⚡ Thurgood Marshall Argument

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Thurgood Marshall Argument



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Marshall - Sam's Closing Argument In Front of Jury

During this period, Mr. Marshall was asked by the United Nations and the United Kingdom to help draft the constitutions of the emerging African nations of Ghana and what is now Tanzania. It was felt that the person who so successfully fought for the rights of America's oppressed minority would be the perfect person to ensure the rights of the White citizens in these two former European colonies. After amassing an impressive record of Supreme Court challenges to state-sponsored discrimination, including the landmark Brown v. Board decision in , President John F. Kennedy appointed Thurgood Marshall to the U. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. In this capacity, he wrote over decisions including support for the rights of immigrants, limiting government intrusion in cases involving illegal search and seizure, double jeopardy, and right to privacy issues.

Biographers Michael Davis and Hunter Clark note that, "none of his Marshall's 98 majority decisions was ever reversed by the Supreme Court. Solicitor General. Before his subsequent nomination to the United States Supreme Court in , Thurgood Marshall won 14 of the 19 cases he argued before the Supreme Court on behalf of the government. Until his retirement from the highest court in the land, Justice Marshall established a record for supporting the voiceless American. Having honed his skills since the case against the University of Maryland, he developed a profound sensitivity to injustice by way of the crucible of racial discrimination in this country. As an Associate Supreme Court Justice, Thurgood Marshall leaves a legacy that expands that early sensitivity to include all of America's voiceless.

Justice Marshall died on January 24, Thoroughgood Marshall was born July 2, , in Baltimore, Maryland; his father was a railroad porter and his mother a schoolteacher. After a brief period in New York City, the family moved to a racially diverse, largely middle class neighborhood in Baltimore called Druid Hill, although he attended segregated schools, graduating from the city's Colored High School in when he was only 16 years old. He shortened his name to Thurgood in the second grade. Marshall's exposure to the law and the Constitution was unusually early. His father, William Marshall, never attended college, but he was fascinated by court trials and often took his son along with him.

Marshall described himself as a "hell raiser" as a child, and while his naturally argumentative nature may have gotten him into a certain amount of trouble, it would prove a useful trait as a lawyer. One of Marshall's punishments for talking too much involved the U. I made my way through every paragraph. These early experiences reinforced many of the deepest convictions that shaped Marshall's professional career, including the importance of education for individual advancement, a deep respect for the legal profession, and the recognition of the bonds of family and community.

Thurgood Marshall while he was a student at Lincoln University. The photo is Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity pledges Marshall is 2nd from right in middle row. Thurgood Marshall graduated cum laude with a bachelor's degree from Lincoln University in The school was chartered in as the Ashmun Institute and described by one of its early presidents as "the first institution found anywhere in the world to provide a higher education in the arts and sciences for male youth of African descent.

At Lincoln, Marshall's interest in civil rights and the law deepened and he became a star member of the school's debating team, which competed against teams from such powerhouse institutions as Harvard University and Britain's Cambridge University. Marshall also met and married Vivian Burey in , then a student at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. Marshall wanted to attend the University of Maryland Law School but did not apply after it became clear that he would not be admitted into the segregated institution. He made the long daily commute from Baltimore to Howard because he couldn't afford housing. His mother pawned her wedding and engagement rings to help pay the tuition.

Marshall nevertheless excelled at Howard, graduating first in his class in At Howard, Marshall made the most important professional friendship and alliance of his career with Professor Charles Hamilton Houston, who served as an important intellectual father to the 20th-century civil rights movement in the United States. Houston was the first African American lawyer to win a case before the U. Supreme Court. Marshall credited Houston, who died in , with devising the basic legal strategy that ultimately succeeded in legal segregation in the United States, specifically the "separate but equal" provisions of the Supreme Court's Plessy v.

Ferguson decision. Referring to Brown v. Board of Education, Marshall said, "The school case was really Charlie's victory. He just never got a chance to see it. A Career and a Cause After earning his law degree, Marshall opened a law office in Baltimore in the depths of the Great Depression but quickly found himself in debt by handling civil rights cases for poor clients. A year later, with Houston as his adviser, Marshall won his first major racial discrimination case, Murray v. Pearson, which ended segregation of the University of Maryland's Law School. The victory over the school that had previously denied him admittance was especially sweet for Marshall, but the decision didn't strike at the heart of segregation since it was won on the grounds that the state of Maryland could not provide a credible "separate but equal" institution for providing African Americans with a legal education.

In Marshall became a staff NAACP lawyer based in New York; two years later, he succeeded Houston as the organization's chief counsel, although the two continued to work closely together. The Fund became a separate organization in His commitment to racial justice led him and his staff to develop ways of thinking about constitutional litigation that have been enormously influential far beyond the areas of segregation and discrimination. The Long Campaign Together, Marshall and Houston mapped a long-term strategy to challenge and eradicate segregation in the United States that focused chiefly but not exclusively on education. At the time, the NAACP was devoting much of its resources to equalizing spending and resources for black schools operating in a racially segregated system.

Marshall convinced the NAACP to abandon that approach and said he would accept only cases that challenged segregation itself. The policy shift was controversial within the organization at the time, and several black lawyers who worked with the NAACP in the South resigned, increasing the burden on Marshall and his staff. For two decades, Marshall traveled constantly, up to 50, miles a year, supervising more than cases at a time and often facing the threat of harassment and even physical attack.

Marshall's record of success in striking down discriminatory and segregationist laws was extraordinary, winning 29 of 32 cases he argued. Among the most significant:. Missouri ex rel. Gaines v. Canada argued before the court by Charles Houston, extended the Maryland Murray v. Pearson decision to the entire nation, maintaining that a state with a single law school could not discriminate on the basis of race. Chambers v. Florida reversed the conviction of four black men accused of murder on grounds that excessive police pressure and coercion rendered their confessions inadmissible.

Smith v. Allwright prohibited "whites only" primary elections that selected candidates for the general election. Marshall considered this case one of his most important victories, according to biographer Juan Williams. Morgan v. Virginia barred segregation in interstate bus transportation. Marshall also prevailed on the court to desegregate bus terminals who served interstate passengers. The Morgan decision served as the legal basis for the celebrated "Freedom Rides" of the early s. Patton v. Mississippi maintained that juries from which African Americans had been systematically excluded could not convict black defendants. Shelly v. Kraemer declared that racially restrictive covenants preventing the sale of property to African Americans or other minorities could not be enforced by the state and were therefore null and void.

Sweatt v. Painter held that the University of Texas School of Law could not deny admittance to an African American student since the separate law school for blacks did not provide anything approaching "substantive equality. McLaurin v. Oklahoma State Regents held that institutions of higher learning could not discriminate solely on the basis of race to meet the state's segregation requirements.

The case involved an African American graduate student at the University of Oklahoma who was separated from the other students in the classroom and elsewhere on campus. Along with his unwavering commitment to racial equality, legal scholarship, and intense preparation, Marshall commanded the courtroom with an orator's eloquence and a storyteller's charm. His later Supreme Court colleague William Brennan wrote of Marshall's stories, "They are brought to life by all the tricks of the storyteller's art: the fluid voice, the mobile eyebrows, the sidelong glance, the pregnant pause and the wry smile. But they serve a deeper purpose, Brennan continued. They are also a form of education for the rest of us.

Surely, Justice Marshall recognized that the stories made us — his colleagues — confront walks of life we had never know. Thurgood Marshall, Sr. His appointment by President Lyndon B. Johnson was simultaneously and ostensibly both a historic and a defining moment for America. Kennedy as United States Solicitor General Yet, the state of the nation in was ideal for the new associate justice, a man who had spent 34 years of his life fighting for the civil rights of black Americans and the poor primarily but whose legal victories ultimately advanced the rights of all Americans. Prior to his appointment as an associate justice, Justice Marshall had won a stunning 29 of the 32 cases he argued before the Supreme Court, distinguishing himself as an advocate of the Court.

His decisions were sometimes met with the intense opposition of his peers on many issues of national prominence such as the death penalty, abortion, desegregation and laws affecting the rights of the poor. However, he never compromised the values, beliefs and convictions that had guided his success as a lawyer who was often credited as being a leading architect of the civil rights movement. The First Years During his first years on the High Court, Justice Marshall signed very few dissents as he generally voted with the liberal majority of justices who were on the Court at that time.

Some the more notable cases that the justices heard included:. Mempa v. Rhay in , in which Justice Marshall wrote his first opinion in a unanimous decision that granted defendants the right to an attorney during every stage of the criminal process. He particularly expressed his belief this right was important to the poor. Stanley v. Georgia in , which held that the private possession of pornography could not be subject to prosecution. Benton v. Maryland in , which gave defendants protection against double jeopardy in state courts. Swann v. Charlotte-Mecklenburg in , in which Justice Marshall persuaded his colleagues to unanimously confirm the use of busing to integrate public schools, an issue that was close to his heart in light of his landmark case Brown v.

Board of Education. The s: A Time of Change ushered in a new era of conservatism as the Court became skewed with more conservative justices. Marshall, in , won the first of his Supreme Court victories in Chambers v. Florida , in which the Court overturned the convictions of four Black men who had been beaten and coerced into confessing to a murder. For another case, Marshall was sent to Dallas to represent a Black man who had been summoned for jury duty and who had been dismissed when court officers realized he was not White.

Marshall met with Texas governor James Allred, whom he successfully persuaded that Black Americans had a right to serve on a jury. The governor went a step further, promising to provide Texas Rangers to protect those Black citizens who served on juries. Yet not every situation was so easily managed. Marshall had to take special precautions whenever he traveled, especially when working on controversial cases. He was protected by NAACP bodyguards and had to find safe housing—usually in private homes—wherever he went. Despite these security measures, Marshall often feared for his safety because of numerous threats. He was forced to use evasive tactics, such as wearing disguises and switching to different cars during trips. On one occasion, Marshall was taken into custody by a group of policemen while in a small Tennessee town working on a case.

He was forced from his car and driven to an isolated area near a river, where an angry mob of White men awaited. Marshall's companion, another Black attorney, followed the police car and refused to leave until Marshall was released. The police, perhaps because the witness was a prominent Nashville attorney, drove Marshall back to town. Marshall continued to make significant gains in the battle for racial equality in the areas of both voting rights and education. He argued a case before the U. Supreme Court in Smith v. Allwright , claiming that Texas Democratic Party rules unfairly denied Black citizens the right to vote in primaries. The Court agreed, ruling that all citizens, regardless of race, had the constitutional right to vote in primaries.

Instead of working to enforce the "separate but equal" provision of the Plessy v. Since the notion of separate but equal facilities had never truly been accomplished in the past public services for Black people were uniformly inferior to those for Whites , the only solution would be to make all public facilities and services open to all races. Two important cases tried by Marshall between and contributed greatly to the eventual overturning of Plessy v.

In each case Sweatt v. Painter and McLaurin v. Oklahoma State Regents , the universities involved the University of Texas and University of Oklahoma failed to provide for Black students an education equal to that provided for White students. Marshall successfully argued before the U. Supreme Court that the universities did not provide equal facilities for either student.

The Court ordered both schools to admit Black students into their mainstream programs. Overall, between and , Marshall won 29 of the 32 cases he argued before the U. Supreme Court. In , a court decision in Topeka, Kansas became the stimulus for Thurgood Marshall's most significant case. Oliver Brown of Topeka had sued that city's Board of Education, claiming that his daughter was forced to travel a long distance from her home just to attend a segregated school. Brown wanted his daughter to attend the school nearest their home—a school designated for White people only. The U. District Court of Kansas disagreed, asserting that the Black school offered an education equal in quality to the White schools of Topeka.

Marshall headed the appeal of the Brown case, which he combined with four other similar cases and filed as Brown v. Board of Education. The case came before the U. Supreme Court in December Marshall made it clear in his opening statements to the Supreme Court that what he sought was not merely a resolution for the five individual cases; his goal was to end racial segregation in schools. He argued that segregation caused Black students to feel innately inferior. The opposing lawyer argued that integration would harm White children. The debate went on for three days. The Court adjourned on Dec. But the justices did not render a decision; instead, they requested that the attorneys supply more information.

Their main question: Did the attorneys believe that the 14th Amendment , which addresses citizenship rights, prohibited segregation in schools? Marshall and his team went to work to prove that it did. After hearing the case again in December , the Court did not come to a decision until May 17, Chief Justice Earl Warren announced that the Court had come to the unanimous decision that segregation in the public schools violated the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment.

Marshall was ecstatic; he always believed he would win, but was surprised that there were no dissenting votes. The Brown decision did not result in overnight desegregation of southern schools. While some school boards did begin making plans for desegregating schools, few southern school districts were in a hurry to adopt the new standards. In November , Marshall received devastating news about Buster. His year-old wife had been ill for months but had been misdiagnosed as having the flu or pleurisy. In fact, she had incurable cancer.

However, when she found out, she inexplicably kept her diagnosis a secret from her husband. When Marshall learned how ill Buster was, he set all work aside and took care of his wife for nine weeks before she died in February The couple had been married for 25 years. Because Buster had suffered several miscarriages, they had never had the family they so desired.

Marshall mourned but did not remain single for long. He was 47, and his new wife was 19 years his junior. They went on to have two sons, Thurgood, Jr. Kennedy appointed him a judge on the U. Circuit Court of Appeals. It took nearly a year for him to be approved by the Senate, many of whose members still resented his involvement in school desegregation. In this role, Marshall was responsible for representing the government when it was being sued by a corporation or an individual. In his two years as solicitor general, Marshall won 14 of the 19 cases he argued. Clark's departure. Some southern senators—notably Strom Thurmond—fought Marshall's confirmation, but Marshall was confirmed and then sworn in on Oct.

At the age of 59, Marshall became the first Black person to serve on the U. Marshall took a liberal stance in most of the Court's rulings. He consistently voted against any form of censorship and was strongly opposed to the death penalty. In the Roe v. Wade case , Marshall voted with the majority to uphold a woman's right to choose to have an abortion. Marshall was also in favor of affirmative action.

As more conservative justices were appointed to the Court during the Republican administrations of presidents Ronald Reagan , Richard Nixon , and Gerald Ford , Marshall found himself increasingly in the minority, often as the lone voice of dissent.

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