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Excerpt from Oral History Interview with Howell Heflin, July 9, 1974. Interview A-0010. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

Controversial court decisions eventually absorbed into mainstream

Heflin reflects on the influence of the judiciary. He believes that some rulings are controversial when they are made but, with time, become part of the fabric of a community.

Citing this Excerpt

Oral History Interview with Howell Heflin, July 9, 1974. Interview A-0010. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) in the Southern Oral History Program Collection, Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Full Text of the Excerpt

But I foresee in the future a role of the state judiciaries by which they will occupy a, more of a potent factor on philosophy than it has in the past. I don't think you're going. . . . Any elected system, they aren't going to get out of. . . they aren't going to move too fast and that sort of thing. But they're going to still. . . I foresee, with young judges coming in. . . and the fact that other things. . . . the pendulum has swung so against the federal court. Now, as somebody pointed out the other day, if you were to go back and say what would you repeal? Now that things have occurred, what would you repeal that the United States Supreme Court decisions made during the Warren things? And you stop and think. I don't agree with their search and seizures. I don't agree with a lot of things that they've done. But at the same time, their basic, fundamental rights, such as the fact that every indigent defendent ought to have a lawyer. I mean it's become now commonplace. The average lawyer and the average person would not like to see a system where you went back and did not see that a poor man was not adequately represented in court. They go back to the Miranda warning. That was revolutionary. Well, now you feel like that everytime the policeman arrests somebody and says "Now you're under arrest. You've got certain rights. You can remain silent." This is just common place in the English system and has been for years. I don't think many people would want to change and say that a person does not have the right to be informed that he can remain silent and that he has certain individual rights that would protect him. So there are a lot of changes that have occurred that now that they've occurred, while they were cursed and people said that they were revolutionary, you wouldn't want to go back and say I'll repeal those things. And I think that type of feeling is that those things are good for the people. There are things--search and seizure-where I think justice has got to be reached.