“… an extraordinary piece of television reporting … a remarkable breakthrough."
– The Washington Post
This Honorable Court (120 min.) explores the United States Supreme Court as both a source of stability and a force for social change while affording the viewer unprecedented glimpses of life inside the Supreme Court building.
Part One, The Quiet of a Storm Center profiles the history and evolution of the court and explains its functions and role as interpreter of constitutional principles. From modest beginnings in 1789, the Court grows steadily in prestige, which is severely damaged by the self-inflicted wound of the Dred Scott slavery decision just before the Civil War. Other landmarks in the Court's history - attempts to stop the New Deal, FDR's attempt to pack the court, the school desegregation and civil rights cases of the 1950s and 60s and decisions on school prayer and abortion are recalled, along with the controversies surrounding presidential nominations to the Court.
Part Two, Inside the Marble Temple profiles the judicial process, following a Louisiana "creation science" case from arrival to decision. Justices, law clerks, opposing lawyers, Court staff and reporters are seen working inside the Court building as the briefs are filed, the arguments heard, and the opinions written and handed down. The program also includes first-time interviews with and conversations among the nine justices.
Aired on PBS in 1988.