Case Summaries

Case Summaries - Philip Chang Amber Carini DOC 2 Section...

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Philip Chang Amber Carini DOC 2, Section B02 February 7, 2008 Case Summary [Plessy V. Ferguson 1896] What are the facts and historical/social context of the case? A Lousiana Act on public railways issued that there would be separate cars and accommodations for black and white passengers. Anyone breaking this law would be subject to a fine and jail in the local parish prison. Plessy, a man with one eighth African descent, was seated in the white accommodated area when the conductor threw him off the train and the state fined and imprisoned him. Plessy then sued the state citing the law being unconstitutional. What are the legal issues? Plessy argued that the statute infringed on the 13 th amendment, that placing him in a car separated by race inherently placed upon him a badge of slavery and servitude. He also argued that the statue was unconstitutional under the fourteenth amendment, citing that it restricted his freedoms and equal opportunities as a citizen just because of his race. The other side stated that this was constitutional, due to many different segregation policies in place already (schools, juries, etc.). It also didn’t believe that he was receiving anything that was unequal in terms of service. What is the majority opinion and decision of the Supreme Court? The Court found in favor of the state of Lousiana and Judge Ferguson, thus the constitutionality of the law. Explain the legal grounds that support the majority (or “winner’s”) opinion. Include the judge’s (author’s) name. Explain how the holding answers the Constitutional question. Justice Brown and the court believed that the 13 th amendment had no standing in this case – it was a case that had nothing to do with the word “slavery” thus taking a strict constructionist stance. Similarly, they believed that the 14 th amendment did not have standing because they were still being offered the same service as white people on the railway. A law that only poses a legal distinction between races did not destroy the equality of the two, and does not imply inferiority. This was the birth of the “separate of equal” doctrine. Briefly explain the concurring and dissenting opinions with the judges’ (authors’) names. Brown concurred, with the above arguments. Justice Harlan Dissented. Harlan believed that it was in violation of the 13 th amendment because simply separating the two implied an idea of separate and unequal. He also believed that it encroached on their equality because of this implied inferiority, and believed the law in itself was written under the guise of equal opportunity. It actually was trying to accomplish placing blacks in an inferior position.
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Philip Chang Amber Carini DOC 2, Section B02 February 7, 2008 Case Summary [Brown V. Board of Education 1954] What are the facts and historical/social context of the case? Numerous cases come from Kansas, South Carolina, Virginia, and Delaware.
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This note was uploaded on 11/16/2008 for the course DOC DOC 2 taught by Professor Lee during the Winter '08 term at UCSD.

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Case Summaries - Philip Chang Amber Carini DOC 2 Section...

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