Equal Protection: Historic Supreme Court Decisions (Constitutional Law Series)

Due Process Clause, Equal Protection Clause, and Disenfranchising Felons
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But they have shown remarkable sensitivity when the problem affects local ethnic or linguistic minorities.

A similar ruling in the s by the Italian court validated laws that reserved a proportion of public jobs and publicly financed housing for the German-speaking population of Alto Adige, who had inhabited the region for centuries. It is true that European courts thus far have not openly defied the political powers of the state in the way the U. Supreme Court has sometimes done. Even when the European courts have somehow challenged such powers by annulling laws that were supposedly of special interest to them, the conflict has not really been acute.

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But the greater prudence of European courts is not difficult to explain. It is the result of many factors, prominent among which are the facts that their legitimation as independent and active agencies within the political system is recent and that the tradition of judicial review does not yet have the firm roots it possesses in the United States. In Europe judicial review has transcended the boundaries of the state. In actions reminiscent of the nation-building efforts of the early U. Because the EU has been primarily an economic union since its inception in the s as the European Coal and Steel Community , judicial review by the ECJ has focused on economic rights and relations in member countries.

Nevertheless, the ECJ has begun to develop, through judicial review, rights that go beyond the economic sphere and that approach those addressed by the European Convention on Human Rights , which had been ratified by some 45 countries by the early 21st century. As a consequence, European law is now subject to judicial review on human rights matters by the European Commission on Human Rights and the European Court of Human Rights.

Besides granting a remedy in a pending case, the European Court of Human Rights also may find statutory and other national laws contrary to the provisions of the convention. If it does so, the country concerned is obligated to adapt its legal rules to the principles stated by the court.

  • Marbury v. Madison (1803)?
  • Schooled (Bluford Series Book 15);
  • McCulloch v. Maryland (1819)?

A convention on human rights similar to the European one was signed in by several Latin American countries. An Inter-American Court of Human Rights, which has jurisdiction over individual complaints, began functioning in Thus, the idea of the rights of the individual, after having contributed three centuries ago to the birth of modern constitutional law, has now become the mainspring of another incipient , promising experience: judicial review with transnational dimensions.

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Thank you for your feedback. Introduction Constitutions and constitutional law The nature of constitutional law Characteristics of constitutions Unitary and federal systems The distinction between unitary and federal states Classifying states as federal or unitary Federal and semifederal states Unitary states International unions of states Executives and legislatures Monarchical systems Presidential systems Parliamentary systems Other systems Unicameral and bicameral legislatures Judicial review Judicial review in the United States Judicial review outside the United States Applications of judicial review Transnational judicial review.

Load Previous Page. Applications of judicial review Constitutional courts and supreme courts exercising judicial review outside the United States often are not usually as politically influential as their American counterpart, but there are notable exceptions. Learn More in these related Britannica articles:. The founders of the United States were deeply influenced by republicanism, by Locke, and by the optimism of the European Enlightenment. George Washington, John Adams, and Thomas Jefferson all concurred that laws, rather than men, should be the final sanction….

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West Virginia A black man convicted of murder by an all-white jury challenged a West Virginia statute excluding blacks from serving on juries. Exclusion of blacks from juries, the Court concluded, was a denial of equal protection to black defendants, since the jury had been "drawn from a panel from which the State has expressly excluded every man of [the defendant's] race.

We do not believe the Fourteenth Amendment was ever intended to prohibit this. Its aim was against discrimination because of race or color. The next important postwar case was the Civil Rights Cases , in which the constitutionality of the Civil Rights Act of was at issue. The Act provided that all persons should have "full and equal enjoyment of Prohibiting blacks from attending plays or staying in inns was "simply a private wrong".

Justice John Marshall Harlan dissented alone, saying, "I cannot resist the conclusion that the substance and spirit of the recent amendments of the Constitution have been sacrificed by a subtle and ingenious verbal criticism. Hopkins Supreme Court: [37].

store.orcanation.org/57.php These provisions are universal in their application to all persons within the territorial jurisdiction, without regard to any differences of race, of color, or of nationality, and the equal protection of the laws is a pledge of the protection of equal laws. Thus, the Clause would not be limited to discrimination against African Americans, but would extend to other races, colors, and nationalities such as in this case legal aliens in the United States who are Chinese citizens.

Ferguson , the Supreme Court upheld a Louisiana Jim Crow law that required the segregation of blacks and whites on railroads and mandated separate railway cars for members of the two races.

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Lifting ban on entry of women aged inside Sabarimala Temple Saying that "Devotion cannot be subjected to gender discrimination", the Supreme Court removed a ban that prevented women between 10 and 50 years of age from entering Kerala's Sabarimala temple. Alabama Franklin v. Supreme Court followed that Alabama case Burns v. In January , however, the 5th U. Davis , and has been defended on the basis that the Equal Protection Clause was not designed to guarantee equal outcomes , but rather equal opportunities ; if a legislature wants to correct unintentional but racially disparate effects, it may be able to do so through further legislation. A major paper of pages is required. These addresses were conducted over the school's loudspeakers and usually involved a prayer.

Brown , ruled that the Equal Protection Clause had been intended to defend equality in civil rights , not equality in social arrangements. All that was therefore required of the law was reasonableness, and Louisiana's railway law amply met that requirement, being based on "the established usages, customs and traditions of the people. There is no caste here. Our Constitution is color-blind, and neither knows nor tolerates classes among citizens. Such "arbitrary separation" by race, Harlan concluded, was "a badge of servitude wholly inconsistent with the civil freedom and the equality before the law established by the Constitution.

Bancroft, a former railway company president.

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Bancroft, acting as court reporter , indicated in the headnotes that corporations were "persons", while the actual court decision itself avoided specific statements regarding the Equal Protection Clause as applied to corporations. Since the New Deal , however, such invalidations have been rare.

In Missouri ex rel. Gaines v. Canada , Lloyd Gaines was a black student at Lincoln University of Missouri , one of the historically black colleges in Missouri. He applied for admission to the law school at the all-white University of Missouri , since Lincoln did not have a law school, but was denied admission due solely to his race. The Supreme Court, applying the separate-but-equal principle of Plessy , held that a State offering a legal education to whites but not to blacks violated the Equal Protection Clause. In Shelley v.

Kraemer , the Court showed increased willingness to find racial discrimination illegal. The Shelley case concerned a privately made contract that prohibited "people of the Negro or Mongolian race" from living on a particular piece of land.

Seeming to go against the spirit, if not the exact letter, of The Civil Rights Cases , the Court found that, although a discriminatory private contract could not violate the Equal Protection Clause, the courts' enforcement of such a contract could; after all, the Supreme Court reasoned, courts were part of the state. The companion cases Sweatt v. Painter and McLaurin v. Oklahoma State Regents , both decided in , paved the way for a series of school integration cases.

In McLaurin , the University of Oklahoma had admitted McLaurin, an African-American, but had restricted his activities there: he had to sit apart from the rest of the students in the classrooms and library, and could eat in the cafeteria only at a designated table. Vinson , said that Oklahoma had deprived McLaurin of the equal protection of the laws:. There is a vast difference—a Constitutional difference—between restrictions imposed by the state which prohibit the intellectual commingling of students, and the refusal of individuals to commingle where the state presents no such bar.

The present situation, Vinson said, was the former. In Sweatt , the Court considered the constitutionality of Texas's state system of law schools , which educated blacks and whites at separate institutions. The Court again through Chief Justice Vinson, and again with no dissenters invalidated the school system—not because it separated students, but rather because the separate facilities were not equal. They lacked "substantial equality in the educational opportunities" offered to their students. All of these cases, as well as the upcoming Brown case, were litigated by the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.

It was Charles Hamilton Houston , a Harvard Law School graduate and law professor at Howard University , who in the s first began to challenge racial discrimination in the federal courts. Both men were extraordinarily skilled appellate advocates, but part of their shrewdness lay in their careful choice of which cases to litigate, selecting the best legal proving grounds for their cause. In the contextualization of the equal protection clause would change forever.

The Supreme Court itself recognized the gravity of the Brown v Board decision acknowledging that a split decision would be a threat to the role of the Supreme Court and even to the country. While Vinson was still Chief Justice, there had been a preliminary vote on the case at a conference of all nine justices. At that time, the Court had split, with a majority of the justices voting that school segregation did not violate the Equal Protection Clause. Warren, however, through persuasion and good-natured cajoling—he had been an extremely successful Republican politician before joining the Court—was able to convince all eight associate justices to join his opinion declaring school segregation unconstitutional.

To separate [children in grade and high schools] from others of similar age and qualifications solely because of their race generates a feeling of inferiority as to their status in the community that may affect their hearts and minds in a way unlikely ever to be undone We conclude that in the field of public education the doctrine of "separate but equal" has no place.

US Supreme Court Landmark Cases