Feb 20, 2015

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Controversial Supreme Court Cases


1) Brown v. Board of Education

brown_apIn 1954 a law that provided separate public schools for black and white students was declared unanimously as unconstitutional. The Supreme Court claimed that the law was harmful to the minority. However, this ruling was not accepted overnight. Even though it helped with the civil rights movements and segregation fight, there were difficulties with enforcing the law. In 1957, Governor of Arkansas blocked black students from getting into Little Rock High School. He used National Guard. In 1963, George Wallace, Alabama Governor blocked the door of the university himself. He did so in an attempt to prevent black students from enrolling into the University of Alabama. Wallace was also heard yelling “segregation now, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever” while he was being removed from the entrance of the university. In both cases the highest levels intervened – in the case from Little Rock, President Eisenhower sent the 101st Airborne Division to handle the integration. And in Alabama, National Guard was sent to remove Wallace by the President John F Kennedy.

2) Roe v. Wade

abortion_debateIn 1973 the US Supreme Court handled a case of a single mother from Texas. Norma McCorvey, also known as Jane Roe was a single mother in the early ’70s with two children and third on the way. However, she didn’t want another child, but she had little choice, since the Texas state law was against abortions. The Supreme Court ruled that a woman has a right to chose, based on the constitutional rights to privacy. In other words, the right to privacy extended to a woman’s resolution on abortion. Nevertheless, this ruling was belated for Roe herself, since she got pregnant in 1969. She gave birth to the child, and gave it for adoption. Still, this ruling gave women across the nation the choice of terminating unwanted pregnancies. This subject is still an issue. But at that time the state was divided into all those who believed a woman’s right to chose against those who claim the life of a baby starts as soon as the baby is conceived, and thus opposing abortion.

3) Lawrence v. Texas

2247454_origIn 2003 in Texas the Supreme Court declared a law prohibiting sodomy unconstitutional. It started with a case of a tip on domestic disturbance. The police answered the call and arrested two men, who were in the middle of a homosexual activity. This case came to the Supreme Court that eventually had the same effect on other similar laws on sodomy in more than ten states. The final result was legalization of same-sex sexual activities, as long as it was consensual. The law was nationwide. The right to privacy extended to such acts, according to Justice Anthony Kennedy. This in effect overruled a previous view of that Court that occurred in a similar case from 1986. In the case of Bowers v. Hardwick, judge argued that states should enforce moral opposition to same-sex activities. However, his belief lacked support, and the case became an iconic victory for gay right activists.

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