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Suspect Classification

A legal distinction that the Supreme Court scrutinizes especially closely


Post-Civil War era when southern laws protected blacks' freedoms

Plessy v. Ferguson

A Supreme Court decision upholding state-enforced racial segregation

Separate-But-Equal Doctrine

The standard under which the Court once upheld racial segregation

Jim Crow

The term for laws forcing second-class status on blacks


A black interest group active primarily in the courts

Brown v. Board of Education

A Supreme Court decision declaring segregated schools inherently unequal

De Jure Segregation

Segregation created by law

De Facto Segregation

Segregation that exists but that was not created by law

Freedom of Choice

A school integration plan mandating no particular racial balance

Martin Luther King, Jr.

An early nonviolent leader in black civil rights

Equality of Opportunity

Offering the races an equal chance at desired things

Equality of Results

Distributing desired things equally to the races


The standard by which the Court judges gender-based classifications

Rostker vs. Goldberg

A ruling that held that Congress may draft men but not women

Roe vs. Wade

A ruling that declared all state laws prohibiting abortion unconstitutional

Hyde Amendment

Legislation that barred the use of federal funds for nearly any abortion


A leading feminist organization

Nonviolent Civil Disobedience

A philosophy of peaceful violation of laws considered unjust and accepting punishment for the violation

Strict Scrutiny

The standard by which the Supreme Court judges classifications based on race: they must have a compelling public purpose

Reverse Discrimination

The use of race or sex to give preferential treatment to blacks or women

Compensatory Action

Helping disadvantaged people catch up, usually by giving them extra education, training, or services

Preferential Treatment

Giving minorities preference in hiring, promotions, college admissions, and contracts

Affirmative Action

Designing remedies for overcoming racism and sexism by taking race and sex into account


A Supreme Court ruling stating that a college may not use an explicit numerical quota in admitting minorities but could "take race into account:"


Any persons who are not U.S. citizens

Civil Rights

The rights of citizens to vote, receive equal treatment before the law, and share benefits of public facilities

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