4 in Dolan v. City of Tigard that the application of restrictive zoning violates the Takings Clause if it does not substantially advance legitimate govt. interests under the doctrine of Unconstitutional Conditions, that a govt. agency may not require a person to surrender constitutional rights in exchange for discretionary benefits.
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 Apr. 26, 1995 the U.S. Supreme (Rehnquist) Court rules 5-4 in U.S. v. Lopez to limit Congress' power under the Commerce Clause, invalidating the 1990 U.S. Gun-Free School Zones Act regulating the carrying of handgun near schools, causing the act to be amended to apply only to guns moved via interstate commerce.
On May 22, 1995 the U.S. Supreme (Rehnquist) Court rules 5-4 in U.S. Term Limits Inc. v. Thornton that states cannot impose qualifications incl. term limits for prospective members of the U.S. Congress stricter than those specified in the U.S. Constitution, invalidating term limits in 23 states.
On Apr. 2, 2007 the U.S. Supreme (Roberts) Court rules 5-4 in Mass. vs. EPA to rebuke the Bush admin. for inaction on global warming, declaring that CO2 and other greenhouse gases are air pollutants under the 1963 U.S. Clean Air Act, and that the EPA has the authority to regulate those emissions from new cars and trucks.
On June 19, 1995 the U.S. Supreme (Rehnquist) Court rules unanimously in Hurley v. Irish-American Gay, Lesbian, & Bisexual Group of Boston that private citizens organizing a public demonstration can't be forced by the state to incl. groups who impart a message the organizers don't want to be presented, even on the grounds of preventing discrimination, because the freedom to associate with orgs. dedicated to the "advancement of beliefs and ideas" is an inseparable part of the Due Process Clause of the 14th Amendment.
On June 21, 1995 the U.S. Supreme (Rehnquist) Court rules 6-3 in Vernonia School District 47J v. Acton that public schools may engage in random drug testing of students to allow them to participate in sports, because they are not unreasonable under the Fourth Amendment in light of the schools' interest in preventing teenie drug use.
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 May 13, 1996 the U.S. Supreme (Rehnquist) Court unanimously decides in U.S. v. Armstrong that racial profiling is constitutional in the absence of data that "similarly situated" defendants of another race were disparately treated, overturning the U.s. 9th Circuit Court ruling that law enforcement must proceed on "the presumption that people of all races commit all types of crimes - not with the premise that any type of crime is the exclusive province of any particular racial or ethnic group"; in 2008 it disapproves profiling of people of Arab ethnicity because "all of the persons who participated in the 9/11 terrorist attacks were Middle Eastern males".
On June 10, 1996 the U.S. Supreme (Rehnquist) Court rules unanimously in Whren v. U.S. that police can stop drivers for supposed traffic violations when they are in fact looking for evidence of other illegal activities, disturbing many with the thought that the mere act of being accosted by a policeman can now leave you defenseless against being framed on drug charges et al.
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.
On June 26, 1996 the U.S. Supreme (Rehnquist) Court rules 7-1 in U.S. v. Va. to strike down the male-only admission policy of the Va. Military Inst. (VMI); Clarence Thomas recuses himself, and Justice Antonin Scalia is the only dissenter.
On May 27, 1997 the U.S. Supreme (Rehnquist) Court rules 9-0 in Clinton v. Jones that Pres. Clinton can't delay facing the sexual indiscretion charges of Paula Corbin Jones by claiming immunity, with the soundbyte: "The President, like all other government officials, is subject to the same laws that apply to all other members of our society."
On June 23, 1997 the U.S. Supreme (Rehnquist) Court rules 5-4 in Agostini v. Felton that the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment doesn't prevent public school teachers from teaching at religious schools as long as the material is secular and neutral in nature, and there is no "excessive entanglement" between govt. and religion, reversing Aguilar v. Felton (1985); the dissenters incl. Justices David Souter, John Paul Stevens, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, and David Souter, who claim "That cause lies in the maintenance of integrity in the interpretation of procedural rules, preservation of the responsive, non agenda setting character of this Court, and avoidance of invitations to reconsider old cases based on speculat[ions] on chances from changes in [the Court's membership]."
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) Cout rules 6-3 in Clinton v. City of New York that the 1996 U.S. Line Item Veto Act violates the Presentment Clause of the U.S. Constitution, and that the U.S. pres. can only approve or reject a bill in its entirety.
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 19, 2000 the U.S. Supreme (Rehnquist) Court rules 6-3 in Santa Fe Independent School District v. Doe to declare the practice of student-initiated and student-led prayer at public high school football games unconstitutional because it could be really initiated by the govt. officials behind the scenes; John Paul Stevens for the majority writes "Regardless of whether one considers a sporting event an appropriate occasion for solemnity, the use of an invocation to foster such solemnity is impermissible when, in actuality, it constitutes prayer sponsored by the school"; Rehnquist dissents, stating that the court's opinion "bristles with hostility to all things religious in public life"; Scalia and Thomas also dissent.
On June 26, 2000 the U.S. Supreme (Rehnquist) Court rules 5-4 in Apprendi v. N.J. that the Sixth Amendment right to a jury trial as forced on, er, incorporated against the states via the 14th Amendment prohibits judges from enhancing criminal sentences beyond statutory maximums based on facts other than those decided by the jury beyond a reasonable doubt.
On June 28, 2000 the U.S. Supreme (Rehnquist) Court rules 6-3 in Boy Scouts of America v. Dale that a private org. is allowed under certain criteria to exclude people from membership based on sexual orientation through their First Amendment right to freedom of association in spite of state anti-discrimination laws.
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."
On June 28, 2000 the U.S. Supreme (Rehnquist) Court rules 6-3 in Mitchell v. Helms that loans can be made to religious schools for computers and other secular instructional equipment - if Al-Qaida can have it?
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 27, 2002 the U.S. Supreme (Rehnquist) Court rules 5-4 in Board of Education v. Earls that public schools may engage in random mandatory drug testing for students participating in extracurricular activities, extending the ruling in Vernonia School District 47J v. Acton (1995).
On June 27, 2002 the U.S. Supreme (Rehnquist) Court rules 5-4 in Zelman v. Simmons-Harris that school tuition vouchers do not violate the Establishment Clause.
On Oct. 3, 2002 the case of John M.J. Madey v. Duke U. is decided by the U.S. Federal Circuit Court of Appeals, ending the 170-y.-o. practice of allowing scientists to freely borrow patented technologies for limited use in basic research not aimed at commercial use.
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 John Paul Stevens, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, and David Souter dissent; in the 2nd Anthony Kennedy, William Rehnquist, Antonin Scalia, and Clarence Thomas dissent, and the deciding vote is cast by Sandra Day O'Connor, with Scalia writing the soundbyte: "This is not, of course, an 'educational benefit' on which students will be graded on their Law School transcript (Works and Plays Well with Others: B+) or tested by the bar examiners (Q: Describe in 500 words or less your cross-racial understanding). For it is a lesson of life rather than law - essentially the same lesson taught to (or rather learned by, for it cannot be 'taught' in the usual sense) people three feet shorter and twenty years younger than the full-grown adults at the University of Michigan Law School, in institutions ranging from Boy Scout troops to public-school kindergartens"; 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 Dec. 2, 2003 the all-wise U.S. Supreme (Rehnquist) Court unanimously rules in U.S. v. Banks that when police knock on your door they only have to wait 15-20 sec. before breaking in if you are a "drug suspect" - a crack house would have a bouncer waiting right at the door anyway, and decency requires he be given enough time to zip up and for her to button up?
Muhammada rasul Bush? On June 28, 2004 the U.S. Supreme (Rehnquist) Court rules 6-3 in Hamdi v. Rumsfeld that the U.S. govt. has the power to detain enemy combatants incl. U.S. citizens, but that the ones who are U.S. citizens must have the right to due process to challenge their enemy combatant status; on June 28 it rules 6-3 in Rasul v. Bush that foreign nationals held in Guantanamo Bay (Gitmo) detention camp have constitutional rights and can petition federal courts for writs of habeus corpus to review the legality of their detention, reversing a decision of Washington, D.C. circuit judge Merrick Garland, causing Congress to try to get around them by passing the U.S. Detainee Treatment Act of 2005 and the U.S. Military Commissions Act of 2006, denying habeas corpus to "unlawful enemy combatants" regardless of citizen status, with the govt. having the sole right to label them to keep them locked up indefinitely without charges - how long until the first U.S. president-for-life begins using it to lock up millions?
On Feb. 25, 2004 the U.S. Supreme (Rehnquist) Court rules 7-2 (Thomaas, Scalia) in Locke v. Davey that states don't have to underwrite the religious training of students planning careers in the ministry; William Rehnquist writes the majority opinion, saying there is nothing "inherently constitutionally suspect" in the denial of funding for vocational religious instruction, and that there is a "substantial state interest" in not funding "devotional degrees".
On Nov. 15, 2004 the White House announces the resignation of education secy. Rod Paige, agriculture secy. Ann Veneman, and energy secy. Spencer Abraham. As of Nov. 15 the U.S. Supreme Court has gone 10 years and 3 mo. without a change; the only longer period was 11 years 8 mo. from 1812-23; only 3 times before (1932-7, 1864-70, 1846-51) has it even gone past 5 years.
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 hat 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 Mar. 21, 2005 U.S. Chief Justice William Rehnquist returns to court, despite being diagnosed with thyroid cancer in Oct. and receiving radiation and chemotherapy; on July 13 he ends up back in the hospital, causing rumors of his imminent resignation to abound until he "puts to rest the speculation and unfounded rumors of my imminent retirement" after his release on July 14; in July and Aug. he is briefly hospitalized for observation after running fevers.
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?
The U.S. Congress reaches its all-time peak of stupidity? On June 22, 2005 the U.S. House passes (by 8 votes, 286-130) the U.S. Flag Desecration Amendment to the U.S. Bill of Rights: "The Congress shall have power to prohibit the physical desecration of the flag of the United States"; luckily it fails to pass the U.S. Senate by one vote next June 27 after being sponsored by Mormon Utah Repub. sen. Orrin Hatch - a "flag of the United States" incl. not just those owned by the govt. (which are already protected), but copies or fancied copies owned by private individuals, incl. icing on cakes and drawings on the backs of matchbooks? Drop that cake you're desecrating, you're under arrest? What is "desecration" (de-consecration) in those cases, since real flags that soldiers died for on battlefields are one thing, but a piece of private property containing a design of stars and stripes that represents the freedom of the people under a constitutional sovereign state is not a holy object that must be carefully stored, revered, kissed, etc., like the Big Black Cube of the Muslims in Mecca? So what is being desecrated, the flag or the Constitution? the near-passing of this horrible monstrosity shows the low level to which U.S. literacy has sunk, and signals its downward slide?
On June 23, 2005 the U.S. Supreme (Rehnquist) Court rules 5-4 in Kelo v. City of New London, Conn. that it is "permissible use" for the govt. to take property from one private owner under the law of eminent domain and give it to another in furtherance of economic development as long as it is for a public purpose, not just a public use; Donald Trump utters the soundbyte "I happen to agree with it 100 percent."
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 after arguments by Repub. Tex. atty. gen. #50 (since Dec. 2, 2002) Greg Abbott (future Tex. gov. #48 on Jan. 20, 2015), 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. (1951-) (Roman Catholic) becomes U.S. Chief Justice #17 and justice #109 (until ?) just hours after the Senate votes 77-23 to confirm him; 22 Dems. (exactly half) join all 55 Repubs.
Deconstructing Harriet? On Oct. 3, 2005 after going with the Repub. program of limiting the selection process to anti-abortion candidates, and yielding to pressure to replace Sandra Day O'Connor with another woman, only to find no Repub. women with good enough credentials, Pres. Bush nominates his personal friend, Conservative Baptist Texas atty. (White House counsel) Harriet Ellen Miers (1945-) to the U.S. Supreme Court despite lack of experience as a judge and her close ties, stirring immediate opposition from conservatives who believe she will be another swing vote like O'Connor; on Oct. 24 Pres. Bush refuses to turn over documents detailing private advice she gave him while serving in the White House, and on Oct. 27 after she flunks a test given her by the Senate Judiciary Committee, and after requests for private papers to determine her political views, the White House announces that Bush asked her to withdraw her nomination (11th to be withdrawn of 157 submitted to the Senate since 1789, and the first since Abe Fortas in 1968).
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 Dec. 20, 2005 federal judge John Edward Jones III (1955-) rules in Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District that the Oct. 2004 decision of the Dover, Penn. school board to permit teaching Intelligent Design in public schools is un-PC, er, unconstitutional, because it "cannot uncouple itself from its creationist, and thus religious, antecedents", and on Jan. 3, 2006 they rescind their policy; a video of the school board hearings where noted pro-ID experts testify while pro-evolution experts boycott it is released, becoming a great time capsule - because it prohibits the free exercise of religion or might cause it to receive equal time and threaten the ACLU program of freedom from religion?
On Jan. 17, 2006 the U.S. Supreme (Roberts) Court rules 6-3 in Gonzales v. Oregon to block the Bush admin.'s attempt to punish doctors who help terminally ill patients die, protecting Oregon's assisted-suicide law, rebuking former U.S. atty.-gen. John Ashcroft for improperly using the 1970 U.S. Controlled Substances Act to pursue Ore. doctors who prescribe lethal doses of medicines; new chief justice John Roberts is on the losing side, as Anthony M. Kennedy begins assuming the swing vote role of retiring justice Sandra Day O'Connor.
On Jan. 18, 2006 the U.S. Supreme (Roberts) Court votes 9-0 in Ayotte v. Planned Parenthood of Northern New England to uphold the right of states to require parental involvement in abortion decisions by minors, giving N.H. a chance to salvage its 2003 law, but only when an exception is made to protect the mother's health; Sandra Day O'Connor writes the decision, the final one of her 24-year career, and the first presided over by new chief justice John Roberts.
Dick Almighty loses a big one? On May 15, 2006 the U.S. Supreme (Roberts) Court refuses to block lesbian Sue Ellen "Mian" Carvin of Wash. state from seeking parental rights to 5-y.-o. L.B. (1995-) she helped raise with longtime partner Page Britain, the biological mother by artificial insemination; the girl calls Carvin "Mama" and Britain "Mommy"; in 2001 they break up, and in 2002 Britain bars Carvin from seeing the girl, then marries the sperm donor and moves to Thailand - was it something she ate?
On May 30, 2006 the U.S. Supreme (Roberts) Court rules 5-4 in Garcetti v. Ceballos to scale back protections for govt. whistleblowers in a 5-4 decision in which Samuel Alito casts the deciding vote, ruling that the speech of public employees has no First Amendment protection; dissenting are David Souter, John Paul Stevens, Ruther Bader Ginsburg, and Stephen Breyer.
On June 15, 2006 the U.S. Supreme (Roberts) Court rules 5-4 in Hudson v. Mich. to let police break into homes and seize evidence without knocking and announcing and waiting a reasonable time first, with dissenting Justice Stephen Breyer writing: "The Court destroys the strongest legal incentive to comply with the Constitution... And the Court does so without significant support in precedent."
On June 16, 2006 Pres. Bush and Repub. Rep. Dave Reichert drive by a school bus in Seattle, Wash., and the 43-y.-o. driver gives Bush the finger, causing him to be fired; on Nov. 3 he files a union grievance pleading wrongful termination; meanwhile on June 16 vice-pres. Cheney and his two sons are walking with their two sons to a piano camp in Beaver Creek, Colo. when Steven Howards (former dir. of the Denver Metro Air Quality Council) chances by, and tells him "Your policies in Iraq are reprehensible", then moves on, only to be handcuffed minutes later by Secret Service agent Virgil D. "Gus" Reichle Jr., who asks him, "Did you assault the vice president?", then takes him to jail; in Oct. he sues Cheney in federal court in Denver, Colo. after his charges are dismissed by a judge on July 10, and on June 4, 2012 the U.S. Supreme (Roberts) Court unanimously rules that Secret Service Agents have qualified immunity preventing them from being sued.
On June 29, 2006 the U.S. Supreme (Roberts) Court rules 5-3 in Hamdan v. Rumsfield that Pres. Bush's decision to try Guantanamo Bay detainees in military 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 Pres. 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 Nov. 7, 2006 voters in Mich. by 58%-42% pass the Mich. Civil Rights Initiative (Proposal 2), banning affirmative action by publicly-funded institutions; on Apr. 22, 2014 the U.S. Supreme (Roberts) 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 initiative.
On Feb. 20, 2007 the U.S. Court of Appeals rules 2-1 that Guantanamo Bay detaineers can't use the U.S. court system to challenge their indefinite imprisonment, upholding the 2006 U.S. Military Commissions Act, which requires detainees to prove to a 3-officer military panel that they don't pose a terror threat.
On Feb. 20, 2007 the U.S. Supreme (Roberts) Court rules 5-4 in Philip Morris USA Inc. v. Williams to throw out a $79.5M punitive damage award against Philip Morris USA to a smoker's widow, saying that the due process clause allows it only to be punished for the harm done to the plaintiff, not to all or other smokers; Ginsburg, Scalia, Stevens, and Thomas dissent.
On Apr. 2, 2007 the U.S. Supreme (Roberts) Court rules 5-4 in Mass. vs. EPA to rebuke the Bush admin. for inaction on global warming, declaring that CO2 and other greenhouse gases are air pollutants under the 1963 U.S. Clean Air Act, and that the EPA has the authority to regulate those emissions from new cars and trucks.
On Apr. 30, 2007 the U.S. Supreme (Roberts) Court rules 8-1 in Scott v. Harris that police do not violate a speeding driver's rights by ramming their cars, even if they injure them - we don't need no stinkin' badges?
On June 11, 2007 the U.S. Supreme (Roberts) Court rules unanimously in the case of Long Island Care at Home Ltd. v Evelyn Coke (1934-) that home care workers are not entitled to overtime pay.
On June 11, 2007 the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals rules 2-1 that the Bush admin. should either charge suspected terrorist Ali Saleh Kahlah al-Marri (1966-) (a legal U.S. resident and the only suspected enemy combatant on U.S. soil) or release him from military custody, causing an immediate admin. appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court, which agrees to certiori until the govt. transfers his case to the federal civilian court system, making it moot, after which on Apr. 30, 2009 he pleads guilty to one count of conspiracy to provide material support to a foreign terrorist org. and receives a 15-year sentence.
We're back to the Biblical era of Judges? On June 25, 2007 the Bushified U.S. Supreme (Roberts) Court shows its shift to the right in four 5-4 rulings: in Morse et al. v. Frederick (Bong Hits 4 Jesus Case) they decide against freedom of speech near schools, holding that the First Amendment doesn't stop educators from suppressing student speech promoting illegal drug use even it it's across the street from school; Federal Election Commission vs. Wisc. Right to Life Inc. they poke a giant hole in the McCain-Feingold campaign financing law by allowing TV ads by special interests groups as long as they don't mention voting; in Hein, Dir., White House Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives et al. v. Freedom from Religion Foundation Inc. et al. the Establishment Clause applies to Congress not the White House; in Nat. Assoc. of Home Builders et al. v. Defenders of Wildlife et al. they rule that the EPA was not out of line in transferring Clean Water Act authority to a state; Arthur Kennedy swings to the majority side on all four, which incl. Bush babies John Roberts and Samuel Alito, plus Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas; on June 28 the court rules 5-4 in Parents Involved in Community Schools v. Seattle School District No. 1 that voluntary school desegregation efforts in Seattle, Wash. and Louisville, Ky. that take race into account in school assignments were not sufficiently "narrowly tailored", with Thomas, despite owing his education to affirmative action writes "It is far from apparent that coerced racial mixing has any educational benefits, much less that integration is necessary to black achievement"; John Roberts adds the soundbyte: "The way to stop discrimination on the basis of race is to stop discriminating on the basis of race"; Breyer, Souter, Stevens, and Ginsburg dissents; opinion is divided on whether the Brown case is being affirmed or undermined; liberal justice Stephen Breyer laments "It's not often in law that so few have changed so much so quickly"; the term ends after the court announces that it will review the rights of terrorist suspects detained at Guantanamo Bay next term; on June 28 the liberals score one with a 5-4 ruling to overturn the death sentence of a Texas murderer because he may not be able to understand why he's being executed for gunning down his wife's parents since he quotes the Bible; concurring justices incl. Stevens, Souter, Ginsburg, Bryer, and swingin' Anthony Kennedy.
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. 25, 2008 the U.S. Supreme (Roberts) Court rules 6-3 in Medellin v. Tex. that an internat. treaty is not binding domestic law unless Congress enacts statutes implementing it or unless the treaty is self-executing; decisions of the Internat. Court of Justice are not binding domestic law, and without authority from Congress or the Constitution, the U.S. pres. lacks power to enforce internat. treaties or decisons of the Internat. Court of Justice.
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 Apr. 16, 2008 the U.S. (Roberts) Supreme Court rules 7-2 in Baze v. Rees that the 3-drug cocktail used by Ky. and most states for legal injections is constitutional under the 8th Amendment.
On June 12, 2008 the U.S. Supreme (Roberts) Court rules 5-4 in Boumediene v. Bush that Guantanamo Bay detainees can challenge their imprisonment in federal court, striking down the 2006 U.S. Miliary Commissions Act, an alternative review system set up by Congress that was drafted by John McCain, making him look dumb along with Pres. Bush, whose admin. is dealt a setback.
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 prohibits a death penalty in all cases except those involving murder or crimes against the state such as treason, and does not permit a state to execute child rapists; on Oct. 1 the court 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 Mar. 4, 2009 the U.S. Supreme (Roberts) Court rules 6-3 in Wyeth v. Levine that federal regulatory clearance of a medicine does not shield the manufacturer from liability under state law.
On Apr. 21, 2009 the U.S. Supreme (Roberts) 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 Apr. 30, 2009 U.S. Supreme Court justice David Hackett Souter (1939-), who was appointed by pres. George H.W. Bush in 1990 for his conservative credentials, then flopped to stop the court from going conservative, becoming known as the liberals' 5th vote announces plans to retire at the end of the court's term in June, causing speculation that Pres. Obama will appoint a woman to fill the vacancy, although he only indicates that he will pick someone with "empathy", adding "I will seek someone who understands that justice isn't about some abstract legal theory or footnote in a case book. It is also about how our laws affect the daily realities of people's lives"; on May 24 after flack over his empathy psychobabble, he adds that they have to understand the "practical day-to-day" implications of rulings - empathetically understand? '
On May 18, 2009 the U.S. Supreme Court rules 5-4 in Ashcroft v. Iqbal that high-level U.S. officials incl. FBI dir. Robert Mueller and U.S. atty.-gen. John Ashcroft can't be sued by 9/11 terrorist detainee Javaid Iqbal of Pakistan for alleged torture and humiliation for being a Muslim without initial evidence (sans discovery) that they ordered the abuse personally; liberal justices David Souter, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer, and John Paul Stevens dissent, with Ginsburg saying they "messed up the federal rules" for civil suits, and Souter saying the decision could "upend" the civil litigation system; after hundreds of lower courts begin citing the decision as a pretext to get rid of civil cases they don't like at will, it becomes the most significant U.S. Supreme Court decision of the decade?
On May 26, 2009 the U.S. Supreme (Roberts) Court rules in 5-4 in Montejo v. La. that a defendant may waive his/her right to counsel during a police interrogation even after asserting it at an arraignment or similar court proceeding, reversing Michigan v. Jackson (1986).
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 June 18, 2009 the U.S. Supreme (Roberts) Court rules 5-4 in Jack Gross v. FBL Financial Services Inc. to reverse a longstanding rule that employees suing employers for firing them because of age discrimination only have to show that age was one of the motivating factors, throwing the employer into the need to prove that it the employer a legitimate reason to fire them other than age, saying that now the employees must bear the full burden of proving that age was the deciding factor.
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 Feb. 23, 2010 the U.S. Supreme (Roberts) Court rules 7-2 in Fla. v. Powell that police don't have to quote an official script but can ad-lib Miranda warnings - you have the right, to, you know?
On Feb. 24, 2010 the U.S. Supreme (Roberts) Court rules unanimously in Md. vs. Shatzer that the its 1981 Edwards v. Ariz. Rule barring police from questioning a suspect once he asks to remain silent and speak with an atty. lapses after 14 days if he is on bail, and if he freely agrees to talk at that point, his statements can still be used against him.
On Mar. 31, 2010 the U.S. Supreme (Roberts) Court rules 7-2 in Padilla v. Ky. that lawyers for people thinking of pleading guilty to a crime must advise their clients who are not citizens "that pending criminal charges may carry a risk of adverse immigration consequences" such as deportation.
On Apr. 9, 2010 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 Apr. 20, 2010 the U.S. Supreme (Roberts) Court rules 8-1 in U.S. v. Stevens strikes down a 1999 federal law banning "crush videos" depicting graphic violence against animals (incl. crushing them to death by women with stiletto heels) as a violation of free speech for being overbroad, leaving open the possibility of a law limited to crush videos.
On May 3, 2010 the U.S. Supreme Court announces that it will close the 44 marble steps and bronze doors to its great hall for the first time due to security concerns.
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 May 17, 2010 the U.S. Supreme (Roberts) Court rules 5-4 in Terrance Jamar Graham vs. Fla. that juveniles younger than 18 may not be sentenced to life without parole unless guilty of homicide, expanding on their 2005 decision that they can't be executed, saying that these practices have been "rejected the world over" (except in Sharia countries?); the court cites the 1959 U.N. Child's Rights Treaty, which was never adopted by the U.S. as relevant to its decision on a case, becoming a new low?
On May 17, 2010 the U.S. Supreme (Roberts) Court rules 7-2 in U.S. v. Comstock that federal officials can indefinitely hold mentally-ill federal inmates labeled "sexually dangerous" even after their prison terms are served.
On June 1, 2010 the U.S. Supreme (Roberts) Court rules 5-4 in Berghuis v. Thompkins that criminal suspects must explicitly invoke their right to remain silent to force police to stop questioning; new justice Sonia Sotomayor dissents, with the soundbyte: "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 June 21, 2010 the U.S. Supreme (Roberts) Court rules 6-3 in Holder v. Humanitarian Law Project to uphold the Oct. 26, 2001 Bush era USA Patriot Act barring Americans from providing "material support" to foreign terrorist groups, incl. the help given to the Kurdistan Workers' Party in Turkey and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam in Sri Lanka by the Humanitarian Law Project, rejecting free speech and free association arguments; dissenter Stephen Breyer reads his dissent aloud in the courtroom: "Not even the serious and deadly problem of international terrorism can require automatic forfeiture of First Amendment rights"; the court ruling outlaws peaceful efforts, worrying ex-pres. Jimmy Carter that his Carter Center may be prosecuted for monitoring fair elections in Lebanon et al.
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 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, 2012 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 June 24, 2012 the U.S. Supreme (Roberts) Court rules 7-2 in Miller v. Ala. that mandatory sentences of life without parole are unconstitutional for juvenile offenders, extending Graham v. Fla. (2010), which had allowed it for murder; on Jan. 25, 2016 they rule 6-3 in Montgomery v. La. that this ruling must be applied retroactively, affecting 2.3K cases.
On June 28, 2012 the U.S. Supreme (Roberts) Court rules 5-4 in Nat. Federation of Independent Business v. Sibelius to uphold the 2010 U.S. Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) AKA Obamacare along with the 2010 U.S. Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act (HCERA), finding tht the individual mandate to buy health insurance by 2014 is an exercise of Congress' taxing power regardless of the Commerce Clause and Necessary and Proper Clause; it also finds that the planned expansion of Medicaid that would coerce states by threatening the loss of existing Medicaid funding is unconstitutional; a betrayal of conservative principles by Chief Justice Roberts, or an affirmation of them?; dissenters incl. Justices Antonin Scalia, Anthony Kennedy, Clarence Thomas, and Samuel Alito, meaning that a Jew (Stephen Breyer) and three women (Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Sonia Sotomayor, Elena Kagan) threw it for Pres. Obama?
On Jan. 7, 2013 the U.S. Supreme (Roberts) 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 (Roberts) 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 (Roberts) Court rules unanimously 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 (Roberts) 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 (Roberts) Court rules 5-4 in Shelby County v. Holder to strike 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 (Roberts) Court rules 5-4 in U.S. v. Windsor to strike 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 (Roberts) 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 (Roberts) 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 (Roberts) 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 (Roberts) Court rules 5-4 in Town of Greece v. Galloway that legislative sessions may be begun with prayers.
On May 22, 2014 a proposed U.N. Security Council resolution to refer the widespread human rights violations in Syria to the ICC, submitted by France and co-sponsored by 65 countries is vetoed by Russia and China.
On June 23, 2014 the U.S. Supreme (Roberts) 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 (Roberts) 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 (Roberts) 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 (Roberts) 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 (Roberts) 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 (Roberts) Court rules 8-1 in EEOC v. Abercrombie & Fitch that employers must accommodate 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 (Roberts) 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 18, 2015 the U.S. Supreme (Roberts) Court rules 5-4 in Walker v. Texas Div., Sons of Confederate Veterans that license plates are govt. speech and subject to more content restrictions than private speech under the First Amendment; the decision comes one day after the Charleston church shooting, causing three state govs. (Va., N.C., Md.) to announce on June 23 plans to discontinue Confederate flag specialty license plates.
On June 25, 2015 the U.S. Supreme (Roberts) 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'."
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"; Scalia writes the soundbyte: "If, even as the price to be paid for a fifth vote, I ever joined an opinion for the Court that began: 'The Constitution promises liberty to all within its reach, a liberty that includes certain specific rights that allow persons, within a lawful realm, to define and express their identity', I would hide my head in a bag"; 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"; on Apr. 11, 2017 the Uphold Historical Marriage Act is introduced into the N.C. legislature, declaring the Obergefell v. Hodges decision "null and void" in the state in preference to Sect. 6 Article XIV of the 2012 N.C. Constitution, which defines marriage as only between one man and one woman - 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 (Roberts) Court rules 5-4 in Mich. v. EPA to block Pres. Obama's EPA mercury and air toxic standards, saying that the admin. failed to adequately consider the $10B price tag, and that it must consider costs in the future when making a finding that it is necessary and appropriate to issue regulations.
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 (Roberts) Court rules unanimously 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 (Roberts) 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 13, 2016 the U.S. Supreme (Roberts) Court rules in U.S. v. Bryant that prior convictions from tribal courts can be used to enhance sentences in federal courts, even if the poor sucker didn't have a lawyer, reversing their decision in Burgett v. Tex. (1967) that it would violate the Sixth Amendment.
On June 23, 2016 the U.S. Supreme (Roberts) Court by 4-4 rules that Pres. Obama's mass amnesty plan shielding 4M from immigration lacks constitutional authority, becoming a big D.
On June 27, 2016 the U.S. Supreme (Roberts) Court rules 5-3 in Whole Woman's Health v. Hellerstedt that states cannot place restrictions on the delivery of abortion services that create an undue burden for the woman, becoming the most important abortion case since Planned Parenthood v. Casey (1992).
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 conservative Denver federal judge (Roman Catholic-turned-Episcopalian) Neil McGill Gorsuch (1967-) (son of former EPA head Anne Gorsuch) for the U.S. Supreme Court to fill the vacancy left by Antonin Scalia (1936-2016), causing Dems. to run half-scared at the likelihood of his approval and fiercely fight with a filibuster (1st since Abe Fortas in 1968), causing Repubs. to invoke the nuclear option to confirm him by 54-45 on Apr. 7, the day of the home opener of the Colo. Rockies MLB baseball team in Denver (a 2-1 V over the Dodgers); on Apr. 10 he is sworn-in as U.S. Supreme Court justice #113 (until ?).
On June 19, 2017 the U.S. Supreme (Roberts) Court rules 4-2 in Ziglar v. Abbasi that high-level George W. Bush admin. officials John Ashcroft, Robert Mueller, amd James Ziglar can't be held personally liable for violating the constitutional rights of Muslims, Arabs, and South Asians rounded up after the 9/11 terrorist attacks because Congress must authorize it first.
On June 19, 2017 the U.S. Supreme (Roberts) Court rules 8-0 in Matal v. Tam to overturn the U.S. Lanham Act as unconstitutional because there is no hate speech exception to the First Amendment, thus the band The Slants can register their trademark.
On June 19, 2017 the U.S. Supreme (Roberts) Court rules 8-0 in Packingham v. North Carolina that registered sex offenders have a First Amendment right to use social Web sites incl. Facebook.
On June 26, 2017 the U.S. Supreme (Roberts) Court rules 9-0 to agree< to review Pres. Trump's travel ban on six Muslim-majority natins, allowing it to be partially implemented while they consider it by Oct., excepting only foreign nationals who have a "bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the United States", which Trump calls a clear victory.
On June 26, 2017 the U.S. Supreme (Roberts) Court rules 7-2 in Trinity Lutheran Church v. Comer that the state of Mo. can't exclude a church from a program providing funds for a neutral secular purpose such as resurfacing its playground with rubber from recycled tires.
On July 25, 2017 the U.S. Federal Appeals Court in Washington, D.C. rules 2-1 in Wrenn v. District of Columbia that people seeking concealed handgun permits don't have to show "good reason", but have a 2nd Amendment right regardless of reasons.
On Oct. 10, 2017 the U.S. Supreme Court unanimously throws out an appeal court ruling that struck down Pres. Trump's temporary travel ban targeting eight Muslim-majority nations, becoming a moral V for the Trump admin.
On Apr. 2, 2018 the U.S. Supreme (Roberts) Court refuse to consider reinstating a 2006 $655.5M jury award against the Palestinian Authority and PLO won by 11 Am. families over militant attacks in Israel under the U.S. Anti-Terrorism Act; the Trump admin. had sided with the Palestinians because the attacks occurred outside U.S. territory and there was no evidence that Americans were targeted.
On Apr. 16, 2018 new U.S. Supreme Court justice Neil Gorsuch hires Chickasaw Nation of Midwest City, Okla. member Tobi Merritt Edwards as a clerk, becoming the first Native Am. Supreme Court clerk in history.
On Apr. 17, 2018 the U.S. (Roberts) Supreme Court rules 5-4 in Sessions v. Dimaya that the U.S. Immigration and Nationality Act's "crime of violence" provision is unconstitutionally vague; new justice Neil Gorsuch sides with the majority (Kagan, Ginsburg, Sotomayor, and Breyer, mostly women, with all men in the minority, Roberts, Kennedy, Alito, and Thomas), pissing-off Pres. Trump and causing him to call on Congress to close the loopholes.
On May 14, 2018 the U.S. Supreme (Roberts) court rules 6-3 in Murphy vs. National College Athletic Assoc. to overturn the 1992 U.S. Prof. and Amateur Sports Protection Act as a case of federal commandeering, allowing state-sponsored sports betting.
On June 4, 2018 the U.S. Supreme (Roberts) Court rules 7-2 in Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colo. Civil Rights Commission that a Denver, Colo. bakery owned by conservative Christians was within its rights in refusing to bake a wedding cake for a gay couple, but doesn't rule on the larger issue of whether all business may hide behind the First Amendment to discriminate against gays, limiting their decision to language used by the commissioners that showed hostility toward religion rather than neutrality; "Whatever the confluence of speech and free exercise principles might be in some cases, the Colorado Civil Rights Commission's consideration of this case was inconsistent with the State's obligation of religious neutrality"; Ginsburg and Sotomayor dissent on the grounds that the gays were discriminated against for what they were, not for any offensive message on the cake - having to show one butt-fucking the other on the icing shouldn't matter?
On June 21, 2018 the U.S. Supreme (Roberts) Court rules 5-4 in South Dakota v. Wayfair Inc. to overturn their unanimous decision in Quill Corp. v. North Dakota (1992) and permit states to collect sales tax from out-of-state online retailers, with Justice Anthony Kennedy calling the previous decision "unsound and incorrect", pleasing Pres. Trump, who has long blasted Amazon.com and its founder Jeff Bezos, owner of the anti-Trump Washington Post; the majority incl. Anthony Kennedy, Samuel Alito, Neil Gorsuch, Clarence Thomas, and Ruther Bader Ginsburg; dissenters incl. John Roberts, Stephen Breyer, Elena Kagan, and Sonia Sotomayor.
On June 22, 2018 the U.S. Supreme (Roberts) Court rules 5-4 in Carpenter v. U.S. that police need warrants to gather phone location data as evidence for trials.
On June 26, 2018 the U.S. Supreme (Roberts) Court rules 5-4 in ? v. ? to uphold Pres. Trump's Muslim country travel ban, confirming that it is "squarely within the scope of presidential authority, with his anti-Muslim campaign statements being irrelevant, but seemingly only because the ban only affects 8% of the world's Muslims, the whole decision pissing-off leftists incl. ACLU deputy legal dir. Cecilia Wang, who calls the decision "a dreadful day", vowing to "fight on to express the will of the people to uphold equality and freedom" and flood the U.S. with Muslims who will destroy its Constitutional repub. to please the ACLU and other Commies?; Pres. Trump calls it a "tremendous victory for the American people";
On June 27, 2018 the U.S. Supreme (Roberts) Court rules 5-4 in Janus v. AFSCME that unions may not force non-members to pay union dues, citing the political activities of public sector unions and free speech rights.
On July 9, 2018 (7:00 p.m. EDT) after the Dems. go wild at the prospect of Roe v. Wade being overturned, and key Senate Dems. Joe Donnelly (Ind.), Heidi Heitkamp (N.D.), and Joe Manchin (W. Va.) refuse invitations, Pres. Trump nominates conservative Roman Catholic D.C. Appeals Court judge (since 2006) Brett Michael Kavanaugh (1965-) to the U.S. Supreme Court to fill the vacancy of retiring justice Anthony Kennedy, for whom he once clerked, pissing-off Dems, causing Hillary Clinton to utter the soundbyte to the Am. Federation of Teachers on July 13 that Repubs. want to turn the black, er, clock back to the 1850s. On Sept. 6, 2018 after announcing his intention "to expose emails that are being withheld from the public" that he believes will damage Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, U.S. Sen. (D-N.J.) (2013-) Cory Anthony Booker (1969-) (first African-Am. U.S. sen. from N.J.) utters the soundbyte: "This is about the closest I'll ever have an an I Am Spartacus moment", adding "I understand the penalty comes with potential ousting from the Senate"; too bad, the emails had been cleared for release hours before, turning him into a party joke; too bad, on Sept. 16 after the proceedings are closed and Dianne Feinstein deliberately waits to submit her allegation to gum-up the vote, Christine Margaret Blasey Ford (1966-) begins accusing Kavanaugh of an attempted sexual assault way back in 1982, while the Dems. snub Karen Monahan, accuser of Dem. Party bigwig Keith Ellison, showing how desperate they are?; on Sept. 21 after she refuses to testify on Mon. Sept. 24 to permit a vote to proceed, demanding an FBI investigation first while admitting she can't remember the place or date of the alleged attack, finally adding preconditions incl. testifying backwards after Kavanaugh, with attys. excluded, Pres. Trump tweets the soundbyte: I have no doubt that, if the attack on Dr. Ford was as bad as she says, charges would have been immediately filed with local Law Enforcement Authorities by either her or her loving parents. I ask that she bring those filings forward so that we can learn date, time, and place!", pissing off Maine Sen. Susan Collins, who utters the soundbyte that she was "appalled", and that it was "completely inappropriate and wrong". On Oct. 6 after the FBI finishes its background investigation of Brett Kavanaugh and delivers them a sealed report clearing him on Oct. 2, not satisfying the Dems., who would never vote for him anyway, U.S. Senate confirms him by 50-48 at 4:01 p.m. ET, Washington, D.C.-born Repub. U.S. D.C. Court of Appeals judge (since May 30, 2006) Brett Michael Kavanaugh (1965-) is sworn-in as U.S. Supreme Court justice #114 (until ?), becoming the first U.S. Supreme Court justice with all-female law clerks, incl. Kim Jackson, Shannon Grammel, Megan Lacy, and Sara Nommensen.
On Feb. 20, 2019 the U.S. Supreme (Roberts) Court rules 9-0 in Timbs v. Ind. that the Eight Amendment's prohibition of excessive fines applies to state and local govts., prohibiting abusive asset forfeiture to raise revenue. On June 17 the U.S. Supreme (Roberts) Court rules 7-2 in Gamble v. United States that federal and state sovereignty permits separate federal and state prosecutions for the same crime despite the Double Jeopardy Clause of the Fifth Amendment - why doesn't it prohibit double punishments? They forgot about Timbs v. Ind.? On June 21 the U.S. Supreme (Robert) Court rules 5-4 in Knick v. Township of Scott, Penn. to reverse their 1985 decision in "Williamson County Regional Planning Commission v. Hamilton Bank of Johnson City, allowing taking-compensation cases to be brought directly to federal court and not have to first exhaust all state-offered venues for mediation. On June 27 the U.S. Supreme (Roberts) Court rules 5-4 in Rucho v. Common Cause that federal courts are powerless to hear challenges to partisan gerrymandering.
On Aug. 12, 2019 U.S. Sen Dems. issue a warning to the U.S. Supreme Court in a brief filed in New York City, calling its conservative majority an affliction and threatening to fundamentally restructure it if the justices don't take steps to "heal" themselves.