100 Americans Making Constitutional History: A Biographical History presents 100 profiles of the key people behind some of the most important U.S. Supreme Court cases. Edited by Melvin I. Urofsky, a respected constitutional historian, each 2,000-word profile delves into the social and political context behind landmark Court decisions. For example, while a case like Brown v. Board of Education is about an important idea—the equal protection of the law—at its heart it is the story of a little girl, Linda Brown, who wanted to go to a decent school near her home. The outcome is accessible and objective “stories” about the individuals—heroes and scoundrels—who fought their way to constitutional history.

Clarence Earl Gideon

Clarence Earl Gideon

The Right to Counsel

“I Requested the Court to Appoint me an Attorney and the Court Refused”

Gideon v. Wainwright

372 U.S. 335 (1963)

Like many ordinary people who became famous litigants, Clarence Earl Gideon came along at the right time. Ever since the decisions in Powell v. Alabama (1932) and Betts v. Brady (1942), the Supreme Court had been struggling with the difficulty of determining when states were constitutionally bound to provide a court-appointed lawyer to indigent defendants. In Powell the Court had ruled that the right to a lawyer was an essential safeguard of liberty. It was left to the states, however, to decide how expansive this right should be. Ten years later in Betts v. Brady the justices ruled that whether ...

  • Loading...
locked icon

Sign in to access this content

Get a 30 day FREE TRIAL

  • Watch videos from a variety of sources bringing classroom topics to life
  • Read modern, diverse business cases
  • Explore hundreds of books and reference titles