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Rights Protection for African-Americans and Members of the Gay Community (Coursework Sample)


Question 1: Rights Protection for African-Americans and Members of the Gay Community
Question 2: Right to Privacy and Affirmative Action

Civil Rights
Question 1: Rights Protection for African-Americans and Members of the Gay Community
Racial discrimination and the quest to end it has been a core objective of the civil rights movement in the US. Predominantly, Black rights and discriminative acts directed towards this group are definitive elements of some the legal issues the Supreme Court has adjudicated over in the achievement of racial equality. In an 1857 case, Dred Scott v. Sandford, this court established that slaves, who were mainly Blacks, were not recognized as citizens, but as property owned by the masters. This ruling was delivered in a context where slavery was perceived as an acceptable practice and the stereotype that African-Americans were inferior to their masters prevailed. An important precedent in achieving equality was Plessy vs. Ferguson, which promoted the 'separate but equal' paradigm; this policy supported segregation as long as amenities provided for either groups were of equal standards. The difference in opinion between the federal government and state authorities had derailed abolishment of slavery, but the Supreme Court usually maintained federal protection for African-Americans; for example, in Shelley vs. Kraemer, which overruled any discriminative prevention from purchasing and residing of property directed towards Blacks. Brown vs. Board of Education and Heart of Atlanta, Inc. vs. United States reversed the 'separate but equal' policy, by stipulating that any discriminative act, such as segregation and discriminate selection of clients, was an infringement of equal rights dictated in the constitution.
A similarity between the racial equality quest and the pursuit of gay rights is that federal protection for these groups in several instances has faced state opposition. In Romer vs. Evans, and Hollingsworth vs. Perry, the Supreme Court overruled state regulations infringing on rights of gay individuals in Colorado and California respectively. United States vs. Windsor overruled the Defense of Marriage Act, as it claimed this Act unconstitutionally interfered with the definition of marriage, which disadvantaged same-sex couples. Obergefell vs. Hodges was a landmark case in which the court affirmed federal support for gay marriages. Both the gay and the Black rights movement have achieved significant milestones through precedents set in the Supreme Court and judicial review by this institution over decisions made by state courts.
Question 2: Right to Privacy and Affirmative Action
The abortion debate encompasses both legal and moral arguments for induced termination of pregnancy. One of the principal issues in this debate is whether human life begins at conception or at birth, and the rights a woman has over her body. Pro-choice proponents believe that the legalization of abortion was a major milestone in the protection of women rights, especially within the gender equality context. A major case precedent on this issue is Roe vs. Wade where the Supreme Court established that woman has a right to her personal privacy, which includes deciding whether to bear a child or not. The court's decision was based on the Fourteenth Amendment's provision for personal liberty that encompassed a guarantee of specific zones of privacy; the ruling posited that this constitutional provision included a woman's choice in termination of her pregnancy. The court's decision in Harris vs. McRae, however, deprived women from economically challenged backgrounds the right to decide whether to abort or not. This ruling highlighted that a state's reluctance to fund abortion could not be categorized as an infringement on women's rights. Nonetheless, other cases such as Colautti vs. Franklin, and City of Akron vs. Akron Center continued to emphasize that the principal rights to be considered during an abortion were the woman's. Planned Parenthood vs. Cassey reaffirmed the ruling in Roe vs. Wade by stipulating that states cannot ban abortions, as this would be interfering with a woman's rights to decide whether to terminate a pregnancy or not.
Same-sex marriages have been an issue of contention in the United States and globally; similar to the abortion issue, the debate includes both legal and moral aspects, with those supporting the latter seeking to have them enacted as legislation. Affirmative action for gay couples and their individual rights have been supported by Supreme Court cases such as One, Inc. vs. Olesen, a 1958 case that involved the FBI and the country's Post Office denying delivery of a magazine on homosexuality. This case was the first time the court rule in favor ...
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