You have researched Muller v. Oregon and have read Supreme Court Declares School Segregation Unconstitutional in Brown v. Board of Education.
Choose one of these cases and look at the impact it had on society at the time. Look through the rulings and see what the justices on each side argued.
Then in a short paper, discuss how current societal mores and beliefs seemed to affect (or not affect) the SCOTUS decision and if the decisions themselves became the catalyst for societal change. How does the law affect society and society affect the way the Constitution is viewed? At the end, include a paragraph about which side of the case a forensic psychologist might support and why.
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There are various rulings in American society that shaped the current state of racial integration. Most importantly, in the learning institutions, the Brown v. Board of Education set forth the current cosmopolitan learning environment in which racial interaction is evident. Through the SCOTUS ruling, people of diverse races could access education without separation. Therefore, this paper will examine the case ruling as per the case questions.
Influence of Current Societal Morals and Beliefs on SCOTUS’ Decision
Social morals and beliefs are often an aspect of conflict in the decision-making process in the SCOTUS. As a clear example, the debate about same-sex marriage was an important issue that led to the debates revolving around the notion of morality. Most specifically, the case was a clear example of how societal morals coupled with beliefs affected the SCOTUS’ decision (Patterson & Freehling, 2011). From the analysis of the case, it was apparent that in society, the following aspects of morality and social norms affected the decision-making process:
- The universal fight against separate and unequal education: before the making of a decision about the case, the society was evidenced by increasing unity across all the races in a fight for equality. As such, Bell, (2004) emphasizes that the strengthening of the fight against segregation was gaining tremendous influence in society with the need to accept equality as an aspect of concern.
- Societal disapproval of old laws as immoral: a majority of the Americans in the society were against the various laws that seemed to present underhandedness to African Americans. Before the civil war, there had been promises to ensure and sustain racial equality (Patterson & Freehling, 2011). However; the laws were still a symbol of racial segregation across American society with massive disapproval an aspect of concern
The decision as a Catalyst for Societal Change
In the first years after SCOTUS’ decision on the case, there was the prospect of a challenging environment in the implementation process. The different justices were amazed by the tremendous impact of the decision as evident from the voluminous migration of African Americans to the cities (Patterson & Freehling, 2011). Accordingly, by the early 1970s, a majority of the urban school districts, as per Bell, (2004) comprised African American students. Despite the shortcomings in the complete elimination of segregation, the court ruling set precedence for future decisions. Accordingly, as evident from the 1955 case, the 17 states that were still practicing segregation were required to integrate and adopt universal access to services and education tools to all races (Patterson & Freehling, 2011). As such, any resistance would translate into the closure of the public schools. The court ruling, in reference to Patterson & Freehling, (2011) set the foundation for racial acceptance and the development of the need for universal access to education across the US. Through the emphasis on equality in the education process, the ruling set the stage for heightened levels of litigation against schools and the prospect of empowerment of minority communities.
The Law’s influence on Society and Society’s view on the Constitution
The court decision on the Brown v. Board of Education affected society in two main ways. Firstly, the composition of the various learning institutions is based on multi-racial interaction. Through the law, there is an emphasis on racial integration across society. Further, the law has set forth the foundation of societal harmony. People across various races can interact both in the learning and social environment. Secondly, the law has led to the increasing need for accountability in both the education and public sector in promoting education for all races and individuals from economically challenged societies (Bell, 2004). The law has been influencing society up to today with the emphasis on education in a universal manner an aspect of fast and widespread integration.
Society plays a fundamental role in how the constitution is viewed. In most instances, the constitution has been based on prevalent societal values, morals, and views. Clearly, the analysis of the law presents the notion that society has a tremendous influence on the constitution-making process (Bell, 2004). In the present environment, the societal acceptance of the law and racial integration influenced the development process of various amendments toward ensuring personal liberty to access to education.
Forensic Psychologist Perception of the Case
Forensic psychologists opposing the ruling may argue based on the need for separate but equal rights. Establishing an environment whereby students have access to equal educational material and learning material does not infringe on personal rights (Patterson & Freehling, 2011). Admittedly, education in line with the set standards, despite the segregation based on race does not influence the outcomes of the learning process.
Proponents of the integration approach may argue that there are significant effects of segregation on the minds of African American children. Admittedly, there is the finding that segregation translates into different races developing distinctive perceptions in either a positive or negative manner. Negative perceptions such as racial superiority can further the negative implications on society such as racial wars and discriminatory conduct (Bell, 2004).
The ruling is a landmark case that made a significant impact on society. At a time whereby segregation was an issue of concern, the ruling set forth the need for integration among the races in the learning institutions. With its influence evident to date, the case is a positive step towards harmony and racial acceptance in American society.
Bell, D. (2004). Silent Covenants: Brown v. Board of Education and the Unfulfilled Hopes for Racial Reform. Oxford University Press.
Patterson, J. T., & Freehling, W. W. (2011). Brown v. Board of Education: A Civil Rights Milestone and its Troubled Legacy. Oxford University Press.
Brown v. Board of Education
In this case, the Supreme Court declared segregation in public schools to be unconstitutional. This ruling had a significant impact on society at the time, as segregation had been a deeply ingrained aspect of life in the United States for many years. The Court’s decision was seen as a major victory for the civil rights movement and was met with both celebration and resistance.
The justices on each side of the case argued that segregation in public schools had a detrimental effect on African American children. The proponents of segregation argued that it was necessary to maintain the “separate but equal” doctrine established in the 1896 case of Plessy v. Ferguson, which held that segregation was constitutional as long as the facilities provided to each race were equal. However, the Court found that segregation itself was inherently harmful and violated the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.
Current societal mores and beliefs seemed to play a significant role in the Court’s decision. At the time, there was growing pressure from the civil rights movement to end segregation in all areas of life, and the Court’s ruling was seen as a response to this pressure. The decision also reflected changing societal attitudes towards race and equality, as more and more people began to recognize the injustice of segregation.
The decision in Brown v. Board of Education did become a catalyst for societal change. It set a precedent for future cases that challenged segregation in other areas, such as housing and employment. It also helped to pave the way for the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which banned discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, or national origin.
The law has a significant impact on society, as it sets the rules and standards by which people must live. In turn, society can also affect the way the Constitution is viewed, as public opinion and cultural values can influence the interpretation of the law.
A forensic psychologist might support the side of the case that argued against segregation in public schools, as segregation can have a negative impact on the mental health and well-being of children. Segregation can lead to feelings of isolation and inferiority, which can have long-term consequences for a child’s development. A forensic psychologist might also argue that segregation can perpetuate harmful stereotypes and prejudices, leading to further discrimination and social inequality.
Muller v. Oregon
Muller v. Oregon was a landmark Supreme Court case that upheld a law regulating the working hours of women in the state of Oregon. The case arose when a Portland laundry owner named Curt Muller was charged with violating the Oregon law, which prohibited women from working more than 10 hours a day. Muller argued that the law violated his right to freedom of contract and the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, which guarantees equal treatment under the law for all citizens.
The Supreme Court ultimately upheld the law, with a majority of justices arguing that the state had a compelling interest in protecting the health and well-being of women workers. The Court also argued that the law was not discriminatory, as it applied equally to both men and women.
At the time of the decision, societal mores and beliefs about the role of women in the workforce were quite different from what they are today. Women were largely seen as homemakers and were not expected to work outside the home, except in certain circumstances. The Muller v. Oregon decision reflected these societal beliefs and upheld the traditional gender roles of the time.
However, the decision also had a significant impact on the development of labor laws and the rights of women workers. It established the principle that states could regulate the working conditions of women in order to protect their health and well-being. This principle was later applied to other groups, such as children and racial minorities, and led to the passage of additional labor laws that aimed to protect the rights of workers and improve working conditions.
The law has the power to shape and influence society, and society can also affect the way the Constitution is interpreted and applied. In this case, societal beliefs about the role of women in the workforce influenced the Supreme Court’s decision, but the decision also had the potential to change societal beliefs and norms over time.
A forensic psychologist might support the side of the defendants in this case, as the law regulating the working hours of women was aimed at protecting their health and well-being. Working long hours can lead to physical and mental exhaustion, which can have negative consequences for an individual’s mental health and well-being. A forensic psychologist might argue that the law was necessary to protect the health and well-being of women workers, and that it was not discriminatory, as it applied equally to both men and women.