Supreme Court Precedents

Decent Essays
Throughout the history of the United States, the Supreme Court has decided the interpretation of the Constitution, the Supreme Law of the Land. They have settled many cases and set many precedents that have changed life in America since its inception. It was the Supreme Court who protected the freedom of speech when a man tried to burn the flag. It was the Supreme Court who decided that a person could not be forced to recite the pledge of allegiance if it went against their religion. And it was the Supreme Court who decided that a free citizen of the United States couldn’t be kept from a public school because of his or her race. The Supreme Courts decision in the landmark case Brown vs Board of Education of Topeka Kansas didn’t begin the…show more content…
Thirteen years later, in 1896, a new case appeared that would set a precedent for racial discrimination for years to come, and ultimately, drive a nigh irremovable wedge between the blacks and the whites in the south. The case in question arose when a seven-eigths caucasian man, Homer Adolph Plessy, broke a Lousiana law barring black people from sitting in certain train cars. Upon refusing to move, Plessy was arrested and brought to court where the case made its way up through district and appellate courts and all the way to the Supreme Court. The question, posed by this case was: is the Louisiana law mandating racial segregation on trains unconstitutional under the fourteenth amendment? The court decided, in a seven to one decision written by Justice Brown, that the different train cars for blacks and whites weren’t a violation of the Fourteenth Amendment. In his conclusion, Justice Brown wrote that the Fourteenth Amendment was intended to provide complete equality for all races before the law. However, he said, it is not intended to eradicate racial distinctions, and enforce social equality, nor is it an attempt to force a collusion of races. This conclusion gave rise to the infamous Separate but Equal Doctrine, a precedent that is a direct cause of Brown vs Board of Education. Though it was not stated in Brown’s conclusion, this doctrine insinuated that so
Get Access