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

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What years was Earl Warren Chief Justice, what “type” of court did he have?

Earl Warren was the chief justice of the United States Supreme Court from the years 1953, when he was appointed by Dwight D. Eisenhower, to 1969. He led his court “in a series of liberal decisions that transformed the role of the U.S. Supreme Court.” His court was very liberal when he was nominated he stated that, “He represents the kind of political, economic, and social thinking that I believe we need on the Supreme Court”, making his Court one of a liberal attitude.

What was each case about, the decision and on what constitutional/legal ground?

  1. Brown v. Board of Education– This Supreme Court case was about the decision to overrule the Plessy v. Ferguson decision in order to desegregate the United States. The decision was unanimous stating that “separate educational facilities” were “inherently unequal” due to how the inequalities effected their educations and “deprived black students of equal protection under the law.” The Plessy decision stayed in consideration to railroad cars as the court stated that it “conformed to the Fourteenth Amendment’s guarantee of equal protection.”
  2. Gideon v. Wainwright– When a judge refused to appoint counsel for Gideon during a state trial in Florida because he could not afford an attorney, Gideon took the issue to the Supreme Court. The judge was allowed to do this due to a previous case called Betts v. Brady where the court decided that “the refusal to appoint counsel for an indigent defendant charged with a felony in state court did not… violate the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.” In the Gideon v. Wainwright case, this was unanimously overruled.
  3. Reynolds v. Sims– When over 30 lawsuits were charged “against states claiming [their] legislative apportionment schemes to be unconstitutional”, the issue was brought to the Supreme Court. When some rural states had over representation in their state legal districts, the more urbanized areas became upset by this. The court ruled that all the legal districts must be equal in population (“one man, one vote”), as the previous method did, in fact, violate the “Constitution’s Equal Protection Clause.”
  4. Griswold v. Connecticut– This case entered the Supreme Court when Estelle Griswold and Dr. C. Lee Buxton were arrested and found guilty as accessories in providing illegal contraception for others. Griswold was the “executive director of Planned Parenthood League of Connecticut” and Buxton was a “doctor and professor at Yale Medical School.” They both stated that they thought that the law violated the Constitution, which was when the Supreme Court stepped in. The court ruled that ” a state’s ban on the use of contraceptives violated the right to marital privacy.”
  5. Miranda v. Arizona– When Ernesto Miranda was arrested and charged with robbery, kidnapping, and rape, he was not aware of his right to a lawyer or counsel. He was persecuted based solely on his alleged confession. In 1966, the Supreme court reviewed Miranda’s appeal and ruled in a 5-4 decision that on arrest, it is the police’s duty to warn against self-incrimination and tell them their right to an attorney. This decision was based off of the Fifth and Sixth Amendments.


The information that will stick with me is that we know are read our rights on arrest and that one can not be refused counsel in court, which used to not be the case. This is important to today as if these court cases did not turn out the way they did, one might still not be aware of their rights, leading to faulty and unfair court cases.



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