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Human Rights Casefinder

1953-1969 • the Warren Court Era


This CASEFINDER is different from other collections of citations in several respects.

It covers only cases in which one or both parties raised issues under the habeas corpus or ex post facto provisions of the US Constitution, the first Bill of Rights (Amendments One through Ten), the second Bill of Rights (the Civil War Amendments 13 through 15), or the 19th or 24th Amendments. The pertinent provisions of the Constitution are reprinted on the back cover, and the Index lists the hundreds of topics included within these provisions.

The CASEFINDER also differs in the types of citations listed. Most people assume that every case that is decided is reported somewhere and becomes a precedent for later decisions. Actually no cases are reported that are won without a written opinion, and this includes most cases that end after trial court decisions or jury verdicts. Only written opinions are reported. Many lawyers assume there is some system by which all written opinions are promptly reported. Actually, many written opinions of federal district courts and of state trial and appellate courts are never submitted for publication or reported by official or unofficial reporter services.

The time-span of this volume is the unique era in which Earl Warren sat with 16 Justices on what may come to be known as the Camelot of Courts.

This CASEFINDER lists cases from four sources: US Supreme Ct reports, Civil Liberties Docket, Meiklejohn Library Acquisitions, and New Draft Law.

US Supreme Court reports. All cases decided by the United States Supreme Court from 1953-1969 including questions of civil liberties, due process, civil rights, or law of the poor are listed.

Civil Liberties Docket. All cases described in volumes 1-14 of this periodical from 1955-1969 are listed here.

The Docket consists of brief reports of cases including the following information: the title of the case; the name of the court where it was heard and the docket number in that court; citations to all reported opinions in the case; a short chronological statement of the facts; a description of the legal questions raised; constitutional and statutory provisions or regulations at issue; the present status of the case; names and addresses of counsel for the party raising the constitutional issues; names and addresses of counsel filing briefs as friends of the court; citations to other materials on the subject; cross-references to cases and categories with similar facts or issues; and a list of the documents in the case filed in the Meiklejohn Library.

Cases were selected for inclusion in the Docket by clipping major daily newspapers and 150 organizational publications concerned with some aspect of constitutional rights or public law. Based on these reports of cases, a letter was written to the clerk of the court where the case was apparently pending. A letter was also written to any lawyer whose name appeared in any clipping. He was asked to supply the basic information concerning the case, and to send a copy of any complaint, memo, brief, or other papers to help report the case in the Docket. These materials were then given to the Meiklejohn Library. Letters were also written to about 3,500 attorneys whose cases were reported in previous issues of the Docket, asking whether they were handling any cases which should be reported in this volume, or whether they knew of such cases.

Meiklejohn Library Acquisitions. This monthly publication collects cases by the Docket method, and describes documents received by the Meiklejohn Library, including complaints, memos, briefs, transcripts, proposed jury instructions, proposed voir dire questions, etc. (It does not provide the history of a case, as the Docket does.) Only cases in volume I (1968-1969) are listed in this CASEFINDER. Like the defunct Docket, Acquisitions provides the name and address of counsel preparing the document, name of court and docket number in that court.

New Draft Law—6th edition. This manual for lawyers and counselors contains short descriptions of cases on draft and military law, written in the same style as the Docket. The 6th edition (1971) can be found in most law libraries.

These three publications used the same classification scheme, which is also used in this CASEFINDER.


Several categories of cases have been omitted from this CASEFINDER, as they are well covered in other periodicals. There are no straight criminal cases included here unless they also have political overtones. There are no labor law cases (minimum wage or internal affairs); the only union cases included are those involving the largely Chicano and Filipino United Farm Workers Organizing Committee, those which involve freedom of expression in union organizing, picketing, and so forth (Part I), and those in which unions are involved in equal employment opportunity cases as plaintiffs or defendants (575, 576) Malapportionment (one man—one vote) cases (503), obscenity cases (12, 52), and draft and military cases (120s, 356, 362) are reported selectively because of their vast numbers.

This volume will not be helpful to any lawyer who knows everything about all developments in every field of constitutional law. To such a person, it will be disappointing in its inexactness, omissions, and failure to include the very latest status of each case reported. Presumably there are few such paragons in the profession. This should leave quite a large readership. Each of them is warned, however, that he may be disappointed in the inadequate coverage of the particular field he knows thoroughly from daily practice.

NOTE: A conscientious effort was made to find the official title of each case, to find the proper spelling of each name, and all official citations. Please notify us of all errors for correction in the next edition.