Study Guide

Equal Protection - Terms

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Alexander v. Holmes County Board of Education

In this 1969 case, the United States Supreme Court rejected a request from the Justice and Heath, Education, and Welfare Departments that 33 Mississippi school districts be allowed to delay submission of their desegregation plans. In the majority opinion, Justice Hugo Black wrote that "'all deliberate speed' has turned out to be only a soft euphemism for delay." He therefore stated that "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."

Wygant v. Jackson Board of Education

In this 1986 case, the United States Supreme Court held that a contract granting minority teachers more protection against lay-offs than white teachers violated the Fourteenth Amendment. The Court found inadequate proof of specific, local discrimination to warrant the use of racial classifications. It insisted that affirmative action programs employing racial classifications were permissible only when constructed as a remedy for proven and specific discrimination in the past.

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