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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.

Norma McCorvey

Original litigant in Roe who, today, is an outspoken opponent of abortion.

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.


a Black interest group active primarily in the courts.

Brown v. Board of Education

A Supreme Court decision declaring segregated schools inherently unequal.

Southern Manifesto

document signed by over 100 members of congress complaining of "abuse of judicial power."

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.

Reed v. Reed

Landmark case declaring gender discrimination violates the Equal Protection clause of the Fourteenth Amendment and asserting the reasonableness standard for such discrimination.

Equality of Results

Distributing desired things equally to the races.


The standard by which the Court judges gender-based classifications.

Rostker v. Goldberg

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

Roe v. 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.

Griswold v. Connecticut

Landmark case in which the court first found a "right to privacy" in the Constitution.


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 go give preferential treatment to blacks or women.

Compensatory action

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

Buffer zone

Device used, and upheld by the Court, to address concerns about protestors and abortion clinics.

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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