Minors Rights: Supreme Court

Minors Rights Essay

Throughout the United States’ history, the Supreme Court has decided many cases. Their job is to decide whether or not laws, or punishments given by lower courts, abide by the rules written in the United States Constitution. Their decisions are based upon precedents set by other court cases, or their opinions of what the Constitution means, if there is no precedent. On the topic of the rights of minors, the Supreme Court has justly protected these rights as shown in the cases of In Re Gault, Tinker v. Des Moines, and New Jersey v. T.L.O. In Re Gault was the Supreme Court’s “first foray” (Dorsen) into the rights of minors as decided by the Constitution. Fifteen year old Gerald Gault was taken into custody for making lewd comments to a neighbor, over the phone. His parents were not notified and he was not given access to an attorney. He was not notified of his right not to self-incriminate and was eventually convicted as an adult and sentenced to jail until age 21. If he had been tried as an adult, it would have been a misdemeanor. Before this case it was considered that minors had no rights until they turned 18 and were legally considered an Adult. "Under our Constitution the condition of being a boy does not justify a kangaroo court. …Due process is the primary and indispensable foundation of individual freedom. It is the basic and essential term in the social compact which defines the rights of the individual and delimits the powers which the state may exercise…." (Fortas). The supreme court definitely interpreted the constitution correctly because the constitution states, “No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws." This is saying that juveniles accused of a crime must have the same...
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