What was the constitutional issue surrounding Plessy V. Ferguson?

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  • 8 years ago
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    The state of Louisiana enacted a law that required separate railway cars for blacks and whites. In 1892, Homer Adolph Plessy--who was seven-eighths Caucasian--took a seat in a "whites only" car of a Louisiana train. He refused to move to the car reserved for blacks and was arrested.

    The legal question at issue was whether Louisiana's law mandating racial segregation on its trains was an unconstitutional infringement on both the privileges and immunities and the equal protection clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment.

    The majority, in an opinion authored by Justice Henry Billings Brown, upheld state-imposed racial segregation. The justices based their decision on the separate-but-equal doctrine, that separate facilities for blacks and whites satisfied the Fourteenth Amendment so long as they were equal. (It should be noted, though, that the phrase "separate but equal" was not part of the opinion.) Justice Brown conceded that the 14th amendment intended to establish absolute equality for the races before the law. But Brown noted that "in the nature of things it could not have been intended to abolish distinctions based upon color, or to enforce social, as distinguished from political equality, or a commingling of the two races unsatisfactory to either." In short, segregation does not in itself constitute unlawful discrimination.

    Plessy was later overturned in Brown v. Board of Education, where it was concluded that separate can never be equal.

  • Anonymous
    8 years ago

    Keeping our country clean and our citizens safe.

  • Anonymous
    8 years ago

    It had to do with the legality of not admitting that someone did the homework you turned in as your own.

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