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Flashcards in Reconstruction Amendments Deck (14):

Slaughterhouse Cases (1873) 13th Amendment

The 13th is to be construed narrowly and in the spirit of its historical purpose, it thus mostly applies to the protection of emancipated African-American slaves. It can also be said to apply to other potential races that might one day be forced into slavery. The purpose of the amendment is to eradicate slavery in the U.S.

Dissent: Field: involuntary servitude has a broader interpretation


Slaughterhouse Cases (1873) (1) Priv. & Imm. Cl. (2) DP CL. (3) EPC Cl.

(1) Court adopts the EQUALITY VIEW of the privileges and immunities clause. If a state opts to provide some fundamental rights to its citizens, it must do so non-discriminantly.

(2) The Due Process clause only protects the procedures in place that the government must follow if it wishes to take your property.

(3) Interprets the EPC clause narrowly. It means that government may not pass discriminatory legislation against blacks. Purposivist reading.


3 Possible Readings of the privileges and immunities clause from the slaughterhouse case

1. Incorporation view. Makes the Bill of Rights incorporated against the states thru the clause. - Modern reading of the DP clause serves as the mechanism of incorporation. - Slaughterhouse DOES NOT rule this reading out because right to free labor isn't in the Bill of Rights, - If accepted overrules Barron v. Baltimore

2. Unenumerated rights view. Substantive interpretation. The idea that the privileges or immunities clause protects the same fundamental rights as the privileges and immunities clause of the 5th and makes them applicable to the states. COURT REJECTS THIS READING. renders scope/meaning toothless

3. Equality view. ADOPTED BY THE COURT. If a state opts to provide some fundamental right, it must do so indiscriminately to all its citizens.


Slaughterhouse Cases (1873) DP of 14th Am & Fundamental Rights

There IS NO fundamental right to make a living in your desired industry of choice. No substantive property right to earn a living. Ct takes procedural view of DP.


Bradwell v. Illinois (1873) Facts RoL

Rol 1. Right to practice law is not a fundamental right,

Facts, Bradwell sued under priv or imm cl. and priv and imm. cl. because Illinois refused to grant her a license to practice law.

- Couldnt raise EPC because of narrow purposivist reading in slaughterhouse.

NOTE, Bradley's dissent in slaughterhouse, but concurs here - women should stay at home.


Minor v. Happersett (1875) RoL Facts

RoL Even though women are citizens, voting is the quintessential political right, it is not a fundamental right protected by the privileges or immunities clause.

Facts Minor attempts to claim that she, as a woman, should have the right to vote because voting is a fundamental right protected by the privileges or immunities clause. structuralist argument: if voting was covered under 14th Am., what's the point of the 15th Am. 14th Am. specifies punishment if black MEN are denied the vote.


Strauder v. West Virginia (1880) Facts Two readings of the EPC

W. Virginia passes a statute limiting jury service to whites only, Strauder was convicted of murder by an all white jury and claimed that the statute violated the EPC,. EPC

1. Strong reading: Anti-discrimination principle, equality of the laws between whites and blacks,

2. A state may pass discriminatory policy if it wishes; however, it cannot do this when the discrimination it based on race.

Arguing for difference to get equal. Claiming black men are fundamentally the same as white jurors but claiming harm because he had an all-white jury.

Strauder wants case removed to federal court. States can still prescribe qualifications for jurors.


Civil rights Cases (18830 Rol Scope of the 13th

Rol Congress has plenary power over the issue of slavery and the legislature can enact legislation to combat it in a PROACTIVE MANNER - Primary and Direct in nature.

Scope - Limited to eliminating the badges and incidents of slavery.

BUT Congress can't use 13th Am. to end all racial discrimination. Congress can't force social relationships.

- Modern day interpretation

- Any kind of discrimination based on race,

- All other forms of discrimination are subject to the state action requirement.

No state action requirement - applies to gov't and private conduct.


State Action Doctrine 14th Amendment

The 14th prohibits STATE ACTION of a particular character, NOT THE ACTS OF PRIVATE INDIVIDUALS. Broad subject matter (compared to 13th Am.) A government corporation (Amtrak) is state actors. Private actors performing "public functions" traditionally performed by the state (political parties controlling elections) are state actors.


U.S. v. Morrison (2000)

Example of the Congress attempting to use the 14th to regulate private conduct, there is no state action here, nor is it attempting to correct state legislation. How?

1. The law applies to all the states equally; regardless of how "just" or "fair" their laws with regards violence to women are, and

2. The remedy the act provides is a Federal tort claim against A PRIVATE INDIVIDUAL

State justice system bias (gender disparate treatment) is not enough to constitute state action.

Souter's Dissent: Section 5 Enforcement Power applies to state actors through discrimination of officials in failing to provide adequate state remedies for women injured by gender-motivated violence. 21 states is evidence that problem is nationwide ("substantial minority").


DeShaney v. Winnebago County (1989)

Rol The due process clause of the 14th is a limitation on State's power to act but not a guarantee of certain minimum levels of safety and security.  It protects the right to negative freedom, it does not provide positive freedom.

Negative freedom = Where a person is permitted to do whatever they want without interference from the state. Non-interference principle.

Positive freedom = That the state is designed to provide for and give its citizens certain benefits.


Shelley v. Kraemer (1948)

RoL Judicial enforcement of a racially discriminatory housing covenant constitutes state action which is a violation of the 14th. - Court limits the judicial enforcement as state action principle ONLY TO the enforcement of racially discriminatory private covenants.


Civil Rights Cases (1883)

14th Amendment

Two issues with the claim

Two problems with 14th Am. claim:

1. Civil Rights Act makes no reference to "adverse state legislation" and 14th Am. applies to state laws and not private actors.

2. Civil Rights Act seems to be applying equally in states with laws that are not discriminatory and 14th Am. is only to CORRECT bad state legislation.

Congress' power has to be targeted and tailored to specific problems. No showing of states not protecting rights is necessary before getting the remedy of access to federal courts (compare to Strauder where he had to make a showing first).


Civil Rights Cases (1883)

Harlan's Dissent

Harlan thinks Ct's holding is too narrow and violates spirit of Amendment. 1. Harlan makes weak textualist argument that Congress has broad power under 14th Am because it states "All persons..." (counterargument: "No State shall...) 2. Harlan argues that state action is present because inns, managers are agents and instrumentalities of the state because licensed by the gov't and amenable to gov't regulation. Argument rejected by Court.