Published by the Kansas Bar Foundation|
Editor: Gayle B. Larkin, Attorney at Law, Lawrence
Coordinators: Ron Keefover, Kansas Supreme Court and Art Thompson, Kansas Bar Foundation
May 1 Law Day
May 8 - 11 National Mock Trial Competition
Objectives During your session, students will explore whether it is fair to treat everybody exactly alike or whether it is sometimes fair to treat certain people differently because of special circumstances. the students will also get a quick overview of how the law tries to ensure fairness.
Objectives: During your session, students will identify the experience of discrimination and distinguish between permitted and illegal discrimination.
As these terms come up in discussion, list them on the board and elicit definitions from the students. (These terms appear on the activity sheet included on the Law Day Web site; students may complete this activity sheet after your visit.)
b. When people are involved in offering goods and services to the public, such as shopping, housing, education, and jobs, they are not allowed to wrongfully exclude people for reasons such as race, color, religion, national origin, sex, disability, or age. Therefore, the store owner may not exclude people of Vietnamese ancestry from his store. But not all discrimination is wrongful under the law. Examples: the store owner refused to sell alcohol to minors; the store owners refuses to hire a blind delivery person.
c. In the case Plyler v. Doe, 457 U.S. 202 (1982), the Supreme Court ruled that children of people who came to this country illegally cannot be denied the same free public education available to other children. The Court expressed that it was especially concerned that they children would be forever "second-class citizens" without an education. The vote was 5-4.
Read each of these situations. Think about it carefully. Then answer the questions that follow the situation.
Objectives: To analyze the historical meaning of the equal protection clause of the Fourteenth Amendment and how it is used today. To analyze the legal meaning of "equal protection of the law" by examining case studies.
Objectives: To show how a simple law can lead to weighty constitutional questions. To help students learn important principles of equal protection. To explain how appellate courts make decisions.
"No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws." - 14th Amendment
You be the judge. For one day, you and your classmates will decide a legal case that actually came before the United States Court of Appeals last year. Hutchins vs. District of Columbia raised the issue of whether the city government has denied young people equal protection of the law and due process (and their parents due process) in passing a curfew ordinance.
The law permits officers to stop any young person and demand to know his or her age and reasons for being out during curfew hours. If the officer "reasonably believes" that a young person is violating the curfew, the individual may be arrested and detained. A young person's parents may also be punished for their childs curfew violations.
Your Role as a Court
And you have heard arguments from the lawyer representing youth in the District seeking to overturn the law. Their lawyer maintains that the ordinance adversely affects a number of constitutional rights of young people.
In Craig v. Boren, 429 U.S. 190 (1976), the United States Supreme Court reviewed an Oklahoma statute that permitted females to consume alcoholic beverages at the age of eighteen (18) and mailes at the age of twenty-one (21). The state of Oklahoma defended the law by providing statistics that males between the ages of eighteen (18) and twenty-one (21) were more likely than females to drive under the influence of alcohol. The plaintiff claimed that the law unconstitutionally discriminated against males. The United States Supreme Court established the "intermediate level" of scrutiny called the "substantial relationship" test. The court overturned the statute, holding that laws that discriminate based on gender must be "substantially related to" achieving "important governmental objectives." Accordingly, the Court found that the law violated the equal protection clause of the United States Constitution because the law was not substantially related to the objective of traffic safety.
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Page created: April 28, 1999