Affirmative Action and the 14th Amendment

Affirmative Action and the 14th Amendment - Affirmative...

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Affirmative Action and the 14 th Amendment In the case of State University v. United States the substantive question of the case is whether Congress has the power and right to impose legislation that alters the interpretation of the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. When Congress enacted the Constitutional Equality Act of 2007, the purpose of the legislation was to “restore a proper recognition of the constitutional value of color-blindness” and “to respect the right of all citizens, regardless of race, to the equal protection of the laws” (Second Exercise Handout, p 2). Previous holdings by the Supreme Court on the issue of Affirmative Action and the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment had been discordant to Congress’ interpretation. In the Constitutional Equality Act, Congress goes as far as to state that “The Supreme Court’s holdings to the contrary are inconsistent with these basic precepts of constitutional equality” (Second Exercise Handout, p 2) and offers a new interpretation and application for the Fourteenth Amendment and the Equal Protection Clause. By enacting this legislation, Congress has not only used the power granted to it by the constitution, but also encroached upon the power of the judiciary to interpret the Constitutionality of the laws of the land and has shifted the balance of power in favor of the Legislative branch. Through extensive examination of dicta, holdings of previous cases, and the Constitution of the United States, it seems that in this instance Congress has overstepped the boundaries outlined in Article I Section 8 of the Constitution and Section 5 of the Fourteenth Amendment. The legislative branch’s expressed powers can be found in the first article of the Constitution, however it is the Necessary and Proper Clause of Section 8 of Article I of the Constitution which allots the authority for Congress to “make all laws which shall be
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necessary and proper for carrying into Execution the foregoing Powers, and all other Powers vested by this Constitution in the Government of the United States” (ACI, United States Constitution, Article I Section 8, p1605). With Section 5 of the Fourteenth Amendment allowing Congress, “to enforce, by appropriate legislation the provisions of [The Equal Protection Clause]”, the two can easily be combined in this instance and construed to mean that Congress has the authority to interpret and pass necessary
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This note was uploaded on 09/13/2008 for the course PSCI 261 taught by Professor Corley during the Fall '06 term at Vanderbilt.

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Affirmative Action and the 14th Amendment - Affirmative...

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