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Reply #154: Landmark Supreme Court Decisions [View All]

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Brewman_Jax Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-17-08 12:19 PM
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154. Landmark Supreme Court Decisions
Dred Scott vs. Sanford (1857) - Supreme Court holds that Congress cannot prohibit slavery in the territories, that black people are not citizens, and residence in a free state does not confer freedom on them. The decision hastens start of the Civil War by sweeping aside legal barriers to expanding slavery and inciting anger in the North.

Civil Rights Cases (1883) - Declaring the Civil Rights Act of 1875 unconstitutional, the Supreme Court strikes it down. The court said social rights beyond federal control, but black people cannot be excluded from juries. Congress introduced the statute in 1870 and it became law on March 1, 1875. It held that all persons, regardless of race, color, or previous condition, were entitled to full and equal employment or accommodation in inns, public conveyances on land or water, theaters and other places of public amusement.

Plessy vs. Ferguson (1896) - Supreme Court decides that if segregated railroad cars offer equal accommodations then such segregation is not discriminatory and does not deprive black people of 14th Amendment rights to equal protection. The separate but equal doctrine is not struck down until 1954 in Brown vs. Board of Education of Topeka.

Guinn vs. United States (1915) - Supreme Court rules that the grandfather clause that disenfranchised most black Americans is unconstitutional. The clause adopted by Oklahoma and Maryland exempted citizens from certain voter qualifications if their grandparents had voted; obviously, this did not apply to those whose grandparents lived before the 15th Amendment ratified.

Hansberry vs. Lee (1940) - Supreme Court rules that black citizens cannot be prevented from buying homes in white neighborhoods.

Brown vs. Board of Education of Topeka (1954) - Supreme Court unanimously overturns Plessey vs. Ferguson and declares that segregated public schools violate the 14th Amendments equal protection clause.

Gomillion vs. Lightfoot (1960) - Supreme Court rules that drawing of election districts so blacks constitute a minority in all districts violates the 15th Amendment.

Griggs vs. Duke Power Co. (1971) - Supreme Court makes its first ruling on the job-bias provisions of Civil Rights Act of 1964, declaring objective criteria, unrelated to job skills, for hiring workers are discriminatory if minorities end up disadvantaged.

Swann vs. Charlotte-Mecklenburg Board of Education (1971) - Supreme Court upholds school busing for the purpose of ensuring racial balance in areas where segregation has been official policy and school authorities have not come up with a viable alternative to busing.

University of California Regents vs. Bakke (1978) - Supreme Court rules that the University of California Medical School at Davis must admit white applicant Allan Bakke, who argued that the schools minority admissions program made him a victim of reverse discrimination.

City of Richmond vs. J.A. Croson (1989) - Supreme Court declares illegal a Richmond, Va., set-aside program mandating that 30 percent of the citys public works funds go to minority-owned firms. Such programs only legal if they redress identified discrimination.

Busing Cases (1991-92) - Supreme Court issues Oklahoma and Georgia rulings, saying school systems don't have to bus students to overcome school segregation caused by segregated housing patterns.

Cappachione vs. Charlotte-Mecklenburg schools et al. (1999) - Federal District Court Judge Robert Potter bars Charlotte-Mecklenburg school system from using race to assign students to schools, effectively ending court-ordered busing mandated in landmark Swann vs. Charlotte-Mecklenburg Board of Education case in 1971.

Tuttle vs. Arlington County (Va.) school board (1999) - Supreme Court rules the board cannot use a weighted admission lottery to promote racial and ethnic diversity.

Eisenberg vs. Montgomery County (Md.) Public Schools (1999) - Supreme Court rules that the school board could not deny a students request to transfer to a magnet school because of his/her race.
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