traintThe primary responsibility of the Supreme Court is to discuss and settle all matters that warrant federal attention. As a result, the Supreme Court is an essential entity in influencing public policy. To do this, the Court can govern in a manner that can be described as either judicial activism or judicial restraint. Miranda v Arizona (1966) is a case pertaining to the area of public policy that regards the rights of the accused, wherein the Court followed a policy of judicial activism. Similarly, the Heart of Atlanta Motel v United States (1964) case concerns the matter of civil rights and can be classified as resulting from judicial activism.
Judicial activism is an act of judicial interpretation that results in the creation of a new law. Judicial activism is when the Court does not follow precedent but instead acts as a legislator to establish future precedent. Judicial restraint is just the opposite; it is an act of judicial interpretation where a limited judicial power is exercised. As a result of judicial restraint, the Court defines and strengthens laws are already in existence.
With regard to the rights of the accused, the philosophy of judicial activism can be see can be seen in Miranda v Arizona (1966). Miranda was arrested as a suspect in the kidnapping and rape of an 18-year-old girl. While Miranda was questioned, he was not informed of his constitutional rights against self-incrimination or the right to counsel, and he ultimately confessed to the crime. Prosecutors offered his confession as evidence, and Miranda was found guilty. The case was brought to the Supreme Court, under Chief Justice Earl Warren, and presented the question of if interrogating individuals without notifying them of their right to counsel and their protection against self-incrimination violates the Fifth Amendment. The Supreme Court decided in favor of Miranda, and they held that prosecutors cannon use statements from interrogations unless they demonstrated procedural safeguards, which were later dubbed Miranda rights.
Likewise, with regard to civil rights, the philosophy of judicial activism can bee seen in the Heart of Atlanta Motel v United States (1964). The owner of the Heart of Atlanta Motel refused to rent rooms to black patrons, which was a violation of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.The owner sued on the grounds that the act surpassed the authority given to Congress to oversee matters of interstate commerce. The Supreme Court, under Chief Justice Earl Warren, was presented with the question of if Title II of the 1964 Civil Rights Act exceeded Congress powers enumerated in the Commerce Clause. The Court upheld the legality of the law in a unanimous decision, asserting that Title II was limited to enterprises having a direct relation to the interstate flow of goods and people.
The Supreme Court holds a powerful influence on public policy. When establishing policy, the Court is said to be following a role of judicial activism. When simply reaffirming a policy, it is said to be following a role of judicial restraint. In the case of Miranda v Arizona, the Courts actions can be classified under judicial activism. Similarly, in the case of Heart of Atlanta Motel v United States, the same distinction can be made of the Courts actions, of following a role of judicial activism as well.