Tuesday, June 29, 2004

Shorter American Trial List

Here's my list of important trials. It's cut to the bone but all of these made a serious impact.

Anne Hutchinson Trials (1637, 1638)
Salem Witchcraft Trials (1692)
Boston Massacre Trials (1770)
Alien and Sedition Acts (1798)
Cherokee Nation v. Georgia (1831)
Dred Scott Decision (1856)
John Brown Trial (1859)
President Andrew Johnson Impeachment (1868)
U.S. v. Susan B. Anthony (1873)
Plessy v. Ferguson (1896)
Triangle Shirtwaist Fire Trial (1911)
John Thomas Scopes "Monkey Trial" (1925)
Billy Mitchell Court-Martial (1925)
Scottsboro Trial (1931-37)
Ulysses Trial (1933)
Brown v. Board of Education (1954)
Boynton v. Virginia (1960)
Clarence Earl Gideon (1961, 1963)
John Henry Faulk v. Aware, Inc. et al. (1962)
Ernesto Miranda Trials (1963, 1967) "
New York Times Company v. Sullivan (1964)
Griswold v. Connecticut (1964)
Furman v. Georgia (1972)
Roe et al. v. Wade (1973)
U.S. v. Nixon (1974)
Falwell v. Flynt (1984)
Texas v. Johnson (1989)
Mapplethorpe Obscenity Trial (1990)

Some that weren't included in the book but should be considered:

Clinton Impeachment
Harden v. State (Tennessee Supreme Court) ruling that upheld laws against snake-handling in religious ceremonies.
Cantwell v. State of Connecticut: Supreme Court rules:

"The fundamental concept of liberty embodied in that Amendment [Fourteenth] embraces the liberties guaranteed by the First Amendment. The First Amendment declares that Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof. The Fourteenth Amendment has rendered the legislatures of the states as incompetent as Congress to enact such laws. The constitutional inhibition of legislation on the subject of religion has a double aspect. On the one hand, it forestalls compulsion by law of the acceptance of any creed or the practice of any form of worship. Freedom of conscience and freedom to adhere to such religious organization or form of worship as the individual may choose cannot be restricted by law. On the other hand, it safeguards the free exercise of the chosen form of religion. Thus the Amendment embraces two concepts, freedom to believe and freedom to act. The first is absolute but, in the nature of things, the second cannot be. Conduct remains subject to regulation for the protection of society. The freedom to act must have appropriate definition to preserve the enforcement of that protection."

In other words, the First Amendment allows you to worship in a religion that demands human sacrifice; the Fourteenth Amendment prohibits you from blatantly breaking the law to do so, put best in the next case—

Reynolds v. United States: Court ruled: "Suppose one believed that human sacrifices were a necessary part of religious worship, would it be seriously contended that the civil government under which he lived could not interfere to prevent a sacrifice?"

And how could you forget O.J.? Court decides that the ability to buy a not guilty verdict is not restricted to white men.

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