Vocabulary Terms

The Supreme Court's interpretation of the U.S. Constitution is influenced by the composition of the Court and citizen-state interactions. At times, it has restricted minority rights and, at others, protected them.

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Affirmative action
Policies that attempt to redress historical discrimination by advantaging some groups in admissions or hiring
Brown v. Board of Education
Court case that struck down separate but equal segregation in schooling, and with it struck down Plessy v. Ferguson
Equal protection
The guarantee in the 14th amendment that states shall not deny persons within their jurisdiction equal protection for the law; foundation for civil rights in court cases
Majority-minority district
Often created as a result of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, contains mostly nonwhite voters
Plessy v. Ferguson
Court case that upheld the "separate but equal" doctrine; later overturned in Brown v. Board of Education
Separating people, often by racial group, to use different facilities or schools; outlawed by Brown v. Board of Education and the Civil Rights Act of 1964
Separate but equal
Doctrine upheld in the Plessy v. Ferguson case that racial segregation was acceptable as long as each group had access to "equal" facilities