The Meaning of Equal Protection in American Constitutional Law

The equal protection clause of the 14th amendment, adopted in 1868 express the commitment of victorious Republican forces after the Civil War to include in the Constitution some protection to the equal rights of newly emancipated slaves.  discussions of equality in 1868 could not show up distinguish among the protections afforded by the due process clause, the privileges and immunities cause an equal protection clause. The focus of the concern for quality was on the rights of African-Americans of the framers of equal protection clause to the overdraft to provide protection equal rights of all persons. In recent years this has meant that the course provides protection for the rights of citizens but shortly after the adoption of the amendment the most important result of the use of the journal to a person was to assure the corporations would be protected against invasions of their rights by state legislatures.

By its terms, the equal protection clause covers action only by state governments. In the case of Bolling v Sharp (1954) one of the desegregation cases that involve the District of Columbia schools, held that discrimination by Congress could violate the due process clause of the fifth amendment. The court has in general apply the same standards of equal treatment to action by Congress as it has to action by state legislatures.

The ideas of a equality problem in the 1860s distinguish the civil political and social rights. One reason the 14th amendment was adopted was to ensure the civil rights act of 1866 could not be repealed.   The piece of legislation protect the quality with respect to civil rights, and understood as including the rights to property and may contracts and will appear as a witness in court papers rights. Equality with respect to civil rights when equal status in the legal relation to the private economy, coupled with the right to enforce the equal status. Equality with respect to political rights was more controversial at the outset many supporters of equal civil rights opposed to equal voting rights of African-Americans. The adoption of the 15th amendments largely abated any concern over equal political rights for time the concern about equal social rights persisted well into the 20th century. Social rights were those arising from personal noneconomic interactions among people and there was general agreement in 1868 that the Federal government ought not attempt to guarantee equality in that domain.

the distinction between civil, political and social rights became blurred in late 19th century as a national commitment to equal rights of some sort of African-Americans favoured. The Supreme Court held that statutes explicitly denying African-Americans right to sit on juries Philo the Constitution is possible quality and also held that the Constitution was violated when administrators used to law that did not overtly refer to race to post disabilities of the members of a racial minority as was held in the case of you quarrel against Hopkins 1866. However, the court construed some civil rights cases and the statutes are related to narrowly and held that the Congress lacked power under section 5 of the 14th amendment to the law by places of public accommodation from discriminating on the basis of race because in the courts you that was not an effort to require equality and social rights.  When the court upheld the statue requiring railroads to segregate their passengers by race in the case of Plessey against Ferguson of 1896 effectively abandoned the effort to assure civil equality of African-Americans through the Constitution and the terms used in 1868 the statute denied equal right of African-Americans to enter into a contract on the military terms of the railroads were willing to offer.

Until the 1940s equal protection clause was rarely invoked to invalidate legislation, occasionally been used to restrict the ability of states to regulate businesses. Concern about racist policies of Nazi Germany and incompatibility racial discrimination with the value Cielo powers with an entry World War II that the revitalisation of equal protection clause. The court suggested that it would apply the Constitution with special care in cases involving disabilities imposed on discrete and insular minorities as the court said in United States v Carolene Products (1938).  and in the course of upholding the internment of Japanese-Americans during the war stated that classification is affecting racial minorities had to survive strict scrutiny as was stated in Korema tsu v United States (1944) which is Japanese relocation measures did,the only instance in modern times when a race discriminating government action has. The final element of the revival of equal protection clause the court when the court invalidated a statute requiring the sterilisation of violent recidivists, but not recidivists in white-collar crime, on the ground that classifications affecting fundamental interests had to be strictly scrutinized as per Skinner v Oklahoma (1942).

During the 1960s the Supreme Court overturned numerous statutes requiring segregated public facilities and began to explore the broader applications of the doctrine it had begun to develop in the prior decade. Cases like Shapiro v Thompson (1969) in validating our requirements the recipients of public assistance reside in a state three year before they became eligible for assistance suggested that the court was about to treat poverty as a classification entail strict scrutiny.   In the next part of our series on the equal protection clause we will look at the modern cases of on this part of the constitution.

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