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tv   Reel America The Judicial Power - 1960  CSPAN  December 11, 2020 10:51pm-11:19pm EST

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different college classroom and hear about topics ranging from the american revolution, civil rights and u.s. presidents. to 9/11 >> thank you for your patience and for logging into class. >> with most college campuses closed with the impact of the coronavirus, watch professors transfer teaching to a virtual setting, to engage with their students. >> gorbachev did most of the work to change the soviet union. but reagan, met him halfway. reagan encouraged him, reagan supported him. >> the press, which we will get to later, i should mention -- freedom of the use of the press and it isn't the freedom to print things and publish things. it is not a freedom -- referred to institutionally as the press. >> lectures in history, on american history tv, on c-span 3. every saturday, at 8 pm eastern. lectures in history is also available as a podcast. find it where you listen to podcasts.
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>> from canada, the wild mallets come in autumn. green heads pointing south. thousand miles of mississippi valley below them. quite a view from america. more limited, but still a pleasant view, america from a school room window in nebraska.
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the view of a country, any country -- . i'm joseph wells. i am a lawyer. a flight of birds, some americans in trouble, and a white temple on the hill. this is the story i want to tell you. it is the story of the supreme court of the united states. you feel very small when you stand in the entrance of the supreme court in washington.
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the current in columns rise three stories high, made of marble from the quarry of the state of vermont. inside, -- is underfoot and all around you. and polished walls and columns under a covered ceiling. in this room, historic meetings take place. with just some other days -- from the cargo mall was. --
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a stark case of bronze and marble spirals upwards. in the hallway, and open pedestal, bears the one word, silence. indeed you walk softly here, but the feeling is one of reverence. the root of this reverence? a document held dear to us. the american constitution. article three, the judicial power of the united states shall be vested in one supreme court. the judicial power shell extended to all cases in law and equity, arising under this constitution. the laws of the united states, and treaties made under their
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authority. the first article of the constitution has to do with congress. the second deals with the office of president. in article three, with the supreme court. one, two, three. that is the way our founding fathers planned it. a government made up of three equal independent parts, put together in a system of checks and balances that keeps any one of them from becoming too powerful. congress makes laws, but the president can veto them. the court declared them on constitutional. congress can overrule the president, with a two thirds majority. or initiate the overruling of the court, by proposing a constitutional amendment. the president can appoint justices, but he can't remove them. everywhere the checks and balances are at work, the key to the -- in this plan is its right to reveal enact of the president,
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or congress. and decide whether it is keeping with the constitution. it also reviews some decisions of state courts, and lower federal courts. you can >> you can see now that this white marble temple, is more than just a court. it is a vital part of the american government. a place where the mighty -- princes, prime ministers. does it seem a far cry from all of this, to apply to voters over farmland? a modest nebraska teacher? a prisoner in behind bars? yet, they like queens and prime minister may have business in this modern temple. a business born the day that troubles strikes them. these birds started their journey under a safe -- they are useful friends. good for food, enemies of insects that they strike down.
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-- threatened them with extinction. the united states and canada made a treaty for their protection. congress implemented it, with the migratory board bird act. march the september, it is illegal to kill capture or sell the wild mallard. but on this day, flying over the southern state of missouri, a federal game warden will try to arrest this man. but the state of missouri will a rest the game warden instead. he will be tried and convicted, on the ground that the wild meddlers within its borders belong to the state of missouri, and that the game warden is unlawfully interfering with the rights of the hunter. a this man to, is breaking the law. -- lutheran school he was teaching his student a story from history. he teaches it in german, the
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language of the child's parents. the time is shortly after a war, and his nebraska neighbors that no one may teach a foreign tongue to a child under ten years of age. it is safer to americanize them -- safer to speak them first in the american language. so they will grow up with american ideas. the law breaker is apprehended. in court, the teacher will plead his right of free speech. but a jury of these neighbors will find him guilty. this young man, setting out on a vacation change the 20-dollar bill. and felt the hand on his shoulder. was a guilty of counterfeiting? a jury has said yes. it was however, in a rare jewelry at his trial. the young man said he was innocent, but he never asked for --
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he thought only rich people had lawyers. he knows now that he was entitled to council, improving his innocence. so he has written a letter, asking for a new trial. he addresses it to the nighted state supreme court. justices of the supreme court, each nominated by president, and confirmed by the senate. to serve for life. there have been 92 judges, and 170-year flow of the courts continuity. who are they? not men of marble or parchment, but flesh and blood who have great responsibility. jon marshall, formal former boy
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born in a log cabin. he was teaching himself. the government was young when he became chief justice. but 34 years of his decisions, helped make it strong. oliver window holmes, he liked parties and love the theater. but he gave the country some of its noblest judicial opinions, justice holmes loved america. when he died he left all he had, to united states government. >> this is chief justice earl -- appointed in 1953 by president eisenhower. he was the man with worries of sons and daughters in his life, a family man and a writer of decisions, that have changed american history. >> justice william oh douglas, appointed by franklin d. roosevelt, a man who you may find him leading worship or
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climbing because he pursues understanding everywhere and seeks out friends among even the modest of people now an immigrant boy who love to read, today a justice and continues to read every opportunity. at lunch, even when walking in the street. justice felix frankfurter. a great leader, and great thinker. when justice hugo brock, with 70 he was saying now i can play tennis again. it seems his doctor told him, that a man in his sixties, should not play. when you teach a child tennis
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the concept of fair play is important. justice black, has spent a lifetime implementing a similar concept, in the broader field of government. the words he lives by, or carved in marble over the door of the court he serves. equal justice, under law. that is the idea of all leading justices past and present, that have driven to uphold. what is equal justice under law? let me give you some example. the year 1943, the locale is a town in pennsylvania.
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a religious sect, jehovah witnesses takes the mandate of the scriptures, to preach the gospel to every creature. the members seek to do so by handing out religious pamphlets on the streets of the town, and from house to house. but a city ordinance requires them to pay for a license, and they aren't rested for distributing distributing pamphlets without a license. the case reaches the supreme court, and the ordinance is found to violate not only their religious freedom under the
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constitution, but their freedom of speech and freedom of the press as well. this cartoon, which appeared in the new york newspaper, represents the situation of two giant companies, whose illegal merger must be broken up. >> the caption, where shall we begin doctor? >> along the laws of the supreme court guards, goes back to 1890, for bidding a monopoly. sometimes a monopoly reappears in a different regard. and restraint maybe accompanied by unexpected music. it is used in this case, by corporations that produce motion pictures. we have merely expanded to be good business beings, the fact
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they have affiliated with large theater owners, to stop small theaters from showing any small pitchers. the decision of the judges, size in itself creates a decision and appearance of power. this is not an expansion of legitimate themes, but a scheme to gain control over the market, and suppress the competition. being in contravention of the sherman antitrust act, the these corporations must be broken. their affiliations must be broken. the aged, conditionally peaceful, with folded hands but what turmoil they cause in the supreme court, when franklin
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roosevelt brought his legislation to the country, controversy became daily affair in the supreme court. for the nine judges, who are sharply divided in their interpretation of the constitution. when the social security act passed, giving an income to retired people one irate, businessman, declared he was being illegally taxed, and battled the issue through all the courts up to the highest one finally the decision with four judges in sharp dissent, they proclaimed that >> according to the constitution, congress has power to lay and collect taxes, for the welfare of the united states. the number of aged persons in this country, is rapidly increasing. three out of four persons, over
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65 are dependent wholly or partially on others for support. those who call upon their children, only aggravate the people but depriving the younger members of the family, of their resources. since the problem, is plainly national in dimension, the expenditures contemplated under this act, are for the general welfare of the united states, and the act is held constitutional. >> sometimes even the wisest man, must bow to the lessons of
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experience and change those stands. one of the shortest decisions delivered was an 1817. the united states never pays costs. and of decision. this masterpiece of gravity, was reversed some years later. for self reversal is one of the privileges, and duties of the court when changed conditions and concepts, make change of its decisions desirable. the 14th amendment, guaranteed's equal rights to all citizens, regardless of grace or color. but in the 1896 case, of -- versus ferguson. they had to decide whether segregation was constitutional. the decision was yes, as long as the facilities, a both races are equal. separate but equal. that became the law and the custom, of some states.
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in 1954, there was another segregation case, the issue, whether need your children should be allowed to attend separate but equal schools. in the case of brown versus the board of education, chief justice warren, delivered the unanimous decision of the court. >> the question presented, does segregation of children in public schools, solely on the basis of race, even though the physical facilities may be equal, deprive the children of a nordic group, of equal educational opportunities. we believe that it does. >> two separate them, from others of similar age and qualifications, solely because of the race, generates a feeling of inferiority, as to their status in the community, that may affect their hearts and minds in a way unlikely, and never to be undone. whatever may have been the
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extent of psychological knowledge, and the time of plus events is ferguson, this finding is amply supported by modern authority. >> we see that in the field of public education, separate but equal has no place, and it is so ordered. that is plessy versus ferguson. >> warner local prejudices, give way to the will of the nation, as expressed in the constitution. i pledge allegiance, to the flag, of the united states of
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america, and to the republic, for which it stands. one nation under god, indivisible. where liberty and justice for all. it >> work, the work of the supreme court, last year giving 2000 cases, were laid on this desk for the attention of the court. once a one-man job, today takes 20 people to keep up with this work, which refers cases to the courts doctrine. we are reminded, of the contemporaries of the founding fathers regularly. when are i looks the 1790, and the first clerk on the august day, did what all men do in the
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first week of the year, he wrote the wrong date. you can still see it, on the yellow page. 1789, hastily changed afterwards to 1790. >> yes traditional strong, in this court, and the clerks cutaway, is an unchanging part of it. the words a justice of the supreme court says, when he takes office are simple once. i will support, and defend the constitution, i will administer justice without respect to persons. and do equal right, to the poor and to the rich. this is the rule holding true, whether it's a sovereign state, or an immigrant. a corporation, or convict. >> the sixth amendment of the constitution provides that in all criminal prosecutions, the cues may have the assistance of
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legal counsel in his defense. although this man was ignorant of his rights, it still cannot be denied to him. we declare his conviction, and sentencing to be invalid, and remand his case for retrial. the statute here in question, reports to forward the work of american organization. but in a desire for american organization for a foreign born population, we should not overlook the fact, that the spirit of america, is liberty. the disposition to allow each person, to live his own life, in his own way. unhappy it by unreasonable, and arbitrary restrictions. we find the statute, to be unconstitutional, and henceforth void. does the state on the birds? that claim rests on the scents on the slender read. while birds are not in the position of anyone, but yesterday they had not arrived. tomorrow they may be at another
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state, and in a week 1000 miles away. but the natural interest of the nations people to this involved with these birds, and that can be protected only by national action in concert with another power except for the treaty on the federal statute that protects it. there soon might be no birds for any powers to deal with. . we see nothing in the constitution that compels the government to sit by while the food supplies cut off and the protectors of our crops are destroyed. we are of the opinion pity and the statue protecting the birds must stand. this is the courtroom. in a little while, the traditional call will ring out in this room. oh yay oh yay oh yay. all persons having business before the honorable and
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supreme court of the united states, -- to draw near and give their attention. for the court is now sitting. god say the united states, and dishonourable courts. >> in this room, -- ivory veined marble, the greatest tradition of all unfolds. the decision itself. when the curtains part in three points, and the nine high judges enter, you will know that they have striven to rise above partisanship regionalism and political favorites. to render man's best effort at impartial justice. this is the proud record of the supreme court of the united states. .
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you are watching american history tv. every weekend on c-span 3, explore our nations past. c-span 3, created by americas cable network television companies as a network service and brought to you today by your television provider. >> american history tv on c-span 3. exploring the people and events that tell the american story, every weekend. coming up this weekend, saturday at 8:30 am, live on american history tv and washington journal, a look back
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on bush v. gore. 20 years later. we will discuss the landmark decision with washington post columnist, aj dion and bubble mark editor -- william kristol. they are co-editors on the book bush v. gore. court cases, and the commentary. at 6 pm, on the civil war, the gettysburg college civil war institute -- discussion on the wartime career of union general george been. then at 8 pm, on lectures in history, university of texas in arlington professor, stephanie cole, on the life of work of -- social reformer lucretia, a leading advocate of mid 19th century causes, including abolition and women's rights. on sunday, at 8 pm eastern on the presidency, historian douglas discusses jacqueline kennedy's tenure legacy as first lady, with businessman and philanthropist david rubenstein. for kiss on her historic preservation and cultural, work especially the white house re

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