32 Pages Posted: 18 Apr 2008. This Court has so adjudged. In respect of civil rights, all citizens are equal before the law. African Americans in New Orleans fought the new law in several ways, including a legal challenge. Each must keep within the limits defined by the Constitution, and the courts best discharge their duty by executing the will of the lawmaking power, constitutionally expressed, leaving the results of legislation to be dealt with by the people through their representatives. Plessy v. Ferguson (1896) Justice Henry Billings Brown, Dissent by Justice John Marshall Harlan Historical Background During Reconstruction the American South saw a widespread upheaval of prevailing norms and customs. The arbitrary separation of citizens, on the basis of race, while they are on a public highway, is a badge of servitude wholly inconsistent with the civil freedom and the equality before the law established by the Constitution. Unlike the majority, he believed the Louisiana law was "implying inferiority" of African Americans, and thus violated the Equal Protection Clause of … The result of the whole matter is that while this Court has frequently adjudged, and at the present term has recognized the doctrine, that a state cannot, consistently with the Constitution of the United States, prevent white and black citizens, having the required qualifications for jury service, from sitting in the same jury box, it is now solemnly held that a state may prohibit white and black citizens from sitting in the same passenger coach on a public highway, or may require that they be separated by a “partition,” when in the same passenger coach. Railroad corporations of Louisiana did not make discrimination among whites in the matter of accommodation for travellers. No one would be so wanting in candor as to assert the contrary. Plessy, der ein Achtel der Schwarzen war, arbeitete mit einer Interessenvertretung zusammen, die das Gesetz testen wollte, um ein Gerichtsverfahren einzuleiten. Another famous example of this type of dissenting opinion occurred when Justice John M. Harlan dissented to the Plessy v. Ferguson (1896) ruling, arguing against allowing racial segregation in the railway system. MR. JUSTICE HARLAN, dissenting. I do not deems it necessary to review the decisions of state courts to which reference was made in argument. Our Constitution is colorblind and neither knows nor tolerates classes among citizens. MR. JUSTICE HARLAN dissenting. Further, if this statute of Louisiana is consistent with the personal liberty of citizens, why may not the state require the separation in railroad coaches of native and naturalized citizens of the United States, or of Protestants and Roman Catholics? By the Louisiana statute the validity of which is here involved, all railway companies (other than street railroad companies) carrying passengers in that State are required to have separate but equal accommodations for white and colored persons "by providing two or more passenger The following are excerpts from Justice Harlan’s dissenting opinion: While there may be in Louisiana persons of different races who are not citizens of the United States, the words in the act “white and colored. THE FIRST JUSTICE HARLAN BY THE NUMBERS: JUST HOW GREAT WAS “THE GREAT DISSENTER?” by Gabriel J. Chin* During the centennial year of Justice John Marshall Harlan’s most famous opinion, the remarkable dissent in Plessy v.Ferguson,1 an article in the Iowa Law Review2 suggested that Harlan was not a modern liberal on race issues. See all articles by Gabriel Jackson Chin Gabriel Jackson Chin. He served as a Union officer in the Civil War, and following the war, he became involved in politics, aligned with the Republican Party. He married the daughter of a wealthy man and didn’t serve in the Union Army during the Civil War. That, as all will admit, is the real meaning of such legislation as was enacted in Louisiana. But it seems that we have yet, in some of the states, a dominant race—a superior class of citizens, which assumes to regulate the enjoyment of civil rights, common to all citizens, upon the basis of race. Mr. Sedgwick correctly states the rule when he says that the legislative intention being clearly ascertained, “the courts have no other duty to perform than to execute the legislative will, without any regard to their views as to the wisdom or justice of the particular enactment.” . The arbitrary separation of citizens, on the basis of race, while they are on a public highway, is a badge of servitude wholly inconsistent with the civil freedom and the equality before the law established by the Constitution. John Marshall Harlan, (born June 1, 1833, Boyle County, Ky., U.S.—died Oct. 14, 1911, Washington, D.C.), associate justice of the United States Supreme Court from 1877 until his death and one of the most forceful dissenters in the history of that tribunal. But I deny that any legislative body or judicial tribunal may have regard to the race of citizens which the civil rights of those citizens are involved. We have before us a state enactment that compels, under penalties, the separation of the two races in railroad passenger coaches, and makes it a crime for a citizen of either race to enter a coach that has been assigned to citizens of the other race. Principles from our country by our people above all other peoples yet, upon grounds public. 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