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Little Rock On Trial

Author: Tony Allan Freyer
Publisher: Univ Pr of Kansas
ISBN:
Size: 65.28 MB
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Americans were riveted to their television sets in 1957, when a violent mob barred black students from entering Little Rock's Central High School and faced off against paratroopers sent by a reluctant President Eisenhower. That set off a firestorm of protest throughout the nation and ultimately led to the Supreme Court's landmark decision in Cooper v. Aaron, reaffirming Brown v. Board of Education's mandate for school integration "with all deliberate speed" and underscoring the supremacy of federal and constitutional authority over state law. Noted scholar Tony Freyer, arguably our nation's top authority on this subject, now provides a concise, lucid, and eminently teachable summary of that historic case and shows that it paved the way for later civil rights victories. He chronicles how the Little Rock school board sought court approval to table integration efforts and how the black community brought suit against the board's watered-down version of compliance. The board's request was denied by a federal appeals court and taken to the Supreme Court, where the unanimous ruling in Cooper reaffirmed federal law--but left in place the maddening ambiguities of "all deliberate speed." While other accounts have focused on the showdown on the schoolhouse steps, Freyer takes readers into the courts to reveal the centrality of black citizens' efforts to the origins and outcome of the crisis. He describes the work of the Little Rock NAACP--with its Legal Defense Fund led by Thurgood Marshall and Wiley Branton--in defining the issues and abandoning gradualism in favor of direct confrontation with the segregationist South He also includes the previously untold account of Justice William Brennan'ssurprising influence upon Justice Felix Frankfurter's controversial concurring opinion, which preserved his own "deliberate speed" wording from Brown. With Cooper, the "well morticed high wall" of segregation had finally cracked. As the most important test of Brown, which literally contained the means to thwart its own intent, it presaged the civil rights movement's broader nonviolent mass action combining community mobilization and litigation to finally defeat Jim Crow. It was not only a landmark decision, but also a turning point in America's civil rights struggle.

The 1950s Key Themes And Documents

Author: James S. Olson
Publisher: ABC-CLIO
ISBN: 1440861331
Size: 49.86 MB
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This volume serves as an invaluable guide to key political, social, and cultural concepts of the 1950s. • Provides rigorously and thematically tags of encyclopedic entries, period chronology, and primary documents for ease of reference • Serves as a valuable reference source for a key period of American History • Offers features that will help readers understand the period better, including sample Documents Based Essay Question and Top Tips for answering Documents Based Essay Questions

The Treason Trials Of Aaron Burr

Author: Peter Charles Hoffer
Publisher: Univ Pr of Kansas
ISBN:
Size: 60.65 MB
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Aaron Burr was an enigma even in his own day. Founding father and vice president, he engaged in a duel with Alexander Hamilton resulting in a murder indictment that effectively ended his legal career. And when he turned his attention to entrepreneurial activities on the frontier he was suspected of empire building-- and worse. Burr was finally arrested as a threat to national security, under suspicion of fomenting insurrection against the young republic, and then held without bail for months. His trial, witnessing the unfortunate intrusion of partisan politics and personal animosity into the legal process, revolved around a highly contentious debate over the constitutional meaning of treason. In the first book dedicated to this important case, Peter Charles Hoffer unveils a cast of characters ensnared by politics and law at the highest levels of government, including President Thomas Jefferson--one of Burr's bitterest enemies--and Chief Justice John Marshall, no fan of either Burr or Jefferson. Hoffer recounts how Jefferson's prosecutors argued that the mere act of discussing an "overt Act of War"--the constitution's definition of treason--was tantamount to committing the act. Marshall, however, ruled that without the overt act, no treasonable action had occurred and neither discussion nor conspiracy could be prosecuted. Subsequent attempts to convict Burr on violations of the Neutrality Act failed as well. A fascinating excursion into the early American past, Hoffer's narrative makes it clear why the high court's ultimate finding was so foundational that it has been cited as precedent 383 times. Along the way, Hoffer expertly unravels the tale's major themes: attempts to redefinetreason in times of crisis, efforts to bend the law to political goals, the admissibility of evidence, the vulnerability of habeas corpus, and the reach of executive privilege. He also proposes an original and provocative explanation for Burr's bizarre conduct that will provide historians with new food for thought. Deftly linking politics to law, Hoffer's highly readable study resonates with current events and shows us why the issues debated two centuries ago still matter today.

Capital Punishment On Trial

Author: David M. Oshinsky
Publisher: Univ Pr of Kansas
ISBN:
Size: 59.18 MB
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In his first book since the Pulitzer Prize--winning Polio: An American Story, renowned historian David Oshinsky takes a new and closer look at the Supreme Court's controversial and much-debated stances on capital punishment--in the landmark case of Furman v. Georgia. Career criminal William Furman shot and killed a homeowner during a 1967 burglary in Savannah, Georgia. Because it was a "black-on-white" crime in the racially troubled South, it also was an open-and-shut case. The trial took less than a day, and the nearly all-white jury rendered a death sentence. Aided by the NAACP's Legal Defense Fund, Furman's African-American attorney, Bobby Mayfield, doggedly appealed the verdict all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, which in 1972 overturned Furman's sentence by a narrow 5--4 vote, ruling that Georgia's capital punishment statute, and by implication all other state death-penalty laws, was so arbitrary and capricious as to violate the Eighth Amendment's prohibition against "cruel and unusual punishment." Furman effectively, if temporarily, halted capital punishment in the United States. Every death row inmate across the nation was resentenced to life in prison. The decision, however, did not rule the death penalty per se to be unconstitutional; rather, it struck down the laws that currently governed its application, leaving the states free to devise new ones that the Court might find acceptable. And this is exactly what happened. In the coming years, the Supreme Court would uphold an avalanche of state legislation endorsing the death penalty. Capital punishment would return stronger than ever, with many more defendants sentenced to death and eventually executed. Oshinsky demonstrates the troubling roles played by race and class and region in capital punishment. And he concludes by considering the most recent Supreme Court death-penalty cases involving minors and the mentally ill, as well as the impact of international opinion. Compact and engaging, Oshinsky's masterful study reflects a gift for empathy, an eye for the telling anecdote and portrait, and a talent for clarifying the complex and often confusing legal issues surrounding capital punishment.

The Sodomy Cases

Author: David A. J. Richards
Publisher: Univ Pr of Kansas
ISBN:
Size: 53.61 MB
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For America's gay community, the question of rights is often reduced to the issue of privacy. Until very recently, even though this right has been upheld by the Supreme Court in landmark cases relating to contraception and abortion, the issue of "nonprocreational sex" continued to trigger a double standard for gay men. Now David Richards, a leading legal scholar who is himself gay, shows how two other landmark cases nearly twenty years apart shed light on America's evolving views of privacy. The Supreme Court's decision in Bowers v. Hardwick (1986) stemmed from a 1982 gay-sex arrest in an Atlanta home under a Georgia law that criminalized sodomy--a case not originally prosecuted, but then pursued in court to challenge the statute's constitutionality. Lawrence v. Texas (2003) followed a similar arrest in 1998 in Houston, where Texas law also criminalized sodomy--but only when practiced by members of the same sex. Richards views these cases as the nadir and apogee of the gay community's efforts to fight discrimination through the courts. In Bowers, the Supreme Court ruled that there was no constitutional protection for sodomy and that states could outlaw those practices. But in Lawrence, the Court overturned the Texas law--and the Bowers decision as well--because it denied due process protection to consenting adults whose sexual practices were conducted in private. Justice Kennedy's majority opinion reaffirmed a constitutionally protected right to privacy that prevented the government from regulating intimate behavior. Tracing the Court's deliberations, Richards shows how Lawrence unambiguously establishes that the right to a private life is an innately human right and that ourconstitutional right to privacy rests on the moral bedrock of equal protection. He shifts gracefully from the law to literature, and from the Courts to the wider culture, to offer a brilliant analysis of the relevant arguments, going beneath their surface to link them to the emotional and moral foundations of the controversies raging around these decisions. Both of these cases show a Supreme Court ready to take seriously the idea that homosexuals have human rights--and that these rights are the basis of judicially enforceable constitutional rights. In describing these challenges to public prejudice, Richards's book offers students and general readers new insight into the practice and theory of constitutional law.