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PSC 2302 (97)

PSC Chapter 9.docx

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Baylor University
Political Science
PSC 2302
James Curry

PSC Chapter 9 10/8/2013 6:29:00 AM Race and the Constitution  No specific mention of slavery, but several references: o 3/5 compromise counts “other persons” as 3/5 of a free person o congress can make no law limiting the importation of “such persons” (slaves) until 1808 o fugitive-slave clause: no person held to Service or Labor . . . shall be discharged  two views o the Constitution justified and condoned slavery o The Constitution was “an evil to be tolerated” and not mentioned Dred Scott v. Sandford (1857)  Background: Dred Scott, a slave, lived in Missouri with his owner o His owner died and Scott claimed to be a free man and, by virtue of that, a citizen of the United States and the State od Missouri o Dred Scott had resided in Illinois and Wisconsin territory (“free soil” as per the Missouri Compromise)  Trial in St. Louis ruled against Dred Scott  Question 1: does residency on “free soil” make a person free? o Ruling: Chief Justice Roger Taney: Congress exceeded its authority in prohibiting slavery in the territories. Held the Missouri Compromise line to be unconstitutional. Therefore slavery was never legally prohibited and Dred Scott did not live on “free soil”  Question 2: is Dred Scott a citizen of the U.S.? o Ruling: no. citizenship was limited to those who were citizens when the Constitution took effect. It had not been changed since o Therefore, Dred Scott was not a citizen because:  He was a slave (not free)  He was a Negro (not citizens when Constitution enacted) Post-Civil war amendments th  13 amendment- abolition of slavery  14 thamendment- citizenship, due process od law, equal protection th  15 amendment- the right to vote shall not be abridged on the basis of race Civil rights cases (1883)  Congress passes CR Act of 1875: o Prohibits racial discrimination in any public places, pubic accommodations, including those owned by private individuals  Supreme court rules Act unconstitutional: o The Equal Protection Clause prohibits STATE discrimination, not discrimination by private individuals State action  Discrimination or segregation is supported or allowed to exist by the State o Examples  Agreement between local restaurant owners and sheriff to automatically arrest any black  Using state courts to enforce “restrictive racial covenants” to keep neighborhoods white  State leases property to private individual who then discriminates on basis of race Plessy v. Ferguson (1896)  Louisiana law requiring separate railroad cars for whites and for those with African ancestry  Homer Plessy, 1/8 African, claims denial of constitutional right  Supreme Court, 8-1, holds Louisiana law does not violate Equal Protection Clause by providing “separate but equal accommodations”  Justified Segregation Separate but equal  most states required segregation by law: o De Jure (by law  Others allowed or encouraged it to occur through custom or existing patterns: o De Facto School Desegregation: Pre-Brown v. Board  Missouri case, 1938: Court rules state plan to pay tuition of Negro th students to attend out of state law schools violated 14 amendment  Oklahoma case, 1948: court rules OU graduate school plan to admit blacks and then totally segregate them violates Constitution  Both decisions insisted on Separate but Equal Sweatt v. Painter (1950)  Background: state of Texas establishes a “second: law school in downtown Austin for black students. Mr. Sweatt, an African- American, wants to attend UT-Austin  Question: do the two Texas law schools satisfy the “separate but equal” requirement of the Constitution? o Answer: the two Texas law schools were separate but not “equal”  Court considered both “tangible” and “intangible” factors 
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