Learn American History through 50 pop songs

Supreme Court Cases (1960s)

Synopsis

The Warren Court refers to the Supreme Court of the United States between 1953 and 1969, when Earl Warren served as Chief Justice. The Warren Court left an unprecedented legacy of judicial activism in the area of civil rights law as well as in the area of civil liberties—specifically, the rights of the accused. In the period from 1961 to 1969, the Warren Court examined almost every aspect of the criminal justice system in the United States, using the 14th Amendment to extend constitutional protections to all courts in every State.

Lyrics

© Copyright 2010 by Mr. and Mrs. Gillenwater

1960’s and times they were a changing, yet again
And many ground breaking, earth shaking, passionate stands
Came to the very highest court of the land
The Supreme Court and Chief Justice Warren
Saw many landmark cases before them

1961 Mapp V. Ohio
Said illegally seized evidence
Would be inadmissible at trial

Gideon V. Wainright, 1963
Said all legal counsel
For the poor must be free

Miranda V. Arizona in 1966
Said all accused persons
Must have their rights read right quick

And conservatives and liberals were divided, yet again
Liberals thought the rulings were simply out of sight
Limiting police powers and protecting people’s rights
Conservatives disagreed and thought these decisions bad
Helping out the criminals and tying police hands

1961 Mapp V. Ohio
Said illegally seized evidence
Would be inadmissible at trial

Gideon V. Wainright, 1963
Said all legal counsel
For the poor must be free

Miranda V. Arizona in 1966
Said all accused persons
Must have their rights read right quick

Vocabulary

Supreme Court— The Supreme Court is the highest court of the United States.

Chief Justice Warren— Earl Warren (March 19, 1891– July 9, 1974) was the 14th Chief Justice of the United States.

Mapp V. Ohio— Mapp v. Ohio (1961), was a landmark case in criminal procedure, in which the United States Supreme Court decided that evidence obtained in violation of the Fourth Amendment, which protects against "unreasonable searches and seizures," may not be used in criminal prosecutions in state courts, as well as federal courts.

Gideon V. Wainright— Gideon v. Wainwright, (1963), is a landmark case in United States Supreme Court history. In the case, the Supreme Court unanimously ruled that state courts are required under the Sixth Amendment of the Constitution to provide counsel in criminal cases for defendants who are unable to afford their own attorneys.

Miranda V. Arizona— Miranda v. Arizona (1966), was a landmark 5-4 decision of the United States Supreme Court. The Court held that statements made in response to interrogation by a defendant in police custody will be admissible at trial only if the prosecution can show that the defendant was informed of the right to consult with an attorney before and during questioning and of the right against self-incrimination prior to questioning by police, and that the defendant not only understood these rights, but voluntarily waived them. This had a significant impact on law enforcement in the United States, by making what became known as the Miranda Rights a part of routine police procedure to ensure that suspects were informed of their rights.

Tiered Questions

Tier 1 Questions

What is the Supreme Court?

What was the Warren Court?

Name 3 cases the Warren Court saw?

Tier 2 Questions

Explain 3 court cases that passed through the Supreme Court in the 1960’s and their implications.

Tier 3 Questions

Imagine these 3 landmark cases had never been heard and the ensuing laws never passed. Describe what type of world that would be.

Test Prep Questions

You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law. You have the right to speak to an attorney, and to have an attorney present during any questioning. If you cannot afford a lawyer, one will be provided for you at government expense.

1) The requirements included in this passage are part of the Supreme Court’s effort to protect the rights of

  • (1) individuals accused of crimes
  • (2) students from unreasonable searches
  • (3) defendants from double jeopardy
  • (4) criminals from cruel and unusual punishment

2) This passage resulted from which Supreme Court decision?

  • (1) Mapp v. Ohio (1961)
  • (2) Gideon v. Wainwright (1963)
  • (3) Miranda v. Arizona (1966)
  • (4) Tinker v. Des Moines (1969)

3) The police enter an individual’s home without invitation or a warrant and seize evidence to be used against the individual:
Which Supreme Court decision may be used to rule this evidence inadmissible in court?

  • (1) Baker v. Carr
  • (2) Gideon v. Wainwright
  • (3) Mapp v. Ohio
  • (4) Roe v. Wade

4) The Supreme Court decisions in Mapp v. Ohio, Gideon v. Wainright, and Miranda v. Arizona all expanded

  • (1) integration of public facilities
  • (2) rights of the accused
  • (3) presidential powers
  • (4) equality in the workplace

5) Supreme Court decisions in Mapp v. Ohio, Gideon v. Wainwright, and Miranda v. Arizona affected individual liberties by

  • (1) eliminating the poll tax as a voting requirement
  • (2) preventing the use of organized prayer in public schools
  • (3) requiring equal pay for men and women performing the same job
  • (4) expanding the constitutional rights of people accused of crimes

6) In the 1960s, Supreme Court decisions in the cases Miranda v. Arizona and Gideon v. Wainwright specifically protected the rights of

  • (1) the accused
  • (2) women
  • (3) military veterans
  • (4) persons with disabilities

DBQ 1

Historical Context: Between 1953 and 1969, the Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court was Earl Warren. Supreme Court decisions made during the “Warren Court” era led to significant changes in various aspects of life in the United States. Several important court cases affected equal protection under the law, separation of church and state, and the rights of individuals accused of crimes.

Task: Using information from the documents and your knowledge of United States history, answer the questions that follow each document.

  • Discuss how decisions of the Warren Court affected American society

. . . The Warren Court (1953–1969) revolutionized constitutional law and American society. First, the unanimous and watershed [critical] school desegregation ruling, Brown v. Board of Education, in 1954 at the end of Warren’s first year on the bench. Then, in 1962 Baker v. Car announced the “reapportionment revolution” guaranteeing equal voting rights [to individual voters no matter where they lived]. And throughout the 1960s, the Court handed down a series of rulings on criminal procedure that extended the rights of the accused and sought to ensure equal access to justice for the poor. Mapp v. Ohio (1961), extending the exclusionary rule to the states, and Miranda v. Arizona (1966), sharply limiting police interrogations of criminal suspects,continue to symbolize the Warren Court’s revolution in criminal justice. . . .

Source: David M. O’Brien, “The Supreme Court: From Warren to Burger to Rehnquist,” PS, Winter 1987

According to David M. O’Brien, what is one effect of the Warren Court on American society?

. . . along with other Warren Court decisions, Miranda has increased public awareness of constitutional rights. The Miranda warnings may be the most famous words ever written by the United States Supreme Court. With the widespread dissemination [distribution] of Miranda warnings in innumerable [numerous] television shows as well as in the movies and contemporary fiction, the reading of the Miranda rights has become a familiar sight and sound to most Americans; Miranda has become a household word. As Samuel Walker writes, “[e]very junior high school student knows that suspects are entitled to their ‘Miranda rights.’ They often have the details wrong, but the principle that there are limits on police officer behavior, and penalties for breaking those rules, is firmly established.” As we have seen, a national poll in 1984 revealed that 93% of those surveyed knew that they had a right to an attorney if arrested, and a national poll in 1991 found that 80% of those surveyed knew that they had a right to remain silent if arrested. Perhaps it should not be surprising that, as many of my research subjects told me, some suspects assert their rights prior to the Miranda admonition [warning] or in situations where police warnings are not legally required. Indeed, in the last thirty years, the Miranda rights have been so entrenched [well-established] in American popular folklore as to become an indelible part of our collective heritage and consciousness. . . .

Source: Richard A. Leo, “The Impact of ‘Miranda’ Revisited,” The Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology, Spring 1996 (adapted)

According to Richard A. Leo, what is one effect of the Miranda decision on American society?

. . . The familiar fact is that the vastly troubled criminal-justice system often exacts no price at all for crime. An adult burglar has only one chance in 412 of going to jail for any single job, according to Gregory Krohm of the Virginia Polytechnic Institute’s Center for the Study of Public Choice. For juveniles under 17, the figure is one in 659 burglaries, with a likelihood of only a nine-month term if the 659-to-1 shot comes in. Many critics are convinced that such odds were created in large part by those constitutional-law rulings of the Warren Court that expanded the rights of criminal defendants. Mapp, Escobedo, Miranda and Wade* are still names that enrage law-and-order advocates. But despite all the years of talk and four Nixon appointments, the court has so far been willing only to trim some of the rules, not reverse them. The new rulings obviously add to the work of the courts, and some experts believe that they have hampered the criminal-justice system’s capacity to convict guilty offenders, though as yet there have been no studies demonstrating any such significant damage. . . .

Source: “The Crime Wave,” Time, June 30, 1975

Based on the cartoon and the Time article, what is one impact of the rulings of the Warren Court on crime?

WASHINGTON — Refusing to overturn more than three decades of established law enforcement practice, the Supreme Court yesterday strongly reaffirmed its landmark Miranda [Miranda v. Arizona] decision, which requires police to inform criminal suspects of their rights to remain silent and to be represented by an attorney during interrogation.
In a 7-2 opinion written by Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist, the high court ruled that the requirement that criminal suspects be read their “Miranda rights” is rooted in the Constitution and cannot be overturned by an act of Congress. Federal lawmakers passed legislation seeking to undo the Miranda decision in 1968, two years after the ruling.
The seven justices in the majority left open the question of whether they would have reached the same conclusion as the original five-justice Miranda majority about the constitutional rights of criminal suspects. But citing the court’s long tradition of respect for precedent, the justices said there were compelling reasons not to overrule it now.
“Miranda has become embedded in routine police practice to the point where the warnings have become part of our national culture,” wrote Rehnquist, a frequent and vocal critic of the Miranda decision during his earlier years on the bench. . . .

Source: “Miranda warnings upheld, Supreme Court says right now deeply rooted,” Florida Times Union, June 27, 2000

Based on this article, why did the Supreme Court decide not to overturn the decision in Miranda v. Arizona?

Historical Context: Between 1953 and 1969, the Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court was Earl Warren. Supreme Court decisions made during the “Warren Court” era led to significant changes in various aspects of life in the United States. Several important court cases affected equal protection under the law, separation of church and state, and the rights of individuals accused of crimes.

Task: Using information from the documents above and your knowledge of United States history, write an essay in which you

  • Discuss how decisions of the Warren Court affected American society

Thematic Essay 1

Theme: Constitutional Principles
United States Supreme Court cases have dealt with a variety of important issues that have affected American society.

Task: Select two Supreme Court cases that have affected American society.

For each case selected:

  • Discuss the historical circumstances of the case
  • Explain the Court’s decision in the case
  • Discuss the impact of the decision on American society

You may use any example from your study of United States history. Some suggestions you might wish to consider include:

McCulloch v. Maryland (1819) — federal supremacy
Schenck v. United States (1919) — freedom of speech
Korematsu v. United States (1944) — equal protection under the law
Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka (1954) — equal protection under the law
Engel v. Vitale (1962) — separation of church and state
Miranda v. Arizona (1966) — rights of the accused
Roe v. Wade (1973) — right to privacy
Vernonia School District v. Acton (1995) — search and seizure

Thematic Essay 2

Theme: Supreme Court Cases Concerning Constitutional Civil Liberties
The United States Supreme Court has played a major role in either expanding or limiting constitutional civil liberties in the United States.

Task: Identify two Supreme Court cases that have had an impact on civil liberties in the United States. For each case identified:

  • Discuss the facts of the case
  • Identify a specific constitutional civil liberty issue addressed by the Supreme Court
  • Discuss how the decision of the Supreme Court either expanded or limited a specific constitutional civil liberty in the United States

You may use any appropriate Supreme Court case from your study of United States history. Some suggestions you might wish to consider include Plessy v. Ferguson (1896), Schenck v. United States (1919), Korematsu v. United States (1944), Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka (1954), Mapp v. Ohio (1961), Gideon v. Wainwright (1963), Miranda v. Arizona (1966), Tinker v. Des Moines School District (1969), or New Jersey v. T.L.O. (1985).