The Equal Protection

4253 Words Jan 12th, 2011 18 Pages
Holding the state law prohibiting non-white males from sitting on a jury was a violation of equal protection.

The purpose of the equal protection clause was to provide protection for the civil rights of blacks. This law clearly discriminates against blacks. Furthermore, any classification of jurors by race would be unconsitutional, whether it be nationality based or otherwise. That is not to say that the state may not prescribe qualification for its jurors, it just may not do so with respect to race. [But age, sex, and education was okay. This is the first exercise of racial protection under the equal protection clause.]

UNITED STATES SUPREME COURT
October Term, 1879

STRAUDER v.
WEST VIRGINIA.

[100 U.S. 303]

ERROR to the Supreme
…show more content…
MR. JUSTICE STRONG delivered the opinion of the court.

The plaintiff in error, a colored man, was indicated for murder in the Circuit Court of Ohio County, in West Virginia, on the 20th of October, 1874, and upon trial was convicted and sentenced. The record was then removed to the Supreme Court of the State, and there the judgment of the Circuit Court was affirmed.

The present case is a writ of error to that court, and it is now, in substance, averred that at the trial in the State court the defendant (now plaintiff in error) was denied rights to which he was entitled under the Constitution and laws of the United States.

In the Circuit Court of the State, before the trial of the indictment was commenced, the defendant presented his petition, verified by his oath, praying for a removal of the cause into the Circuit Court of the United States, assigning, as ground for the removal, that 'by virtue of the laws of the State of West Virginia no colored man was eligible to be a member of the grand jury or to serve on a petit jury in the State; that white men are so eligible, and that by reason of his being a colored man and having been a slave, he had reason to believe, and did believe, he could not have the full and equal benefit of all laws and proceedings in the State of West Virginia for the security of his person as is enjoyed by white citizens, and that he had less chance
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