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 psychologists might support and why.
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There are various rulings in the 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 the 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 the societal morals coupled with beliefs affected the SCOTUS’ decision (Patterson & Freehling, 2011). From the analysis of the case, it was apparent that in the 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 the society with the need to accept and equality 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 the 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 the American society with massive disapproval an aspect of concern
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 the African Americans to the cities (Patterson & Freehling, 2011). Accordingly, by early 1970s, a majority of the urban school districts, as per Bell, (2004) comprised of 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 the 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 the 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 the minority communities.
The Law’s influence on Society and the Society’s view on the Constitution
The court decision on the Brown v. Board of Education affects the society in two main ways. Firstly, the composition of the various learning institutions is based on multi-racial interaction. Through the law, there is the emphasis on racial integration across the society. Further, the law has set forth the foundation of societal harmony. People across the 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 the society up to today with the emphasis on education in a universal manner an aspect of fast and widespread integration.
The society plays a fundamental role in how the constitution is viewed. In most instances, the constitution has been based on the prevalent societal values, morals, and views. Clearly, the analysis of the law presents the notion that the 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 towards ensuring personal liberty to access to education.
Forensic Psychologist Perception on 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 races 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 the African American children. Admittedly, there is the finding that segregation translates into different races developing distinctive perceptions in either positive or negative manner. The negative perceptions such as racial superiority can further the negative implications on the society such as racial wars and discriminatory conduct (Bell, 2004).
Theruling is a landmark case that made a significant impact on the
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 caseis a positive step towards harmony and racial acceptance in the American
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.