Culture War and The Supreme Court

By: Jon Liese

Dred Scott v Sandford 1857

The issue: Dred Scott was a slave who ran away and made it to free territory.

The rights in conflict: Dred argues that since he made it to free territory, that he has the right to be free. Sandford believes that Dred is still his property and that he still owns him.

Impact : This is a conservative win. Sandford won because Scott was not a citizen and is not legally allowed to sue in federal court.

Historical significance: This was a discouraging ruling for African Americans.

Citizens United v Federal Election Commission 2010

The issue: Corporations were funding candidates for the presidential election.

The rights in conflict: According to the First Amendment, corporations have the right to support candidates as they choose.

Impact: This was a conservative win. The government cannot restrict the spending of corporations for political campaigns.

Historical significance: This will encourage corporations to fund candidates in the future.

Gideon v Wainwright 1963

The issue: Gideon was convicted of a felony without given free counsel.

The rights in conflict: The Sixth Amendment says that every defendant who cannot afford and attorney will be given one.

Impact: This was a conservative win. The court ruled that his conviction was in violation if the Sixth Amendment.

Historical significance: This made an example of all other lower level courts to make sure that the uphold the constitutional right to free counsel.

Brown v Board of Education 1954

The issue: The issue is segregated public schools.

The rights in conflict: It says in the constitution, "separate educational facilities are inherently unequal".

Impact: This was a liberal win and a win for the civil rights movement. Public schools were finally integrated.

Historical significance: The case overturned the Plessy v Ferguson case of 1896. Schools can never be segregated again.

The Supreme Court

There are two likely vacancies on the court after the 2016 election. Ruth Ginsberg and Stephen Breyer are the likely vacancies. These vacancies provide opportunity to the next president. The president has the power to elect the next justices. So if the next president is a liberal, the he or she would choose two liberal justices. This would give the Democratic Party more power in the government. The Supreme Court has a large amount of authority in major decisions for this country. So the president will have a great influence on the future of this country.


The culture war in the U.S is largely fought between Conservatives and Liberals. Conservatives fight to preserve things the way they are. They don't like or accept change. An example of this can be found in the documentary "Jesus Camp". They are conservative Evangelical Christians. They pull their kids out of public schools because of the change in their curriculums. They are extreme conservatives. On the other side, there are liberals. The liberals oppose the conservatives and want to move forward as a society. President Obama is an example of a liberal. He has been trying to reform healthcare all throughout his two terms.