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tv   Reel America The Judicial Power - 1960  CSPAN  December 14, 2020 2:10pm-2:31pm EST

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>> as the coronavirus vaccine starts to be administered today, alex azar and jerome adams will give an update at george washington university hospital this afternoon, live coverage gets under way at 2:30 eastern here on c-span3, online at or listen with the free c-span radio app. during the week on c-span3, we're featuring american history tv programs as a preview of what's available every weekend. tonight, the gettysburg college civil war institute hosts an evening with oklahoma state university professor jennifer murray discussing union general george mead and his wartime career and experience as the union commander at gettysburg. watch tonight at 8:00 p.m. eastern on c-span3. and enjoy american history tv this week and every weekend.
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♪ >> down from canada, the mallard ducks. a school room window in nebraska.
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♪ the view of a country, any country is harsh through iron bars. i'm joseph welsh. i'm a lawyer. a flight of birds in trouble and a white temple on a hill. this is the story i want to tell you. it's the story of the supreme court of the united states. you feel very small when you stand in the supreme court
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building in washington. the columns rise three stories high, great shafts of marble in the mountain state of vermont. inside, premium marble is afoot and all around you, in polished walls and columns under a coffered ceiling. in this room, historic meetings take place.
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with tourists of other days observing. a staircase of marble spirals upward. in the hallway, an open pedestal with the word silence. the feeling here is one of reverence. the route of it is a document head deer to us. the american constitution. article three. the judicial power of the united states shall be vested in one supreme court. the ju dish power shall extend to all cases in law and equity arising under this constitution. the laws of the united states and treaties made under their authority.
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the first article of the constitution has to do with congress. the second deals with the office of president, 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. a president can veto them. or the court declare them unconstitutional. congress can overrule the president with a two-thirds
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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 courts rule in this land is to reveal the act of a president or congress and decide whether or not it is in keeping with the constitution. it also reviews some decisions of state courts and lower federal courts. you can see now that this white marble temple is more than just a law court if is a vital part of the american government. a place where the mighty visit. princesses, prime ministers, and more.
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does it seem a far cry from this to birds flying? these birds started their journey under safe conduct. they're useful friends of man. good for food, enemies of insects that destroy crops. but hunting threatened them with extinction. the united states canada made protection for them. from march to accept 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 them. on the ground that the wild mallards in it's borders belong to the state of missouri and that the game warden is unlawfully interfering with the rights of the hunter. this man, too, is breaking the law.
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here in zion lutheran school, he is teaching his student a story from history. he teaches it in german, the language of the child's parents. his nebraska neighbors decreed that no one may teach a foreign tongue to a child under 10 years of age. it is safer to americanize them, the saying goes. with the american land wage so they grow up with american ideals. in court, the teacher will plead his right of free speech, but a jury of these neighbors will find him guilt.
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this young men setting out on a vacation was changing a $20 bill and health a hand on his shoulder. he is guilty of counterfeiting? he knows now that he was entitled to council in proving his innocence. so he has written a letter asking for a new trial. he addresses it to the united states supreme court. the justices of the supreme court, each nominated by a president, and confirmed by the senate to serve for life. there are 92 judges in the 170s of the courts continuity. who are they? men of flesh and blood who have
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risen to great responsibility. ♪ marshall, born a poor boy in a log cabin. had to teach himself. the government was young and untried, but 34 years of his decisions helped to make it strong. oliver homes liked pardons and the theater, but he gave some of his noblest opinions. he loved america. he left all that he had to the united states government. this is chief justice earl warren, appointed in 1953 appointed by president eisenhower. a man with the joys and worries of sons and daughters in his life. a family man and a writer of decisions that have changed american history. justice william o'douglas. appointed by franklin d. roosevelt. he pursued understanding
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he everywhere and seeks out people. at 12 he was an immigrant boy who loved to read. today, a justice who reads at every opportunity, at lunch, even when walking in the street. justice felix frankfurter. a great reader, great thinker. when justice hugo black was 70, he rejoiced, now i can play tennis again. it seems his doctor told him that a man in his 60s shouldn't play.
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can you teach a child that the concept of fair play is important? justice black spent a life time implementing a similar concept in the broader field of government. the words he lives by are carved in marble over the door of the court that he serves. equal justice under law. that's the idea that all of these justices past and present have strove to uphold. what is an example? the year is 1943, a town in pennsylvania.
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♪ a religious sect, jahovah witnesses hand out information on the streets of the town and from house to house. but a city ordinance requires them to pay for a license and they are arrested for distributing their pamphlets without a license.
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the case reaches the supreme court, and the ordinance is found to violate not only their religious freedom under the constitution, but their freedom of speech and freedom of the press as well. this cartoon appeared in the new york newspaper. that they must be broken up. the caption, where should we begin, doctor? among the supreme court guards, the anti-trust act of 1890 prohibiting trade by monopoly, but sometimes a monopoly appears in unfamiliar garb. and restraint of trade may be accompany bid unexpect ed news. the accused in this case, five
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corporations that produce motion pictures. they say we have merely expanded to be legitimate business leads. the fact they have worked with large theater owners from preventing small, independent theaters from exhibiting first class pictures. the decision of the judges? size in itself creates the suspicion of monopoly power. size carries with it an opportunity for abuse. this is not to meet the business needs, but a calculated scheme to gain control over the market and to suppress competition. sherman anti-trust act, the affiliations of these corporations must be broken. the aged, traditionally peaceful with folded hands, but what
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turmoil they caused in the supreme court. when franklin d. roosevelt brought his new deal, the nine judges were sharply divided in their interpretation. partly through employer contributions, one businessman said he was being illegally taxed and battled the issue up through the courts. the aged and their children waited with baited breath while liberal and conservative justices wrestling with the question. finally the decision with four judges in sharp dissent. the five who made a majority proclaimed -- according to the constitution, congress can lay and protect taxes for the general 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 independent wholly or partially on others for support. those who call upon their children aggravate the evil by depriving younger members of the family of their resources. since it is plainly national, the expenditures called for upped this act are for the general welfare of the united states, and the act is held constitutional. ♪
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>> sometimes even the wisest man must bow to the lessons of experience and change their stance. one of the shortest opinions the supreme court ever delivered was in 1817. the united states never pays costs. end of decision. this master piece was reversed years later. it is a privilege and duty of when they changed conditions and concepts, making change of it's decisions, desirable. the 4th amendment guaranteed
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whether or not segregation was constitutional. the decision was yes, as well. they are equal. >> in 1954, the issue whether or not negro children should attend separate but equal schools. in the case of the brown vs. board of education, they delivered a unanimous decision. does segregation of children in public schools, solely on the basis of race, even if the physical facilities are equal, deprive the children of the minority group of equal
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educational opportunities? we believe that it does. to separate them from others of similar age and qualifications solely because of their race generates a feeling of inferiority as to their status in the community that may affect their hearts and minds in away unlikely to ever be undone. whatever may have been the extent of psychological knowledge, this finds is supported by modern authorities. the doctrine of separate but equal has no place. it is so ordered. slowly, warn-out local prejudices give way to the will of the nation, as expressed in the constitution. ♪ >> i pledge allegiance to the


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