Fifty years ago, the Supreme Court’s landmark decision in the case of Gideon v. Wainwright established the constitutional right of criminal defendants to legal representation, even if they can’t afford it. The Court ruled there shouldn’t be one kind of justice for the rich and another for the poor, but the scales of the American legal system still tilt heavily in favor of the white and wealthy. On this week’s Moyers & Company, attorney and legal scholar Bryan Stevenson exposes the system’s failures, and ongoing struggles at the crossroads of race, class and justice.
Later on the show, Martin Clancy and Tim O’Brien, authors of Murder at the Supreme Court, join Bill to share the human stories behind the evolution of capital punishment in America, and the death penalty’s fatal flaws.
The broadcast closes with a Bill Moyers Essay on the hypocrisy of “justice for all” in a society where billions are squandered for a war born in fraud while the poor are pushed aside.