Culture Wars and the Supreme Court

Stephanie Cumba

Gideon v. Wainwright (1963)

In 1961 Clarence Gideon was charged with Breaking and Netering for stealing money form a vending machine at a pool hall. Gideon could not afford an attorney so he asked the court to provide him one but was denied when they told him they would only be appointed if the defendant was facing a death penalty. Gideon filed a Habeas Corpus petition, in other words asking for the case to be reviewed once more, to the Florida Supreme Court after being sentenced 5 years in prison. Gideon claimed his sentencing unconstitutional but the Florida Supreme Court denied the petition so he moved onto the U.S. Supreme court who reviewed it finally in 1963 and Gideon got exactly what he wanted after a unanimous decision was written. The act of denying a defense attorney to one who cannot provide one themselves, goes against the 6th Amendment. The case related to the Culture Wars in the way that this case does not just apply to any specific person or group of people, no matter the crime, racial status or any other interruption; it is your right to have an attorney in a court hearing.

Griswold vs. Connecticut

Estelle Griswold and Dr. C. Lee Buxton were arrested for providing illegal prescriptions and were both fined $100 but in 1965, Griswold decided to bring the case to the U.S. Supreme Court testifying that it goes against the Constitution. The case went into a direction where it favored married couples, similar to the cause of Bowers vs. Hardwick. Griswold did not win the case because the privacy laws that he is discussing can not be enforced against married people but can be enforced on those who are single, or "substantive rights". So the punishment against the two men remained as did the law that states anybody uses drugs for preventing conception will be fined $40 or no more or less than 60 days in jail but let it be known that the law has changed since then.

Before Roe vs. Wade (1970)

This court case handled the issue on whether to make Abortion legal or illegal. This case was known to have "politically divided" the nation based on their opinions and still today causes violence and many controversies. In 1970, two ladies by the name of Linda Coffee and Sarah Weddington brought a lawsuit to light, claiming that criminalizing abortion was unconstitutional in support of Norma McCorvey ("Jane Row"). They believed she had a right to get an abortion but she did not have the money to travel and receive it somewhere where it would be legal. This lawsuit was against a Dallas County District attorney, an attory in Row's area, named Henry Wade. The court ruled the law unconditional and Wade appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court who reviewed the case until 1972. The case was officially put to rest in 1973 when they came to a decision of legalizing abortion with great reasoning. This case relates to the Culture Wars because it has been described as being the number one case to have entertained so many despots around ethnicity and religion.

After Roe vs. Wade (1973)

Roe v. Wade ruled unconstitutional a state law that banned abortions except to save the life of the mother. "The Court ruled that the states were forbidden from outlawing or regulating any aspect of abortion performed during the first trimester of pregnancy, could only enact abortion regulations reasonably related to maternal health in the second and third trimesters, and could enact abortion laws protecting the life of the fetus only in the third trimester" (Alex McBride).

Bowers vs. Hardwick (1986)

In August of 1982 a man named Michael Hardwick failed to appear in court so the police went to get him from his home Hardwick's friend let them in. When the officers searched the house they came to a room and inside was Hardwick and another man having homosexual relations. The two men were arrested on the spot for violating a Georgian sodomy law. The punishment is no more of less than 20 years for this act so Hardwick sued saying that his punishment was against the Constitution in 1986 and he lost to Justice White. Hardwick then tried to argue that he had a right to privacy but the right to privacy applied to an individual, a married couple and other instances but not to two people who are in the middle of an illegal act and two men are not able to marry. This case relates to the culture war by the fact that, to this day, there are countless couples all throughout the world who are in a same-sex relationship but thats all that they are able to have, is a relationship. They cannot be married because it is illegal and no priest will marry them or is aloud to and it constantly causes a controversy of discrimination against gays and lesbians who are of all ethnicities.

Justice Vacancies

I believe that the upcoming two vacancies to having available spots will be for the 2 conservatives justices; Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Anthony Kennedy. They are the two oldest in the house being ages 78 and 81 years old. They have both been on the court for at least 20 years and they are both known to be exceptionally well at their job, especially Ginsburg and neither have had reports about their age effecting their jobs skills. In fact, they have had comments announcing that their age is no problem at all and they are as good as they've been, if not better but I feel that their chair will soon be vacant do to a personal decision that it is tie to resign. The loss of these two judges could effect the court in a sense that each judge has had their own experiences therefore they "feel" for some cases more than others and have a good understanding, both negative and positive, of the reasoning behind them and what their result should really be and this will still exist with the remaining judges induing future ones, but these two have an individual impact in a specific department, just like the others do.
In my opinion, the culture war is just proof that the world will never work perfectly; their will never be world peace. Every person has their own culture and belief. Let's say you believe in the same religion, that still doesn't necessarily mean you agree on the same things. We all have our own individual idea of how things should work and things verses thing that just shouldn't exist at all and it will forever be that way. From homeschooling or public schooling, to what to eat from dinner, there will always be active disagreement.