President Obamas two Presidentia victories in 2008 and 2012 were seen by many

President obamas two presidentia victories in 2008

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had intervened to bring economic, political and social equality to African-Americans. President Obama’s two Presidential victories in 2008 and 2012 were seen by many as a step forward in American race relations. However, the racial unrest in the wake of the deaths of Michael Brown, Eric Garner, Sandra Bland, Philando Castile, Alton Sterling, and others, and the development of the Black Lives Matter movement shows that the United States still has a long way to go before its racial divisions are healed. Women have faced a civil rights movement of their own. In 1873, the Supreme Court ruled it illegal for women to enroll in law school. In 1908, the Supreme Court upheld an Oregon law preventing women from being able to work as many hours as men in any occupation. The legislative branch has passed a variety of laws over the past half century for the advancement of women. Some have been successful; others have missed the mark. Congress and President Lyndon Baines Johnson enacted the Equal Pay Act of 1963 . Interestingly, the law did not account for stratification of work by gender. Today,
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women who work outside of governmental positions or who receive minimum wage , earn less than a male working the same position. Known as “equal pay for equal work,” parity and comparable worth , this issue is viewed by many women as the greatest hurdle toward equality left to jump. In an attempt to keep the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (intended to advance the rights of African Americans) from passing the Senate vote (upheld by Strom Thurmond’s famous and longest lasting filibuster ) from passing, a provision guaranteeing equality for women was included. Though the filibuster was ended and the Civil Rights Act of 1964 made the law of the land, the provision to help women, Title VII – protecting against discrimination on the basis of gender is still not fully unenforced today. More immediate success came with Titles IX and X . The former dealt with athletic fairness at the high school and collegiate levels and the latter dealt with fairness in dollars spent for athletic scholarships. Affirmative Action , the leveling of the playing field in terms of hiring, promotions and acceptance to colleges has tremendously helped women. The program, introduced in the 1970s, was designed to enhance the status of African Americans. While it has, the biggest beneficiary has been women. The LGBTQ community have been seeking equality of their own as well. The Stonewall Riots of 1969 brought increased media attention and sympathy to a community that for decades had received mostly scorn. In 1996 President Bill Clinton, who had campaigned on a promise to increase the rights of LGBTQ Americans, signed into law the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). This law defined marriage as between one man and one woman for federal government purposes. In 2013 the Supreme Court struck down DOMA, but left nothing in its place. This created a strange couple of years in which some states allowed same-sex marriage, some barred it outright, and some created an effort at a compromise called “civil unions” - essentially marriage in all but name. A couple of years later the Supreme Court acted again in
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  • Fall '19
  • Supreme Court of the United States, First Amendment to the United States Constitution, Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution

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