The Civil Rights Revolution

Major Legislation

  • Civil Rights Act of 1964
  • Voting Rights Act of 1965 summary by section
  • Civil Rights Act of 1968
    • Title I extending federal enforcement to many of the previously civil protections from the CRA of 1866 against violence or intimidation in the exercise of a long list of civil and political rights
    • Titles II-VII Indian Civil Rights Act, applying Bill of Rights provisions to native American tribes
    • Title VIII Fair Housing Act supplements civil remedies (from CRA 1866) with federal enforcement against housing discrimination based on race, religion, nationality; later amendments added gender (1974) and disabilities & families with children (1988).

Comparison: landmark legislation that wasn't higher lawmaking

The National Security Act of 1947

  • major provisions
    • Combined the Department of War (renamed Dept. of the Army) and Dept. of the Navy as parts of the National Military Establishment (renamed Dept. of Defense by 1949 amendments), headed by the Secretary of Defense.
    • Established the Air Force as a separate branch of service.
    • Established the National Security Council
    • Established the Central Intelligence Agency
  • a useful brief summary
  • short article on the Act's importance and, in some respects, obscurity

Some Important Court Cases

  • precursors to Brown v. Board of Education (1954)
    • McCabe v. AT&SF (1914): equality (under Plessy) requires access to facilities regardless of low demand
    • Cases regarding state-run professional schools: if a state provides law school (Gaines) or other professional education for its white residents, it must provide training of equal quality within state to all residents. Equal quality includes equivalent faculty and library facilities, and equal access to all school facilities with no internal segregation.
  • immediate applications of Brown: upholding lower Fed. courts per curiam
    • Muir v. Louisville Park Theatrical Ass'n (1954)
    • Mayor & City Council of Baltimore v. Dawson (1955) (public beaches and bathhouses);
    • Holmes v. City of Atlanta (1955) (municipal golf course)
    • Gayle v. Browder (1956) (Montgomery municipal bus segregation)
    • New Orleans City Park Improvement Ass'n v. Detiege (1958)
  • Lassiter v. Northampton Board of Ed. (1959) upheld literacy tests
  • Katzenbach v. McClung (1964), Heart of Atlanta Motel (1964) upheld Civil Rights Act public accommodations provisions as exercises of the Commerce Clause
  • Katzenbach v. Morgan (1966) upheld Voting Rights Act rejection of literacy tests as a congressional power under section 5 (the Enforcement Clause) of the 14th Amendment. Later weakened by
  • Later decisions weakening CRA, VRA, and Brown
    • Washington v. Davis (1976) ruling that District of Columbia can't regulate discriminatory effects without discriminatory intent under 5th-Amendment due process (the federal-jurisdiction counterpart to 14th-Amendment due process and equal protection)
    • City of Boerne v. Flores (1997) rejecting the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, expanding 1st-Amendment free-exercise right rather than 14th-Amendment equal protection
    • Parents Involved in Community Schools v. Seattle School District No. 1 (2007) overruling Seattle & Louisville voluntary school integration programs due to their use of individual racial classifications.
      • From Roberts's plurality opinion: "The way to stop discrimination on the basis of race is to stop discriminating on the basis of race."
    • Shelby County v. Holder (2013) overruling VRA Sec. 5 preclearance requirements.

This page compiled by Randall Calvert © 2018. Email comments and questions to calvert at wustl