3 Plessy v. FergusonThe Separate Car Act was passed in Louisiana during the 1890s which declared that rail companies must provide separate but equal accommodations for white and non-white passengers.For occupying the wrong compartment a person could face either a twenty five dollar fine or up to 20 days in jail.This act created controversy and concern which forced black citizens to rebel.Homer Plessy refused to obey and purchased a first-class ticket and sat proudly in a white-designated area on the railroad car.He was immediately arrested for the violation of the Separate Car Act.Plessy believed and argued in court that this act violated the Thirteenth and Fourteenth Amendments to the Constitution.In the lower courts, Plessy lost his case twice which did not stop him from reaching the Supreme Court.The U.S. Supreme Court upheld the previous decisions that racial segregation is constitutional under the separate but equal doctrine.
6 Brown v. Board of Education In the 1950s, schools were separated by race especially in Topeka, Kansas.Linda Brown along with her sister traveled to go to a black elementary school even though a white school was more convenient.As a result of Linda Brown and her family’s frustration, they presented their case to the courts.She strongly believed this violated her Fourteenth Amendment right and fought for equal rights.It was decided in the Federal District Court that segregation in public schools was in fact harmful to African American children.Unfortunately, it was found that since black and white schools had similar buildings, transportation etc, segregation was determined legal.Unsatisfied, the Browns appealed their case and presented their argument that segregated schools will never be equal to the Supreme Court.The decision was made then that state laws requiring separate but equal schools violated the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.
9 Miranda v. ArizonaA victim identified Ernesto Miranda as the suspect in a crime.Police officers quickly questioned Ernesto about this situation without informing him of his Fifth or Sixth Amendment rights.Fifth Amendment is the right against self incrimination.Sixth Amendment is the right to the assistance of an attorney.Miranda blatantly confessed to this crime without an attorney present.The argument was that his confession should be excluded from trial since he was not advised of his rights.The Supreme Court concluded that the police should have read his rights to Miranda and did not follow proper procedure.Now, if a defendant has not been read his “Miranda” rights, their statement is inadmissible in court.
12 Roe v. WadeIn 1970, it was a felony in Texas to abort a fetus unless “on medical advice for the purpose of saving the life of the mother.”Unmarried and pregnant Jane Roe was a Texas resident whom disagreed with this law.She filed a suit against the district attorney of Dallas County, Wade.She believed it violated her First, Fourth, Fifth, Ninth, and Fourteenth Amendments. This law invaded her privacy and violated the guarantee of personal liberty.The Supreme Court decided to invalidate any state law that prohibited first trimester abortions.