Policies designed to protect people against arbitrary or discriminatory treatment by government officials or individuals.
The constitutional amendment adopted the Civil War that 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; not deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws."
equal protection of the laws
Part of the Fourteenth Amendment emphasizing that the laws must provide equivalent "protection" to all people.
Scott v. Sandford
The 1857 Supreme Court decision ruling that a slave who had escaped to a free state enjoyed no rights as a citizen and that Congress had to authority to ban slavery in the territories.
The constitutional amendment ratified after the Civil War that forbade slavery and involuntary servitude.
Plessy v. Ferguson
An 1896 Supreme Court decision that provided a constitutional justification for segregation by ruling that a Louisiana law requiring "equal but separate accomodations for the White and colored races" was constitutional.
Brown v. Board of Education
The 1954 Supreme Court decision holding that school segregation in Topeka, Kansas, was inherently unconstitutional because it violated the Fourteenth Amendment's guarantee of equal protection. This case marked the end of legal segregation in the US.
Civil Rights Act of 1964
The law that made racial discrimination against any group in hotels, motels, and restaurants illegal and forbade many forms of job discrimination.
The legal right to vote, extended to African Americans by the Fifteenth Amendment, to women by the Nineteenth Amendment, and to people over the age of 18 by the Twenty-sixth Amendment.
The constitutional amendment adopted in 1870 to extend suffrage to African Americans.
Small taxes, levied on the right to vote, that often fell due at a time of year when poor African-American sharecroppers had the least cash on hand. This method was used by most Southern states to exclude African Americans from voting registers. Poll taxes were declared void by the Twenty-fourth Amendment in 1964.
One of the means used to discourage African-American voting that permitted political parties in the heavily Democratic South to exclude African Americans from primary elections, thus depriving them of a voice in the real contests. The Supreme Court declared White primaries unconstitutional in 1944.
The constitutional amendment passed in 1964 that declared poll taxes void in federal elections.
Voting Rights Act of 1965
A law designed to help end formal and informal barriers to African-American suffrage. Under the law, hundreds of thousands of African Americans were registered and the number of African-American elected officials increased dramatically.
Korematsu v. United States
A 1944 Supreme Court decision that upheld as constitutional the internment of more than 100,000 Americans of Japanese descent in encampments during World War II.
The constitutional amendment adopted in 1920 that guarantees women the right to vote.
Equal Rights Amendment
A constitutional amendment originally introduced in Congress in 1923 and passed by Congress in 1972, stating that "equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of sex." Despite public support, the amendment failed to acquire the necessary support from three-fourths of the state legislatures.
Reed v. Reed
The landmark case in 1971 in which the Supreme Court for the first time upheld a claim of gender discrimination.
Craig v. Boren
In this 1976 ruling, the Supreme Court established the "medium scrutiny" standard for determining gender discrimination.
The issue raised when women who hold traditionally female jobs are paid less than men for working at jobs requiring comparable skill.
Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990
A law passed in 1990 that requires employers and public facilities to make "reasonable accommodations" for people with disabilities and prohibits discrimination against these individuals in employment.
A policy designed to give special attention to or compensatory treatment of members of some previously disadvantaged group.
Regents of the University of California v. Bakke
A 1978 Supreme Court decision holding that a state university could not admit less qualified individuals solely because of their race.
Adarand Constructors v. Pena
A 1995 Supreme Court decision holding that federal programs that classify people by race, even for an ostensibly benign purpose such as expanding opportunities for minorities, should be presumed to be unconstitutional.