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natural rights

aka human rights; everyone has an equal right to protection against arbitrary treatment and an equal right to the liberties in the Bill of Rights

civil liberties

the freedoms of conscience, religion, and expression

civil rights

the right not to be discriminated against because of race, religion, or gender

affirmative action

programs designed to provide special help to people who have been disadvantaged because they belong to a certain group

women's suffrage

voting for women; Wyoming was the first territory and state to allow women to vote

due process clause

5th amendment, no person shall "be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law;" it protects people from the national government

rational basis test

litigants must show that the law has no rational or legitimate government goals; up to litigants attacking the law to prove; Romer v. Evans upheld that Colorado could not prohibit laws that protected homosexuals from discrimination

strict scrutiny test

in order to prove a law constitutional there must be a "compelling government interest" to justify a classification (of people based on race, etc.) and no less restrictive way to accomplish the purpose; also tests laws that interfere with fundamental rights

suspect classifications

a class of people deliberately subjected to such unequal treatment in the past of that society has made so politically powerless as to require extraordinary judicial protection (i.e. blacks)

heightened scrutiny test

in order to pass a law the government must show that its classification serves "important governmental objectives;" (classifications of gender); unconstitutional to to protect a group because they are "innately inferior"

fundamental rights

rights that are implicitly or explicitly guaranteed by the constitution; laws that interfere with constitutional rights are subject to strict scrutiny

white primaries

Democratic primary in the south that was limited to white people; ruled unconstitutional in Smith v. Allwright

racial gerrymandering

drawing election districts to ensure that African Americans or other minorities are in the minority in as many districts as possible; contrary to the 15th amendment

poll tax

payment required for voting; abolished by the 24th amendment

literacy tests

literacy requirement (understanding of the constitution) as a condition of voting

majority-minority districts

when states redraw district lines in order to create districts in which minority groups make up the majority of the population; unconstitutional to make race the main factor when redrawing district lines upheld in Shaw v. Reno

de jure segregation

segregation imposed by law; integration must be supported by federal government

de facto segregation

segregation occurring because of economic or social conditions or because of personal choice; unnecessary to force integration

commerce clause

gives congress the power to prevent corporations from discriminating against minorities; allowed Title II and VII in the Civil Rights Act of 1964

Title II

section of Civil Rights Act of 1964; prevents discrimination in hotel lodging, theaters, gas stations, restaurants, or anywhere else with interstate commerce

Title VII

part of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 that said that people cannot discriminate for employment in any industry involved in interstate commerce with more than 15 people employed; enforced by the Equal Employment Opportunities Commission

fair housing act of 1968

forbids discrimination in housing and loans; helped prevent segregation

restrictive covenants

provision in a property deed preventing sale to a person of a particular race or religion; loan discrimination; ruled unconstitutional

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