Sunday, August 9, 2009

Price: A Clerk's Eye View of Mapp v. Ohio

Polly J. Price, Emory University School of Law, has posted Mapp v. Ohio Revisited: A Law Clerk's Diary, which provides a clerk's view of the Supreme Court's deliberations in this landmark of the Warren Court via the diary of Richard S. Arnold, later a judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit, but, during the 1960-61 term, a law clerk to Justice William Brennan. Here is the abstract:
This paper reviews diary entries by a Supreme Court law clerk during the 1960 term of the Warren Court, with a specific focus on the decision process in Mapp v. Ohio (1961). Mapp held that the Fourth Amendment’s protection against 'unreasonable searches and seizures' required the exclusion of evidence found through an illegal search by state and local police officers, extending to the states a rule that previously applied only to federal law enforcement. As the diary reveals, Justice Felix Frankfurter was sufficiently upset with the Court's action that he termed Mapp 'the worst tragedy since Dred Scott.' Richard S. Arnold, a law clerk for Justice William Brennan, wrote this diary during the 1960 term. Arnold's diary has not previously been available to researchers. His recounting of the decision in Mapp is instructive for the level of disagreement and temper it reveals, and enhances our understanding of the division-creating federalism issues in the early stages of the Warren Court’s Due Process revolution.
Price is also the author of Judge Richard S. Arnold: A Legacy of Justice on the Federal Bench (Prometheus, 2009).