News

Thurgood Marshall became the first African American Supreme Court Justice 50 years ago

 

The National Archives

50 years ago, Thurgood Marshall (1908-1993) became the first African American to serve on the Supreme Court of the United States when he was confirmed by the Senate on August 30, 1967.  Marshall was one of the most prominent legal minds of the Civil Rights era, winning 29 of the 32 cases he argued before the Supreme Court.  In 1952, he argued the landmark case Brown v. Board of Education (1954), which overturned segregation and the doctrine of “separate but equal” that had ben in place in the South since Plessy v. Ferguson (1896).  Marshall served on the Court for 24 years.

Learn more about Brown v. Board of Education in our film An Independent Judiciary.

White House halts collection of data on gender wage gap

Lilly Ledbetter, who had a Federal Act named after her that makes it easier for women to file pay discrimination lawsuits.

 

The White House announced earlier this week that it is halting a rule that would have required employers with more than 100 employees (and federal contractors with more than 50 employees) to give detailed reports each year on how they compensate each employee by gender.  The rule, which would have gone into effect next year, was aimed at ensuring companies treat employees equally by forcing companies to be transparent on gender wage gaps.  Women in the United States make, on average, 20% less than men or $.80 for every dollar earned by their male colleagues.

Learn more about the fight for equal pay in our film A Call to Act.

 

 

 

 

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“Freedom of the Press: NY Times v. United States” wins a Clarion Award

Freedom of the Press: NY Times v. United States has been award a 2017 Clarion Award in the category of Education.  The Clarion Awards are given out by the Association for Women in Communications, which promotes the advancement of women in communications.  The Clarion Awards recognize “excellence in clear, concise communications” across multiple media fields.

For more information on Freedom of the Press: NY Times v. Sullivan and for a link to watch the film in its entirety, click here.

Happy 4th of July!

“Declaration of Independence,” by John Trumbull (Architect of the Capitol)

On July 4, 1776, the Continental Congress adopted the Declaration of Independence, formally severing ties between the original 13 colonies of what would become the United States and Great Britain.  In the Declaration, the Founders lay out a series of grievances against the King, including taxation without representation, cutting off trade between the colonies and foreign countries, denying the colonists trial by jury in all cases, and refusing to allow the colonists to establish their own governments and laws, among other grievances.  The entire document can be read the National Archives.

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Remembering Dollree Mapp, whose landmark case was decided 56 years ago today

Dollree Mapp in Search and Seizure

Except in cases of probable cause, the police need a warrant to search your house without your consent in order for anything they find to be admissible in court.  But that wasn’t always the case.  In fact, until 1961, the police could barge right in and start searching.  Anything they found was perfectly fine to use against you in court, warrant or no warrant.  Sure, they were supposed to get one — but it wasn’t required.  So why bother?

This changed because of one woman: Dollree Mapp.  In 1957, a bomb went off in the home of Don King (yeah, that Don King).  Cleveland police went to Mapp’s house looking for a suspect.  When she refused to let them in without a warrant, they went in anyway.  In addition to the suspect, police found a stash of pornographic material and Mapp was arrested and convicted on obscenity charges

Mapp appealed her conviction on the grounds that the search of her house without a warrant or probable cause violated her Fourth Amendment protection against “unreasonable searches and seizures.”  On June 19, 1961 — 56 years ago today — the Supreme Court agreed.  And in the landmark opinion in Mapp v. Ohio, Justice Tom Clark wrote, “Having once recognized that the right to privacy embodied in the Fourth Amendment is enforceable against the States, and that the right to be secure against rude invasions of privacy by state officers is, therefore, constitutional in origin, we can no longer permit that right to remain an empty promise.”  Mapp’s conviction was thrown out.

Police were supposed to get a search warrant before Dollree Mapp.  Because of her they need one.  

Learn more about the case from Dollree Mapp herself in our film Search and Seizure.  Dollree Mapp passed away in 2014.

 

 

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