Monday, October 6, 2008

Sarah and the Supremes

As today is the first Monday in October, it seems like a good time to consider Sarah Palin’s recent Katie Couric interview where she was asked about Supreme Court decisions, specifically, the one’s with which she might disagree

As Palin received a lot of flack for only being able to remember one case, the Roe decision, I tested myself by taking a piece of scrap paper and jotting down any other cases that I could remember.

Involving the rights of persons under arrest, I recalled Miranda v. Ohio [1961 – the Miranda rights that need to be read to certain arrested persons], the Gideon decision [1963 – poor defendants deserve a lawyer], and Mapp v. Ohio [1961 – search warrants and the admissibility of illegally obtained evidence].

From my school days several decades ago I still remembered the Dred Scott decision, which was always on exams [1857 – Dred Scott v. Sandford – black persons are not citizens under the Constitution].

Then there were the related decisions Plessy v. Ferguson [1896 – separate but equal is okay] and Brown V. the Board of Education that overturned Plessy [1954 – separate but equal is not okay].

Regarding education, there was the Bakke case [1978 – UC v. Bakke – affirmative action – some special admissions policies unconstitutional].

Now, these were the ones I immediately remembered, but after reflection others came to mind, even if not completely.

Here’s one that Palin should be aware of, BOE Island Trees School District v. Pico [1982 – regarding book banning, ”…schools may not control their libraries in a manner that results in a narrow partisan view of certain matters of opinion…”]. Then there is Wallace v. Jaffree [1985 – moment of silence not constitutional in Alabama law as it was to endorse religion and return prayer to public schools]. She may want to review Lee v. Weisman [1992 – prayers as part of a school program not allowed].

I won’t go on, but I will suggest she take a Constitutional Law course. She really needs it – even as governor. And some legal studies may help her in that pesky Troopergate investigation.

In the interests of full disclosure, I did look up the years of most of the decisions and I was required to take a fair number of law courses in college and worked in the legal field.

No comments: