Roe v Wade: How the US abortion ruling invoked Sir Edward Coke of Norfolk

Born and raised in Norfolk, Sir Edward Coke was mentioned in the recent US Supreme Court ruling that overturned Roe V Wade.

Roe v Wade: How the US abortion ruling invoked Sir Edward Coke of Norfolk

Born and raised in Norfolk, Sir Edward Coke was mentioned in the recent US Supreme Court ruling that overturned Roe V Wade. Who was this English jurist, whose views still shape the modern world today?

Unbeknownst to many, a strange incident occurred not too long ago at Burwood hall in Mileham (Norfolk).

Brothers Tom and Mark Butler Stoney met a Arkansas lawyer who was soaking wet while walking around their farm.

Tom said that it turned out that he had been swimming in the lake. He thought it would bring him great blessings as a lawyer, because Sir Edward Coke, a boy, had swam in the moat.

"If you have a moat, you don't want or expect a Arkansas lawyer to swim in it."

Sir Edward was born in Burwood Hall, 1552. He would go on to become Solicitor General, Attorney General, and Lord Chief Justice.

According to legal experts, he is still a leading jurist in the world.

It is not surprising that Sir Edward was held in such high regard by a visitor from the United States.

According to Prof Sir John Baker Emeritus of Laws of England at Cambridge University, Sir Edward is revered more in the United States of America than it is in the UK.

The US founding fathers and early US courts relied on Sir Edward's common law work.

Sir Edward, in his report on a 1608 case, stated that a person's status was determined by their birthplace. This finding led to the American rule on birthright citizenship.

Sir John said, "He was an enormously important jurist." Sir John said that he was "one of the most important common law jurists ever."

"His main claim was that, he invented judicial review. This got him into serious trouble."

Sir John said that he was an "emotional individual" who used brutal methods in some trials, including Sir Walter Raleigh's 1603 trial, which was widely criticized at the time.

Sir John said, "He behaved badly and no one can really defend that." "But because of that, I believe his role has been rather diminished."

Sir John stated that while current attorney generals are expected defend the government's position today, Sir Edward viewed his role as making sure "people didn't abuse their power".

Sir John said that Sir Edward was an extraordinary man with tremendous abilities and industry, who seemed to sleep very little." "He was extraordinary, and worked well into his 80s."

Sir John said that the jurist began to slow down after he helped frame the Petition of Right (1628), which was a defense of the supremacy of common law over royal prerogative.

What about Sir Edward's reference in the recent controversial US Supreme Court ruling?

Justice Alito delivered the Opinion of The Supreme Court on Dobbs/Jackson Women's Health Organization. It refers to Sir Edward Coke's 17th century treatise in which he "asserted" that abortion of a quick baby was "murder" if it is "childe be born alive" and "great misprision" if she dies in her body.

Sir John said that Sir Edward wasn't putting forth "opposing arguments" regarding abortion. "He was simply stating what people believed the law to be."

Norma McCorvey, a single 25-year-old woman who used the pseudonym Jane Roe, challenged Texas' criminal abortion laws in 1969. Except in extreme cases, the state prohibited abortion from being unconstitutional.

Henry Wade, the Dallas County district attorney, was responsible for defending the anti-abortion laws. Roe v Wade is the result.

Ms McCorvey, who was about to have her third child, was pregnant when she filed the case. She claimed she had been raped. She was then forced to give birth after her case was dismissed.

Her appeal was accepted by the US Supreme Court in 1973. Sandra Bensing, a 20 year-old Georgian woman, heard her case.

They claimed that Georgia and Texas' abortion laws were in violation of the US Constitution, as they violated women's privacy rights.

The court justices ruled by seven votes to two that the government had no power to ban abortions.

They ruled that the US constitution protected a woman's rights to end her pregnancy.

Sir Edward, who was educated at Trinity College, Cambridge and the Free Grammar School, Norwich, died at Stoke Poges, Buckinghamshire, in 1634.

Sir Edward died in Norfolk, however.

He asked that his body be carried to Tittleshall Church, and buried in the vault where my first wife Bridget Paston (Bridget Paston) lyeth.

It seems that Sir Edward never forgot Norfolk during his lifetime. He owned increasing amounts land there, and the people of the county have never forgotten him.

Stephen Olley, author, photographer, and local historian, said that "the Norfolk people know his name. This is mainly because his family bought Tittleshall, then he bought Godwick, which was the next village down.

"But, if you were not a lawyer, you would probably not know much about him or his wider impact."

He said, "I don’t believe people are taught about the chap who was born downthe road who was so an important person." His name should be more prominently remembered."

Olley also manages the Mid Norfolk Picture Archive. He told the story of how Sir Edward changed education in Mileham through the donation of land for education.

"He was very concerned about the education and welfare of the children.

"As an educated man he would have realized that his farm workers' children were not educated, so he wanted them to be educated.

Mr Olley stated that he buried him under the church, alongside his first wife in Tittleshall. There are also memorials to many members of the Coke family."

Ask Mr Olley which Norfolk son - Sir Edward or Admiral Horatio Lord Nelms - has had the most lasting impact. He tends to favor the former.

He said, "Nelson is well-known primarily because of his battles, and, if it weren't for him, I might be speaking French."

"But when it's about laws and the legal system in place all over the world, that underpin so many of our modern day lives, then that's Sir Edward's long-term impact."

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