Lewis v. Casey
United States Supreme Court
518 U.S. 343 (1996)
Casey and twenty-one other inmates in a prison operated by the Arizona Department of Corrections (plaintiffs) filed a class action in district court against Lewis (defendant), Director of the Arizona Department of Corrections, alleging deprivation of their rights of access to the courts and counsel protected by the Firstly, Sixth, and Fourteenth Amendments. The district court found Arizona’s prison system deficient in several ways, particularly in its lack of provision for an adequate law library and legal assistance program which they believed denied inmates access to the courts. Additionally, the district court noted that the Arizona system burdened the rights of two groups of inmates: lockdown prisoners (who were those segregated from the general prison population for disciplinary or security reasons) and illiterate or non-English-speaking inmates. The district court found that these groups were routinely denied access to courts and adequate legal assistance. The district court noted that Bounds v. Smith (1977) established that constitutional rights if totally or functionally illiterate inmates were unable to articulate their complaints to the courts." The district court held that defendant’s system of prison governance was unconstitutional, and the court of appeals affirmed. The United States Supreme Court granted certiorari.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Scalia, J.)
Concurrence (Thomas, J.)
Concurrence/Dissent (Souter, J.)
Dissent (Stevens, J.)
What to do next…
Unlock this case brief with a free (no-commitment) trial membership of Quimbee.
You’ll be in good company: Quimbee is one of the most widely used and trusted sites for law students, serving more than 97,000 law students since 2011. Some law schools—such as Yale, Vanderbilt, Berkeley, and the University of Illinois—even subscribe directly to Quimbee for all their law students. Read our student testimonials.
Learn more about Quimbee’s unique (and proven) approach to achieving great grades at law school.
Quimbee is a company hell-bent on one thing: helping you get an “A” in every course you take in law school, so you can graduate at the top of your class and get a high-paying law job. We’re not just a study aid for law students; we’re the study aid for law students. Read more about Quimbee.
Here's why 159,000 law students have relied on our case briefs:
- Written by law professors and practitioners, not other law students. 13,700 briefs, keyed to 186 casebooks. Top-notch customer support.
- The right amount of information, includes the facts, issues, rule of law, holding and reasoning, and any concurrences and dissents.
- Access in your classes, works on your mobile and tablet. Massive library of related video lessons and high quality multiple-choice questions.
- Easy to use, uniform format for every case brief. Written in plain English, not in legalese. Our briefs summarize and simplify; they don’t just repeat the court’s language.