Seeming to go against the spirit, if not the exact letter, of The Civil Rights Cases, the Court found that, although a discriminatory private contract could not violate the Equal Protection Clause, the courts' enforcement of such a contract could; after all, the Supreme Court reasoned, courts were part of the state. [89] On the other side, it is argued that the purpose of the Equal Protection Clause is to prevent the socio-political subordination of some groups by others, not to prevent classification; since this is so, non-invidious classifications, such as those used by affirmative action programs, should not be subjected to heightened scrutiny. . All of these cases, as well as the upcoming Brown case, were litigated by the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. Here, the government body is accused of doing something that may not have been expressly for the purpose of discrimination or classification, a law that is referred to as “facially neutral. [16], During the debate in Congress, more than one version of the clause was considered. In Brown II, decided in 1954, it was concluded that since the problems identified in the previous opinion were local, the solutions needed to be so as well. It prohibits the hanging of a black man for a crime for which the white man is not to be hanged. [18], Though the equal protection clause is one of the most cited ideas in legal theory, it received little attention during the ratification of the 14th amendment. Baker V. Carr dealt with Administrative law. Voting rights Justice John Marshall Harlan II sought to interpret the Equal Protection Clause in the context of Section 2 of the same amendment. Strict scrutiny means that a challenged statute must be "narrowly tailored" to serve a "compelling" government interest, and must not have a "less restrictive" alternative. When Senator Jacob Howard introduced that final version, he said:[24]. [79], The Supreme Court has been disinclined to extend full "suspect classification" status (thus making a law that categorizes on that basis subject to greater judicial scrutiny) for groups other than racial minorities and religious groups. In McLaurin, the University of Oklahoma had admitted McLaurin, an African-American, but had restricted his activities there: he had to sit apart from the rest of the students in the classrooms and library, and could eat in the cafeteria only at a designated table. [3] These words are inscribed on the U.S. Supreme court building. 1. The nullification of the two state's acceptance was considered illegitimate and both Ohio and New Jersey were included in those counted as ratifying the amendment. This is especially evident in the charter school system where parents of students can pick which schools their children attend based on the amenities provided by that school and the needs of the child. Harlan also relied on the fact that Section Two of the Fourteenth Amendment "expressly recognizes the States' power to deny 'or in any way' abridge the right of their inhabitants to vote for 'the members of the [state] Legislature. It is a popular interpretation that the Fourteenth Amendment was always meant to ensure equal rights for all those in the United States. A primary motivation for this clause was to validate the equality provisions contained in the Civil Rights Act of 1866, which guaranteed that all people would have rights equal to those of all citizens. [36] In contrast, at that time African American men had full voting rights in five states. Ratified as it was after the Civil War in 1868, there is little doubt what the Equal Protection Clause was intended to do: stop states from discriminating against blacks. [30] Almost a hundred years would pass before the U.S. Supreme Court followed that Alabama case (Burns v. State) in the case of Loving v. Virginia. During Reconstruction, Congress enacted race-conscious programs primarily to assist newly freed slaves who had personally been denied many advantages earlier in their lives. upon by 218 Congressmen, were discussed in hundreds of speeches and countless editorials in the election of … Such "arbitrary separation" by race, Harlan concluded, was "a badge of servitude wholly inconsistent with the civil freedom and the equality before the law established by the Constitution. [49] In that opinion, Warren wrote: To separate [children in grade and high schools] from others of similar age and qualifications solely because of their race generates a feeling of inferiority as to their status in the community that may affect their hearts and minds in a way unlikely ever to be undone ... We conclude that in the field of public education the doctrine of "separate but equal" has no place. Equal protection is extended when the rules of law are applied equally in all like cases and when persons are exempt from obligations greater than those … In that case a black man was convicted of murdering a white police officer and sentenced to death in the state of Georgia. This part of the Constitution states that the Federal Government has the right to control and maintain jurisdiction over state laws. This clause of the 14th … Fourteenth Amendment, amendment (1868) to the Constitution of the United States that granted citizenship and equal civil and legal rights to African Americans and slaves who had been emancipated after the Civil War, including them under the umbrella phrase ‘all … The Equal Protection Clause, made to protect all people equally and to ensure equal treatment under the law, is misused to allow for the mistreatment of different minority populations. [5] Black people were considered inferior to white Americans, and subject to chattel slavery in the slave states until the Emancipation Proclamation and the ratification of the Thirteenth Amendment. Hardy, David. On one side, critics have argued—including Justice Clarence Thomas in his dissent to Grutter—that the scrutiny the Court has applied in some cases is much less searching than true strict scrutiny, and that the Court has acted not as a principled legal institution but as a biased political one. [73] The Court found that the defense had failed to prove that such data demonstrated the requisite discriminatory intent by the Georgia legislature and executive branch. Definition of equal protection : a guarantee under the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution that a state must treat an individual or class of individuals the same as it treats other individuals or classes in like circumstances Examples of equal protection in a Sentence In Burns, the Alabama Supreme Court said:[31]. Disparate impact merely has an evidentiary value; absent a "stark" pattern, "impact is not determinative.". Though equality under the law is an American legal tradition arguably dating to the Declaration of Independence,[4] formal equality for many groups remained elusive. [29] In 1872, the Alabama Supreme Court ruled that the state's ban on mixed-race marriage violated the "cardinal principle" of the 1866 Civil Rights Act and of the Equal Protection Clause. The Shelley case concerned a privately made contract that prohibited "people of the Negro or Mongolian race" from living on a particular piece of land. This subject was addressed in the seminal case of Arlington Heights v. Metropolitan Housing Corp. (1977). [69] In order to select the correct level of scrutiny, Justice Antonin Scalia urged the Court to identify rights as "fundamental" or identify classes as "suspect" by analyzing what was understood when the Equal Protection Clause was adopted, instead of based upon more subjective factors. Equal protection forces a state to govern impartially—not draw distinctions between individuals solely on differences that are irrelevant to a legitimate governmental objective. Justice John Marshall Harlan dissented alone, saying, "I cannot resist the conclusion that the substance and spirit of the recent amendments of the Constitution have been sacrificed by a subtle and ingenious verbal criticism." [55], American public school systems, especially in large metropolitan areas, to a large extent are still de facto segregated. The equal protection clause of the Fourteenth Amendment does not take from the State the power to classify in the adoption of police laws, but admits of the exercise of a wide scope of discretion in that regard, and avoids what is done only when it is without any reasonable basis and therefore is purely arbitrary. Van Alstyne, William. Many scholars assert that the opinion of Justice Harlan Stone in United States v. Carolene Products Co. (1938)[61] contained a footnote that was a critical turning point for equal protection jurisprudence,[62] but that assertion is disputed. John Bingham said in January 1867: "no State may deny to any person the equal protection of the laws, including all the limitations for personal protection of every article and section of the Constitution ..."[25] By July 9, 1868, three-fourths of the states (28 of 37) ratified the amendment, and that is when the Equal Protection Clause became law. The Equal Protection Clause is located at the end of Section 1 of the Fourteenth Amendment: All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. While the courts have applied rational-basis scrutiny to classifications based on sexual orientation, it has been argued that discrimination based on sex should be interpreted to include discrimination based on sexual orientation, in which case intermediate scrutiny could apply to gay rights cases. However, the Fifth Amendment's due process guarantee, beginning with Bolling v. Sharpe (1954), has been interpreted as imposing some of the same restrictions on the federal government: "Though the Fifth Amendment does not contain an equal protection clause, as does the Fourteenth Amendment which applies only to the States, the concepts of equal protection and due process are not mutually exclusive. [2], From Simple English Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia, "Constitutional Rights: Equal Protection", The Meaning of Equal Protection: Then, Now, and Tomorrow; American Bar Association, The 14th Amendment and Equal Protection Clause; YouTube, https://simple.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Equal_Protection_Clause&oldid=6491348, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License. All that was therefore required of the law was reasonableness, and Louisiana's railway law amply met that requirement, being based on "the established usages, customs and traditions of the people." that the statute in question had its origin in the purpose, not so much to exclude white persons from railroad cars occupied by blacks, as to exclude colored people from coaches occupied by or assigned to white persons  ... [I]n view of the Constitution, in the eye of the law, there is in this country no superior, dominant, ruling class of citizens. In 1954 the contextualization of the equal protection clause would change forever. The Equal Protection Clause is part of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution. Croson Co. (1989). A unanimous Court, through Chief Justice Fred M. Vinson, said that Oklahoma had deprived McLaurin of the equal protection of the laws: There is a vast difference—a Constitutional difference—between restrictions imposed by the state which prohibit the intellectual commingling of students, and the refusal of individuals to commingle where the state presents no such bar. The trial courts and localities were told to desegregate with "all deliberate speed". No Constitutional Right to Be Ladies: Women and the Obligations of Citizenship, "Annotation 18 - Fourteenth Amendment: Section 1 – Rights Guaranteed: Equal Protection of the Laws: Scope and application state action", Santa Clara County v. Southern Pacific Railroad, "Personalizing the Impersonal: Corporations and the Bill of Rights", "The Constitution in the Supreme Court: The New Deal, 1931–1940", "Racial, Economic, and Linguistic Segregation: Analyzing Market Supports in the District of Columbia's Public Charter Schools", Between the Tiers: The New(est) Equal Protection and Bush v. Gore, Is Carolene Products Dead--Reflections on Affirmative Action and the Dynamics of Civil Rights Legislation, 'There is Only One Equal Protection Clause': An Appreciation of Justice Stevens's Equal Protection Jurisprudence, Board of Trustees of the University of Alabama v. Garrett, "Comparative Review of Death Sentences: An Empirical Study of the Georgia Experience", "Affirmative Action and the Legislative History of the Fourteenth Amendment", "Equality Talk: Antisubordination and Anticlassification Values in Constitutional Struggles over, Original Meaning of Equal Protection of the Laws, Parental Rights Amendment to the United States Constitution, Proposed "Liberty" Amendment to the United States Constitution, Voting Accessibility for the Elderly and Handicapped Act, Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act, Military and Overseas Voter Empowerment Act, Disenfranchisement after the Reconstruction era, City of Akron v. Akron Center for Reproductive Health, Ayotte v. Planned Parenthood of New England. Many view it as the attempt to uphold the professed “all men are created equal” clause written in the Constitution. Since the New Deal, however, such invalidations have been rare.[45]. It was not this holding that proved especially controversial among commentators, and indeed, the proposition gained seven out of nine votes; Justices Souter and Breyer joined the majority of five—but only for the finding that there was an Equal Protection violation. It mandates that individuals in similar situations be treated equally by the law. "[81] Much as in City of Cleburne, the Romer decision seemed to employ a markedly higher level of scrutiny than the nominally applied rational-basis test.[82]. [35] No state or territory allowed women's suffrage when the Equal Protection Clause took effect in 1868. [32] However, some states (e.g. Bancroft, acting as court reporter, indicated in the headnotes that corporations were "persons", while the actual court decision itself avoided specific statements regarding the Equal Protection Clause as applied to corporations. [77], In 1971, the U.S. Supreme Court decided Reed v. Reed, extending the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to protect women from sex discrimination, in situations where there is no rational basis for the discrimination. A difference between the initial and final versions of the clause was that the final version spoke not just of "equal protection" but of "the equal protection of the laws". Congress may condition an alien's eligibility for participation in a federal medical insurance program. "Original Popular Understanding of the 14th Amendment As Reflected in the Print Media of 1866-68", Whittier Law Review, Vol. "[22] The main opponent of the first version was Congressman Robert S. Hale of New York, despite Bingham's public assurances that "under no possible interpretation can it ever be made to operate in the State of New York while she occupies her present proud position. The first modern application of the Equal Protection Clause to voting law came in Baker v. Carr (1962), where the Court ruled that the districts that sent representatives to the Tennessee state legislature were so malapportioned (with some legislators representing ten times the number of residents as others) that they violated the Equal Protection Clause. On the face, there was no clear evidence of racially discriminatory intent on the part of Arlington Heights's planning commission. [66], All of this is known as "tiered" scrutiny, and it has had many critics, including Justice Thurgood Marshall who argued for a "spectrum of standards in reviewing discrimination", instead of discrete tiers. [78] That level of scrutiny was boosted to an intermediate level in Craig v. Boren (1976). By its terms, the clause restrains only state governments. [26], Bingham said in a speech on March 31, 1871 that the clause meant no State could deny to any one "the equal protection of the Constitution of the United States ... [or] any of the rights which it guarantees to all men", nor deny to anyone "any right secured to him either by the laws and treaties of the United States or of such State. [12] The effort was led by the Radical Republicans of both houses of Congress, including John Bingham, Charles Sumner, and Thaddeus Stevens. This modern doctrine was pioneered in Skinner v. Oklahoma (1942), which involved depriving certain criminals of the fundamental right to procreate:[64]. Tell the Court I Love My Wife: Race, Marriage, and Law--An American History, Reconstruction: America's Unfinished Revolution, 1863–1877, Rehearsal for Reconstruction: Antebellum Origins of the Fourteenth Amendment. This failure to treat equally all those who are arguably similarly situated regarding these burdens or benefits prompts challenges in the application of the Equal Protection Clause. [13], With the return to originalist interpretations of the Constitution, many wonder what was intended by the framers of the reconstruction amendments at the time of their ratification. et al. These provisions are universal in their application to all persons within the territorial jurisdiction, without regard to any differences of race, of color, or of nationality, and the equal protection of the laws is a pledge of the protection of equal laws. While Vinson was still Chief Justice, there had been a preliminary vote on the case at a conference of all nine justices. The present situation, Vinson said, was the former. At that time, the Court had split, with a majority of the justices voting that school segregation did not violate the Equal Protection Clause. [67] The whole tiered strategy developed by the Court is meant to reconcile the principle of equal protection with the reality that most laws necessarily discriminate in some way. 30, p. 695 (2008-2009). The Equal Protection Clause also applies to illegal immigrants in certain cases. Whites almost never opted to attend black-identified schools, however, and blacks rarely attended white-identified schools. It may seem counterintuitive that the Equal Protection Clause should provide for equal voting rights; after all, it would seem to make the Fifteenth Amendment and the Nineteenth Amendment redundant. Sumner, Charles, and Daniel Murray Pamphlet Collection. In its opinion, the Court explicated what has since become known as the "state action doctrine", according to which the guarantees of the Equal Protection Clause apply only to acts done or otherwise "sanctioned in some way" by the state. It was this fact—the fact that the Fourteenth Amendment was enacted by a "rump" Congress—that permitted the passage of the Fourteenth Amendment by Congress and subsequently proposed to the states. 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