Read the Following Oyez Cases. Dred Scott v. Sandford Decided: Friday, March 6, 1857 Categories: international law, federal courts, federalism, jurisdiction, race discrimination Facts of the Case:
? was a slave in Missouri. From 1833 to 1843, he resided in Illinois (a free state) and in an area of the Louisiana Territory, where slavery was forbidden by the Missouri Compromise of 1820. After returning to Missouri, ? sued unsuccessfully in the Missouri courts for his freedom, claiming that his residence in free territory made him a free man. ? then brought a new suit in federal court. ?'s master maintained that no pure-blooded Negro of African descent and the descendant of slaves could be a citizen in the sense of Article III of the Constitution.
The state of Louisiana enacted a law that required separate railway cars for blacks and whites. In 1892, Homer Adolph ?--who was seven-eighths Caucasian--took a seat in a "whites only" car of a Louisiana train. He refused to move to the car reserved for blacks and was arrested.
Black children were denied admission to public schools attended by white children under laws requiring or permitting segregation according to the races. The white and black schools approached equality in terms of buildings, curricula, qualifications, and teacher salaries. This case was decided together with Briggs v. Elliott and Davis v. County School Board of Prince Edward County.
During World War II, Presidential Executive Order 9066 and congressional statutes gave the military authority to exclude citizens of Japanese ancestry from areas deemed critical to national defense and potentially vulnerable to espionage. ? remained in San Leandro, California and violated Civilian Exclusion Order No. 34 of the U.S. Army.
The Idaho Probate Code specified that "males must be preferred to females" in appointing administrators of estates. After the death of their adopted son, both Sally and Cecil ? sought to be named the administrator of their son's estate (the ?s were separated). According to the Probate Code, Cecil was appointed administrator and Sally challenged the law in court.
An Oklahoma law prohibited the sale of "nonintoxicating" 3.2 percent beer to males under the age of 21 and to females under the age of 18. Curtis ?, a male then between the ages of 18 and 21, and a licensed vendor challenged the law as discriminatory.
?, a contractor specializing in highway guardrail work, submitted the lowest bid as a subcontractor for part of a project funded by the United States Department of Transportation. Under the terms of the federal contract, the prime contractor would receive additional compensation if it hired small businesses controlled by "socially and economically disadvantaged individuals." [The clause declared that "the contractor shall presume that socially and economically disadvantaged individuals include Black Americans, Hispanic Americans, Native Americans, Asian Pacific Americans, and other minorities...." Federal law requires such a subcontracting clause in most federal agency contracts]. Another subcontractor, Gonzales Construction Company, was awarded the work. It was certified as a minority business; ? was not. The prime contractor would have accepted ?'s bid had it not been for the additional payment for hiring Gonzales.
Sharron ?, a lieutenant in the United States Air Force, sought a dependent's allowance for her husband. Federal law provided that the wives of members of the military automatically became dependents; husbands of female members of the military, however, were not accepted as dependents unless they were dependent on their wives for over one-half of their support. ?'s request for dependent status for her husband was turned down.
Allan ?, a thirty-five-year-old white man, had twice applied for admission to the University of California Medical School at Davis. He was rejected both times. The school reserved sixteen places in each entering class of one hundred for "qualified" minorities, as part of the university's affirmative action program, in an effort to redress longstanding, unfair minority exclusions from the medical profession. ?'s qualifications (college GPA and test scores) exceeded those of any of the minority students admitted in the two years ?'s applications were rejected. ? contended, first in the California courts, then in the Supreme Court, that he was excluded from admission solely on the basis of race.
Did an Oklahoma statute violate the Fourteenth Amendment's Equal Protection Clause by establishing different drinking ages for men and women?
In a 7-to-2 decision, the Court held that the statute made unconstitutional gender classifications. The Court held that the statistics relied on by the state of Oklahoma were insufficient to show a substantial relationship between the law and the maintenance of traffic safety. Generalities about the drinking habits of aggregate groups did not suffice. The Court also found that the Twenty-first Amendment did not alter the application of the Equal Protection Clause in the case.
Did a federal law, requiring different qualification criteria for male and female military spousal dependency, unconstitutionally discriminate against women thereby violating the Fifth Amendment's Due Process Clause?
Yes. The Court held that the statute in question clearly commanded "dissimilar treatment for men and women who are similarly situated," violating the Due Process Clause. Applying a strict standard of review to the sex-based classification, the Court found that the government's interest in administrative convenience could not justify discriminatory practices. The Court held that statutes that drew lines between the sexes on those grounds alone necessarily involved "the 'very kind of arbitrary legislative choice forbidden by the Constitution.'"
Is the presumption of disadvantage based on race alone, and consequent allocation of favored treatment, a discriminatory practice that violates the equal protection principle embodied in the Due Process Clause of the Fifth Amendment?
Yes. Overruling Metro Broadcasting (497 US 547), the Court held that all racial classifications, whether imposed by federal, state, or local authorities, must pass strict scrutiny review. In other words, they "must serve a compelling government interest, and must be narrowly tailored to further that interest." The Court added that compensation programs which are truly based on disadvantage, rather than race, would be evaluated under lower equal protection standards. However, since race is not a sufficient condition for a presumption of disadvantage and the award of favored treatment, all race-based classifications must be judged under the strict scrutiny standard. Moreover, even proof of past injury does not in itself establish the suffering of present or future injury. The Court remanded for a determination of whether the Transportation Department's program satisfied strict scrutiny.
Did the University of California violate the Fourteenth Amendment's equal protection clause, and the Civil Rights Act of 1964, by practicing an affirmative action policy that resulted in the repeated rejection of ?'s application for admission to its medical school?
No and yes. There was no single majority opinion. Four of the justices contended that any racial quota system supported by government violated the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Justice Lewis F. Powell, Jr., agreed, casting the deciding vote ordering the medical school to admit ?. However, in his opinion, Powell argued that the rigid use of racial quotas as employed at the school violated the equal protection clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. The remaining four justices held that the use of race as a criterion in admissions decisions in higher education was constitutionally permissible. Powell joined that opinion as well, contending that the use of race was permissible as one of several admission criteria. So, the Court managed to minimize white opposition to the goal of equality (by finding for ?) while extending gains for racial minorities through affirmative action.
Did the President and Congress go beyond their war powers by implementing exclusion and restricting the rights of Americans of Japanese descent?
The Court sided with the government and held that the need to protect against espionage outweighed ?'s rights. Justice Black argued that compulsory exclusion, though constitutionally suspect, is justified during circumstances of "emergency and peril."
Does the segregation of children in public schools solely on the basis of race deprive the minority children of the equal protection of the laws guaranteed by the 14th Amendment?
Yes. Despite the equalization of the schools by "objective" factors, intangible issues foster and maintain inequality. Racial segregation in public education has a detrimental effect on minority children because it is interpreted as a sign of inferiority. The long-held doctrine that separate facilities were permissible provided they were equal was rejected. Separate but equal is inherently unequal in the context of public education. The unanimous opinion sounded the death-knell for all forms of state-maintained racial separation.
Did the Idaho Probate Code violate the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment?
In a unanimous decision, the Court held that the law's dissimilar treatment of men and women was unconstitutional. The Court argued that "to give a mandatory preference to members of either sex over members of the other, merely to accomplish the elimination of hearings on the merits, is to make the very kind of arbitrary legislative choice forbidden by the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. . .The choice in this context may not lawfully be mandated solely on the basis of sex."
Is Louisiana's law mandating racial segregation on its trains an unconstitutional infringement on both the privileges and immunities and the equal protection clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment?
No, the state law is within constitutional boundaries. The majority, in an opinion authored by Justice Henry Billings Brown, upheld state-imposed racial segregation. The justices based their decision on the separate-but-equal doctrine, that separate facilities for blacks and whites satisfied the Fourteenth Amendment so long as they were equal. (The phrase, "separate but equal" was not part of the opinion.) Justice Brown conceded that the 14th amendment intended to establish absolute equality for the races before the law. But Brown noted that "in the nature of things it could not have been intended to abolish distinctions based upon color, or to enforce social, as distinguished from political equality, or a commingling of the two races unsatisfactory to either." In short, segregation does not in itself constitute unlawful discrimination.
Was ? free or slave?
? was a slave. Under Articles III and IV, argued Taney, no one but a citizen of the United States could be a citizen of a state, and that only Congress could confer national citizenship. Taney reached the conclusion that no person descended from an American slave had ever been a citizen for Article III purposes. The Court then held the Missouri Compromise unconstitutional, hoping to end the slavery question once and for all.
Civil Rights, Sex Discrimination; Judicial Power, Mootness; Judicial Power, Mootness; Judicial Power, Standing to Sue, Personal Injury
standing, justiciability, fourteenth amendment, equal protection
Civil Rights, Affirmative Action
affirmative action, race, education, race discrimination, discrimination
Civil Rights, Affirmative Action
affirmative action, race, fifth amendment, race discrimination, discrimination
Civil Rights, Sex Discrimination
marriage, sex discrimination, discrimination
international law, federal courts, federalism, jurisdiction, race discrimination
slavery, segregation, race, equal protection, race discrimination, discrimination
Civil Rights, Desegregation, Schools
federalism, segregation, race, education, race discrimination, discrimination
discrimination based on national origin, commander in chief, war powers, presidency, race, criminal, race discrimination, discrimination
Civil Rights, Sex Discrimination
sex discrimination, fourteenth amendment, equal protection, discrimination