Lie Detector

Lead: Its advocates claim it can solve one of mankind’s great longings, the desire to know when a person is telling the truth, but the lie detector remains a controversial and constantly questioned tool in the fields of law enforcement, business, and national security.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: The basic premise of a lie detector is that there is direct connection between physiological phenomena — heart rate, blood pressure, respiration, even perspiration — and intellectual response, specifically deception. While others had experimented in this field prior to 1917, many credit William Marston, a Harvard-trained lawyer and graduate student, as the inventor of the lie detector. He was certainly the earliest and foremost promoter of the techniques and technology of the polygraph, yet his unqualified and untempered enthusiasm and showmanship brought the so-called science of lie detection into question.

 

Justice Sandra Day O’Connor II

Lead: While she generally sided with the conservatives on the Supreme Court, at times Sandra Day O’Connor was fully willing to depart from orthodoxy. Consider her approach to abortion.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: The preamble to the 1986 Missouri law declared that “the life of each human being begins at conception.” It went on to severely restrict reproductive services at public hospitals and required costly tests to determine fetal viability if the woman appeared to be 20 weeks pregnant. This seemed to violate the core principles of Roe v. Wade the 1973 Court decision denying states jurisdiction over abortion and, thus permitting abortions prior to the third trimester of pregnancy. The lower courts eviscerated the Missouri law.

 


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. 

 


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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