John Roberts' Supreme Court: An Assault on Civil Rights


For Politics365, Dr. Wilmer J. Leon argues that John Roberts is reigniting conservative activism. He describes the chief justice as the "new tip of an old iceberg."

The Warren Court is considered by many to have been the most "liberal" in the history of the Supreme Court. Warren gave us the Brown decision in 1954, the exclusionary rule in Mapp v. Ohio in 1961to prevent tainted evidence from being used in court and demanding that police get warrants to conduct searches; our Miranda rights in Miranda v. Arizona 1966; and the right to counsel in state cases Gideon v. Wainwright (1963).

Since the Warren Court, the Burger Court, the Rehnquist Court, and now the Roberts Court (2005 - present) have worked to overturn judicial precedent in the areas of protections for criminal defendants (US. V. Leon (no relation) 1984 and Nix v. Williams 1984), they have tilted the scales in favor of the police and prosecutors (Wyoming v. Houghton 1999 and Hudson v. Michigan 2005), and have made it more difficult to use racial statistics to show bias in death penalty cases (McCleskey v. Kemp 1987).

Now with the recent decision in Shelby County v. Holder the Roberts Court has continued the conservative assault on Civil Rights as he and his henchmen have ignored the facts of voter suppression outlined in Voter Suppression in 2012; Past is Prologue. Roberts wrote, "Our country has changed, and while any racial discrimination in voting is too much, Congress must ensure that the legislation it passes to remedy that problem speaks to current conditions … " Yes, Congress must ensure that legislation speaks to current conditions but the Court must also stand by the precedent established and protect the rights of voters who have historically been and are currently targets of state actors who's sole aim is to deny people the right to vote based on race, age, and other factors that tend to indicate party affiliation. 


Read Dr. Wilmer J. Leon's entire piece at Politics365.

The Root aims to foster and advance conversations about issues relevant to the black Diaspora by presenting a variety of opinions from all perspectives, whether or not those opinions are shared by our editorial staff. 

Like The Root on Facebook. Follow us on Twitter.