Fifty years ago today, the United States Supreme Court made one of its most important civil liberties decisions in American history, and in the history of the Warren Court.
Chief Justice Earl Warren, appointed by President Dwight D. Eisenhower in 1953 to lead the Supreme Court, and doing so for sixteen years until his retirement in 1969, led a Court that greatly expanded civil liberties in so many ways, and had an impact beyond the retirement of Warren himself.
Gideon V. Wainwright would guarantee that all criminal suspects were entitled to a court appointed lawyer in court if they were indigent, as to do otherwise would deny equal justice under the law.
It meant that lack of financial assets, or a state of poverty, would not prevent someone accused of a crime from having representation in court.
Many might not think this could apply to them in some future scenario, but this was an important victory for civil liberties and human rights, and would have the effect of equalizing the balance between prosecutors and defense in a criminal court case, and that is a good thing for the image of equal justice under the law!