Mendez V. Westminster Case Study

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Mendez v Westminster’s Influence on Brown v Board of Education In 1943, Gonzalo Mendez, a farmer who had recently moved to Westminster, California, tried to enroll his children into the local 17th Street School. The school told him that his children would not be permitted to enroll into the school, and that Mendez’s children would have to attend a separate segregated school. Mendez and his children were Mexican-American. Mendez dedicated the next few years to a lawsuit against the Westminster School District, along with four other Mexican-American families who had also tried to enroll their children into elementary schools and had been denied. Along with Lawyer David Marcus, Mendez took the case to court, and in the end Judge Paul J. McCormick …show more content…
The 14th Amendment Section 1 states, “No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.”While the Supreme Court did not discuss nor question the first part of the section, they had to interpret the second part regarding “due process” and “equal protection of the laws.” Before Mendez, past judges did not question the validity or inclusion of certain races or people in this part. In the ruling of Mendez, Judge McCormick questioned the inclusion of the 14th Amendment and stated that segregation of Mexican-American children who could speak English violated this amendment. This decision had a profound impact in the legal world in these southwestern states, leading other states to begin to question the Constitution and change their legislature based on their interpretaitons. In an academic journal describing the ripple effect Mendez set, writer Manuel González Oropeza and Marcos del Rosario Rodríguez write, “El caso Méndez sin duda marcó un antes y un después en el ámbito jurisprudencial, en cuanto hace a la eliminación de la segregación escolar en los Estados Unidos de América. Tuvo un efecto expansivo en buena parte de la zona suroeste del país, incidiendo en las legislaturas locales para modificar sus contenidos, y de esta manera adecuarse a los parámetros de constitucionalidad prevista en la Decimocuarta Enmienda.” McCormicks decision and ruling encouraged other states to revise their legislature and begin to question the interpretation of the 14th Amendment. During Brown, while the nine men discussed the interpretation of the 14th Amendment, they had to look back at historical cases and events