This essay focuses on Civil Rights and the Supreme Court. That is to say, it is often up to the courts to interpret what the various civil rights espoused in the constitution actually mean in practice, and nowhere have such interpretations been more vital than at the Supreme Court, which has been responsible for expanding (and at times contracting) the rights of people belonging to various identities.
# 1 Civil Rights, Identity and the Supreme Court Length:
2-4 pages Due Date: Monday, February 15
As we’ll discuss in class, the language of civil rights (and civil liberties as well) is the language of the law.
That is to say, it is often up to the courts to interpret what the various civil rights espouse in the constitution actually mean in practice,
and nowhere have such interpretations been more vital than at the Supreme Court, which has been responsible for expanding (and at times contracting) the rights of people belonging to various identities.
For example, each of the following cases has been critical in addressing a key right (or set of rights) for a particular
identity (i.e. African-Americans, women, GLBT community).
However, each of these cases has also had an indirect impact on identities that are not directly part of the case, as well as upon society as a whole.
United States v. Virginia (1996)
*this is my topic*
Your task is to research one of these rulings and respond to the following questions:
Firstly, Briefly describe the background of the case
Secondly, What are some of the key events that led up to the case?
Thirdly, What is the key issue at stake?
In addition, What arguments were put forth by each side of the case?
Moreover, How did the Supreme Court rule?
Further, Which side won?
o What was the underlying constitutional argument?
o Were there any notable statements in the dissenting or concurring opinions?
– Describe the impact (or potential impact) of this case
o How might people who associate themselves with different social groups and embrace identities (e.g. racial, gender, sexual) have been affected by this case?
§ Try to assess both the direct effects (on members of those identities themselves), as well as indirect (other identities).
o How might society as a whole been affected by this case?
§ Be sure to give an example.
o To what degree has there been a backlash to this court ruling?
o To what extent might this case affect you, or at least someone you know?
§ Think about individual experiences with issues of race, gender or sexual identity, whether involving yourself or someone you know.
The D2L website has a sign-up forum for these cases.
Students should sign up under the appropriate thread, with no more than two students per group for each case.
Any student who has not signed up by 7 PM on Monday, February 8, will be assign a case based on availability for their particular group