Has the Supreme Court’s View on Segregation and Discrimination Changed Throughout Time?

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Even though the thirteenth, fourteenth, and fifteenth amendments were created to mend the issue of slavery in the United States and create equality and freedom for blacks; it caused for more loopholes than expected in the battle for justice amongst the minority community. Plessy v. Ferguson, Loving v. Virginia, and Roe v. Wade are three pivotal cases from our Supreme Court history. Each dealt with discriminatory instances that pertain to us today.

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Loving v. Virginia is a Supreme Court case that exposes the taboo of interracial couples. The Lovings, a couple originally from Virginia, had gotten married on June 2, 1958 in Washington D.C. and returned to their home state of Virginia shortly after. The couple was then arrested in their home while asleep. At the time of the Lovings arrest, Virginia had placed the Racial Integrity Act into effect. The act did not permit the legalization of interracial marriages.

As a punishment, the judge decided that the couple could either be sentenced to one year in prison, or leave Virginia for the next twenty five years. As a result of the judges offer, the couple decided to move to Washington D.C . Years later, with the help of the ACLU attorneys Bernie Cohen and Philip Hirschkop, the couples sentence was overturned by the Supreme Court of Virginia and the couple was able to move back to Virginia.

Soon after, the attorneys that helped the couple went to the Supreme Court and created a case against the government. Although the couple did not attend the hearing, the Supreme Court managed to unanimously agree with the Lovings. According to oyez.org, racial classifications were not subject to a ‘rational purpose’ test under the Fourteenth Amendment and Chief Justice Earl Warren said under our Constitution the freedom to marry, or not marry, a person of another race resides with the individual, and cannot be infringed by the State.”” The quotes mean that the Racial Integrity Act was a violation of both the fourteenth amendment and the constitution. This case was also a gateway case for Obergefen v. Hodges, which led to the legalization of gay marriage.

The Separate Car Act, is the act that caused Plessy v. Ferguson. Homer Adolph Plessy, like Rosa Parks and many other activist in the south, refused to get up from his seat on Louisiana’s public transit as a social experiment; which ended in his arrest. Plessy, who was seven- eighths white, argued that he should’ve been allowed to sit in first class(reserved for white people) since he was white. At the time, the state of Louisiana’s law considered him black; therefore he was sent to trial. At trial, Plessy argued that the law was unconstitutional, but the judge, along with the government, disagreed. If Plessy did not win his case, he would’ve been sentenced to years in prison and a fine.

Plessy requested for the Louisiana Supreme Court to file a rid of prohibition against Judge Ferguson so that he could have a chance in court, but the Louisiana Supreme Court agreed that law was legal. Therefore, as a result, Plessy asked for a rid of error from the United States Supreme Court. Justice Brown claimed that the fourteenth amendment was designed to make everyone equal under the law, but wasn’t intended to eliminate distinctions based on race. That is when law official began to use the idea of separate but equal; a loophole that allowed for segregation, yet did not violate the fourteenth amendment. Plessy also argued that the thirteenth amendment was being violated, and the Supreme Court agreed that the amendment was not being violated since the issue had nothing to do with slavery. While on the other hand, Justice Harlan found that the Louisiana law was discriminatory since it made sure to separate people based on race, which was a violation of civil rights.

Plessy v. Ferguson is an important Supreme Court case since it ultimately established separate but equal, which means that the ruling of the case allowed for racial segregation.. Cases such as Brown v. Education verified that separate but equal existed in the United States. Brown v. Board of Education also helped overturn the results of Plessy v. Ferguson.

In 1969, Norma McCorvey decided to get an abortion because she was afraid of raising the child while single. Even though, at the time, Texas had a law that claimed that abortions are only to be received if the mother’s life is in danger. Norma’s desperation led to her attempt on a botched abortion, but Texas officials shut the location down. Attorneys Sarah Weddington and Linda Coffee offered Norma beer and pizza in order for her to hear them out about the case that they were building against Texas for abortion rights.

Jane Roe was Norma’s name on the case so that her identity was kept safe while Henry Wade was the district attorney of Dallas. In court, the three judges agreed that the Texas abortion law was unconstitutional since it went against the ninth amendment right to privacy. The Supreme Court voted 7-2 in favor of Roe since the law went against the fourteenth amendment due process clause. The two justices against Roe were Byron White and William Rehnquist. The Supreme Court came up with a rule that said a female could get an abortion up until the baby is at the age of viability(able to survive on it’s own); which was twenty eight weeks old.

Before Roe v. Wade, thirty states had outlawed abortion; while other states created limits. According to oyez.org Roe v. Wade led to a change of law in forty-six states. Now those that are for abortion, are called pro-choice and those against are called pro-life. Ironically Norma decided to become a pro-life activist, after years of being pro-choice. She also took a long time to come out as Roe.

Abortions should only be allowed if the child was conceived through rape. Currently in Iowa, the GOP has signed a bill that plans to reverse Roe v. Wade. The bill is supposed to make it illegal to have an abortion once as the baby’s heartbeat can be heard, which is six weeks. People are worried that by the time people find out that they are pregnant, it will have been too late to abort the child. According to nbc news, According to the Iowa Department of Public Health, of the 3,722 abortions performed in the state in 2016, only 347, or 9 percent of them occurred before six weeks of pregnancy. Based on these numbers, the heartbeat bill will potentially force pregnancy upon the vast majority of pregnant women in Iowa who do not want to have a child.

Discrimination should seize to exist. Recently, there have been cases against a well known cafe Starbucks. Starbucks has a new reputation of being racist and discriminatory. Two black men were recently denied bathroom use and then arrested for no apparent reason. The men have settled for $1 each in order to protest the situation. The next step in this process is coming up with a way to actually end the constant cycle of discrimination. Marriage should not be something decided by the government. If Americans are allowed religious freedom, then under gods eye they shall be married. The U.S. gets involved in polygamy, gay marriage, straight marriage, self marriage, marriage of minor, and so on. Some of the marriage rights that Americans are fighting for go against a large amount of the populations beliefs. It may not offend them directly, but it should be something done in an intimate setting. Recently in Obergefell v. Hodges, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of Obergefell, and now same sex marriage is legal. This has only caused more issues in the gay community, but every oppressed minority has to start their freedom somewhere.

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Has the Supreme Court's View on Segregation and Discrimination Changed Throughout Time?. (2019, Nov 27). Retrieved January 28, 2023 , from

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