The Right to Equal Protection is a concept that was introduced to into the Constitution of the United States during the Civil War. It is intended to protect the rights provided by the United States Constitution for all individuals regardless of race, ethnicity, gender, etc. It is fundamentally based on the 14th amendment of the Constitution, intended to secure rights for former slaves. The Constitution claims to be, 'colorblind' and 'gender equal' however, until the 1950s slavery, segregation, and gender inequality were a major aspect of American Government.
In 1896, the Supreme Court of the United States determined that the "separate but equal" doctrine was constitutional in the case Plessy v. Ferguson. Although the 14th Amendment abolished slavery, and intended to end racial segregation, the Southern States initiated Jim Crow Laws, which segregated people of color in public schools, public transportation, restaurants, etc. The ruling in Plessy v. Ferguson meant that as long as facilities for both colored and white individuals was equal, it was constitutional. In 1954, the ruling of Plessy v. Ferguson was overturned in the Supreme Court case Brown v. Board of Education. The Supreme Court determined that the establishment of separate schools for whites and blacks inherently unequal, and as a result unconstitutional. This ruling put an end to segregation and gave the previously segregated and enslaved colored equal rights of protection.
These court cases however had no bearing on women's suffrage, as women were still unable to vote. The 19th of the United States Constitution legislates that neither the individual states of the United States nor its federal government may deny a citizen the right to vote because of the citizen's sex.
In recent years equal protection of citizens within the workplace has become a major issue. As a result of various amendments, citizens can not be discriminated in work places based upon terms of gender, ethnicity, race, height, or any other differences. For example, a citizen whom is really short and scrawny can not be denied a job in a police force based upon his size.
An Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) has been a proposed amendment to the United States Constitution since 1979. The ERA is intended to guarantee equal rights under the law for Americans regardless of sex. The amendment however has yet to receive enough votes in Congress to become an amendment
The very existence of equality rights however is controversial because it sets boundaries and makes clear the differences in citizens. In order to declare something as equal, there must exist a comparison to something that is unequal. In doing this, people are forced to compare equality in terms of education, wage, and many other controversial considerations who play basketball.
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