Supreme Court

Landmark Civil Rights Cases

There are many United States Supreme Court decisions that have had a major impact on civil rights and bail in America.

Some have settled controversial issues, and other decisions handed down by the court continue to be viewed as controversial.

Stack v. Boyle

In 1951, twelve members of the Communist Party petitioned the United States Supreme Court to have their bail reduced. The court ultimately found their bail excessive. The Eighth Amendment to the United State Constitution contains a clause against citizens being required to pay excessive bail. The Bail Reform Act of 1984 addresses individuals charged with a felony. Bail can be denied these individuals when their release conditions can’t assure the safety of other people in the community.

Dred Scott v. Sanford

This was a landmark civil rights case that occurred in 1856. Dred Scott was an enslaved black man who was taken by his owners to free states and territories. Scott’s lawsuit was an attempt to sue for his freedom. The United State Supreme Court ruled that a black person with ancestors imported into the United States, and sold as slaves, were not considered American citizens. They had no standing to bring a lawsuit in federal court.

Brown v. Board of Education
This was a 1945 decision by the United States Supreme Court that changed the world of education. The court declared that specific laws from states were unconstitutional if they required separate public schools for white and black children. It was a unanimous decision that determined any educational facility that is separated in this way is inherently unequal.

Village of Arlington Heights v. Metropolitan Housing Development Corp.
This case was decided by the Supreme court in 1977. It addressed the issues concerning zoning ordinances and what type of structures can be built. These ordinances kept families from a different ethnic-racial, socio-economic classes from residing in particular neighborhoods. The Village of Arlington Heights is a suburb of Chicago. It had a zoning ordinance preventing the construction of apartment complexes in the center of it. The area was zoned for only single-family structures starting in 1959. The court ruled in favor of the challenging party. It said there had to be proof that an official action had a greater impact on a larger proportion of a protected class than on others. It also had to show there was intentional discrimination against the protected class.

Loving v. Virginia
In 1967, the United States Supreme Court made laws forbidding interracial marriage to be invalid. The case was brought to the Supreme Court by Richard Loving, a white male, and Mildred Loving, a black female. They were found guilty when they married one another of the state of Virginia’s anti-miscegenation statute known as the Racial Integrity Act of 1924. They were each sentenced to a year in jail. This Supreme Court Ruling ended all marriage restrictions based on race.

Jones v. Mayer Co.
This case determined the United State Congress has authority to regulate the sale of private property with a goal of preventing racial discrimination. It is designed to ban all forms of racial discrimination connected to the public as well as private rental or sale of property. The Supreme Court determined Congress has the right to do this as a lawful exercise of the Thirteenth Amendment, which enables it to take actions that prohibit private acts of discrimination.

Schuette v. Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action
This is a case that was decided by the United States Supreme Court in 2014. The court was asked to decide if a state is in violation of the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment if it places a ban on sex-based or race factors when determining its admission policy to public universities when such a ban is in the state’s constitution. The court ruled that such a ban is permissible.

Faragher v. City of Boca Raton
In this case, the United States Supreme Court determined the circumstances of for an employer to be liable when the employees are found guilty of sexual harassment under the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and their employee is in a supervisory role of subordinates and more. It was determined by the court that an employer is liable for their supervisor’s behavior, but such liability will be based on the conduct of the victim as well as the employer.

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