Brown v. Board of Education 1954In 1951, a man named Oliver Brown filed a class-action lawsuit against the Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas after his daughter was denied entrance to Topeka’s all-white elementary schools.Brown claimed that schools for black children were not equal to the white schools. He said that segregation violated the so-called “equal protection clause” of the 14th Amendment, which says that no “state can deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws” (U.S. Const. amend. 14).He based his case off of the Supreme Court case Plessy v. Ferguson, which happened in 1896. The justices said that racially segregated public facilities were legal, so long as the facilities for blacks and whites were equal. The ruling constitutionally created laws that kept African Americans from sharing the same buses, schools and other public facilities as whites. These laws were known as “Jim Crow” laws, and were established by the “separate but equal” doctrine that stood for the next six decades. By the early 1950s, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) was working hard to challenge segregation laws in public schools, and had filed lawsuits on behalf of plaintiffs in states such as South Carolina, Virginia and Delaware.The case, Brown v. Board of Education, went to the U.S. District Court in Kansas. It agreed that public school segregation had a “detrimental effect upon the colored children” and contributed to “a sense of inferiority,” but it still upheld the “separate but equal” doctrine.When Brown’s case and four other cases related to school segregation first came before the Supreme Court in 1952, the Court combined them into a single case under the name of Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka. Thurgood Marshall, who was the head of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund at the time, served as chief attorney for the plaintiffs. Thirteen years later, President Lyndon B. Johnson appointed Marshall as the first black Supreme Court justice.At first, the justices were divided on how to rule on school segregation, with Chief Justice Fred M. Vinson holding the opinion that the Plessy verdict should stand. In September 1953, before Brown v. Board of Education case was going to be heard, Vinson died. President Dwight D. Eisenhower replaced him with Earl Warren, who was the governor of California at the time. Displaying considerable political skill and determination, the Earl Warren succeeded in creating an unanimous verdict against school segregation the following year.The Supreme Court vote was 9-0. In the decision, which was issued on May 17, 1954, Warren wrote that “in the field of public education the doctrine of ‘separate but equal’ has no place,” as segregated schools are “inherently unequal.” As a result, the Court ruled that the plaintiffs were being “deprived of the equal protection of the laws guaranteed by the 14th Amendment.” In its verdict, the Supreme Court did not specify how exactly schools should be integrated, but asked for further arguments about it.In May 1955, the Court issued a second opinion in the case which was known as Brown v. Board of Education II. It blocked future desegregation cases to lower federal courts and directed district courts and school boards to proceed with desegregation “with all deliberate speed.” Though well intentioned, the Court’s actions effectively opened the door to local judicial and political evasion of desegregation. While Kansas and some other states acted in accordance with the verdict, many school and local officials in the South defied it.An example is when Governor Orval Faubus of Arkansas called out the state National Guard to prevent black students from attending high school in Little Rock in 1957. After a tense standoff, President Dwight D. Eisenhower deployed federal troops, and nine students who known as the “Little Rock Nine”. They were able to enter Central High School under armed guard.Even though the Supreme Court’s decision in Brown v. Board of Education didn’t achieve school desegregation on its own, the ruling and the steadfast resistance to it across the South fueled the civil rights movement in the United States.In 1955, a year after the Brown v. Board of Education decision, Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat on a Montgomery, Alabama bus. Her arrest sparked the Montgomery bus boycott and would lead to other boycotts, sit-ins, and demonstrations in a movement that would eventually lead to the toppling of Jim Crow laws across the South. Passages of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, backed by enforcement by the Justice Department, began the process of desegregation in earnest. This landmark piece of civil rights legislation was followed by the Voting Rights Act of 1965and the Fair Housing Act of 1968.In 1976, the Supreme Court issued another landmark decision in Runyon v. McCrary. It ruled that even private, nonsectarian schools that denied admission to students on the basis of race violated federal civil rights laws. By overturning the “separate but equal” doctrine, the Court’s decision in Brown v. Board of Education had set the legal precedent that would be used to overturn laws enforcing segregation in other public facilities. Despite its impact, the historic verdict fell short of achieving its primary mission of integrating the nation’s public schools.Today, more than 60 years after Brown v. Board of Education, the debate continues over how to combat racial inequalities in our nation’s school system. This is largely based on residential patterns and differences in resources between schools in wealthier and economically disadvantaged districts across the country.Gideon v. Wainwright 1963Clarence Earl Gideon was a poor man with an eighth-grade education who ran away from home when he was in middle school. He spent much of his early adult life spending time in and out of prisons for nonviolent crimes. One day, Gideon was charged with breaking and entering with the intent to commit a misdemeanor, which is a felony under Florida law.At trial, Gideon appeared in court without an attorney. In open court, he asked the judge to appoint counsel for him because he could not afford an attorney. The trial judge denied Gideon’s request because Florida law only permitted appointment of counsel for poor defendants charged with capital offenses. At trial, Gideon represented himself. He made an opening statement to the jury, cross-examined the prosecution’s witnesses, presented witnesses in his own defense, declined to testify himself, and made arguments emphasizing his innocence. Despite his efforts, the jury found Gideon guilty and he was sentenced to five years of imprisonment.Gideon sought relief from his conviction by filing a petition for writ of habeas corpus in the Florida Supreme Court. In his petition, Gideon challenged his conviction and sentence on the ground that the trial judge’s refusal to appoint a counsel violated Gideon’s constitutional rights. The Florida Supreme Court agreed with the trial court and denied Gideon’s petition.Next, Gideon filed a handwritten petition in the Supreme Court of the United States. The Court agreed to hear the case to resolve the question of whether the right to counsel guaranteed under the Sixth Amendment of the Constitution applies to defendants in state court. The Court agreed to hear the case because of a prior decision that they had made in the case Betts v. Brady which happened in 1942, 316 U.S. 455. They had said that the refusal to appoint counsel for an indigent defendant charged with a felony in state court did not necessarily violate the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. The Court granted Gideon’s petition for a writ of certiorari. They agreed to hear Gideon’s case and review the decision of the lower court in order to determine whether the Betts case should be reconsidered.The Supreme Court reversed and remanded the decision of the lower court. It had a vote of 9-0. In its opinion, the Court unanimously overruled Betts v. Brady. Justice Hugo Black who expressed his opinions in the Betts case, wrote the opinion of the court in this case also. Justices William O. Douglas, Tom Clark, and John Marshall Harlan each wrote concurring opinions. The Court said that the Sixth Amendment’s guarantee of counsel is a fundamental right essential to a fair trial and, as such, applies the states through the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. In overturning the Betts case, Justice Black stated that “reason and reflection require us to recognize that in our adversary system of criminal justice, any person haled into court, who is too poor to hire a lawyer, cannot be assured a fair trial unless counsel is provided for him”. He further wrote that the “noble ideal” of “fair trials before impartial tribunals in which every defendant stands equal before the law . . . cannot be realized if the poor man charged with crime has to face his accusers without a lawyer to assist him.”Gideon v. Wainwright had an impact on many things. It overruled the previous decision of the Betts v. Brady case which happened in 1942. The Supreme Court also stated that due to the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, all states would be required to provide counsel in criminal cases. This significant case created the need for additional public defenders. Programs were developed in states around the country to help recruit and train public defenders. Today, the number of cases defended by public defenders is huge. For example, in 2011, in Miami Dade County, which is the largest of the 20 Florida Circuit Courts, approximately 100,000 cases were assigned to Public Defenders.Tinker v. Des Moines 1969In December,1965, Mary Beth Tinker was a 13-year-old junior high school student when she and a group of students decided to wear black armbands to school to protest the war in Vietnam. When school board found out about the protest, it passed a preemptive ban. When Mary Beth arrived at school on December 16, she was wearing an armband. She was then asked to remove the armband that she was wearing by the school. When she refused, the school sent her home. Four other students were suspended by the school. This included her brother John Tinker and Chris Eckhardt. The students were told by the school that they could not return to school until they agreed to remove their armbands. The students returned to school after Christmas break without armbands. This time, they protested by wearing black clothing for the remainder of the school year.Through their parents, the students sued the school district for violating the students’ right of expression and sought an injunction to prevent the school district from disciplining the students. The district court dismissed the case and said that the school district’s actions were reasonable to uphold school discipline. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit affirmed the decision without opinion. The students appealed this decision and went to the Supreme Court. On February 24, 1969 the Court ruled, by a vote of 7-2, that students do not “shed their constitutional rights to freedom of speech or expression at the schoolhouse gate.” The Court ruled that the First Amendment applied to public schools, and school officials could not censor student speech unless it disrupted the educational process. Since wearing a black armband was not disruptive, the Court said that the First Amendment protected the right of the students to wear one.Even today, may cases refer to the Tinker court case verdict. In the case Morse v. Frederick, the Supreme Court will decide whether Tinker remains as a good law, and whether the First Amendment continues to protect the right of students to express controversial views that are not disruptive but may disagree with official school policy. Mary Beth Tinker continues to educate young people about their rights. She speaks frequently to student groups across the country. She is also active in directing the Marshall-Brennan Constitutional Literacy Project at American University, which mobilizes law students to teach courses on constitutional law and juvenile justice at public schools. Tinker is a registered nurse, an active leader in her union, and has a masters degrees in public health and nursing. In 2006, as a tribute to Tinker’s devotion to the rights of young people, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) National Board of Directors’ of Youth Affairs Committee renamed its annual youth affairs award, the “Mary Beth Tinker Youth Involvement Award.”Hazelwood School District v. Kuhlmeier 1988Students who enrolled in the Journalism II class at Hazelwood East High School were responsible for writing and editing the school’s paper, The Spectrum. Two of the articles submitted for publication in the final edition of the paper contained stories on divorce and teenage pregnancy. The divorce article featured a story about a girl who blamed her father’s actions for her parents’ divorce. The teenage pregnancy article featured stories in which pregnant students at Hazelwood East shared their experiences.To ensure their privacy, the girls’ names were changed in the article. The school principal felt that the subjects of these two articles were inappropriate. He concluded that journalistic fairness required that the father in the divorce article be informed of the story and be given an opportunity to comment. He also stated his concerns that simply changing the names of the girls in the teenage pregnancy article may not be sufficient to protect their anonymity and that this topic may not be suitable for the younger students. As a result, he prohibited these articles from being published in the paper.Since there was no time to edit the paper if it were to go to press before the end of the school year, entire pages were eliminated. The student journalists then brought suit to the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri, saying that their First Amendment rights to freedom of speech had been violated. The U.S. District Court concluded that they were not. The students appealed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit, which reversed the ruling. It stated that the students’ rights had been violated. The school appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court, which granted certiorari.In the Supreme Court, they reversed the decision of the Eighth Circuit by a vote of 5-3. The decision of the school principal to prohibit the publishing of certain articles which were deemed to be inappropriate does not violate the student journalists’ First Amendment right of freedom of speech. The U.S. Supreme Court held that the principal’s actions did not violate the students’ free speech rights. The Court noted that the paper was sponsored by the school and because of this, the school had an interest in preventing the publication of articles that it deemed inappropriate and that might appear to have the imprimatur of the school. Specifically, the Court noted that the paper was not intended as a public forum in which everyone could share views. It was a limited forum for journalism students to write articles that were according to the requirements of their Journalism II class, and subject to appropriate editing by the school.This case has had an impact on our society today in a big way. The Supreme Court stated that adults have rights that are more important than the rights that students have. This is because the students are at a school. On school grounds, there rights are almost non-existent. This is because on school grounds, the school will be liable for any wrong thing that a student does.Wallace v. Jaffree 1985 The state of Alabama created a law that authorized teachers to conduct regular religious prayer services and activities in school classrooms during the school days. A man named Ishmael Jaffree had three children who attended public schools in Mobile, Alabama. He filed a lawsuit against the state saying that the law intended to establish religion in the schools. This was against the students’ first amendment rights by establishing religion in the school. He said that the children had been taught specific prayers including “The Lord’s Prayer” and “God is Great, God is Good”. The students were asked to recite prayers in place of a moment of silence. If the students refused to participate, they got teased. He said that the law was not being followed as it was written. A man named Wallace said that the law called for only a moment of silence. He also said that it did not require a child to pray at all. The students at the school did not have to say the prayers. He said that the school had no control over the children who were teasing the kids who didn’t say the prayers.The District Court said that the Alabama law was only an effort to bring back voluntary prayers to the public schools. They also said that the evidence of the rule’s intent was confirmed by a consideration of the relationship between other Alabama rules. One of these rules, which was enacted in 1982 as a sequel to § 16-1-20.1 rule for the period of silence for meditation, gave teachers permission to lead students who were willing to in a prescribed prayer. The other rule that was enacted in 1978, as § 16-1-20. l’s predecessor, gave the permission to teachers to give a period of silence for meditation only. The State’s endorsement, by the enactment of the § 16-1-20.1 rule, of prayer activities at the beginning of each schoolday is not consistent with the principle that was established before. The District Court also said that the government must pursue a course of complete neutrality toward religion. The Alabama Court of Appeals reversed this decision.The case went to the Supreme Court. In the Supreme Court, there was a vote of 6-3 in favor of Jafree. The Supreme Court said that the school prayer was endorsed by the school. The school was trying to promote religion in the school. They said that the school was doing this by trying to create a church inside of the school which was prohibited by the government. This violated the first amendment’s establishment clause which stated how schools cannot make any law that are an establishment of religion.This case had a large impact on society. It showed people that public schools could not try to establish a certain religion. They could not try to influence the minds of kids. This is the same with our public schools today. Public schools always have to be very careful when talking about religion. Today, only private schools are able to establish religion. In conclusion, the case Wallace v. Jaffree 1985.