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Equal Protection History
Law, politics, and culture evolve with the times. These stories show why.
Controversies Over Desegregation and Admissions Quotas
Courts played central role in the desegregation of American schools beginning in 1954Many court decisions regarding school desegregation were extremely controversial With the benefit of half a cent...
Brown v. Board of Education
In 1954 case Brown v. Board, Supreme Court ordered integration of segregated American public schools "with all deliberate speed"Brown overturned the segregationist legal doctrine of "separate but e...
After Brown v. Board
Slow implementation of school desegregation after Brown led Supreme Court to impose more specific requirements on school districtsIn Green v. School Board of New Kent County, Supreme Court ruled th...
Presidents Kennedy, Johnson, and Nixon first implemented "affirmative action" as federal government policyIn 1970s, courts sometimes ordered imposition of specific racial quotas to achieve desegreg...
University of California v. Bakke
1970s affirmative action program at UC Davis Medical School set a specific racial quota, setting aside 16% of its admits for minority applicantsRejected white applicant Allan Bakke sued, alleging t...
Supreme Court has grown more and more skeptical of affirmative action programs in recent decades2003 Supreme Court cases regarding U of Michigan admissions upheld use of race only as one factor wit...
Gender Discrimination and the Law
In 1976 case Craig v. Boren, Supreme Court ruled on constitutionality of laws that treated men and women differentlyCraig v. Boren originated as lawsuit challenging Oklahoma's different minimum dri...
Equal Protection vs. Legitimate Classification
14th Amendment guarantees equal protection but still allows government to make certain legitimate distinctions among different classes of peopleAll classifications must pass "Lindsley test", meanin...
The Old Standard: Restrained Review
Until 1972, courts subjected gender classifications only to restrained review of Lindsley testGender classifications that could be explained by any rational basis were deemed legal For most of the...
Craig v. Boren
In Craig v. Boren, Supreme Court established new standard for reviewing gender classificationsNew standard: "Classifications by gender must serve important governmental objectives and must be subst...
The New Standard: "Intermediate" Review
Craig v. Boren precedent required courts to take a hard look at any laws that treat the genders differentlyGender classifications are still not subjected to the very high standard of "strict scruti...
Same-Sex Marriage & the 14th Amendment
Gay marriage has become a major matter of political controversy in recent yearsSeveral states have legalized gay marriage since 2003Key legal question: Does equal protection clause of 14th Amendmen...
The Road to Lawrence v. Texas
As recently as 1986 case Bowers v. Hardwick, Supreme Court upheld state laws outlawing gay sexIn 1996 case Romer v. Evans, however, Supreme Court overturned a law banning protections against anti-g...
The Gay Marriage Debate and the Due Process Clause
Due process clause, rather than equal protection clause, may provide a more direct path to legalization of gay marriageLoving v. Virginia (1967) overturned state bans on interracial marriage, rulin...
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