Northern Arizona University/Philosophy of Law/Discussion of Online Texts/Week 6
Missouri ex rel. Gaines v. Canada
My question comes from the discussion in class on 2/20/07 on the readings of the case for Missouri ex. rel. Gaines v. Canada. The 14th Amendment was brought up with the clause that states “no state can make any laws that abridge the privileges or immunities of the citizens.” At the time of the case, the clause of protection was also added to the 14th amendment. The argument in class was on the concept that higher education is a privilege that should be granted to all citizens. My question is on the statement in the actual case that Gaines was unqualified to attend a school because he was black. If qualifications are an educational standard, how does the issue of race be created in the first place? I agree with the rulings of the court that separate schools do not provide equal protection under law, as separate neighborhoods for different gangs do not provide protection but promote violence. Just as gated communities keep people of a different social status out, separate schools kept the prestigious in society only an option for white citizens. It seems redundant to find Congress drafting the clause of protection in the 14th Amendment and yet it need not apply to the states. Especially years after the McCullough V. Maryland that established more power to the Federal Government. It is heartbreaking to learn the extent that people will try to bend the law to adhere to their own fears, when the law was established in part to eliminate fears and threats on society. The privilege of higher education is something I agree should be an option for all citizens, but what do you say on an international level? In Canada and some European Countries college is a free service provided by the government. Those countries seem to see education as not only a privilege but necessary to better their society. What is our country saying about education and our society if it is an option that should create a sufficient debt to anyone who attends?
Cassondra Taylor Critical Question #3
Missouri ex rel. Gaines v. Canada
In holding that "If a State furnishes higher education to white residents, it is bound to furnish substantially equal advantages to negro residents, though not necessarily in the same schools." Here the idea of separate but equal is established, and held to be constitutional.
In finding that states may operate educational institutions under the premise of separate but equal as long as they are providing such institutions within their own states or jurisdiction, Missouri ex rel. Gaines set up a situation that upheld segregation and discrimination for years to follow, given the history of segregation and the history of its demise, was such a finding constitutional, practical, and worthwhile?
It may be that finding any other way would have left the states in chaos, and that by upholding the practice of segregation the court was in fact maintaining the peace and protecting the welfare of the citizens, however, is that the function of the court? Should they have pressed forward demanding equal and integrated schooling? Should they have done more to root out the socioeconomic/racial stratification that led to isolated schools in isolated neighborhoods?
[Karlie Knudtsen CQ 4: Roe v Wade
Critical Question #4: Roe v Wade
In delivering the Supreme Court’s decision, Justice Blackmun discusses various sources of abortion law: common law’s understanding of when a fetus becomes “formed” (7), actual contract in light of the Hippocratic Oath (6) and various practices of professional associations (9-11), historical evidence (6, 12-13, throughout) to establish practices constructing the growth of abortion laws, and original purpose as establishing a reasonable connection between the means of abortive practices and the ends of protecting human life. It is my opinion that these sources of law are outlined for the purpose of understanding the constitutionality of states’ rights and enforcement of their abortion laws.
The state’s right of police power to make and enforce laws to protect public health is a central issue in this case. Justice Blackmun brings this issue up repeatedly, stating that “any interest of the state in protecting the woman from an inherently hazardous procedure . . . has largely disappeared” (12), “high mortality rates at illegal abortion mills strengthens rather than weakens the states interest in regulating the conditions under which abortions are performed” (12), and “at some point the state interests as to protection of health, medical standards, and prenatal life, become dominant” (14). It thus appears that the central focus of the case is not abortion, per se, but the extent to which states can use police power and the constitutionality of its usance in regulating abortion laws.
Section VIII asserts “the detriment that the State would impose upon the pregnant woman by denying this choice altogether is apparent . . . [therefore] a State may properly assert important interests in safeguarding health, in maintaining medical standards, and in protecting potential life” (13). This passage seeks to elucidate what the state’s police powers entail. However, it is not apparent by the Constitution that the courts have the power to do this. Justice White dissents to the courts judgment, stating “I find nothing in the language or history of the Constitution to support the Court's judgment” (Wikipedia.com). Furthermore, in class discussion leads me to understand that states retain the right to make laws, as they have always had, for the fitting together of legitimate means to ends. Clearly a proper end is the protection of public health as well as the protection of life, as stated in the Constitution, as long as protection thereof does not conflict with Constitutional rights and laws. This leads me to wonder if the courts attempt to enumerate state’s rights of police power impinges on territory reserved for state law enforcement alone given that the Constitution never defines personhood (15).]