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Judicial Activism: A Necessary Action

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Judicial Activism: A Necessary Action

Judicial activism is rarely needed, but when it is employed, it is only in the most dire of

circumstances. It is the broad interpretation of the constitution of the United States by the

Supreme Court. Some argue that this should not be done, but if it had not been, slavery would

still exist in America. It is obvious that in some cases, it is necessary to expand civil rights

beyond what the constitution explicitly states. This was the case in Brown v. Board of

Education. 9 black students were allowed into a white school, previously segregated. This was

the landmark case in the battle for black civil rights. The judicial activism displayed by the

Supreme Court led to an end to segregation, social equality for blacks and allowed them to

reach respected positions in the American society.

A major effect of the Supreme Courts decision was the desegregation of schools

everywhere. Integration became federal law, and schools could no longer bar applicants based

on race alone. By enforcing this law, the Court allowed blacks to receive

the same education as

whites and effectively removing their status as second-class citizens. They were one step closer

to being fully accepted by the white majority. The integration of children's schools was a

controversial step, and many southerners opposed it with extreme prejudice. There were riots

to oppose this move, but eventually the chaos was subdued and after order was restored,

schools were fully integrated. Black children were now on equal footing with white children and

could no longer be called less intelligent, as they would receive

the same education. Also, this

case led to the 15th amendment, giving blacks the right to vote. This was an important event,

effectively making them complete citizens, legally equal to white men in every way. They could

now vote for the president, a key part of the representative democracy present in the United

States. They became able to directly affect the law, by voting.

Social equality was a major gain for the blacks. As a result of this case, and others after

it, they became increasingly accepted in a previously white-dominated society. With any form of

discrimination outlawed and punishable by law, there was no way they could be kept from their

rightful position as equals in every respect. Lawsuits against discriminators became increasingly

common, and the mindset of the common American was one of tolerance and compassion for

their fellow man. To help underprivileged blacks, affirmative action was put into place, insuring

that those coming from poor backgrounds would not be left behind, simply because of a lack of

money. This helped educate people who otherwise would not be able to afford it, showing once

again that everyone deserves equal education, regardless of class, status or race. Blacks were

also becoming accepted in the mainstream, as political figures, and as entertainers.

The first black Supreme Court justice was Thurgood Marshall, sworn in in 1967. He

was the first true sign that blacks could have power in the United States government. He was

retired in 1991, serving 24 years on the bench. He died two years later, but will always be

remembered as a great civil rights leader and hero to activists everywhere. It was he who won

the Brown v. Board of Education case, effectively destroying the legal basis for segregation in

America and making way for all the advances stated above. He also won some of the cases that

paved the way for the landmark Brown case. One of these was Sweatt v. Painter, a case where

a black man was denied entrance into a graduate school simply because of his race. He also

investigated armed forces stationed in South Korea and Japan, noting that the general practice




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