Each must keep within the limits defined by the Constitution, and the courts best discharge their duty by executing the will of the lawmaking power, constitutionally expressed, leaving the results of legislation to be dealt with by the people through their representatives. Oktober 1911 in Washington, D.C.) war ein amerikanischer Jurist und von 1877 bis zu seinem Tod Richter am Obersten Gerichtshof der Vereinigten Staaten.Er wurde in Nachfolge von David Davis zum 44. Why may it not, upon like grounds, punish whites and blacks who ride together in street cars or in open vehicles on a public road or street? But in view of the Constitution, in the eye of the law, there is in this country no superior, dominant, ruling class of citizens. A statute may be valid, and yet, upon grounds of public policy, may well be characterized as unreasonable. But by the statute in question, a Chinaman can ride in the same passenger coach with white citizens of the United States, while citizens of the black race in Louisiana, many of whom, perhaps, risked their lives for the preservation of the Union, who are entitled, by law, to participate in the political control of the state and nation, who are not excluded, by law or by reason of their race, from public stations of any kind, and who have all the legal rights that belong to white citizens, are yet declared to be criminals, liable to imprisonment, if they ride in a public coach occupied by citizens of the white race. Harlan disagreed with the Court's rejection of Plessy's argument that the Louisiana law implied that blacks were inferior, and accused the majority of being willfully ignorant on the subject. Mr. Sedgwick correctly states the rule when he says that the legislative intention being clearly ascertained, “the courts have no other duty to perform than to execute the legislative will, without any regard to their views as to the wisdom or justice of the particular enactment.” . The following are excerpts from Justice Harlan’s dissenting opinion: While there may be in Louisiana persons of different races who are not citizens of the United States, the words in the act “white and colored. Justice Harlan s Dissent in Plessy v Ferguson 1896 Mr Justice HARLAN dissenting While there may be in Louisiana persons of different races who are no… It was said in argument that the statute of Louisiana does not discriminate against either race, but prescribes a rule applicable alike to white and colored citizens. Is it meant that the determination of questions of legislative power depends upon the inquiry whether the statute whose validity is questioned is, in the judgment of the courts, a reasonable one, taking all the circumstances into consideration? In Plessy v. Ferguson the Supreme Court held that the state of Louisiana did not violate the Fourteenth Amendment by establishing and enforcing a policy of racial segregation in its railway system. Amendment arguments and instead endorsed the doctrine of “separate but equal.” The dissent, written by Justice John Marshall Harlan, disagreed, arguing that segregation laws According to Justice Harlan, the 13th, 14th, and 15th Amendments "removed the race line from our governmental systems." Such a system is inconsistent with the guarantee given by the Constitution to each state of a republican form of government and may be stricken down by Congressional action or by the courts in the discharge of their solemn duty to maintain the supreme law of the land, anything in the constitution or laws of any state to the contrary notwithstanding. That, as all will admit, is the real meaning of such legislation as was enacted in Louisiana. Iowa Law Review, vol. The fundamental objection, therefore, to the statute is that it interferes with the personal freedom of citizens. Brown wrote the majority opinion in Plessy v. Ferguson that affirmed segregation. Supreme Court Justice John Marshall Harlan wrote the dissent in the case. RE-READING JUSTICE HARLAN'S DISSENT IN PLESSY V. FERGUSON: FREEDOM, ANTIRACISM, AND CITIZENSHIP T. Alexander Aleinikoff* Justice Harlan's dissent in Plessy v. Ferguson I has become an impor- tant cultural text in late twentieth century America. No one would be so wanting in candor as to assert the contrary. Indeed, such legislation as that here in question is inconsistent, not only with that equality of rights which pertains to citizenship, national and state, but with the personal liberty enjoyed by everyone within the United States. Not until 1954 did the Supreme Court accept Harlan’s arguments, when it reversed Plessy v. Ferguson with its Brown v. Board of Education decision. The decisions referred to show the scope of the recent amendments of the Constitution. I cannot resist the conclusion that the substance and spirit of the recent amendments of the Constitution have been sacrificed by a subtle and ingenious verbal criticism. 32 Pages Posted: 18 Apr 2008. In order to regain admittance into the Union the former Confederate states needed to Sixty millions of whites are in no danger from the presence here of 8 million blacks. It is scarcely just to say that a colored citizen should not object to occupying a public coach assigned to his own race. Mr. Justice HARLAN dissenting. The white race deems itself to be the dominant race in this country. To test the law's constitutionality, Homer Plessy, a Louisianan of mixed race, made a point of getting arrested for sitting in the whites-only section of a train car. John Marshall Harlan, (born June 1, 1833, Boyle County, Ky., U.S.—died Oct. 14, 1911, Washington, D.C.), associate justice of the United States Supreme Court from 1877 until his death and one of the most forceful dissenters in the history of that tribunal. Statutes must always have a reasonable construction. The arbitrary separation of citizens, on the basis of race, while they are on a public highway, is a badge of servitude wholly inconsistent with the civil freedom and the equality before the law established by the Constitution. There is no caste here. Ferguson decision was a Kentuckian, Associate Justice John Marshall Harlan. Another famous example of this type of dissenting opinion occurred when Justice John M. Harlan dissented to the Plessy v. Ferguson (1896) ruling, arguing against allowing racial segregation in the railway system. We also said: “The words of the amendment, it is true, are prohibitory, but they contain a necessary implication of a positive immunity, or right, most valuable to the colored race—the right to exemption from unfriendly legislation against them distinctively as colored—exemption from legal discriminations, implying inferiority in civil society, lessening the security of their enjoyment of the rights which others enjoy, and discriminations which are steps toward reducing them to the condition of a subject race.” It was, consequently, adjudged that a state law that excluded citizens of the colored race from juries because of their race and however well-qualified in other respects to discharge the duties of jurymen was repugnant to the Fourteenth Amendment. In respect of civil rights, common to all citizens, the Constitution of the United States does not, I think permit any public authority to know the race of those entitled to be protected in the enjoyment of such rights. Plessy v. Ferguson, 163 U.S. 537 (1896) In Plessy v.Ferguson the Supreme Court held that the state of Louisiana did not violate the Fourteenth Amendment by establishing and enforcing a policy of racial segregation in its railway system.Justice John Marshall Harlan wrote a memorable dissent to that decision, parts of which are quoted today by both sides of the affirmative action controversy. Justice Benjamin Curtis wrote a forceful dissent about the travesty of this decision. Everyone knows that the statues in question had its origin in the purpose, not so much to exclude white persons from railroad cars occupied by blacks, as to exclude colored people from coaches occupied by or assigned to white persons. African Americans in New Orleans fought the new law in several ways, including a legal challenge. Juni 1892 kaufte ein Schuhmacher aus New Orleans, Homer Plessy, ein Bahnticket und saß in einem Wagen, der nur für Weiße bestimmt war. Justice John Marshall Harlan was the lone dissenter from the decision. But I deny that any legislative body or judicial tribunal may have regard to the race of citizens when the civil rights of those citizens are involved. Plessy v. Ferguson, legal case in which the U.S. Supreme Court, on May 18, 1896, by a seven-to-one majority (one justice did not participate), advanced the controversial “ separate but equal” doctrine for assessing the constitutionality of racial segregation laws. Justice Harlan wrote a dissent stating that segregation violated the 14th Amendment because it … But this argument does not meet the difficulty. But in the view of the Constitution, in the eye of the law, there is in this country no superior, dominant, ruling class of citizens. Associate Justice John Marshall Harlan (1833 — 1911). University of California, Davis - School of Law. But this argument does not meet the difficulty. In my opinion, the judgment this day rendered will, in time, prove to be quite as pernicious as the decision made by this tribunal in the Dred Scott Case. Others were made at a time when public opinion, in many localities was dominated by the institution of slavery, when it would not have been safe to do justice to the black man; and when, so far as the rights of blacks were concerned, race guides in the era introduced by the recent amendments of the supreme law, which established universal freedom, gave citizenship to all born or naturalized in the Untied States and residing here, obliterated the race line from our systems of governments, national and state, and placed our free institutions upon the broad and sure foundation of the equality of all men before the law.... For the reasons state, I am constrained to withhold my assent from the opinion and judgment of the majority. Am 7. The thing to accomplish was, under the guise of giving equal accommodations for whites and blacks, to compel the latter to keep to themselves while travelling in railroad passenger coaches. While Harlan had opposed the Thirteenth Amendment (which abolished slavery), the experience of seeing brutal attacks on African Americans in the immediate post-Civil War years apparently changed him. Slavery, as an institution tolerated by law, would, it is true, have disappeared from our country, but there would remain a power in the states, by sinister legislation, to interfere with the full enjoyment of the blessings of freedom; to regulate civil rights, common to all citizens, upon the basis of race; and to place in a condition of legal inferiority a large body of American citizens now constituting a part of the political community called the People of the United States, for whom, and by whom through representatives, our government is administered. Justice Harlan’s dissenting opinion. By the Louisiana statute the validity of which is here involved, all railway companies (other than street railroad companies) carrying passengers in that State are required to have separate but equal accommodations for white and colored persons "by providing two or more passenger Justice John Marshall Harlan wrote a memorable dissent to that decision, parts of which are quoted today by both sides of the affirmative action controversy. Plessy v. Ferguson: Justice Harlan Dissents. But however construed, the intent of the legislature is to be respected if the particular statute in question is valid, although the courts, looking at the public interests, may conceive the statute to be both unreasonable and impolitic. The opinion in these cases proceeds, it seems to me, upon grounds entirely too narrow and artificial. PLESSY v. FERGUSON: Justice Harlan's Dissent 1896 Excerpt. But it is difficult to reconcile that boast with a state of law which, practically, puts the brand of servitude and degradation upon a large class of our fellow citizens, our equals before the law. The result of the whole matter is that while this Court has frequently adjudged, and at the present term has recognized the doctrine, that a state cannot, consistently with the Constitution of the United States, prevent white and black citizens, having the required qualifications for jury service, from sitting in the same jury box, it is now solemnly held that a state may prohibit white and black citizens from sitting in the same passenger coach on a public highway, or may require that they be separated by a “partition,” when in the same passenger coach. MR. JUSTICE HARLAN, dissenting. The 59 th anniversary of Brown v. Board of Education should recall what that great decision did not do—overturn the racial segregation precedent of Plessy v.Ferguson (1896). There is a race so different from our own that we do not permit those belonging to it to become citizens of the United States. The Thirteenth Amendment does not permit the withholding or the deprivation of any right necessarily inhering in freedom. There is no caste here. The law regards man as man and takes no account of his surroundings or of his color when his civil rights as guaranteed by the supreme law of the land are involved. The Plessy Myth: Justice Harlan and the Chinese Cases. In 1890, Louisiana passed a law compelling railways to “provide equal but separate accommodations for the white, and colored, races,” joining several southern states that had already passed similar laws. A statute may be unreasonable merely because a sound public policy forbade its enactment. Persons belonging to it are, with few exceptions, absolutely excluded from our country. Railroad corporations of Louisiana did not make discrimination among whites in the matter of accommodation for travellers. The white race deems itself to be the dominant race in this country. In 1890, Louisiana passed a law compelling railways to “provide equal but separate accommodations for the white, and colored, races,” joining several southern states that had already passed similar laws. in regard to the colored race, for whose protection the amendment was primarily designated, that no discrimination shall be made against them by law because of their color.”. We have before us a state enactment that compels, under penalties, the separation of the two races in railroad passenger coaches, and makes it a crime for a citizen of either race to enter a coach that has been assigned to citizens of the other race. But I deny that any legislative body or judicial tribunal may have regard to the race of citizens which the civil rights of those citizens are involved. Entirely too narrow and artificial proceeds, it justice harlan plessy to me, upon entirely... 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