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Reconstruction and the Supreme Court

 

For each case answer the questions that follow you may want to use the following sources:

 

1.      Links provided

2.      Your textbook pgs.465-466

 

Ex Parte Milligan 1 point

 

a. What was the historical background of the case?

b. What did the court decide?

c. What was the significance of the decision with respect to Reconstruction?

 

Texas v. White 2 points

 

a. What was the historical background of the case?

b. What did the court decide?

c. What was the significance of the decision?

 

Slaughterhouse Cases 1 point

 

a. What was the historical background of the case?

b. What did the court decide?

c. What was the significance of the decision with respect to the 14th amendment?

 

Cruikshank v. U.S. 3 points

 

a. What was the historical background of the case?

b. What did the court decide?

c. What was the significance of the decision with respect to the 14th?

 

U.S. v. Reese 3 points

 

a. What was the historical background of the case?

b. What did the court decide?

c. What was the significance of the decision with respect to the 15th amendment?

 

Plessey v. Ferguson 3 points

 

a. What was the historical background of the case?

b. What did the court decide?

c. What was the significance of the decision with respect to the 14th amendment?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Additional Information

 

Cruikshank v. U.S. [92 US 542]

 

But a state and the federal government each has citizens of its own, and the same person may be at the same time a citizen of the United States and a citizen of a state. The government of the United States can neither grant nor secure to its citizens rights or privileges which are not expressly or by implication placed under its jurisdiction. All that cannot be so granted or secured are left to the exclusive protection of the states. U.S. vs Cruikshank, 92 U.S. 542, 23 L Ed 588 [Black's Law Dictionary, fourth edition] http://sovereignandfree.com/articles1.html

The right of the people peaceably to assemble for the purpose of petitioning Congress for a redress of grievances, or for any thing else connected with the powers or the duties of the national government, is an attribute of national citizenship, and, as such, under the protection of, and guaranteed by, the United States. The very idea of a government, republican in form, implies a right on the part of its citizens to meet peaceably for consultation in respect to public affairs and to petition for a redress of grievances. If it had been alleged in [92 U.S. 542, 553] these counts that the object of the defendants was to prevent a meeting for such a purpose, the case would have been within the statute, and within the scope of the sovereignty of the United States. Such, however, is not the case. The offence, as stated in the indictment, will be made out, if it be shown that the object of the conspiracy was to prevent a meeting for any lawful purpose whatever.

 

The third and eleventh counts are even more objectionable. They charge the intent to have been to deprive the citizens named, they being in Louisiana, 'of their respective several lives and liberty of person without due process of law.' This is nothing else than alleging a conspiracy to falsely imprison or murder citizens of the United States, being within the territorial jurisdiction of the State of Louisiana. The rights of life and personal liberty are natural rights of man. 'To secure these rights,' says the Declaration of Independence, 'governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.' The very highest duty of the States, when they entered into the Union under the Constitution, was to protect all persons within their boundaries in the enjoyment of these 'unalienable rights with which they were endowed by their Creator.' Sovereignty, for this purpose, rests alone with the States. It is no more the duty or within the power of the United States to punish for a conspiracy [92 U.S. 542, 554]   to falsely imprison or murder within a State, than it would be to punish for false imprisonment or murder itself.

The fourteenth amendment prohibits a State from depriving any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; but this adds nothing to the rights of one citizen as against another. It simply furnishes an additional guaranty against any encroachment by the States upon the fundamental rights which belong to every citizen as a member of society.

 

http://caselaw.lp.findlaw.com/scripts/getcase.pl?court=US&vol=92&invol=542&linkurl=&graphurl=

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

U.S. v. Reese [92 US 214]

 

The Fifteenth Amendment does not confer the right of suffrage upon any one. It prevents the States, or the United States, however, from giving preference, in this particular, to one citizen of the United States over another on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude. Before its adoption, this could be done. It was as much within the power of a State to exclude citizens of the United States from voting on account of race, &c., as it was on account of age, property, [92 U.S. 214, 218]   or education. Now it is not. If citizens of one race having certain qualifications are permitted by law to vote, those of another having the same qualifications must be. Previous to this amendment, there was no constitutional guaranty against this discrimination: now there is. It follows that the amendment has invested the citizens of the United States with a new constitutional right which is within the protecting power of Congress. That right is exemption from discrimination in the exercise of the elective franchise on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude. This, under the express provisions of the second section of the amendment, Congress may enforce by 'appropriate legislation.'

This leads us to inquire whether the act now under consideration is 'appropriate legislation' for that purpose. The power of Congress to legislate at all upon the subject of voting at State elections rests upon this amendment. The effect of art. 1, sect. 4, of the Constitution, in respect to elections for senators and representatives, is not now under consideration. It has not been contended, nor can it be, that the amendment confers authority to impose penalties for every wrongful refusal to receive the vote of a qualified elector at State elections. It is only when the wrongful refusal at such an election is because of race, color, or previous condition of servitude, that Congress can interfere, and provide for its punishment. If, therefore, the third and fourth sections of the act are beyond that limit, they are unauthorized.

 

http://caselaw.lp.findlaw.com/scripts/getcase.pl?court=US&vol=92&invol=214&linkurl=&graphurl=