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Anonymous asked in Politics & GovernmentLaw & Ethics · 8 years ago

I would like to get feedback on two briefs I have had to write for a paralegal class...?

This is our first assignment on writing briefs and I am afraid I'm going to fail. Our teacheer will not give any feedback, so any comments are helpful.

Case: Brown v Board of Education of Topeka, Shawnee County, Kansas

347 U.S. 483, 74 S. Ct 686

May 17, 1954

Facts: Class actions originated in four states, Kansas, S.C., Virginia, and Delaware in which the plaintiffs, minor ******, wished to be allowed to attend public schools on a non-segregated basis. The plaintiffs allege that segregation is not Constitutional under the Fourteenth Amendment.

Issue: Is it constitutionally valid to allow segregation of races in public school?

Holding: The main holding of the court was that segregation is harmful to students and unconstitutional under the Fourteenth Amendment.

Majority Opinion Reasoning: Chief Justice Warren concluded that there is no place in public education for the doctrine of "separate but equal". It was concluded that the plaintiffs were deprived of equal protection of the laws guaranteed by the Fourteenth Amendment. The supreme court asked for all states to submit plans for proceeding with desegregation.

Concurring opinions: Chief Justice Warren's ruling was unanimous with no dissenting opinions.

and the second...

Case: Dred Scott, Plaintiff in Error, v John F.A. Sandford

60 U.S. 393, 1856 WL 8721 (U.S. Mo.), 15 L. Ed. 691

December Term of 1856

Facts: The plaintiff, Dred Scott has brought this case by writ of error for action of trespass against the defendant, Sandford, for assaulting Scott, his wife Harriet, and their two children. Scott states that the following facts entitle him to his freedom, but before the court addresses those issues it must address the issue of jurisdiction. In 1834, the plaintiff was a slave belonging to Dr. Emerson. In the same year Dr. Emerson took Scott from the state of Missouri to Rock Island, IL., and was there for two years. In 1836, Dr. Emerson removed the plaintiff to Fort Snelling, in the territory at that time known as Upper Louisiana, and held him there until 1838. In 1836, the plaintiff and Harriet were married with the consent of Dr. Emerson. In 1838, Dr. Emerson removed the plaintiff, his wife and children also, to the state of Missouri, where they have since resided. Emerson has maintained he is the owner of the plaintiff as well as his wife and children, and it was his right to lay his hands upon them and imprison them. Scott maintains his time in a free territory entitles himself and his family to emancipation.

Issues: The first issue to be decided is jurisdiction. If Scott is a citizen of a state, is he an U.S. Citizen, because if he is not there is no jurisdiction for his case to be heard, and it should be dismissed. The second issue is whether the Northwest Ordinance of 1787 and also the Missouri Compromise Act entitle Scott and his family to emancipation due to their time spent in the free territories.

Holding: The U.S. Supreme Court ruled 7-2 against Scott, with two Justices dissenting. The basic answer is that Scott, being of African descent, could not claim U.S. Citizenship, and could not bring suit in Federal Court under diversity of citizenship status. It also ruled that Scott's temporary residence in a free territory did not bring about his emancipation, as the Missouri Compromise Act was declared unconstitutional because it would deprive a slaveholder of his rightful property, which is protected by the Fifth Amendment. Sandford was also found not guilty of assault on all three counts.

Majority Opinion Reasoning: A) Rule: The plaintiff, Dred Scott, was seen as the property of defendant, John Sandford, and therefore assault was not committed as his actions were lawful. A citizen's property rights are protected under the 5th Amendment. It was denied that Mr. Scott could ever obtain U.S. Citizenship, so the court did not have jurisdiction. The Missouri Compromise was declared unconstitutional, so Scott was denied emancipation. These decisions were overturned in 1865 and 1868 by the 13th and 14th Amendments.

B) Application: The previous decision in Scott v Emerson ruling in Scott's favor was overturned. It was ruled that the court erred in its judgment, when it was shown that the plaintiff was not a U. S. Citizen.

Concurrence: The Justices with concurring opinions with the court were Taney, Wayne, Nelson, Grier, Daniel, Campbell, and Catron.

Dissenting: The Justices with dissenting opinions were Justice McLean, who argued that Congress could exclude slavery from the territories and could also liberate slaves living in free states. Justice Curtis also dissented, with the reasoning that Scott could be granted federal citizenship by having state citizenship.

2 Answers

  • 8 years ago
    Favorite Answer

    I don't know that you're going to get a review of your assignment(s) here - perhaps there's a teaching assistant with office hours you can visit, a student tutoring organization (or even a classmate), or a helpful alumni your school can recommend - any local resource that you can turn to until you have a feel for your abilities in that class.

    Good luck with it.

    Source(s): For those considering a new job as a paralegal or those already in the profession who are seeking different employment visit You can also check out scholarship opportunities for paralegals at
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  • 4 years ago

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