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Sean Hu

AP US Government
September 27, 2015
Chapter 5 Outline: Equal Rights

Both ABC televisions Primetime Live and Urban Institutes
experiments showed that black people were treated significantly
differently because of their skin color despite having similar
Legally, Americans are supposedly granted the same rights, however,
it wasnt always this way and even now, theyre still not completely
Equal rights, or civil rights, is a term that refers to the right of
every person to equal protection under the laws and equal access to
societys opportunities and public facilities
At the end, three points should be established:
Americans have attained substantial equality under the LAW
Legal equality for all Americans have not resulted in de facto
equality, meaning many disadvantaged groups are still
receiving disproportionate benefits and opportunities
Disadvantaged groups have had to struggle for equal rights
Equality Through Law
Equality through the law has not been uncommon as even Jefferson
stated in the Declaration of Independence, all men are created
equal, despite he himself owning a plantation with slaves and having
alleged relations with one
A. The Fourteenth Amendment: Equal Protection
The intention of the fourteenth amendment was to nationalize, to
include into the states, the civil rights granted in the Bill of Rights
through the Incorporation Doctrine
But even after nationalizing the Bill of Rights, the Supreme
Court went back on itself with Palko v. Connecticut, allowing
the state to try an individual a second time which goes against
the double jeopardy clause of the fifth Amendment
The Fourteenth Amendment declared no state shall deny to any
person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the law and it
has become what is known as the equal-protection clause
The effectiveness of this clause was not seen for over a
Plessy v. Ferguson established a separate but equal society
Only until 1930 did the Supreme Court respond to legal action
against the notion behind the separate but equal nonsense
allowing blacks to use public facilities reserved for whites
where they are not provided with one
Brown v. Board of Education was a landmark case that was among the
first substantial judicial intervention for segregation
Linda Carol Brown was denied admission to an all-white
elementary school that she passed every day on her way to
her all-black school, much further
The Supreme Court decided, citing the 14th Amendment, that
racial segregation of public schools generated a feeling of
inferiority of the black status in the community that may
affect their hearts and minds
This decision was met with fierce opposition of course and


when Arkansas used the National Guard to prevent black

students from entering a high school, rioting broke out, forcing
the President to use his Commander-in-chief powers to bring
the National Guard under federal control
Swann v. Charlotte-Mecklenburg County Board of Education ruled
busing of children out of their neighborhoods for the purpose of
achieving racially integrated school was constitutionally permissible
As expected, this decision led to public outcry that led to
angry demonstrations lasting weeks in Charlotte
Protestors even burnt buses and beat black residents
This decision also affected the northern communities because
of the discriminatory real estate practices
While the buses led to better performances for the minorities and also
improved racial attitudes, however, the policy often forced many
children to spend long hours on the bus each day and led to white
flight to suburbs where districts were not drawn to keep the races
apart but were too expensive for the black population to afford
The decline of racial busing in the 1990s to its practical end in 2007 as
well as white flight to private suburban schools made Americas school
less racially diverse and more segregated than they were during the
busing era
The reasonable-basis test require government only to show that a
particular law is reasonable and it does not require them to treat all
groups or classes of people equally in all circumstances under the 14 th
Twenty-one year olds can legally drink alcohol but twenty-year
olds cannot because reducing fatalities from alcohol-related
accidents involving young drivers is a valid reason for
imposing an age limit
Because the reasonable-basis test does not extend to racial or ethnic
classification, any law that treats people differently because of race or
ethnicity is subject to the strict-scrutiny test which presumes that
the law is unconstitutional unless government can provide a
compelling basis for it
Race and national origin are suspect classifications
meaning classifying people based on race or ethnicity are
presumed to have discriminatory purposes
Loving v. VirginiaVirginia banned white residents from
marrying a person of a different race claiming its ban on
interracial marriage did not violate the equal protection clause
because the penalty for the offense was same for both
ethnic/racial groupswas the first case that used the suspect
classification, before that it was implicit
Gender classification was placed in an intermediate category so is
constitutionally valid if government could clearly show why men and
women should be treated differently
Rostker v. Goldberg served the important objective of
excluding women from involuntary combat duty but most
cases have since been struck down by the Supreme Court
Fourteenth Amendment Key Court Cases:
Incorporation processes of the First Amendment and due
process cases began before Brown v. Board of Education
which ended the separate but equal issue
Gitlow v. New York (1925): Gitlow was convicted for writing a

B. The

document in 1919 called the Left Wing Manifesto for

threatening to overthrow the government, a concern of
national security. The case also allowed the Supreme Court to
use the due process clause to incorporate freedom of speech
into state laws because it was a fundamental right
Near v. Minnesota (1931): Strengthened the prior restraint of
the press is in violation of the First Amendment, expanding the
freedom of the press
Powel v. Alabama (1932): Expanded access to a lawyer after
the Court reversed the decision because the men were not
told they could hire lawyers and had no access to one until
shortly before the case and did not have time to prepare a
De Jonge v. Oregon (1937): Due process clause applied to
freedom of assembly, allowing De Jonge to legally hold a
peaceful public meeting held by the Communist Party despite
advocating for industrial/political change and a revolution
Cantwell v. Connecticut (1940): Again through the due process
clause included the freedom of religion after Cantwell and his
two sons were insulting the Roman Catholic Church with
pamphlets and recordings but were granted rights for free
Wolf v. Colorado (1949): The Fourteenth Amendment does not
forbid the admission of evidence obtained by an unreasonable
search and seizure
Civil Rights Act of 1964
The Fourteenth Amendment does not extend the prohibition of
discrimination to private parties, thus owners of public
accommodations could bar people from using their facilities or
entering based on ethnic/racial background
However, the 1964 Civil Rights Act changes that basing its ruling on
Congresss power to regulate commerce and thus, the legislation
entitles all persons to equal access to public accommodations and
bars discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, or national
origin in the hiring, promotion, and wages of employees of mediumsize and large firms
The Black Civil Rights Movement pushed for the passing of the
African American soldiers fought alongside their white
countrymen in World War II only to come back to find
themselves still oppressed
Rosa Parks refusal to give up her seat in Montgomery,
Alabama on December 1, 1955 that resulted in her arrest
further pushed for change
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. led the boycott which quickly spread
and it gave momentum to the push for change, lasting for
more than a decade
In 1963 with the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom,
attracting over 250,000 marchers, King gave his I have a
dream speech which carried over into Congress where major
civil rights legislations were delivered
In July, President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act
of 1964 into law after months of conflict within the houses of
the Congress


The Brown decision ushered a new era whereby the Supreme

Court used a three-fold criteria to make decisions to promote
the Fourteenth Amendment due process rights and equal
1. Reasonable Classification: the distinctions drawn
between persona and groups
2. Rational Basis Test: If the legislative intent of a law is
reasonable and legitimate and serves the public good
3. Strict Scrutiny Test: Places the burden on the states to
prove laws that discriminate fulfill a compelling
governmental interest
Women were among the most vocal and successful disadvantaged
group that were inspired by the black civil rights movement
The culture of women in American society was carried over
into law and as soon as a woman married a husband, she
pretty much lost her identity and became a property of the
Lucretia Mott and Elizabeth Candy Stantons struggle in 1848
became the first well-organized attempt to promote womens
rights and it became closely aligned with the abolitionist
Their efforts proved to be ineffective as the Fifteenth
Amendment on the right to vote did not include women
The 19th Amendment was the womens equivalent of the 15th
and its passing in 1923 encouraged women to ask for equal
rights; the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) was initially
rejected by was submitted 50 years later, ultimately failing by
3 states
They did, however, get Congress to pass the Equal Pay Act of
1963, prohibiting sex discrimination in salary, the Title IX of
the Education Amendment of 1972, prohibiting sex
discrimination in education, and the Equal Credit Act of 1974,
addressing granting financial credit
The Title VII of Civil Rights Act banned gender discrimination
in employment
Hispanics also had their political movement, most effective being the
farm workers strikes in late 1960s and 1970s which sought for labor
rights for migrant workers
They were working longer hours and being paid less with
horrible living conditions without plumbing or electricity and
they were unwelcome in many local schools as well as even
The most successful strikes were led by Cesar Chavez who
was a Mexican American and although the Hispanic civil rights
movements lacked the numbers and influence of the black
equivalent, it did bring policy changes including bilingual
Native Americans have suffered their fair share of struggles and was
not even part of the civil rights movements in the 1960s; that was
only changed from 1970s onwards
The population of Native Americans originally numbered at an
estimate of 5 to 10 million but dropped to less than a quarter
of a million by 1900, a population drop never seen in history
Settlers mercilessly drove Indians from their ancestral lands to

the West, further and further, as they expanded and they were
denied citizenship until 1924 so they could not even vote
In 1972, Native American leaders organized the Trail of
Broken Treaties which journeyed from California to
Washington DC protesting federal policy
They occupied the Bureau of Indian Affairs and renamed it
Native American Embassy and the occupation only ended
when the government agreed to establish a committee to
investigate their grievances
In 1974, Congress passed legislation that granted Native
Americans living on reservations greater control over federal
programs that affect them
Asians were also subject to cruel treatments when they were sent to
mine and build the railroads that connect America today; however,
when the needed labor declined, the Congress suspended Asian
immigration on the grounds that they were inferior
Asian Americans were not politically active in the Civil Rights
Movement but was extended anyways by the 1964 Act by
policies for minority groups
Lau v. Nichols (1974), made placing children for whom English
is a second language in regular classrooms in public schools
without special assistance violated Civil Rights Act because it
denied them opportunity to obtain proper education
C. The Voting Rights Act of 1965
While voting rights were technically granted to the black population
with the 15th Amendment, the south rigged the system to make it
increasingly difficult for them to do so including literacy tests and
whites-only primaries
The Supreme Court, in the mid-1940s declared that white-only
primary elections were unconstitutional and the 24th Amendment two
decades later outlawed the poll tax, a fee an individual had to pay in
order to register to vote
The Voting Rights Act of 1965 forbade discrimination in voting and
registration which dramatically increased electoral participation by
African Americans
The act has been renewed many times and one provision included a
requirement of states and localities to clear with federal officials any
electoral change that has effect or reducing voting power of a minority
The redrawing of a district in Texass twenty-third congressional
district by Rick Perry was brought to court in 2006
D. The Civil Rights Act of 1968
The Civil Rights of 1968 prohibited discrimination in housing
Building owner cannot refuse to sell or rent house based on
tenants race, religion, ethnicity, or sex
However, legal prohibitions do not reflect the reality as much of these
causes are outside of legal grounds particularly due to income as
many white communities are in wealthier places that most black
families cannot afford
Redliningrefusing to grant mortgage loans to a community usually
based on ethnicitywas prohibited in 1968 but its effects still
continue today
E. Affirmative Action
While the law has tried to ban discrimination based on race, color,


religion, sex, or national origin, it often has not worked practically

Affirmative action refers to the deliberate efforts to provide full and
equal opportunities in employment, education, and other areas for
members of traditionally disadvantaged groups
These programs only apply to organizations and not individuals and
they receive federal funding or contracts to benefit minority groups
They establish programs to ensure all applicants are treated fairly and
if it grants a disproportionate share of opportunities to white males, it
must also bear a burden of proof to show why such is necessary and
not due to discrimination
De Jure Discrimination is discrimination based on law such as when
state laws require black and white children to attend separate schools
during the pre-Brown period
Affirmative action policies look to eliminate de facto discrimination
condition whereby historically disadvantaged groups have fewer
opportunities and benefits because of prejudice and economic
circumstances, such as inability to pay for college
University of California Regents v. Bakke (1978) was when the Court
received its first affirmative action ruling when a white student was
rejected because the quota set by affirmative action accepted
minority applicants with much lower scores
Court ruled that race could be among the factors taken into
account by schools in their effort to create a diverse student
As part of affirmative action, in 1988, the Congress passed new civil
rights legislations that permitted the federal government to take away
federal funds from colleges that discriminate
In a quota bill whereby the employer was placed the burden to prove
that hiring practices were non discriminatory in nature, but the
Congress softened the bill by placing the responsibility of the
employer rather than the worker to determine if any hiring tests were
States have also passed laws for guaranteed admittances to its
university system for the top 10% of minority students applying for
Affirmative Action has been faced with resistance such as in the
Grutter v. Bollinger case whereby Fisher was denied enrollment in the
university system because the state had a policy that accepted 10%
of each high schools population even though Fisher had higher scores
than the minorities accepted
The Continuing Struggle for Equality
A. African Americans
While legally black Americans are free, equality is far from achieved
Poverty continues to undermine the black community and can be
partially attributed to the un/employment rate of African Americans
African Americans are much more likely to be accused of crime than a
white American and 1-in-3 black man will be in prison in his lifetime
and will receive stiffer punishments
A higher number of black males are going to be in jail in his life than
they are going to finish college, which also shines light on the lower
education rates and poorer education in general that they receive
(poorer communities)
Single-parent households are substantially more likely to have
inadequate resources, not finishing high school, not attending college,

ending up in prison or being unemployed and so many black males

get sent to jail for long terms
African American Key Court Cases:
Richmond v. Coron (1989): Established five procedures for
evaluating the legitimacy of affirmative action, which as a
result, pushed the Congress to pass the Civil Rights Act of
1. Scrutiny test evaluates programs based on racial
2. Congress has more power than the states to enforce equal
protection provisions
3. States taking action must be done on the basis of
evidence that past discriminatory practice existed
4. Programs must be specific and apply to past injustices
5. Affirmative Action programs must be narrowly tailored to
break down patterns of deliberate exclusion
Gratz v. Bollinger; Grutter v. Bollinger (2004): University of
Michigans practice was unconstitutional, relying too much on
the quota system
B. Women
Women has made significant advances, especially on the political field
However, when compared to men, they still fall far short with women
only holding one in six congressional seats and one in five statewide
and city council offices
Women have entered the job market in increasing numbers with
almost half of graduating lawyers and physicians being women
More women have also been enrolled in college and get better grades
However, job inequality is still a big problem with less than 5 percent
of the five hundred largest US corporations headed by women
They also learn about 80% the amount men make
Theyre also expected to raise a family, a job traditionally held by
women, and this may interfere in their careers
From Betty Friedans book The Feminine Mystique, a dawn for
feminism was born with groups such as the National Organization for
Woman (NOW) and the National Womens Political Caucus being
In Ledbetter v. Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company, a female
employer found out her salary was lower than what men received for
the same job and although she lost her case due to not meeting the
legal deadlines, the Congress compensated by passing the Lilly
Ledbetter Act, allowing suits to be filed after the discovery of
discrimination regardless of when that discrimination first occurred
Advances in political office has signified the increase in womens
rights, however, it still hasnt been enough

C. Native Americans
Over a million Native Americans live on or close to reservations set
aside for them by the federal government
Preservation of Native American culture has become a policy goal
Children in schools run by the Bureau of Indian Affairs can now
be taught in their native language
Nevertheless, due to the lack of usage and opportunities,
tribal languages have declined sharply in use
Native Americans have filed suits and reclaimed lost ancestral or

treaty lands but theyre usually not substantial in amounts

Casinos have been built in Native American reservations and they
have offered much economic opportunities, increasing the
employment level but has brought controversy, mostly built upon the
eroding tribal traditions that come with it
Native Americans still earn far below the national average and they
are less than half as likely as other Americans to have completed
D. Hispanic Americans
They are the fastest-growing minority in the United States and often
have larger families due to their Catholic backgrounds
Around 10 million or more, however, are in the United States illegally,
crossing into the United States in search of jobs
Illegal immigration has become a leading contentious issue and US
authorities have had only limited success in stopping the influx
In 2010, Arizona passed a very controversial legislation that called for
police to check for evidence of legal status whenever in the course of
duty they stopped a person for another reason
If the person was an illegal alien, he or she would be detained,
charged with state crime, and turned over to federal
authorities to be deported
This was invalidated in 2012 by the Supreme Court
Most Americans believe Illegal Hispanics that have stayed in the
country for a long time and have a reliable background should be
granted citizenship but they also want tighter border security
Annual income for Hispanics in average is much lower than national
average but are much more likely to live in a stable family
Their sheer size pose a potential force in the coming years despite the
lack of political influence they have today
E. Asian Americans
Asian Americans cultures have emphasized a family-based selfreliance which has translated to academic achievement in the
American context
They make up a disproportionate share of the students at Californias
leading public universities and have the highest percentage of twoparent families in any racial group
This has led to become the group with the highest median
family income, exceeding 60,000
However, theyre still underrepresented in the workplace and account
for about 5% of professionals and technicians, less than percentage of
their population
But theyre even more so underrepresented politically
F. Gays and Lesbians
Gays and lesbians have not been considered a minority and
therefore has become more difficult to achieve the same legal
Thousands of gays and lesbians were dismissed from service each
year because of their sexual orientation
In 1996, the Congress passed the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA)
which defines marriage as a legal union of one man and one woman
as husband and wife and the law authorized states to deny marital
rights to a same-sex couples that has been granted these rights by
another state

The recent Obergefell v. Hodges case passed the Supreme Court in a

5-4 majority to legalize same sex marriage
The issue of homosexuals have come up but it hasnt always been
dealt with open arms
In Bowers v. Hardwick, the Court upheld Georgias state laws
against sodomy but the Court ultimately reversed it in
Lawrence v. Texas in 2003
In 1992, when Colorado began a statewide initiative known as
Amendment 2 so the state could not adopt any laws providing
protected status for homosexuals
The Supreme Court ruled it unconstitutional under Roemer v.
The Dont ask, Dont Tell policy was signed into law by President Bill
Clinton and it allowed gay men to join the military as long as they did
not disclose their sexual orientation but despite its advancements for
homosexuals, it was an indirect bias against them
Gay marriage was first approved in Massachusetts then Connecticut in
2005 and before Obergefell, 12 states plus DC allowed gay marriages
G. Other Disadvantaged Groups
The Age Discrimination Act of 1975 prohibited discrimination against
older workers in hiring for jibs in which age is not a critical factor in job
Mandatory retirement for most jobs have been eliminated by law
Ever since Social Security was introduced, senior citizens have been
considered a segment of the society the government was responsible
for and they have been fast growing such as with the special interest
group American Association for Retired Persons (AARP)
Mandatory Retirement Acts have been established and many
senior citizens want to call for a ban on any kind of mandatory
retirement age
Healthcare has also been a major concern
The disabled are also not protected by the Constitution but protected
through statutes
In 1990, the Congress passed the Americans with Disabilities
Act, granting employment and other protections to the
While the GI Bill of Rights expanded rights of veterans, which often
included disabled Americans, the group has not really been addressed
until the last 20 years when the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA),
required employers, schools, and public buildings to reasonably
accommodate the physical needs of handicapped individuals by
providing such ramps, elevators, and other appropriate facilities in
Religious discrimination is also a big problem that was not discussed
Discrimination has been Americas curse, judging people based on
their superficial differences and has caused much controversy but the
United States has been held at high standards for equalitydespite
being the most elusive ideal based on perspectivebecause of its
history of self-proclaimed values