What about Gault?

August 24th, 2011

No, this has nothing to do with Ayn Rand. At the Legal History Blog, Professor Tanenhaus writes about the failure of the Supreme Court in J.D.B. v. North Carolina to cite what  Chief Justice Earl Warren called the “Magna Carta for juveniles”–In re Gault.

Gault helped cement the principle that children have constitutional rights to due process, a once radical notion so widely accepted today that neither Justice Sotomayor nor Justice Alito cited the case law on this point. All the justices, except for Justice Thomas, believe that children have constitutional rights. Thomas, on the other hand, believes that the founders’ understanding of childhood remains constitutional sound, as he yet again pointed out in his dissent in the California video game case, Brown v. Entertainment Merchants Association. The other eight justices assume children have constitutional rights and differ only on when they must be Mirandized. In the process, the entire court has forgotten about Fortas’s Magna Carta for juveniles.