Thursday, September 19, 2013
Few Supreme Court decisions have stirred up as much controversy, vitriolic debate, and even violence as the one delivered in Roe v. Wade in 1973.
The case was filed on behalf of a woman who had sought and failed to obtain a legal abortion in Texas by falsely claiming to have been raped. Her pregnancy went to term; she sued the state. Rejecting a fetal right-to-life argument, the Court ruled 7–2 that a right to privacy under the 14th Amendment’s due process clause extended to a woman's decision to have an abortion.
Peter Charles Hoffer examines the lasting impact of this landmark decision in Roe v. Wade: The Abortion Rights Controversy in American History, which was co-authored with N.E.H. Hull. Hoffer is a distinguished research professor of history at the University of Georgia.
Tuesday, October 15, 2013
It began as a dispute between competing steamship companies: The state of New York granted exclusive navigation privileges on all of its waters to one steamboat firm. The plaintiffs cried foul! This 1824 decision became a key moment in the ongoing tug-of-war for power between individual states and the federal government.
As distinguished professor emeritus of law at the University of South Carolina Herbert Alan Johnson notes in his book Gibbons v. Ogden: John Marshall, Steamboats and the Commerce Clause, that by applying the Commerce Clause of the Constitution the Court set a vital precedent for federal authority. Gibbons v. Ogden heralded the expansion of entrepreneurship and technology while justifying federal primacy in the regulation of commerce.