Justice Sandra Day O’Connor I

Lead: In 1981 President Ronald Reagan made legal history by appointing Judge Sandra Day O’Connor to the Supreme Court. The first woman justice, she soon occupied the center of the court.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: O’Connor was born in Texas in 1930 but grew up on her parent’s Arizona ranch. She was attracted to the law because of a legal dispute involving her parents’ property and graduated from Stanford Law School. As a student, she sat on the board of the Stanford Law Review, a prestigious position that, had she been a man, would probably have secured her a position in an upscale law firm. Such was not the case and she and a partner formed their own legal partnership. Active in Arizona Republican politics, she was appointed to a vacated seat in the Arizona Senate and served two additional terms, elected by her colleagues as majority leader. Appointment to the Arizona Court of Appeals in 1979 established her as one of the most prominent women jurists in the country. 

 


Dorothea Dix II

Lead: A chance encounter in the East Cambridge Jail in 1841 gave Dorothea Dix a cause to pursue, a focus for her intellect and considerable energy, and a passion which would consume her for the rest of her life.

Intro: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts

Content: Dorothea Dix, daughter of an alcoholic itinerant minister, but granddaughter of a prominent and wealthy Boston physician, in her early years was a devout Christian. She believed her affluent, cultured upbringing and her faith placed powerful requirements on her life. She felt compelled into a life of service to those in society less fortunate, less wealthy, less healthy, less indulged than she.

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Dorothea Dix I

Lead: She came from a life of wealth and social prominence, but Dorothea Dix devoted her life to good causes, especially helping to improve the treatment of the mentally ill.

Intro: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts

Content: Dorothea Dix’s early years were not happy. Her father was the estranged son of a prominent Boston family. An alcoholic who suffered religious delusions, Joseph Dix barely kept his family out of starvation. Dorothy refused to live in such conditions and eventually, at the age of twelve, fled to Boston where she lived with relatives for the next several years.

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The Dred Scott Decision

Lead: In deciding against Dred Scott the United States Supreme Court said that the constitution restricted the kind of laws Congress could make concerning property and slaves were property.
Intro.: "A Moment in Time" with Dan Roberts.
Content: Dred Scott was the slave of an army surgeon. During his years of servitude, Scott lived, married and had children on those various military bases to which his master, Dr. John Emerson, was posted. Some of those Forts were in free states, other were in states or territories in which the United States Congress had permitted the sale and use of slaves. When Emerson died in 1843 Scott went to Court in Missouri to secure freedom for himself and his family reasoning that since he had spent time on free soil he had a right to be free. In this he was simply following the logic of Missouri courts up to that time. In the past, they had regularly ruled that slaves living for any length of time on free soil were automatically free.

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William Howard Taft, President and Chief Justice

Lead: The only man to serve as President and Chief Justice of the United States was William Howard Taft of Ohio.

Intro.: "A Moment in Time" with Dan Roberts.

Content: Born before the Civil War, Taft’s public service spanned several decades at the beginning of the twentieth century. His resume reads like small textbook. Taft's father was a member of the cabinet of Ulysses S. Grant and his son continued the family's active participation in Republican politics after graduation from Yale in 1878. Local political office led to service as a Superior Court Judge in Ohio and eight years as Solicitor General of the United States when he argued the government's case before the Supreme Court. 

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Justice Joseph Story & Federal Power

Lead: One of the important issues left for future resolution by those who crafted the U.S. Constitution in 1787 was the balance of power within the federal scheme. Mr. Justice Joseph Story helped clear up that issue.
Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: Joseph Story was perhaps the most brilliant legal mind of his generation. He grew up in Massachusetts, studied at Harvard, read for the law, and worked his way up the ladder of Commonwealth politics while gaining the reputation as a Jeffersonian Republican. Some of his political colleagues, Jefferson included, suspected that Story was really a closeted federalist, whose sentiments, once released on the federal level, would resolve the hanging question of sovereignty against the states. It turned out they were correct.

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