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"To separate them from others of similar age and qualifications solely because of their race generates a feeling of inferiority as to their status in the community that may affect their hearts and minds in a way unlikely ever to be undone."
Chief Justice Earl Warren in Brown v. Board of Education, 1954.
"'All deliberate speed' has turned out to be only a soft euphemism for delay. . . . there is no longer the slightest excuse, reason, or justification for further postponement of the time when every public school system in the United States will be a unitary one, receiving and teaching students without discrimination on the basis of their race or color."
Justice Hugo Black in Alexander v. Holmes County Board of Education, 1969.
"The civil law, as well as nature itself, has always recognized a wide difference in the respective spheres and destinies of man and woman. Man is, or should be, woman's protector and defender. The natural and proper timidity and delicacy which belongs to the female sex evidently unfits it for many of the occupations of civil life. The constitution of the family organization, which is founded in the divine ordinance, as well as in the nature of things, indicates the domestic sphere as that which properly belongs to the domain and functions of womanhood."
United States Supreme Court in Bradwell v. Illinois, 1873.
"Classifications by gender must serve important governmental objectives and must be substantially related to achievement of those objectives."
United States Supreme Court in Craig v. Boren, 1976.
"Condemnation of [homosexual activity] is firmly rooted in Judeo-Christian moral and ethical standards... [eighteenth-century legal scholar, William] Blackstone described 'the infamous crime against nature' as an offense of 'deeper malignity' than rape, a heinous act 'the very mention of which is a disgrace to human nature,' and 'a crime not fit to be named.'"
Justice Warren Burger in Bowers v. Hardwick, 1986.
"I think I probably made a mistake."
Justice Lewis Powell, a decade after his deciding vote on Bowers v. Hardwick upholding Georgia's anti-sodomy laws.
"The Casey decision again confirmed that our laws and tradition afford constitutional protection to personal decisions relating to marriage, procreation, contraception, family relationships, child rearing, and education. In explaining the respect the Constitution demands for the autonomy of the person in making these choices, we stated as follows: These matters, involving the most intimate and personal choices a person may make in lifetime, choices central to personal dignity and autonomy, are central to the liberty protected by the Fourteenth Amendment. At the heart of liberty is the right to define one's own concept of existence, of meaning, of the universe, and of the mystery of human life. Beliefs about these matters could not define the attributes of personhood were they formed under compulsion of the State. Persons in a homosexual relationship may seek autonomy for these purposes, just as heterosexual persons do."
Justice Anthony Kennedy in Lawrence v. Texas, 2003.