The Warren Court and American Politics

By Lucas A. Powe Jr. | Go to book overview

Chapter 16
Policing the Criminal Justice System

Black’s opinion in Gideon incorporated the Sixth Amendment guarantee of counsel into the Fourteenth Amendment by arguing that Betts v. Brady had been wrong for its twenty-one-year existence. Black specifically eschewed any argument that subsequent events mattered, and he uttered not a word about his own theory that the Fourteenth Amendment incorporated the entire Bill of Rights. Thus, neither Gideon nor the two-year-old Mapp v. Ohio offered much help on why provisions of the Bill of Rights applied against the states, but between them they seemed to offer a solution to the problem of how the Court could guarantee that each criminal trial was fair. In an era when those working in Washington, D.C., believed wisdom rested exclusively within its city limits, the Court recognized that the Bill of Rights offered national standards for criminal procedure regardless of how the states wished to conduct trials, and it quickly applied all the relevant provisions of the Bill of Rights to the states to create minimum national guarantees of fairness in criminal trials. This was but one of a series of steps the Court took that remade the entire American system of criminal justice, from the way juveniles, on the one hand, and capital defendants, on the other, were tried, to the provision of postconviction relief that allowed for a trial of the trial. In the process, the Court’s desire to make good policy resulted in an unsettling new definition of constitutional rights.


Incorporating the Bill of Rights

When Warren came to the Court, the only parts of the Bill of Rights that applied to the states were the substantive provisions of the First Amendment’s guarantees of freedom of expression and religion and the Fifth Amendment’s Just Compensation Clause. Gideon, coming down less

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The Warren Court and American Politics
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Illustrations ix
  • Preface xi
  • Chapter 1 - The Supreme Court, 1935–1953 1
  • I Beginnings the 1953–1956 Jerms 19
  • Chapter 2 - Brown 27
  • Chapter 3 - Implementation 50
  • Chapter 4 - Domestic Security 75
  • Chapter 5 - Glimpses of the Future 104
  • II Stalemate the 1957–1961 Jerms 125
  • Chapter 6 - Domestic Security after Red Monday 135
  • Chapter 7 - Little Rock and Civil Rights 157
  • Chapter 8 - The Transition 179
  • III History's Warren Court the 1962–1968 Terms 207
  • Chapter 9 - To the Civil Rights Act 217
  • Chapter 10 - Revamping the Democratic Process 239
  • Chapter 11 - After the Civil Rights Act 272
  • Chapter 12 - Freedom of Expression 303
  • Chapter 13 - The End of Obscenity? 336
  • Chapter 14 - Church and State in a Pluralist Society 358
  • Chapter 15 - Policing the Police 379
  • Chapter 16 - Policing the Criminal Justice System 412
  • Chapter 17 - Wealth and Poverty 445
  • IV the Era Ends 463
  • Chapter 18 - The Last Year 467
  • Chapter 19 - What Was the Warren Court? 485
  • Chronology 503
  • Notes 511
  • Bibliography 533
  • Index of Cases 539
  • General Index 549
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