Dred Scott v. Sanford (1857): The court bluntly ruled that the Missouri compromise, which prohibited slavery north of a set geographical boundary, was unconstitutional. Also stated that slaves were not U.S. citizens, thus they could not bring suits in federal court
13th Amendment: bans slavery in the United States
14th Amendment: guarantees equal Protection and due process of the laws to all U.S. Citizens
15th Amendment: specifically enfranchised newly freed male slaves Guaranteed the rights of citizens to vote regardless of race, color, or previous condition of servitude
Jim Crow Laws: laws enacted by southern states that discriminated against blacks by creating whites only schools, theaters, hotels, and other public accommodations.
Plessy v. Ferguson (1896): Plessy challenged a Louisiana statue requiring that railroads provide separate accommodations for blacks and whites. The Court found that separate but equal accommodations did not violate the equal protection clause of the 14th amendment
19th Amendment: guaranteed women the right to vote
Poll Taxes: small taxes on the right to vote that often came due when poor African American sharecroppers had the least amount of money on hand
Literacy Tests: difficult reading-comprehension tests given to potential voters by local voter registration officials
Grandfather Clause: voting qualification provision in many southern states that allowed only those whose grandfathers had voted before Reconstruction to vote unless they passed a wealth or literacy test
Voting Rights Act of 1965 (s): Intended to guarantee voting rights to African Americans. Targeted states that had used literacy or morality tests or poll taxes to exclude blacks from the polls. The act bans any voting device or procedure that interferes with a minority citizens right to vote and requires approval for any changes in voting qualifications in areas where minority registration was not in proportion to the racial composition of the district. The significance was that African American voter registration skyrocketed.
NAACP: National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. Founded in 1909 after a handful of individuals active in progressive causes met to discuss the idea of a group devoted to the problems of the Negro
Brown v. Board of Education (1954): U.S. Supreme Court decision holding that school segregation is inherently unconstitutional because it violates the 14th amendment's guarantee of equal protection; marked the end of legal segregation in the U.S.
Equal Protection Clause: sections of the 14th amendment that guarantees that all citizens receive “equal protection of the laws”
Civil Rights Act of 1964 (p,s): Legislation passed by congress to outlaw segregation in public facilities and racial discrimination in employment, education, and voting. It helped the country move past segregation, and over come employment discrimination. This led to the Supreme Court ruling that employers could be found liable for discrimination if the effect of their employment practices was to exclude African Americans from certain positions.
• Outlawed arbitrary discrimination in voter registration and expedited voting rights lawsuits.
• Barred discrimination in public accommodations engaged in interstate commerce.
• Authorized the department of justice to initiate lawsuits to desegregate public facilities and schools.
• Provided for the withholding of funds from discriminatory state and local programs.
• Prohibited discrimination in employment on grounds of race, color, religion, national origin, or sex.
• Created the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
De Jure Segregation: racial segregations that is a direct result of law or official policy
De Facto Segregation: racial discrimination that results from practice (such as housing patterns or other social factors) rather than the law.
Swann v. Charlotte-Mecklenburg School District (1971): The Supreme Court ruled that all vestiges of de jure discrimination must be eliminated at once.
Equal Employment Opportunity Commission: federal agency created to enforce the Civil Rights Act of 1964 which forbids discrimination on the basis of race, creed, national origin, religion, or sex in hiring, promotion, or firing
Equal Rights Amendment: proposed amendment that would bar discrimination against women by federal or state governments
Rational Basis Test: also called the minimal rationality test. Governments must allege a rational foundation for any distinctions they make (in terms of equal protection of the law)
Suspect Classification: category of class, such as race, that triggers the highest standard of scrutiny from the Supreme Court
Strict Scrutiny: a heightened standard of review used by the Supreme Court to determine the constitutional validity of a challenged practice
Reed v. Reed (1971): turned the tide in terms of constitutional litigation, ruling that the equal protection clause of the 14th amendment prohibited unreasonable classifications based on sex
Craig v. Boren (1976): The court ruled that keeping drunk drivers off the roads may be an important government objective, but allowing women aged eighteen to twenty-one to drink alcoholic beverages while prohibiting men of the same age from drinking is not substantially related to that goal.
Title IX of the Educational Amendments of 1972: bars educational institutions receiving federal funds from discriminating against female students
Romer v. Evans (1996): a Colorado constitutional amendment precluding any legislative, executive, or judicial action at any state or local level designed to bar discrimination based on sexual preference was ruled not rational or reasonable
Americans with Disabilities Act: Defines a disabled person as someone with a physical or mental impairment that limits one or more “life activities,” or who has a record of such impairment. Thus extending the protections of the Civil Rights Act to all of those with physical or mental disabilities
Affirmative Action: policies designed to give special attention or compensatory treatment to members of a previously disadvantaged group
University of California v. Bakke (1978): A sharply divided Court concluded that the university's rejection of Bakke as a student had been illegal because the use of strict affirmative action quotas was inappropriate. However, the medical school was free to “take race into account.”