Discuss how decisions of the Warren Court affected American society.

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thetall eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The Supreme Court during chief justice Earl Warren’s 16 year tenure made decisions that impacted and continue to impact the lives of Americans to date. The Warren court was not only devoted to protecting the rights of citizens, but also expanding them. Consequently, the decisions of the court notably increased the rights and freedoms of citizens and expanded judicial and federal powers.

The historic decisions include the case of Brown v. Board of Education that led to the abolition of racial segregation in public schools by declaring the practice unconstitutional. Related to this was another court decision in Engel v. Vitale that put an end to officially authorized prayers and bible readings in schools. Albeit controversial, the Warren court legalized abortion and forbade the state from prohibiting it before the viability of a pregnancy. In Griswold v. Connecticut, the court made a ruling that guarantees citizens their right to privacy. In addition to the above, the court through reapportionment guarantees all citizens equal voting rights regardless of race or gender.

Even though Warren’s court is applauded by some for enhancing civil rights and liberties, some critics have denounced it and referred to it as a liberal activist court.

pohnpei397 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The Warren Court was one of the most consequential in American history.  It expanded civil rights and civil liberties in important ways, helping to make American society what it is today.

In terms of civil rights, the Warren Court's biggest decision was Brown v. Board of Education.  That decision ended legal segregation and helped set the Civil Rights Movement in motion.

With regard to civil liberties, the Warren Court might have been even more important.  This was the Court that provided many more rights and protections to accused people in criminal cases.  Cases like Miranda v. Arizona, Gideon v. Wainwright and Mapp v. Ohio provided many more protections for the rights of the accused than had ever been available before.

In these ways, the Warren Court helped to create the rights-conscious society that we have today.

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