Phil Booker "The Warren Court" Timeline

  • Roth v. United States

    Roth v. United States
    A New York man named Roth operated a business that used the mail to invite people to buy materials considered obscene by postal inspectors. The Court, in its first consideration of censorship of obscenity, created the “prevailing community standards” rule, which required a consideration of the work as a whole. In its decision, the Court defined as obscene that which offends “the average person, applying contemporary community standards.”
  • Mapp v. Ohio

    Mapp v. Ohio
    Before Mapp, the admission of evidence gained by illegal searches was permitted by some state constitutions. Cleveland police raided Mapp's home without a warrant and found obscene materials. She appealed her conviction, saying that the 4th and 14th amendments protected her against improper police behavior. The Court agreed, extending “exclusionary rule” protections to citizens in state courts.
  • Baker v. Carr

    Baker v. Carr
    Rapid population growth in Nashville and reluctance of the rural-dominated Tennessee legislature to redraw state legislature districts led Mayor Baker of Nashville to ask for federal court help. The federal district court refused to enter the “political thicket” of redistricting, and the case was appealed. The Court directed a trial to be held in a Tennessee federal court. The case led to the 1964 Westberry decision, which created the “one man, one vote” equal representation concept.
  • Gideon v. Wainwright

    Gideon v. Wainwright
    Gideon was charged with breaking into a poolroom. He couldn't afford a lawyer and Florida refused to provide counsel for trials not involving the death penalty. Gideon defended himself poorly and was sentenced to 5 years in prison. The Court called for a new trial, arguing that the Due Process Clause of the 14th Amendment applied to the 6th Amendment's guarantee of counsel for all poor persons facing a felony charge. Gideon later was found not guilty with the help of a court-appointed attorney.
  • Reynolds v. Sims

    Reynolds v. Sims
    Most states have constitutional provisions to reapportion representation in their state legislatures every ten years, based on the U.S. Census. By the 1950s, however, it had become clear that some states were ignoring these laws. The United States was becoming more urban, and one-time rural majorities—now minorities—were holding on to political power at the state level by refusing to reapportion. A complaint was filed challenging the apportionment of the Alabama legislature.
  • Escobedo v. Illinois

    Escobedo v. Illinois
    A person known to Chicago-area police confessed to a murder but had not been provided with a lawyer while under interrogation. The Court's decision in the case extended the “exclusionary rule” to illegal confessions in state court proceedings.
  • Griswold v. Connecticut

    Griswold v. Connecticut
    A Connecticut law forbade the use of “any drug, medicinal article, or instrument for the purpose of preventing conception.” Griswold, director of Planned Parenthood in New Haven, was arrested for counseling married couples. After conviction, he appealed. The Court overturned the Connecticut law, saying that “various guarantees (of the Constitution) create zones of privacy” and asking, “would we allow the police to search the sacred precincts of marital bedrooms … ?”
  • Engel v. Vitale

    Engel v. Vitale
    The state Board of Regents of New York required the recitation of a 22-word nonsectarian prayer at the beginning of each school day. A group of parents filed suit against the required prayer, claiming it violated their 1st Amendment rights. The Court ruled New York's action unconstitutional, observing, “There can be no doubt that … religious beliefs [are] embodied in the Regents' prayer.”
  • Miranda v. Arizona

    Miranda v. Arizona
    Arrested for kidnapping and sexual assault, Miranda signed a confession including a statement that he had “full knowledge” of his legal rights. After conviction, he appealed, claiming that without counsel and without warnings, the confession was illegally obtained. The Court agreed with Miranda that “he must be warned prior to any questioning that he has the right to remain silent, that anything he says can be used against him in a court of law..."