On November 1, 1976, the United States Supreme Court heard oral arguments in the case of Bounds v. Smith. North Carolina inmates claimed their constitutional rights were violated because they weren’t able to conduct legal research at their prisons. The Court agreed in a. 6-3 decision.
Justice Thurgood Marshall, writing for the majority of the Court, explained—“We hold…that the fundamental constitutional right of access to the courts requires prison authorities to assist inmates in the preparation and filing of meaningful legal papers by providing prisoners with adequate law libraries or adequate assistance from persons trained in the law.”