Supreme Court Essay, Research Paper
On the eve of his last day in office outgoing President John Adams, a Federalist, appoints 82 Federalist justices. These “midnight judges” as they were called represented a threat to incoming President Thomas Jefferson, a Democrat-Republican. Jefferson feared Federalist interpretation of the law for the next 20 years, a fear that ended up coming to fruition. The new administration did not take their offices until March of 1801. The Federalists wanted to ensure a continued Federalist presence in the government so they packed the judgeships with loyal Federalist supporters, some positions which had been created for this specific purpose by Congress in 1801. Adams signed the commissions for these at Marbury v. Madison
the end of his term. When the new administration took office, the new Secretary of State, James Madison, discovered that some of these commissions had not yet been delivered. President Jefferson, angry with Federalists, ordered that they not be delivered. William Marbury, one of the people whose commission had not yet been received, applied to the Court for a writ of mandamus to force Madison to complete the delivery of the commissions, as per the Judiciary Act of 1789 which gave the Supreme Court this power. The Court found that although Marbury was entitled to his position, they did not have jurisdiction over the case since it came to them on original jurisdiction as per a clause in the Judiciary Act of 1789.
This case did not fit any of the types of cases they could except on original jurisdiction as per Article III, Section 2, Clause 2.
The Court decided that part of the Judiciary Act giving them those powers was null and void (unconstitutional). Through this case, the Supreme Court assumed the power of judicial review, the power to declare an act of Congress unconstitutional.
I don?t believe that Madison was obligated to sign the papers giving Marbury the position of Judge of Appease. James Madison was working for a new president of his own party and why should he give a job to a person of the other party. He had no choice with the other jobs given, because they were already signed by the previous president however this one wasn?t so it didn?t have to be given.
Roe v. Wade (1973)
A single, pregnant, Texas woman, under the pseudonym of Jane Roe, challenged anti-abortion laws by stating that they violated her rights under the Constitution.
The constitutional amendment that was involved was The Fourteenth Amendment, which states that no state can “deprive any person of life, liberty, or property without due process of law.” The Supreme Court had to decide whether a fetus was a person or not. Technically a fetus is not a person just a step in the process of becoming a person.
The Court held that a woman’s right to an abortion fell within the right to privacy (recognized in Griswold v. Connecticut) protected by the Fourteenth Amendment. The decision gave a woman a right to abortion during the entirety of the pregnancy and defined different levels of state interest for regulating abortion in the second and third trimesters. As a result, the laws of 46 states were affected by the Court’s ruling.
White B. Rehnquist was the only judge to have a dissenting opinion however he was out numbered by 4 other justices.
The Court upheld Roe’s claim that her right to privacy entitled her to an abortion. However, they went on to say that the right to privacy is not absolute. The Court ruled on this by saying: 1. Abortions in the first three months of pregnancy cannot be limited by the states excepting that they may require that doctors perform them. 2. The state may set the conditions under which abortions may performed during the second three months of pregnancy to safeguard the health of the mother. 3. The state may outlaw abortions during the last three months of pregnancy to protect the “viable fetus,” excepting cases in which the mother’s life or health is threatened.
The Court?s decision makes sense because if a pregnant woman?s life is threatened by the baby, not being able to have an abortion would be taking the life of the mother and that is against the Fourteenth amendment.
Gideon v. Wainwright (1963)
Clarence Gideon, a man in Florida, was charged with breaking into a pool hall and taking money from vending machines there. In Florida, this was considered a felony. At his hearing, Gideon asked that the court appoint a lawyer to represent him since he could not afford one. The court denied him this, the trial judge ruled that Gideon was competent enough to handle his own defense as well as any man. noting a Florida law, which allowed counsel only in capital-offense cases. Put to trial before a jury, Gideon conducted his defense about as well as could be expected from a layman. He made an opening statement to the jury to the best of his capability, cross-examined the State’s witnesses, presented witnesses in his own defense, declined to testify himself, and made a short argument “emphasizing his innocence to the charge contained in the information filed in this case.” The jury returned a verdict of guilty, and petitioner was sentenced to serve five years in the state prison.
While in jail Gideon borrowed some books and he learned that he had the right to be appointed an attorney. After learning this he applied for an appeal for his decision. He appealed to the Supreme Court, stating his right to counsel under the Fourteenth Amendment had been violated. The Court agreed to hear his case and council was appointed to him.
The Sixth Amendment provides, “In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right…to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defense.” Gideon went back to trial and this time he was found innocent of the charges. The Supreme Court found in favor of Gideon, overruling Betts v. Brady.
I believe that Gideon deserve to be found innocent, maybe not totally but because he was denied one of his rights he deserved to be innocent. I know that if I was denied a lawyer at my trial I would have done the same thing as Gideon did.
Mapp v. Ohio (1961)
Dorlee Mapp was suspected of having information in her home that would implicate a suspected bomber. The police came to her home and asked if they might search the residence. Ms. Mapp called her lawyer and was advised to ask for a warrant. They police did not have a warrant and were asked to leave. Hours later the police returned and forcibly entered the residence. Mrs. Mapp demanded to see the warrant and a piece of paper was waved in her face. Mrs. Mapp grabbed the paper and tucked it in her blouse. A struggle ensued where Ms. Mapp was knocked to the ground as police retrieved the supposed warrant. Outside Ms. Mapp’s attorney arrived on the scene but was prevented from entering the residence. The police found pornographic materials in the house and Ms. Mapp was arrested for possession of lewd materials. Ms. Mapp was convicted of this crime. Ms. Mapp appealed her conviction on the grounds that the search of her home was in violation of her rights.
The Fourth Amendment was violated, which basically states that the police cannot enter your home without permission, or with liable cause, along with a search warrant. The court ruled that the evidence obtained in the search was inadmissible because it was seized in an illegal search. In ruling this way the court created the “exclusionary rule” which makes illegally obtained evidence inadmissible in court. This ruling upheld the principles of the fourth amendment. The reason why the court ruled this way is because they have to have a reason to go in and search for something. Police can?t go in and find something to justify their illegal entry, they have to have hard evidence which would enable them to obtain a search warrant, and then what is found can be used in the court against the accused.
I really don?t know what to say about this case. How would they have a liable cause to check her house without going in and looking around. Otherwise I am with Mapp, I wouldn?t want my privacy invaded without liable cause either.