History Writing Lab/Period 8 th March 18
The Supreme Court, also known as the land’s “high court”, is the highest Federal court in the United States. It was created in Article III of the Constitution to promise the American people equivalent justice under law. Its purpose is to make a final judgment in cases having to do with laws of Congress and the highest document of all, the
Constitution. The Constitution institutes the power, to the Supreme Court, to check the actions of the President and
Congress. This basically means that the Supreme Court can tell the President that his actions are prohibited due to the laws of the Constitution. Also, the Supreme Court can address issue that Congress has passed a law that goes against the Constitution and can exempt it due to its principals. In the past, the Supreme Court has dealt with many brewing problems that have had major impacts on society. Many decisions made in major Supreme Court cases in the past still affect our society today. Major cases in the history of the United States such as Plessy V. Fergusson (1896)., Brown v.
Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas (1954), and Dred Scott V. Stanford (1857). All are examples of cases that still have a great impact on our modern society.
The Supreme Court did away with the Civil Rights Act of 1875, which was a legislation that forbids an individual to deny “the full and equal enjoyment of any of the accommodations, advantages, facilities, and privileges of inns, public conveyances on land or water, theatres and other places of public amusement; subject only to the conditions and limitations established by law, and applicable alike to citizens of every race and color”, and decided that the
Fourteenth Amendment did not give the authority to Congress to prevent Discrimination by private individuals.
Victims of racial discrimination looked for help from the states. Unfortunately for the victims, the states were passing legislation which arranged inequality between races.
In 1896, the Supreme Court dealt with the case Plessy v. Ferguson, which is one of the most famous cases in the history of the United States. The Supreme Court, in Plessy v. Ferguson, set the doctrine of “separate but equal”.
This justified racial segregation, as not breaking the principals of the Fourteenth Amendment, which guaranteed equal protection under the law to all citizens. In simpler words, racially segregated facilities did not violate the laws of the Constitution, as long as the facilities were equal. Segregation, according to the Supreme Court, is not related with discrimination. The final decision made in this case impacted the lives of many people in society at this time.
It all started in 1890 when Louisiana passed the “Separate Car Act” which was a law that required railroads to separate passengers of different races. A committee in New Orleans was formed to test the constitutionality of this act. The committee chose a person of mixed race to test this act. The committee did this purposely to disprove the laws of the car act because its laws were not consistent on defining what the white and “colored” races are. Homer
Plessy, the man that was chosen, was seven-eighths white and one-eighth African American. Homer bought a first class ticket on the Louisiana Railway. Plessy, upon boarding the train, attempted to sit in all white railroad coach car.
When Homer Plessy was ordered to leave the white railcar, he refused. He was then arrested, for violating the rules of the 1890 Louisiana “Separate Car Act”, specifically, for using non-designated facilities that were originally assigned for his race.
Homer Plessy went to judge Ferguson and the Supreme Court of Louisiana State with his case. As a result of this, Homer Plessy lost both cases in the court of Ferguson and the Louisiana State Supreme Court. He then applied to
State Supreme Court for a writ of prohibition and certiorari. Through this he would be granted