Dalon J.Clark Sr.
I. Homer Plessy v. John H. Ferguson
II. Citation: 163 U.S. 537, 16 S.Ct 1138; 41 L.Ed. 256; 1896 U.S. LEXIS 3390
III. Facts: Mr. Plessy is 7/8 Caucasian and 1/8 African-American. He considers himself to be a white man. He entered the train car reserved for Caucasians and was ejected from the train and arrested for doing so. Mr. Plessy feels as if he was denied his rights as a citizen of The United States. The conductor and train officer who forcibly removed Mr. Plessy are protected under the law (163 U.S. 537,541).
IV. Legal Issues: According to the 14th amendment, all persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are made citizens of the United States, and of the state which they reside. Also, the states are forbidden from making or enforcing any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States, or shall deprive any person of life, liberty, or property without due process of law, or deny any person within their jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws. Railroad Co. v. Brown, 17 Wall .445 provided that no person shall be excluded from the cars on account of color.
V. Court Decision: On 5/18/1896, in a seven to one decision the court rejected Plessy’s argument.
VI. Opinion and Reasoning: Based on the 14th amendment, the court saw no violation by the Louisiana Statute. The court also rejected the thought that the statute implied inferiority of blacks (a violation of the 14th amendment). It contended that the law separated the two races as a matter of public policy.
VII. Dissenting Opinion: Justice Harlan was very vocal about his disagreement with the ruling, he asserted, “The law regards man as man.” He insisted that in this country, in the view of the constitution, there is no superior, dominant ruling class of citizens. “Our constitution is color blind, and neither knows nor tolerates classes...