Study Guide for Chapter 18 Equal Rights Under the Law

All information obtained from the lecture notes unless otherwise noted.

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Provisions of the Civil Rights Act of 1964: made racial discrimination illegal in hotels, motels, restaurants, and other places of public accommodation. It also forbade many forms of job discrimination, and Congress cut off federal aid to schools that remained segregated. It also banned sex discrimination in employment by law.


Civil War Amendments: the ratification of the Thirteenth Amendment ended slavery. The Fifteenth Amendment (1870) guaranteed African Americans the right to vote, but full implementation did not occur for another century. Nonetheless, the United States Supreme Court, in Smith v. Allwright (1944), held primary elections are an integral part of the electoral process and thus, prohibiting blacks from full participation in primary elections violated the Fifteenth Amendment.


19th Amendment (1920): guarantees all American women the right to vote


Fastest Growing Minority Group in the US: The fastest growing minority group in the United States is Hispanics.


Which area of government has the largest increase in black elected officials? State Legislatures


De Jure Segregation: Laws that made it a crime for black or white people to go to school together, or to be served together in public places, or to sit together in public transportation. (Burns 416)


De Facto Segregation: Segregation that comes about because of economic or social conditions or results from individual choices. (Burns 416)


Brown vs. Board of Education (1954) in Topeka, Kansas: marked the beginning of the judicial era of civil rights. The Supreme Court used Brown v. Board of Education to set aside its earlier precedent of Plessy v. Ferguson (1896), overturning the doctrine of "separate but equal." The Court held that school segregation was inherently unequal. The Supreme Court's ruling in Brown v. Board of Education was based on the legal argument that segregation violated the Fourteenth Amendment. In 1955, once again in Brown v. Board of Education (Brown II) (1954), the Court ordered lower courts to proceed with "all deliberate speed" to desegregate public schools; however, desegregation moved very slowly until the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which denied federal funds to segregated schools.


Equal Protection Clause: Clause in the Constitution that forbids any state to deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws. By interpretation, the Fifth Amendment imposes the same Limitation on the national government. This clause is the major constitutional restraint on the power of governments to discriminate against persons because of race, national origin, or sex. (Burns 411) Over the last one hundred years, the equal protection clause has become the vehicle for more expansive constitutional interpretations. Note however, that the equal protection clause of the Fourteenth Amendment does not deny states treating classes of citizens differently if the classification is reasonable.


Kerner Report: Appointed by President Johnson, the Advisory Commission on Civil Disorders concluded that, “Our nation is moving toward two societies, one black, one white – separate and unequal” and that “only a commitment to national action on an unprecedented scale” could change this trend. (Burns 406-407)


Affirmative Action: Remedial action designed to overcome the effects of past discrimination against minorities and women.


Bakke vs. U.C. Regents (1978): Allan Bakke challenged the constitutionality of the University of California’s affirmative action program claiming he had been excluded from Davis because of his race. The Supreme Court ruled the California plan unconstitutional. (Burns 419)


internment camps: During World War II, the U. S. government sequestered more than 100,000 Americans of Japanese descent and placed them Japanese Internment Camps ("war relocation centers"). In the case of Korematsu v. United States (1944), the Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of the removal of Japanese Americans from the West coast and their placement in Japanese Internment Camps during World War II. In 1988 President Ronald Reagan signed a law providing $20,000 restitution to each of the approximately 60,000 surviving World War II internees. (Burns 409)


Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964: made it illegal for any employer or trade union in any industry affecting interstate commerce and employing 15 or more people (and, since 1972, any state or local agency such as a school or university) to discriminate in employment practices against any person because of race, color, national origin, religion, or sex. (Burns 418)


Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC): Created by the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to enforce Title VII. The commission works together with state authorities to try to bring about compliance with the act and may seek judicial enforcement of complaints against private employers. (Burns 418)


14th Amendment (1868): made citizens of the freed slaves. The only place in which the concept of equality clearly appears in the Constitution is in the Fourteenth Amendment, which prohibits the states from denying "equal protection of the laws" to any person.


Americans with Disabilities Act of 1991: Prohibits discrimination based on disability and requires that facilities be made accessible to those with disabilities. (Burns 414)


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