Brown v. Board of Education (Brown I) (1954)African-American students sought admission to public schools in their community on a non-segregated basis.PH: courts below denied relief based upon PLESSY’s “separate but equal” doctrine.Arguments:The students contended that segregated public schools are not equal and cannot be made equal, and that hence they are deprived of the equal protection of the laws.Held: Separate educational facilities are inherently unequal because of intangible considerations include the ability to study, to engage in discussions and exchange views with other students, and, in general, to learn. To separate students 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.o“Segregation of white and colored children in public schools has a detrimental effect upon the colored children. The impact is greater when it has the sanction of law; for the policy of separating the races is usually interpreted as denoting the inferiority of the [African-American] group. A sense of inferiority affects the motivation of a child to learn. Segregation with the sanction of law, therefore, has a tendency to [retard] the educationaland mental development of [African-American] children and to deprive them of some of he benefits they would received in a [racially] integrated school system.”Further understanding and future context: how should we thinking about what the harm is and how does this understanding impact what the remedy should be? Two ways…Anti-classification: If one views the harm in Brown to be the stigma of segregation, then one views the meaning of the 14th Amendment to be anti-classification. Removing classification based on race eliminates the stigma.Anti-subjugation:If one views the harm in Brown to be segregation itself, then one views the meaning of the 14th Amendment to be anti-subjugation. Removing segregation eliminates it
Current court is very focused on stigma and classification, and that may lead to difficulties with affirmative action.oMcLaughlin v. Florida (1964): (racial classification burdening both whites and minorities)State statute prohibited cohabitation by interracial unmarried couples.The S.Ct. stated that the strong policy of the 14th Amendment to eliminate racial discrimination emanating from official sources in the States renders racial classifications “constitutionally suspect” and subject to the “most rigid scrutiny.” In most cases, racial classifications are irrelevant to any constitutionally acceptable legislative purpose.Issue: is there overriding statutory purpose requiring the proscription of the specified conduct when engaged in by a white person and a black person, but not otherwise. Without such justification, the racial classification is reduced to invidious discrimination forbidden by equalprotection.oLoving v. Virginia
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- Spring '14
- Power, United States Congress, Interstate Commerce