meet cory gardner, Republican ~~ running against Mark Udall, Democratic Party


GOPred

As a national leader on energy policy, Cory has championed a bipartisan effort on liquefied natural gas (LNG) exports that recently passed the House Energy and Commerce Committee. He also introduced two major pieces of legislation that passed the House with bipartisan support and would increase domestic production while creating thousands of jobs here at home. In addition to his work with traditional resources, Cory has promoted legislation to streamline the permitting process for renewable technologies on federal lands and supports a paid-for extension of the wind production tax credit (PTC). He also co-wrote the legislation that established Colorado’s Clean Energy Development Authority while serving in the Colorado General Assembly.

Cory is a leading voice on energy efficiency and co-founded a bipartisan caucus dedicated to promoting efficiency initiatives that are good for the environment and the taxpayer. More than fifty cosponsors from both sides of the aisle have signed on to Cory’s energy efficiency legislation and the Energy and Commerce Committee recently passed the bill unanimously.

Cory has a record that reflects his desire to rein in out-of-control spending and build consensus on issues where he can find common ground with his colleagues. Whether it is promoting agriculture or reforming telecommunications policy, Cory’s record is one of forging solutions to our nation’s greatest problems.

Throughout his time in Congress, Cory has voiced his strong opposition to Obamacare and the premium increases, thousands of pages in new regulations, and burdensome mandates it creates. Cory chose to reject federal health benefits when first elected to Congress, and his family was among the 335,000 Coloradans who received health care cancellation notices as a result of Obamacare. He supports legislation that repeals this misguided law and replaces it with a solution that allows the purchase of insurance across state lines, bolsters state high-risk pools to provide for those with pre-existing conditions, and enacts badly needed tort reform to reduce medical costs, among other ideas.

Cory is dedicated to fiscal responsibility and government reform. He introduced legislation that requires Congress to review programs targeted by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) as wasteful and duplicative. In an effort to make Congress work, he voted in favor of a bill that requires lawmakers to pass a budget or face having their pay withheld. He has also been a consistent voice for improving transparency through simplifying complicated government regulations and improving permit processes.

Cory believes that the next generation must be prepared to lead. He has supported efforts to entrust parents and educators with improving curriculum in their communities. Cory has also introduced legislation that helps students save more for college in a time of rising tuition costs. With two young children of his own, Cory knows that a quality education is invaluable to helping our youth meet the challenges of the future.

Resource: his website

We all know that the best way to find out about any candidate is to do your research. I went to gardner’s website and while he said some good things about birth control he is also in favour of repealing #ACA which would put reproductive rights at risk.  I also noticed that his website has a lot of information about what Mark Udall is for, but not a lot of his own solutions in my opinion and if elected he might say one thing and do another but I am cynical given how many Republicans in Congress continue to do so.  Cory might call himself an energy champion but he also believes the KeyStone pipeline is a must do … and I got the impression he is all for more deregulation … why are so many willing to forget the BP disaster the Massey Mining debacle and all the others before after and in between? ~~ Nativegrl77

Meet Alison Grimes


running against mitch McConnell who stated …

 His only job was to make sure PBO had only one term …ignoring Working Families, Seniors, Students, Vets, Minorities, GUNS, Health Care, UI benefits, Unemployment, Immigration Reform, Climate Change, Regulations for wall street etc. to make sure our financial system doesn’t collapse again

Alison Grimes is an Advocate for Women and their Families

Just as she has throughout her life, Alison Lundergan Grimes will continue fighting for women as Kentucky’s first female United States Senator.  Alison learned the value of public service at an early age, and her passion has always been increasing opportunity for every citizen of the Commonwealth.  She entered public service to give a voice to the voiceless – experience she gained as an attorney for victims of domestic violence.

As Secretary of State, Alison championed the first-ever address confidentiality program for victims of domestic violence to ensure their safety and security are not compromised when they exercise their right to vote.  Alison has also ushered in new laws that maintain the integrity of the democratic process and protect the voting rights of our men and women in uniform and absentee voters.  She is committed to guaranteeing that every eligible Kentuckian has access to the ballot box.

ALISON’S VISION
When elected to the U.S. Senate, Alison will work to create good-paying jobs, fight to close the gender wage gap and raise the minimum wage to ensure middle class security for women and their families.  She is committed to:

  • MAKING CHILDCARE MORE AFFORDABLE: Affordable childcare is out of reach for many Kentucky families.  Over 140,000 working Kentucky mothers have a child under 6[1], positioning them as increasingly likely to need childcare services.  Alison strongly believes that we must begin addressing this problem by providing additional tax breaks to Kentucky businesses that create on-site child care centers or help their employees find child care services.  We must also develop federal and state partnerships to improve access to quality childcare for rural areas, where working parents often face unique challenges.Meanwhile, Mitch McConnell has actually repeatedly voted to slash funding for childcare services in Kentucky.  Under a proposal supported by McConnell, approximately 1,700 fewer Kentucky children would have child care through the Child Care and Development Block Grant[2].
  • EXPANDING ACCESS TO QUALITY EDUCATION: Alison will also work with families, educators and schools to ensure our children have access to quality education and are equipped with the tools and resources necessary to succeed.  Education is the passport out of poverty, and every child has the right to a quality education.  A good education is an economic necessity and should not be a luxury.  Education is the gateway to good-paying jobs, economic growth and a strong middle class.Mitch McConnell negotiated a Washington budget deal that caused 1,100 Kentucky children to lose access to early childhood education[3] and cut an estimated $31.8 million from Kentucky schools[4]. He also opposed legislation to hire and preserve jobs for teachers[5] and blocked legislation to preserve low interest rates for students[6].
  • PROTECTING VICTIMS OF DOMESTIC VIOLENCE: As Secretary of State, Alison championed the first-ever address confidentiality program for victims of domestic violence to ensure their safety and security are not compromised when they vote.  In the Senate, Alison will continue to be a voice for victims of domestic violence.  According to the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services, “a woman is assaulted every 15 seconds”[7] and one in six women in the U.S. will be victims of domestic violence over the course of her lifetime[8] – troubling statistics that must be addressed.    

Despite political attempts to disguise his real record, Mitch McConnell has repeatedly opposed the Violence Against Women Act[9] and even blocked an effort to vote on the bill to protect women[10].

  • KEEPING PROMISES TO KENTUCKY SENIORS: An estimated 600,000 Kentuckians rely on Social Security[11] and nearly 800,000 Kentuckians depend on Medicare[12]. Alison will protect and strengthen Social Security and Medicare as Kentucky’s next U.S. Senator.  Protecting these programs is critical to the economic well-being for the Commonwealth’s women and families.  Women rely more heavily on income from Social Security than men do, and the majority of Medicare recipients are women.

Women have more health care needs, live with chronic conditions and have higher life expectancies than men. Therefore, women are especially reliant on the health care services provided by Medicare. The promise of a secure retirement is one we must keep for our nation’s seniors and make sure these programs are still intact for our children and grandchildren.  Alison is focused on spending smarter, reducing waste in the Medicare system, and improving coordination of care.

Instead of strengthening and preserving these critical programs, Mitch McConnell wants to privatize Social Security and end Medicare as we know it, increasing seniors’ out-of-pocket costs by nearly $6,000 per year[13].

  • ACHIEVING PAY EQUITY: Women are half of the labor force in this country yet still make 77 cents for every dollar – 23 percent less than their male counterparts[14].  In Kentucky, women lose nearly five billion dollars in wages each year[15] – a statistic that is staggering and unacceptable.  With that money a working woman in Kentucky could purchase 78 more weeks of groceries, pay 14 more months of rent, make 8 more months of mortgage and utilities payments or buy 2,477 additional gallons of gas[16].In contrast, Mitch McConnell has called equal pay for equal work just another “special interest vote”[17] and voted against the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act[18] and the Paycheck Fairness Act – not once, but twice[19][20].
  • INCREASING MINIMUM WAGE: In order to grow our middle class, we must raise the minimum wage to help hardworking Americans achieve a basic standard of living.  An overwhelming majority – two thirds – of minimum wage workers in the United States are women.  Consider a single working mother of two who makes the current federal minimum wage who brings home just $14,500 annually – nearly $4,000 below the poverty line[21].

Rather than forcing our own neighbors to choose between putting food on the table, getting to work and paying the rent, all Americans deserve a living wage that is consistent with our values.  Raising the minimum wage would increase incomes for more than 30 million workers in the U.S.[22], and is an important step to ensure workers see the benefits of a growing economy.

Earlier this year, the Kentucky Center for Economic Policy pointed to a report detailing the impact a minimum wage increase to $10.10 an hour would have in Kentucky.  According to this report, doing so would:

  • Lift the wages of over one in four Kentucky workers.[23]
  • Increase annual earnings for the nearly 30 percent of Kentuckians who make minimum wage or just above by $2,369 on average and $863 million in total.[24]
  • Grow Kentucky’s GDP by $546 million by 2015 and create 2,200 jobs.[25]

Mitch McConnell has voted against raising the minimum wage at least 16 times[26], while voting in favor of raising his own government salary[27].

As Kentucky’s first woman Senator, Alison Lundergan Grimes will continue being a staunch advocate for women and their families.  She will seek common ground and work across the aisle for solutions that put Kentucky and our country back on the right track.  The contrast with Mitch McConnell could not be starker.

Energy

Developing Kentucky’s energy will provide financial security to families across the state. Kentucky is leading the way in domestic energy development and the industry holds tremendous potential to grow our economy, create middle-class jobs and lower energy costs for families across the state. But Washington’s regulatory barriers and burdensome taxes threaten this critical development in Kentucky.

I strongly oppose President Obama’s attack on Kentucky’s energy industry. This Administration has taken direct aim at Kentucky’s coal industry, crippling our state’s largest source of domestic energy and threatening thousands of jobs. Washington Democrats and Republicans need to be realistic about what powers our nation and recognize that developing Kentucky’s supplies of coal is crucial.

We must secure America’s energy independence and reduce our dependence on Middle Eastern oil. Our nation’s energy approach should rely heavily on coal, oil and natural gas, along with alternative sources of energy.  Kentucky will lead this effort through continued coal production and exploration and development of natural gas. While our nation is running a $45 billion trade deficit, Kentucky’s natural resources remain underdeveloped.[28] In 2011, Kentucky contributed 7 percent of the nation’s total coal exports, but we can do more to develop these and other resources and reduce our trade deficit.[29]

Protecting Social Security and Medicare

I am running to protect and strengthen Medicare and Social Security. I believe in keeping our promises to our nation’s seniors while preserving these programs for our children and grandchildren. But rather than pushing for privatization, vouchers, or simply shifting costs to seniors, we should be looking for ways to spend smarter. We should focus on reducing waste, fraud and abuse in the Medicare system, improve coordination of care between doctors, hospitals and patients, and allow Medicare to better negotiate prescription drug prices.

Instead of strengthening and preserving these critical programs, Mitch McConnell plans to end Medicare as we know it. Under a proposal backed by Mitch McConnell, insurance company bureaucrats would be put in charge of making seniors’ health care decisions, and seniors would see their out of pocket costs increase by nearly $6,000 per year. Thousands of current seniors across Kentucky would be forced back into the prescription drug “donut hole,” costing them approximately $13,000 more between 2014 and 2022 than under current law.[30] I believe we’ve got to balance the budget, but we’ve got to do it the right way, and that means protecting the benefits and programs seniors have paid into over a lifetime of hard work.

Jobs

As a Senator, my number one priority will be putting Kentuckians back to work in good-paying jobs. Kentuckians lost more than 118,000 jobs at the worst part of the recession[31] and they are still struggling to provide for their families. Mitch McConnell failed to put Kentuckians back to work. To increase family incomes, I will work to ensure that all Kentuckians and all Americans can earn a living wage for their work, and make sure that women get equal pay for the same work as men.

We must cut red tape and allow businesses to grow and create new jobs. As Secretary of State, I worked with both parties to create a one-stop shop for Kentucky businesses to interact with multiple state agencies through one point of contact, reducing tape and making it easier for business to grow and create more jobs. There are currently 854 federal regulations affecting small businesses.[32] We must reduce this regulatory burden. Our federal government shouldn’t prevent small businesses from succeeding and creating jobs in Kentucky.

We must target burdensome federal regulation of Kentucky’s energy sector, allowing our state to create new middle-class jobs across the state. Kentucky is leading the way in domestic energy development and the industry holds tremendous potential to grow Kentucky’s economy, creating middle-class jobs across the state, but the federal government stands in the way. I will fight to reduce this regulatory burden on Kentucky’s energy industry.

We must encourage manufacturing to return to Kentucky. I’m encouraged that companies like General Electric are opening manufacturing plants across Kentucky, but we must do more to create these new investments in our state. We should end tax breaks for companies that move jobs overseas and expand tax credits for companies to invest in research and development and in new machinery and equipment here at home. We should also invest to develop an advanced manufacturing workforce in Kentucky.

Cutting Spending

The Federal deficit is out of control and it threatens the long-term strength of our nation. In 2001, the budget was in balance and the nation was projected to be debt-free by 2011.  Now – after a decade of unpaid-for spending and the worst downturn since the Great Depression – this country owes $16.7 trillion.[33]  The debt impacts our ability to make investments critical to growing our economy, including education, infrastructure and workforce training.

Mitch McConnell has failed to address our nation’s out-of-control spending. With him in Washington, Kentucky has repeatedly witnessed threats of government shut downs, gone to the brink of default and listened to overheated rhetoric that has done nothing to improve the lives of Kentuckians. We can’t afford for Washington and Mitch McConnell to continue to play the same old political games with the budget.

I believe that there is a responsible path to balancing the budget. We need to start by going line-by-line through the budget to cut waste, fraud and abuse and we must ensure that tax dollars are being used smartly and efficiently.  Nearly 680 renewable energy initiatives across 23 federal agencies and their 130 sub-agencies costing taxpayers $15 billion is certainly not an efficient use of taxpayer dollars. [34] I also believe that we can make our Medicare and Medicaid programs more efficient without slashing coverage. Medicare spending is unsustainable.  But rather than pushing for privatization, or vouchers, or shifting costs to seniors – supported by Mitch McConnell – we should be looking for ways to spend smarter on our entire health care system.  And to ensure our country never goes into debt again, I will fight in the U.S. Senate to pass a balanced budget amendment.

Veterans

Our veterans have made the ultimate sacrifice. We owe them the care they were promised and the benefits they have earned. As Secretary of State, I have worked to ensure that members of the military never have to ask, “Does my vote actually count?” I traveled to the Middle East to meet with deployed soldiers to learn how to improve voting procedures for military personnel stationed overseas.  My recommendations formed the basis of a bipartisan bill that was signed into law that will allow military members and their families to register to vote and update their registration online, ensure that military voters have sufficient time to vote in special elections and extend existing protections to state and local elections and National Guard members.

Washington has fallen short of honoring our commitment to our veterans. Our veterans should not struggle to find jobs or access care. Kentucky is the home of over 350,000[35] veterans, the fourth largest in the nation.  It is a disgrace that so many veterans across Kentucky have compensation claims pending, more than 6,000 in the Louisville VA backlog alone.[36]  I’m shocked that Mitch McConnell opposed plans to reduce this backlog and voted against veterans jobs legislation.[37] This is wrong.

I’m committed to serving Kentucky’s 350,000 veterans and I will fight for the quality health care, benefits and treatment they have earned. We must expand education and training opportunities for service members and veterans, facilitating public/private partnerships that help them translate their military skills for the civilian workforce. We must improve access to health care services, including mental health, prosthetic care and wound regeneration. And we must improve collaboration between the Department of Defense and Department of Veterans Affairs, ensuring that veterans receive the benefits and medical care they deserve in a timely manner.

Resource: Alison’s website

meet david perdue, a Georgia Republican


Running against Michelle Nunn, Democratic Party.

I actually searched his website for information that would provide reasons to vote for him. I found his background, seemingly doing business with folks for folks and by folks overseas a bit scary! I could be wrong, but I can see American jobs being subjected to lower wages and or going overseas where we all know a living wage just does not seem to exist.  I am willing to be corrected, but this person seems bad for trade for jobs and again, do your research. I say that I am not a one-issue voter, but any candidate that advocates a right to life definitely chooses to ignore mothers from all backgrounds, their need to control their lives and engage in family planning. David Perdue definitely is a Republican that should stay a businessperson, though if you go to his website, jobs Women and a safer country all seem at risk in his hands in my opinion

Defending Our Values

There are principles I share with a majority of Georgians. I believe that we should promote a culture that values life and protects the innocent, especially the unborn. I also believe that we must protect traditional marriage, keeping it clearly defined as between one man and one woman. Being pro-life and believing in the sanctity of marriage are my deeply held personal convictions. I will not waver in defending them if I have the privilege of serving you in the U.S Senate.
See David’s response to National Right to Life

The National Debt

The crushing national debt has surpassed $17 trillion. We must act now to rein it in before it becomes unsustainable. Of course we have to cut wasteful spending and unnecessary bureaucracy. We have to eliminate the billions of dollars in failed government programs and redundant agencies. However, the best way to begin getting the debt under control is to grow the economy without a tax increase.

Comprehensive Tax Reform

In the midst of a terrible economy, this would be the worst possible time to raise taxes on anyone. Too many families and too many businesses are struggling to get by. I will not support a tax increase of any kind. Furthermore, the federal tax code is too complicated and misaligned. It should be completely overhauled as a means to promote growth and encourage more domestic economic investment. My preference is the Fair Tax.

Term Limits

I have never run for public office before, which in my opinion is a good thing. Just look at the results we have gotten from career politicians. They have created a crisis in Washington. We can’t expect them to fix it. That’s why I support term limits: a maximum three terms in the House, two terms in the Senate. I’ll stick to that commitment myself. Until we get term limits in place, we should enforce them at the ballot box by voting the career politicians out of office.
See David’s term limit pledge

Balanced Budget Amendment

Every Georgia family understands that you can’t perpetually spend more than you take in without going bankrupt. The problem is that the professional politicians in Washington won’t make a tough decision. I would absolutely vote for a balanced budget amendment. However, we need immediate tax and regulatory reforms along with appropriate spending cuts so that we have a right-sized, responsible budget sooner rather than later.

Repeal ObamaCare

ObamaCare is an overreaching federal program that will actually reduce the quality of health care and increase costs. I am one of the millions of Americans that had my personal policy cancelled after being told I could keep it. To make matters worse, Obamacare is discouraging full-time job creation. The consequences of politicians passing a massive bill without reading it continue to emerge. We need to repeal ObamaCare and replace it with more affordable free market solutions.

Revitalizing American Manufacturing

I believe that we are on the verge of revitalizing American manufacturing. The private sector is primed to create quality jobs by manufacturing innovative products that require a skilled workforce and high-tech facilities. These products are needed for domestic consumption and more importantly for exports to foreign markets. But the manufacturing industry’s renewal can be stunted if we don’t correct bad energy policies, the lack of infrastructure, failures in education, and the punitive tax code.

Increasing American Exports

The best opportunity for long-term economic growth is to boost our exports to emerging economies worldwide. In fact, I have started my own exporting business where we ship American-made products overseas. They have an increasing demand for American goods, both quality manufactured products as well as other needs such as agriculture products. Increasing exports requires elected leaders who understand global trends and how to remove barriers to growth. If so, we can create a new age of American prosperity.

Local Control of Education

I grew up the son of two teachers. I married a teacher. I have seen firsthand that parents and local educators make the best decisions on how to meet the unique needs of students. For example, my mother started a program for gifted students that is still a model for schools across Georgia to this day. True innovation starts at the local level, not in Washington. We should dismantle unnecessary federal bureaucracy, including the push for Common Core, and get that funding into the classrooms.

Energy Independence

Decades after an oil embargo led to gas rationing and long lines at the pump, we still don’t have a plan for energy independence. Instead, our own government limits our options by being overtly hostile towards domestic energy producers. In the process, they force us to rely on energy resources from countries that wish to do us harm. With the right leadership, we can finally have a domestic energy policy that is environmentally responsible in the long-term while meeting our current needs.

Secure Our Borders

Securing our borders is a matter of national security. The debate in Washington over illegal immigration has become unnecessarily complicated. Out-of-touch politicians have created another massive bill, like ObamaCare. Simply put, we need to strictly enforce current laws and any new laws should be straightforward, focusing on true border security. Until the federal government gets serious about immigration security and enforcement, discussing anything else is pointless.

The Right to Bear Arms

Growing up in Middle Georgia, I have been hunting since I was young, but I understand the 2nd Amendment is not only about hunting. It is hard for me to question the wisdom of the Founders. They crafted a Constitution that has only been amended 27 times in over 225 years. Ten amendments were their own, designed to explicitly protect certain rights. The 2nd Amendment is clear. We have ample gun laws on the books now, and I believe we should focus on enforcing them.
See David’s response to the National Rifle Association

Resource: His website

Meet Rep.Virginia Foxx


I have to admit I do not have much respect for the extremists that hold office in Congress.

Virginia Foxx seems to be allowed to act other than the title bestowed them after taking an oath …

She is a Public Servant and does NOT act like one in my opinion.

The Government exists to help those who cannot help themselves… she and her Party do not!

Reproductive rights

Support parental consent and oppose partial birth abortions. (Nov 2004)

 

Environment

 

Voted NO on protecting free-roaming horses and burros.

Voted NO on environmental education grants for outdoor experiences.

Voted NO on $9.7B for Amtrak improvements and operation thru 2013.

Voted NO on increasing AMTRAK funding by adding $214M to $900M.

Technology

Voted YES on protecting cyber security by sharing data with government. (Apr 2013)

  • Voted YES on terminating funding for National Public Radio. (Mar 2011)
  • Voted NO on delaying digital TV conversion by four months. (Mar 2009)
  • Voted YES on retroactive immunity for telecoms’ warrantless surveillance. (Jun 2008)
  • Voted NO on $23B instead of $4.9B for waterway infrastructure. (Nov 2007)
  • Voted NO on establishing “network neutrality” (non-tiered Internet). (Jun 2006)
  • Voted YES on increasing fines for indecent broadcasting. (Feb 2005)
  • Permanent ban on state & local taxation of Internet access. (Oct 2007)
  • Defund the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. (Jan 2011)
  • End net neutrality; allow tiered Internet service. (Jan 2011)
  • Prohibit the return of the Fairness Doctrine. (Jan 2009)
  • No performance royalties for radio music. (Mar 2009)

War

Voted YES on banning armed forces in Libya without Congressional approval. (Jun 2011)

  • Voted NO on removing US armed forces from Afghanistan. (Mar 2011)
  • Voted NO on investigating Bush impeachment for lying about Iraq. (Jun 2008)
  • Voted NO on redeploying US troops out of Iraq starting in 90 days. (May 2007)
  • Voted YES on declaring Iraq part of War on Terror with no exit date. (Jun 2006)
  • Strengthen sanctions on Syria & assist democratic transition. (Apr 2008)
  • No contact & enforce sanctions on Iran until threat is gone. (May 2011)
  • Boycott & sanctions against Iran for terrorism & nukes. (May 2011)
  • Iranian nuclear weapons: prevention instead of containment. (Mar 2012)
  • Sanctions on Iran to end nuclear program. (Apr 2009)

Welfare & Poverty

Voted YES on maintaining work requirement for welfare recipients. (Mar 2013)

  • Voted NO on instituting National Service as a new social invention. (Mar 2009)
  • Voted NO on providing $70 million for Section 8 Housing vouchers. (Jun 2006)

Resources:

wiki

internet

ontheissues.org

Brown V Board of Education ~~ Equality & Opportunity ~~ 60yrs


 

Photo of mother and daughter on steps of the Supreme Court building on May 18, 1954.
Mother (Nettie Hunt) and daughter (Nickie) sit on steps of the Supreme Court building on May 18, 1954, the dayfollowing the Court’s historic decision in Brown v. Board of Education.Nettie is holding a newspaper with the headline “High Court Bans Segregation in Public Schools.”Reproduction courtesy of Corbis Images

Brown v. Board of Education (1954)
PBS.org


Brown v. Board of Education (1954), now acknowledged as one of the greatest Supreme Court decisions of the 20th century, unanimously held that the racial segregation of children in public schools violated the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. Although the decision did not succeed in fully desegregating public education in the United States, it put the Constitution on the side of racial equality and galvanized the nascent civil rights movement into a full revolution.

In 1954, large portions of the United States had racially segregated schools, made legal by Plessy v. Ferguson (1896), which held that segregated public facilities were constitutional so long as the black and white facilities were equal to each other. However, by the mid-twentieth century, civil rights groups set up legal and political, challenges to racial segregation. In the early 1950s, NAACP lawyers brought class action lawsuits on behalf of black schoolchildren and their families in Kansas, South Carolina, Virginia, and Delaware, seeking court orders to compel school districts to let black students attend white public schools.

One of these class actions, Brown v. Board of Education was filed against the Topeka, Kansas school board by representative-plaintiff Oliver Brown, parent of one of the children denied access to Topeka’s white schools. Brown claimed that Topeka’s racial segregation violated the Constitution’s Equal Protection Clause because the city’s black and white schools were not equal to each other and never could be. The federal district court dismissed his claim, ruling that the segregated public schools were “substantially” equal enough to be constitutional under the Plessy doctrine. Brown appealed to the Supreme Court, which consolidated and then reviewed all the school segregation actions together. Thurgood Marshall, who would in 1967 be appointed the first black justice of the Court, was chief counsel for the plaintiffs.

Thanks to the astute leadership of Chief Justice Earl Warren, the Court spoke in a unanimous decision written by Warren himself. The decision held that racial segregation of children in public schools violated the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, which states that “no state shall make or enforce any law which shall … deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.” The Court noted that Congress, when drafting the Fourteenth Amendment in the 1860s, did not expressly intend to require integration of public schools. On the other hand, that Amendment did not prohibit integration. In any case, the Court asserted that the Fourteenth Amendment guarantees equal education today. Public education in the 20th century, said the Court, had become an essential component of a citizen’s public life, forming the basis of democratic citizenship, normal socialization, and professional training. In this context, any child denied a good education would be unlikely to succeed in life. Where a state, therefore, has undertaken to provide universal education, such education becomes a right that must be afforded equally to both blacks and whites.

Were the black and white schools “substantially” equal to each other, as the lower courts had found? After reviewing psychological studies showing black girls in segregated schools had low racial self-esteem, the Court concluded that separating children on the basis of race creates dangerous inferiority complexes that may adversely affect black children’s ability to learn. The Court concluded that, even if the tangible facilities were equal between the black and white schools, racial segregation in schools is “inherently unequal” and is thus always unconstitutional. At least in the context of public schools, Plessy v. Ferguson was overruled. In the Brown II case a decided year later, the Court ordered the states to integrate their schools “with all deliberate speed.”

Opposition to Brown I and II reached an apex in Cooper v. Aaron (1958), when the Court ruled that states were constitutionally required to implement the Supreme Court’s integration orders. Widespread racial integration of the South was achieved by the late 1960s and 1970s. In the meantime, the equal protection ruling in Brown spilled over into other areas of the law and into the political arena as well. Scholars now point out that Brown v. Board was not the beginning of the modern civil rights movement, but there is no doubt that it constituted a watershed moment in the struggle for racial equality in America.

History of Brown v. Board of Education

UScourts.gov

The Plessy Decision ~~ Separate but Equal?

Although the Declaration of Independence stated that “All men are created equal,” due to the institution of slavery, this statement was not to be grounded in law in the United States until after the Civil War (and, arguably, not completely fulfilled for many years thereafter). In 1865, the Thirteenth Amendment was ratified and finally put an end to slavery. Moreover, the Fourteenth Amendment (1868) strengthened the legal rights of newly freed slaves by stating, among other things, that no state shall deprive anyone of either “due process of law” or of the “equal protection of the law.” Finally, the Fifteenth Amendment (1870) further strengthened the legal rights of newly freed slaves by prohibiting states from denying anyone the right to vote due to race.

Despite these Amendments, African Americans were often treated differently than whites in many parts of the country, especially in the South. In fact, many state legislatures enacted laws that led to the legally mandated segregation of the races. In other words, the laws of many states decreed that blacks and whites could not use the same public facilities, ride the same buses, attend the same schools, etc. These laws came to be known as Jim Crow laws. Although  many people felt that these laws were unjust, it was not until the 1890s that they were directly challenged in court. In 1892, an African-American man named Homer Plessy refused to give up his seat to a white man on a train in New Orleans, as he was required to do by Louisiana state law. For this action he was arrested. Plessy, contending that the Louisiana law separating blacks from whites on trains violated the “equal protection clause” of the Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, decided to fight his arrest in court. By 1896, his case had made it all the way to the United States Supreme Court. By a vote of 8-1, the Supreme Court ruled against Plessy. In the case of Plessy v. Ferguson, Justice Henry Billings Brown, writing the majority opinion, stated that:

“The object of the [Fourteenth] amendment was undoubtedly to enforce the equality of the two races before the law, but in the nature of things it could not have been intended to abolish distinctions based upon color, or to endorse social, as distinguished from political, equality. . . If one race be inferior to the other socially, the Constitution of the United States cannot put them upon the same plane.”

The lone dissenter, Justice John Marshal Harlan, interpreting the Fourteenth Amendment another way, stated, “Our Constitution is color-blind, and neither knows nor tolerates classes among citizens.” Justice Harlan’s dissent would become a rallying cry for those in later generations that wished to declare segregation unconstitutional.

Sadly, as a result of the Plessy decision, in the early twentieth century the Supreme Court continued to uphold the legality of Jim Crow laws and other forms of racial discrimination. In the case of Cumming v. Richmond (Ga.) County Board of Education (1899), for instance, the Court refused to issue an injunction preventing a school board from spending tax money on a white high school when the same school board voted to close down a black high school for financial reasons. Moreover, in Gong Lum v. Rice (1927), the Court upheld a school’s decision to bar a person of Chinese descent from a “white” school.

The Road to Brown

(Note: Some of the case information is from Patterson, James T. Brown v. Board of Education: A Civil Rights Milestone and Its Troubled Legacy. Oxford University Press; New York, 2001.)

Early Cases

Despite the Supreme Court’s ruling in Plessy and similar cases, many people continued to press for the abolition of Jim Crow and other racially discriminatory laws. One particular organization that fought for racial equality was the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) founded in 1909. For about the first 20 years of its existence, it tried to persuade Congress and other legislative bodies to enact laws that would protect African Americans from lynchings and other racist actions. Beginning in the 1930s, though, the NAACP’s Legal Defense and Education Fund began to turn to the courts to try to make progress in overcoming legally sanctioned discrimination. From 1935 to 1938, the legal arm of the NAACP was headed by Charles Hamilton Houston. Houston, together with Thurgood Marshall, devised a strategy to attack Jim Crow laws by striking at them where they were perhaps weakest—in the field of education. Although Marshall played a crucial role in all of the cases listed below, Houston was the head of the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund while Murray v. Maryland and Missouri ex rel Gaines v. Canada were decided. After Houston returned to private practice in 1938, Marshall became head of the Fund and used it to argue the cases of Sweat v. Painter and McLaurin v. Oklahoma Board of Regents of Higher Education.

Murray v. Maryland (1936)

Disappointed that the University of Maryland School of Law was rejecting black applicants solely because of their race, beginning in 1933 Thurgood Marshall (who was himself rejected from this law school because of its racial acceptance policies) decided to challenge this practice in the Maryland court system. Before a Baltimore City Court in 1935, Marshall argued that Donald Gaines Murray was just as qualified as white applicants to attend the University of Maryland’s School of Law and that it was solely due to his race that he was rejected. Furthermore, he argued that since the “black” law schools which Murray would otherwise have to attend were nowhere near the same academic caliber as the University’s law school, the University was violating the principle of “separate but equal.” Moreover, Marshall argued that the disparities between the “white” and “black” law schools were so great that the only remedy would be to allow students like Murray to attend the University’s law school. The Baltimore City Court agreed and the University then appealed to the Maryland Court of Appeals. In 1936, the Court of Appeals also ruled in favor of Murray and ordered the law school to admit him. Two years later, Murray graduated.

Missouri ex rel Gaines v. Canada (1938)

Beginning in 1936, the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund decided to take on the case of Lloyd Gaines, a graduate student of Lincoln University (an all-black college) who applied to the University of Missouri Law School but was denied because of his race. The State of Missouri gave Gaines the option of either attending an all-black law school that it would build (Missouri did not have any all-black law schools at this time) or having Missouri help to pay for him to attend a law school in a neighboring state. Gaines rejected both of these options, and, employing the services of Thurgood Marshall and the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund, he decided to sue the state in order to attend the University of Missouri’s law school. By 1938, his case reached the U.S. Supreme Court, and, in December of that year, the Court sided with him. The six-member majority stated that since a “black” law school did not currently exist in the State of Missouri, the “equal protection clause” required the state to provide, within its boundaries, a legal education for Gaines. In other words, since the state provided legal education for white students, it could not send black students, like Gaines, to school in another state.

Sweat v. Painter (1950)

Encouraged by their victory in Gaines’ case, the NAACP continued to attack legally sanctioned racial discrimination in higher education. In 1946, an African American man named Heman Sweat applied to the University of Texas’ “white” law school. Hoping that it would not have to admit Sweat to the “white” law school if a “black” school already existed, elsewhere on the University’s campus, the state hastily set up an underfunded “black” law school. At this point, Sweat employed the services of Thurgood Marshall and the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund and sued to be admitted to the University’s “white” law school. He argued that the education that he was receiving in the “black” law school was not of the same academic caliber as the education that he would be receiving if he attended the “white” law school. When the case reached the U.S. Supreme Court in 1950, the Court unanimously agreed with him, citing as its reason the blatant inequalities between the University’s law school (the school for whites) and the hastily erected school for blacks. In other words, the “black” law school was “separate,” but not “equal.” Like the Murray case, the Court found the only appropriate remedy for this situation was to admit Sweat to the University’s law school.

McLaurin v. Oklahoma Board of Regents of Higher Education (1950)

In 1949, the University of Oklahoma admitted George McLaurin, an African American, to its doctoral program. However, it required him to sit apart from the rest of his class, eat at a separate time and table from white students, etc. McLaurin, stating that these actions were both unusual and resulting in adverse effects on his academic pursuits, sued to put an end to these practices. McLaurin employed Thurgood Marshall and the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund to argue his case, a case which eventually went to the U.S. Supreme Court. In an opinion delivered on the same day as the decision in Sweat, the Court stated that the University’s actions concerning McLaurin were adversely affecting his ability to learn and ordered that they cease immediately.

Brown v. Board of Education (1954, 1955)

The case that came to be known as Brown v. Board of Education was actually the name given to five separate cases that were heard by the U.S. Supreme Court concerning the issue of segregation in public schools. These cases were Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, Briggs v. Elliot, Davis v. Board of Education of Prince Edward County (VA.), Boiling v. Sharpe, and Gebhart v. Ethel. While the facts of each case are different, the main issue in each was the constitutionality of state-sponsored segregation in public schools. Once again, Thurgood Marshall and the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund handled these cases.

Although it acknowledged some of the plaintiffs’/plaintiffs claims, a three-judge panel at the U.S. District Court that heard the cases ruled in favor of the school boards. The plaintiffs then appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court.

When the cases came before the Supreme Court in 1952, the Court consolidated all five cases under the name of Brown v. Board of Education. Marshall personally argued the case before the Court. Although he raised a variety of legal issues on appeal, the most common one was that separate school systems for blacks and whites were inherently unequal, and thus violate the “equal protection clause” of the Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Furthermore, relying on sociological tests, such as the one performed by social scientist Kenneth Clark, and other data, he also argued that segregated school systems had a tendency to make black children feel inferior to white children, and thus such a system should not be legally permissible.

Meeting to decide the case, the Justices of the Supreme Court realized that they were deeply divided over the issues raised. While most wanted to reverse Plessy and declare segregation in public schools to be unconstitutional, they had various reasons for doing so. Unable to come to a solution by June 1953 (the end of the Court’s 1952-1953 term), the Court decided to rehear the case in December 1953. During the intervening months, however, Chief Justice Fred Vinson died and was replaced by Gov. Earl Warren of California. After the case was reheard in 1953, Chief Justice Warren was able to do something that his predecessor had not—i.e. bring all of the Justices to agree to support a unanimous decision declaring segregation in public schools unconstitutional. On May 14, 1954, he delivered the opinion of the Court, stating that “We conclude that in the field of public education the doctrine of ‘separate but equal’ has no place. Separate educational facilities are inherently unequal. . .”

Expecting opposition to its ruling, especially in the southern states, the Supreme Court did not immediately try to give direction for the implementation of its ruling. Rather, it asked the attorney generals of all states with laws permitting segregation in their public schools to submit plans for how to proceed with desegregation. After still more hearings before the Court concerning the matter of desegregation, on May 31, 1955, the Justices handed down a plan for how it was to proceed; desegregation was to proceed with “all deliberate speed.” Although it would be many years before all segregated school systems were to be desegregated, Brown and Brown II (as the Courts plan for how to desegregate schools came to be called) were responsible for getting the process underway.

60 years and the struggle for Equity and Opportunity continues! In this 21st Century we still have folks pushing separate Nativegrl77