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THE SUPREME COURT AND RACE IN THE UNITES STATES (STUDY PLAN) – BAC ANGLAIS– CIVILISATION AMERICAINE

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THE SUPREME COURT AND RACE IN THE UNITES STATES (STUDY PLAN) – L1 LLCE – CIVILISATION AMERICAINE

Appointment: Justices are appointed for life by the President of the United States

“amicus brief”: friendly suggestions made by “clerks”, or young lawyers, to the justices to advise them (conseiller) on how to make their decision.

To hear a case: examen d’un litige

Constitution of the USA: 1787

“Bill of Rights:” 10 First Amendments of the Constitution – their purpose is to protect the citizens against the State.

Dred Scott case: a case in which the Supreme Court ruled that a slave living in the South (Missouri) and who had to travel to a free state remained a slave.

1865-1870: Reconstruction Amendments

13th: abolished slavery

14th: citizens, “equal protection” of the law

15th: right to vote

Marbury v. Madison: After this case, the SC has the right to declare a federal law unconstitutional (= to rule on the constitutionality of a law)

Brown v. Board of Education: racial integration in US schools

“court-packing”: effort by FDR to increase the number of Justices. This attempt was defeated by the Congress.

Jim Crow laws: segregation laws in the South after the Civil War

Plessy v. Fergusson:

1.In 1896, in the landmark Plessy v. Ferguson decision, the Supreme Court gave its approval to state laws requiring separate facilities for blacks and whites.

2. John Marshall Harlan was the lone dissenter on the Supreme Court

Separate Car Act: Louisiana law stating that railways companies should have separate accommodations for white and colored passengers.

The 14th Amendment changed the spirit of the Constitution after the Bill of Rights. The Bill of Rights protected the citizens against the federal State. Now, the citizens will look to the federal State for protection against State laws. Plessy used the 14th Amendment to protest against separate facilities and in the name of the “equal protection of the law.” The SC didn’t agree with his interpretation and claimed that as long as accommodations are “separate but equal” the law is not unconstitutional.

The Segregated South

“color-blind” constitution: the notion that the constitution should not make distinctions between white and African-American citizens.

Justice Harlan disagreed with the “separate but equal” decision. For him, the Constitution established a “superior, dominant ruling class of citizens.” However, the Constitution should be color-blind.

Indeed, segregation laws are based on the supposed inferiority of black citizens BUT

he argues that it is segregation laws that placed black citizens in a position of inferiority.

In 1954, it is on this rationale that Brown v. Board of Education will be brought to the Supreme Court. And segregation will in the end be declared unconstitutional.

To stir things up: remuer les choses

Spread: se diffuser

CORE: congress of Racial Equality. Institution that played a major/key role in the Freedom rides movement.

Deep South: Mississippi, Alabama, South Carolina, Georgia

NAACP: National Association for the Advancement of Colored People

To ride a bus: se déplacer en bus

1.

- First (1960-1961), Civil Rights activists used sit-ins to protest against racism and discrimination in the South. They started the “stir things up.” The movement spread and they were very successful in the Upper South, in Greensboro, North Carolina for example. Many activists were even jailed.

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