Civil Rights Argumentative Essay

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Civil Rights can be most aptly defined as specific privileges possessed by an individual through citizenship that the government is obligated to protect, including the Due Process and Equal Protection Clauses under the 14th Amendment. Furthermore, Civil Rights constitute an individual’s entitlement to equal treatment under the law and freedom from unjust discrimination. The Supreme Court, as the nation’s highest judicial power, should play a substantial role in protecting and expanding (when necessary) the Civil Rights of citizens in various societal institutions including education, housing, employment, voting, marriage, and public amenities. Although many would argue that the Supreme Court lacks the power and influence to enforce its landmark Civil Rights rulings (e.g., Brown v. Board of Education I & II), it none-the-less performs…show more content…
However, it should not be forgotten that allowing the Supreme Court to assume significant involvement in shaping Civil Rights policy might lead to certain decisions that are adverse to the goals of equal treatment and non-discrimination. By looking back at past cases dealing with Civil Rights controversies, one can observe examples of decisions reached by the Court that had both positive and negative effects on the rights of suspect classes. In Plessey v. Ferguson (1896), the Court considered a Louisiana law that authorized separate railway cars for blacks and whites. Plessey argued that this statute violated the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment by subjecting him to unequal treatment under the law. At this juncture, the court was given the opportunity to provide a clear judgment on the issue of racial segregation, which would shape Civil Rights policy for years to come. In a 7-1 decision, the court upheld the law allowing for state sanctioned racial segregation on the grounds that it provided for “separate but equal” facilities. Essentially, the court decided that the Equal Protection Clause
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