Most Important Supreme Court Cases Related to Education

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(1) On May 17th, 1954, the Supreme Court made a decision that would mark a defining moment in the history of the United States. This decision declared “separate but equal” unconstitutional. It was ultimately unanimous, and occurred after a long, sought out campaign to convince all nine justices to overturn the “separate but equal” doctrine that had been sanctioned in the infamous 1896 Plessy v. Ferguson case. The legal path paved in various aspects of racial discrimination in public life has been the equal protection clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. Section I states “no State shall . . . deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws” (Schimmel, Stellman and Fischer 312) At one point in time, it was determined actions by public officials and employees are state actions because public schools are state institutions. This is where Plessy v. Ferguson established separate but equal facilities meet the clause of the amendment. Between the two major cases in 1896 and 1954, there have been a number of lawsuits challenging the separate but equal principle. This case being discussed as the first influential case in the history of education in the United States is Brown vs. Board of Education. Brown was not the only case to push for a change, but rather one of five lawsuits against school districts. Because of the successful lawsuits challenging the doctrine in graduate and professional schools, it was possible for these other cases to step forward. In this case, the court recognized what important function of state and local governments education had become. They realized how education is the foundation on which good citizenship lies. Rejecting Plessy v. Ferguson, the Court determined “separate but equal” he... ... middle of paper ... ...t must be one that neither advances nor inhibits religion; and lastly, the statute must not foster an excessive government entanglement with religion. After applying these tests, the Court can conclude whether or not the separation of Church and state is being met. In the decision of Lemon v. Kurtzman it was unanimous that both programs violated the Establishment cause because they created an excessive entanglement between a religious entity and the state. Works Cited Brown v. Board of Education. No. 347 U.S 483, 74 S. 686, 98. Ed. 873: 1954. First Amendment Schools. 2006. . LDF. 15 Dec 2013 . Lemon v. Kurtzman. No. 403 U.S. 602. 1971. Schimmel, David, Leslie Robert Stellman and Louis Fischer. Teachers and the Law. Eighth Edition. Pearson Education Inc, 2011.

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