Various Themes

Basic Theme

Brown vs. Board of Education
Brown v. Board of Education, a landmark case and decision that changed the course of American law making a politics. The article describes in detail the reasoning and the claims made by the supreme court justices and their final decision on the groundbreaking case. In 1954 the plaintiff brown questioned the constitutionality of the idea of “separate but equal”. Separate but equal or segregation is the practice of separating the races in almost all public settings: different schools, different bathrooms, even different drinking fountains. These services, according to law makers, were provided at the same level as the white only services. This supposid equality was a complete farce designed to put down the african american population. Brown decided to fight against this injustice by sueing the Kansas, Topeka Board of Education after they denied his daughter admission to an elementary school. After careful consideration and the collection of proof, the Supreme Court unanimously overturned Plessy v. Ferguson, the Jim Crow laws, and the idea of separate but equal. In Brown v. Board of Education, Chief Justice Warren indicates that segregation in public education is ruled unconstitutional through the fourteenth amendment and will not be practiced henceforth.

Fourteenth Amendment
The fourteenth amendment guarantees and protects all rights given to all citizens of the United States. The Supreme Court clarified the definition of this amendment to determine if it is applicable to the case of Brown v. Board of Education. The two opposing views involved different interpretations of what the amendment actually states. One view was that the fourteenth amendment applies to any and all civilians and assures that their rights are completely protected. The other view is that the fourteenth amendment specifically is not as broad and limits the definition of citizen and the rights it protects: “The most avid proponents of the post-War Amendments undoubtedly intended them to remove all legal distinctions among “all persons born or naturalized in the United States.” Their opponents, just as certainly, were antagonistic to both the letter and the spirit of the Amendments and wished them to have the most limited effect”(Brown v. Board 121). The two different interpretations directly influence the freedoms given to the citizens of the United States. The limited view of the fourteenth amendment leads to more restrictions and cases like Plessy v. Ferguson to rule against the plaintiff. The Supreme Court chose to use the broad definition of the amendment which allowed for the constituent Brown to find legal ground for this case.

Denying Separate But Equal
The Supreme Court then decided if the established rule of separate but equal is considered constitutional in practice. The question that arises is if segregation is truly equal and if it compromises the constitution. The court found that even if the educational standards are the same for each school, children who have been separated are more likely to suffer from psychological damage. Groups that have been racially segregated tend to be denounced as inferior to their counterparts. With this investigation the Supreme Court identified proof that segregation infringes upon the rights established by the fourteenth amendment: “Segregation of white and colored children in public schools has a detrimental effect upon the colored children. The impact is greater when it has the sanction of the law, for the policy of separating the races is usually interpret as denoting the inferiority of the negro group. A sense of inferiority affects the motivation of a child to learn” (Brown v. Board 123). This lack of motivation caused by segregation is a negative effect that defies what is constitutional. The court used this study, along with the broad definition of the fourteenth amendment to justify their decision to end segregation in public education.