Dred Scott v. Sandford (1857):
Scott is born a slave in Missouri (slave state), but owner travels to Illinois (a free state),
then back to Missouri. Scott argues that he was free by virtue of traveling through Illinois.
: The case is thrown out for lack of federal jurisdiction b/c Scott was a slave, not a
The forum state’s law’s could be followed.
: People of African ancestry, whether born into slavery or born to free parents, are
NEVER free citizens in the eyes of the Constitution.
Strauder v. West Virginia
100 U.S. 303
: At the time, West Virginia excluded African-Americans from juries. Strauder was an
African-American man who, at trial, had been convicted of murder—convicted, by an all-white
jury. Strauder appealed his conviction, contending that West Virginia's exclusionary policy
violated the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States
: violation of the equal protection clause?
: The majority, speaking through Justice William Strong, held that exclusion of blacks
from juries for no other reason than their race did indeed violate the Equal Protection Clause,
since the very purpose of the Clause was "to assure to the colored race the enjoyment of all the
civil rights that under the law are enjoyed by white persons, and to give to that race the
protection of the general government, in that enjoyment, whenever it should be denied by the
States." The Court did not say that exclusion of blacks from the jury violated the rights of
potential jury members; rather, such exclusion violated the rights of a black criminal defendant,
since juries would be "drawn from a panel from which the State has expressly excluded every
man of [a defendant's] race."
Plessy v. Ferguson
163 U.S. 537
: Post Reconstruction Jim Crow laws.
In 1890, the State of Louisiana passed Act 111 that
required separate accommodations for blacks and whites on railroads, including separate railway
cars, though it specified that the accommodations must be kept "equal". Concerned, several black
and white citizens in New Orleans formed an association, the Citizen's Committee to Test the
Separate Car Act, dedicated to the repeal of that law. They raised $1412.70 which they offered to