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Standard Oil Case of 1911

Out of the cases decided by the Supreme Court I feel the most influential dealt with the issue of Civil Rights. Two cases in particular that dealt with the post Civil War use of the Thirteenth Amendment were Jones v. Mayer, 1968 and Runyan v. McCrary, 1976. Although the Thirteenth Amendment was added to the constitution in 1865 it was not fully put to use until one hundred years later. That is why I feel that the judgements made by the Supreme Court in these two cases was necessary and showed the way our government can evolve to fit the times. The thirteenth stated that slavery would no longer be allowed in the U.S. unless used as punishment for a convicted crime. After the Civil War many civil rights laws were passed based on the Thirteenth Amendment but were later repealed. Congress drew the conclusion that racial discrimination did not place blacks in servitude. For years after it was believed that Congress did not have the power under the amendment to deal with racial discrimination.

In the Jones v. Mayer case of 1968 helped to bring back the power of a lost Thirteenth civil rights law. The law stated that all citizens of The United States had the right to purchase, sell, or rent any territory that could be enjoyed by white citizens. Jones had sued Mayer because he refused to sell him a home because he was black. The Court decided for Jones saying the Thirteenth Amendment abolished slavery and gives to Congress to abolish the “badges of slavery.” In the 1976 Runyan v. McCrary case, two black students had been refused admittance into two private schools in Virginia. The Court applied another 1866 law that stated all citizens of The United States had the right to make and enforce contracts as do white citizens. Since the schools went against their publicly advertised admissions contract the Court decided for the students. These two cases are very influential because they used the Thirteenth Amendment to give Congress the right to do away with any remaining “Badges of Slavery.”

Two cases that were not justly decided were Plessy v. Ferguson and Michael M. v. Superior Court. In Plessy v. Ferguson the Supreme Court decided that having separated but equal facilities was constitutional and did not inflict a “badge of slavery.” However this gave people the right to segregation and discrimination which is unconstitutional. The discussion also made no inquiry to how to uphold the standards as equal. This was a step back for our country, nothing could truly be equal especially in the region of the south were blacks were severely oppressed by this discussion.

Lastly the discussion that was part of the Michael M. v. Superior Court that is not just regards the law of the men only draft. Requiring that only men be drafted is sexually discriminating. These laws are seen as constitutional under the clause that they are part of an important governmental objective. These laws are about as constitutional as the “separate but equal” laws were. They only give superior power to a certain group of people.


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