Assessment Questions



Theseare 1. Thirteenth Amendment

2.Fourteenth Amendment

3.Fifteenth Amendment

Theywere enacted right after North and South Civil War and addressedmatters of political and legal status of African Americans, thus,referred to as the Reconstruction Amendments. These amendments wereto protect African Americans US citizens against slavery, citizenshipand voting rights regardless race color or previous servitude. Theserights are guaranteed that African American to have same rights aswhite Americans.



Plessywas a 7/8 white and 1/8 black mixed race who bought a ticket and satin the areas reserved for the whites he was arrested and charged withviolating the Louisiana Separate Car Act. His attorney pleaded thatthe client’s rights in accordance to fourteen and ThirteenthAmendment had been infringed. Justice H. Ferguson convicted on theaccounts that the states police could exercise powers based uponusage, custom, and tradition. Plessy discontented with the rulingfiled a petition in the Supreme Court of Louisiana. He claimed thatsegregation stigmatized the African American people and made theinferior in violation to Thirteenth and Fourteenth amendments.

`Themajority opinion (7-1) rejected Plessy plea it was stated that theSeparate Car Act did not establish slavery thus it did not violateThirteenth Amendment. In addition it was stated that the Act did notconflict the Fourteenth Amendment. The opinion was that the amendmentwas put in place to ensure legal rights and not social equality. Itwas cited that the accommodation provided for each race were equalThus the legislation was for public peace and good order thusreasonable.


JohnMarshall Harlan stated that the Court obvious ignored the intendedpurpose of the Separate Car Act. It was universally known that theact presupposed the inferiority of African Americans thus puttingbadge servitude. He added that the United States Constitution isblind and knows no color, and it regards man as man and does not takeinto consideration the surroundings or his color when guaranteeinghis civil rights.


Discriminationis the differences in treatment of people not regarding theirindividual qualifications or behavior. Discrimination in criminaljustice is usually seen before the arrest. When someone receives anunfair treatment because of their color, sex or origin, that isdiscrimination while disparity exists as a result of legitimatefactors. In courts, this is associated with decisions mainly made incourt due to previous criminal records of the defendant. Thus, adecision is made based on behavior. Different sentences length incracker and powder cocaine, because one is cheaper to acquire can betermed as disparity.


Dredwas a slave belonging to Dr. Emerson, who was living in Missouri. Hewas taken to free states and lived there for a long time. Dr. Emersonreturned home with Dred Scott and sold him to Sanford. He suedStanford for his freedom on the claim he had lived in a free stateand thus acquired freedom by domicile as a citizen of Missouri.

CourtDecisions and reasons for it

Oneof the worst judicial precedents was delivered in history. TheSupreme Court ruled that Dred was not entitled to the civil rights ofthe constitution, as he was not a person entitled to the citizenshipof the United States but property. And the fact that property (Dred)moves from one state to another slavery-free state does not cease himto be a property of Sanford and be free. Thus, the Congress act isvoid as the constitution protects the rights of the owner ofproperty.


TheFourteenth Amendment has a clause of equal protection rights. TheClause provides that no one should be denied equal rights ofprotection of the law within the jurisdictions’ of states. Thus,this law prohibits discrimination based on gender regarding one’scivil rights.

Craigv. Boren 429 U.S. 190 (1976)


Agroup of male filed a case on the ground that they were denied equalprotection of their rights regarding the age that was allowed to buybeer. In Oklahoma, there was a statute that prohibited male under theage of 21 years to buy 3.2% beer while the limit for women was 18years old.At the onset of the Courts equal protection analysis, itnoted that the previous case developed an intermediate standard ofreview on gender-based cases. These are the case must serve Tosurvive the constitutional test, preceding cases must establish thatcategorizations by gender serve significant governmental purposes andmust be significantly correlated to the realization of thoseobjectives (429 U.S. 190, 197). Thus, the query in the Court wasfundamental whether the Oklahoma statute was significantly connectedto a given important governmental objective. The Oklahoma tried toprove that the answer was yes with social science evidence ofstatistical arrest of people under the influence of alcohol. Thestate showed that there were more arrests for male within 18-20compared to female in the same age bracket.

TheCourt was not moved by the arguments as they were focused onstatistical of offense committed by people within the age of 18-20thus dismissed the relevance of the survey on the matter before theCourt. The Court added that the matter is not being trivial in astatistical sense it can hardly form a basis for the employment ofgender lines as a classifying device. Thus, the argument does notcontent the Court that sex signifies a valid and accuraterepresentation of the regulation of driving and drinking.


Discusshow the Supreme Court has found a right to privacy in theConstitution and discusses one case where it has used the right toprivacy to overturn a state law. Use case law as evidence.

TheSupreme Court, finds the right to privacy from the spirit of theFirst Amendment, Third Amendment, Fourth Amendment, Fifth Amendmentand Ninth Amendment as applied contrary to states by the FourteenthAmendment, produces a general right to privacy which cannot beunjustifiably infringed.

Griswoldv. Connecticut (1965)


Griswoldand Dr. C. Lee Buxton, executive director Planned Parenthood ofConnecticut and professor, a doctor at Yale Medical School werearrested and charged in court found guilty of providing illegalcontraception. They were fine a total of 200 dollars. They appealedthe ruling of the lower court to the Supreme Court of Errors ofConnecticut on claims that the law violated the United StatesConstitution. What they appealed was turned down, and the rulingupheld the ruling. Not satisfy the appealed again to the SupremeCourt of United States which reviewed the case in 1965.

TheSupreme Court overturned the previous ruling by stating that thestate’s ban violated the Constitutional rights of marital privacy.

Thus,the Supreme Court in a decision of 7-2 ruled that the law could notbe enforced as it violated marital privacy rights. Justice JohnMarshall Harlan II added that important right to marital privacysurvives only because matrimonial discretion has traditionally beensheltered by American society. The Connecticut law did not proofnecessary or compelling thus it was struck down.


TheTenth Amendment to the Constitution was ratified in 1791, and itexpresses the principles of federalism in a republican type ofgovernment. The Constitution has set parameters that specify theauthorities of 3 branches of federal government (legislative,judicial, and executive). The Tenth Amendment, reserves all powers tostates that are not given to federal government to exercise otherthan those is constitutionally forbidden to exercise. Thus, the TenthAmendment has honored the federalism by setting a guideline thatshould be upheld by states government and the federal government incase there is a contradiction the judiciary then the interprets thelaw and sets out whose power it is exercising the matter incontradiction.

NewYork v. States 1992


TheCongress enacted the Low-Level Radioactive Waste Policy AmendmentsAct of 1985. The act attempted to impose states to plan for thediscarding of radioactive waste. The states were to be responsiblefor damages suffered by the owner or consequently as failure to havetheir individual waste disposal site. New York claimed that the Actviolated the United States Constitution Tenth Amendment. The Actinvaded the sovereignty of New York State. Thus, prompting the stateto appeal to the Supreme Court.

Thecourt held that the Congress violated the Tenth Amendment to theConstitution by directing the states to regulate in a certain fieldand a particular manner. The Congress is not authorized by theConstitution to commandeer the lawmaking process of states.


Thedue process and equal protection clause of the Fourteenth Amendmenthave been used to protect many categories beyond race. What groups ofindividuals can you envision utilizing this protection in the future?

Dueprocess of the law refers to that regulation of the land in thestates that derives its power from the essential and reservedauthority of the states. Applied within the borders of those vitalprinciple of liberty and justice that lie at the base of all ourcivilian and political organizations and the greatest security forwhich is vested in the right of the people to make their regulationsand change them at their pleasure. The Equal Protection Clause,provided that states should not deny a citizen or person within itsauthority the equal protection of the laws. The primary motives ofthese clauses are to ensure the every person or identity is protectedby Constitution from the unfair treatment. This regulation intendedto protect the states, legal person, liberty, and individuals. Thedue process of law has been applied where the law was vague to bevoid. This is in cases where an average person could not determinewho or what is regulated and what behavior is prohibited and thepunishment imposed by the law. This clause will always protect thejudicial processes of the criminal or any case involving race orcolor or gender issue in the case of civil rights. Also, theorganization is also accorded these rights too. Also, people who willenjoy these rights are those who have different sexual orientationsfrom what is publically accepted to be right.


Craigv Boren. 429U.S. 190, 97 S. Ct. 451, 50 L. Ed. 2d 397, 1976 U.S.

DredScott v Sanford 60U.S. 393, 15 L. Ed. 691, 1856 U.S.

Griswoldv. Connecticut 381U.S. 479,85 S. Ct. 1678,14 L. Ed. 2d 510,1965 U.S.

NewYork v. United States.505U.S. 144, 112 S. Ct. 2408, 120 L. Ed. 2d 120, 1992 U.S.

Plessyv. Ferguson,163U.S.537, 16 S. Ct. 1138, 41 L. Ed. 256, 1896 U.S. 3390.

U.SConstitution. Fifteenth Amendment

U.SConstitution. Fourteenth Amendment

U.S.Constitution. Tenth Amendment

U.SConstitution. Thirteenth Amendment