Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Plessy v. Ferguson

Case Name: Plessy v. Ferguson

Year: 1896

Result: 7-1, favor Ferguson

Related Constitutional Issue/Amendment: Amendment XIV

Civil Rights or Civil Liberties: Civil Rights

Significance/Precedent: This Supreme Court ruling upheld racial segregation as one of the states' rights, not up to the federal government. They ruled it constitutional to impose racial segregation rules and policies. It established the doctrine of separate but equal. Not a great step for America.

Quote from Majority Opinion: "Laws permitting, and even requiring, their separation in places where they are liable to be brought into contact do not necessarily imply the inferiority of either race to the other, and have been generally, if not universally, recognized as within the competency of the state legislatures in the exercise of their police power. The most common instance of this is connected with the establishment of separate schools for white and colored children, which has been held to be a valid exercise of the legislative power even by courts of States where the political rights of the colored race have been longest and most earnestly enforced."

Summary of the Dissent: Harlan wrote the dissent, as he was the only one in favor of Plessy.
Quote: "But I deny that any legislative body or judicial tribunal may have regard to the race of citizens when the civil rights of those citizens are involved. indeed, such legislation as that here in question is inconsistent not only with that equality of rights which pertains to citizenship, National and State, but with the personal liberty enjoyed by everyone within the United States."

Six-word Summary: State racial segregation, separate but equal

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