State and Federal Authority in Screws v. United States Essay

State and Federal Authority in Screws v. United States Essay

Length: 4008 words (11.5 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Powerful Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

State and Federal Authority in Screws v. United States


Outside the courthouse in Newton, Georgia, in the early hours of January 30, 1943, Robert “Bobby” Hall was beaten unconscious by M. Claude Screws, Frank Edward Jones, and Jim Bob Kelley[1] while in their custody for the alleged theft of a tire;[2] Screws, Jones and Kelley were, respectively, Baker county sheriff, night policeman, and a civilian deputized specifically for the arrest.[3] Without ever recovering consciousness, Hall died as a result of a fractured skull shortly after his arrival at an Albany hospital that morning.[4] The NAACP and FBI investigated Hall’s death in the following months and federal charges were brought against Screws, Jones, and Kelley for violation of Section 20 of the Federal Criminal Code, which stipulates that no person may “under color of any law … willfully” deprive a person of “any rights, privileges, or immunities secured or protected by the Constitution and laws of the United States.”[5] After being found guilty in the lower courts, the defendants brought their case to the Supreme Court on appeal, alleging that they had violated a state rather than federal law and, consequently, could not be held liable under Section 20. The Supreme Court’s central concern in Screws et al. v. United States was to interpret the intent and breadth of Section 20 in order to judge its constitutionality; in doing so, the Court struggled to reach a consensus regarding the definition of state action and the indefinite nature of the rights protected by the statute. Such consensus proved difficult, indeed, as the case was narrowly decided and divided the Court along deep constitutional lines; while a majority of the Court advocated reversal of the lower co...


... middle of paper ...


...
[41] Screws et al. v. United States, 325 U.S. 91, 151-152 (1945).

[42] Ibid., 143.

[43] Ibid., 111.

[44] Ibid., 145-146.

[45] Ibid., 149.

[46] Memorandum by Mr. Justice Jackson, February 2, 1945, Jackson Papers, 5.

[47] See Justice Murphy’s dissent, wherein he insists that “it is idle to speculate on other situations that might involve § 20 which are not now before us.” Screws et al. v. United States, 325 U.S. 91, 136 (1945).

[48] Felix Frankfurter to Chief Justice Stone, November 30, 1944, Harlan Fiske Stone Papers.

[49] Justice Frank Murphy’s Notes on Screws et al. v. United States, Frank Murphy Papers.

[50] Screws et al. v. United States, 325 U.S. 91, 139 (1945).

[51] Memorandum by Mr. Justice Jackson, February 2, 1945, Jackson Papers, 6.

[52] Harlan Fiske Stone to William O. Douglas, November 25, 1944, Harlan Fiske Stone Papers.

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

The Federal Recognition Of The United States National Recognition Essay

- Federal recognition, also called Native American recognition, in the United States can be defined as the official process by which a tribe is recognized by the United States federal government or in which an individual gains active membership to a tribe that is federally recognized. When a tribe is recognized by the United States federal government, it is recognized as a sovereign entity with a number of constitutional benefits. As it will be explored in this research, these benefits offer a number of advantages to the recognized tribe....   [tags: Federal government of the United States]

Powerful Essays
895 words (2.6 pages)

The United States And The Federal System Essay

- The United States of America is run under a federal system, which is to say that sovereignty is divided between a top-level, national, government and smaller units, in the case of the United States these smaller units are called states. According to the Constitution, the national government, commonly referred to as the federal government has supreme authority and its laws take precedence over laws created by the states or even localities. However, the superiority of federal laws over state laws does not render the states as legislative bodies ineffectual....   [tags: United States, United States Constitution]

Powerful Essays
1369 words (3.9 pages)

The United States Federal Government Essay

- The United States federal government is structured to allow for each of the three federal branches to check and balance each other, this is commonly referred to as “checks and balances.” The Framers of the Constitution created the government this way to ensure a single branch did not become tyrannical as was the case with their previous ruler, the King. Each branch plays a vital role in checking the other branches. Often the relationship between the judicial branch and the legislative branch is referred to as either a “referee” or an “umpire.” While similar, each type of relationship does possess important differences in meaning....   [tags: United States Constitution]

Powerful Essays
1757 words (5 pages)

Public Authority, And Charismatic Authority Essay

- In a society there are different authorities that we follow. According to Weber, there are three types of authorities which are are rational -legal authority, traditional authority, and charismatic authority. According to the article “Marx Weber: Traditional, Legal-Rational, and Charismatic Authority” by Dana Williams: rational-legal authority is powered by the belief that the law gives the legitimacy for example government officials; traditional authority is the belief that it is the traditional way and it is passed down for example the British Monarchy; lastly, charismatic authority is fueled by the liking of a person, it is also neutral meaning that it can go both ways (negative or posi...   [tags: Authority, Max Weber, Charismatic authority]

Powerful Essays
933 words (2.7 pages)

The United States And The Federal Court System Essay

- The United States has two types of court systems. One of those court systems is the federal court system. There are three tiers in the federal court system. The first and lowest tier is the District Court, the middle tier is the Court of Appeals, and the last and highest tier is the U.S. Supreme Court. The United States District Court is also the general trial courts of the federal court system. They have the authority to deal with all cases, both civil and criminal. In a trial court, the district judge examines the case and the jury decides the case....   [tags: United States, Supreme Court of the United States]

Powerful Essays
832 words (2.4 pages)

Essay on The Federal Reserve System Of The United States

- In different parts of the world, every day of the year different types of transactions are carried out, using as an intermediary which is the engine that moves the world, the money. Every country has its own currency, which has some features or specific restrictions such as where and how it can be used and has the same value. Both in Puerto Rico and the United States used what we know as the dollar also equivalent to 100 cents. There are two types of agencies of the Government of the United States who are responsible or liable for the proper functioning of the currency flow between individuals, businesses and state; The Federal Reserve and the Treasury Department....   [tags: Federal Reserve System, Monetary policy]

Powerful Essays
1049 words (3 pages)

The Federal Government Essay

- We all have experienced the inefficiencies of the present form of government. We are in a unique position to answer the most important political question of all: ¬ "whether societies of men are really capable or not of establishing good government from reflection and choice." If we are up to the challenge, our actions will have great worldwide significance. The operations of the federal government will be most extensive and important in times of war and danger; those of the State governments, in times of peace and security....   [tags: Federal government of the United States]

Powerful Essays
847 words (2.4 pages)

The Role Of Federal And State Government Essay

- The role of the Federal and State government plays in health care plays a vital role in managing and payment of services. The states purchase healthcare from the Federal government to support low income or individuals who have disabilities. The insurance purchased is paid utilizing grants or matching funds. In the State of Tennessee, TennCare (TN state Medicaid program), paid approximately $4.6 million of the $35 million contact in which $468,000 was sponsored by state funding and as a result the U.S....   [tags: Federal government of the United States]

Powerful Essays
1237 words (3.5 pages)

The United States And The Federal Government Essay

- When articulating who is sovereign in the United States, the individual states or the federal government, there is no correct answer because they both happen to be sovereign. The states are sovereign in the notion that they are the underlying foundation in which the federal government is monitoring. The federal government is sovereign in the assumption that the job of the federal government is to oversee and chaperon the states to maintain order. All of this can be seen within the Tenth Amendment which declares that all rights and powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people....   [tags: United States, United States Constitution]

Powerful Essays
1030 words (2.9 pages)

Essay on Authority

- Authority is a basic element in the structure of social life. It is more or less effective in any human interrelation. It is functional in a spectrum from a small group of individuals to a whole population of a society. Some aspect of authority is a requirement of all communal living, and it is only the individual dwelling in isolation that is not forced to respond, with defiance or obedience, to the commands of hierarchy. In a general view, authority couples with obedience and both of them seem to be two components of one package....   [tags: Analysis Social Structure Authority]

Powerful Essays
1503 words (4.3 pages)