Constitutional Law VIII

Illegal immigrants are citizens of another country entering a country without the necessary documentation. The federal authority is responsible for the enforcement of the immigration laws, but there has been pressure in allowing local police deal with these issues (Roberson, 2009). This comes with pros and cons. Firstly, there would be the impact on the community, where trust between the authorities would deteriorate. Contrary, the local police are better placed as they are familiar with the communities they serve. Further, there is resources directed towards funding local police would diminish resources available for other activities. On the contrary, the involvement of local police would help the federal government by pooling of resources (Roberson, 2009).

Question 2: Why was the Fourteenth Amendment still necessary once the slaves had been freed?

The fourteenth amendment was an amendment that was aimed and providing full citizenship to African-Americans and all persons that have been born or even naturalized in the United States. The importance of this amendment extends far and beyond the slavery, as it continued to provide for equal rights to the people to date. Further, the law has extended its protection to illegal immigrants, who without the amendment, would be subject to inhuman treatment. Hence, the amendment is still necessary to protect the rights of minority to date (Harr, Hess and Orthmann, 2012).


Question 3: Discuss two cases where the Fourteenth Amendment protected not just state citizens, but non-residents and aliens.

The fourteenth amendment provides for the protection of not only legal American citizens, but also to illegal immigrants. In the year 1898 case involving United States vs. Wong Kim Ark, who was not eligible for the American citizenship, the son was granted the American citizenship in the grounds of the fourteenth Amendment.Citizenship is defined as to be acquired through naturalization or birth in the US, and, therefore, subject to its jurisdiction. Further, in the year 1982, in a case involving Puller vs. Doe, the fourteenth amendment came to the rescue, and it was determined that though undocumented, children were covered with the equal protection clause of the amendment. According to Harr, Hess and Orthmann (2012), the due process and the equal protection clauses extend to all persons in the United States.

Question 4: Explain the facts and the Supreme Court’s opinion in Plessy v. Ferguson.

The state of Louisiana had provided that the citizens be provided separate but equal compartments in the train based on race. Following this, Plessy, the plaintiff filed a court case against Ferguson, who was a judge. The facts in the case were that Plessy, by the virtue of being an American, and a Louisiana state resident; was entitled to every right as accrued to the American citizens of white origin, since the coloured blood mixture was not discernible in him. The petitioner was ejected from his compartment on grounds of his race and subject to imprisonment. Contrary, the Supreme Court was of the opinion as delivered by Justice brown was that the State of Louisiana had passed legislation requiring separate, but equal carriages for the different races. The legislation also provided for the enforcement of same but equal coaches for different races and the punishment for violators. Thus, it was within the law for Plessy to be forcibly ejected from the white’s coach, and subject to a criminal trial in a court of law (Harr, Hess and Orthmann, 2012).

Question 5:


ough theconstitution of the United States does not provide for the protection of privacy plainly, the supreme court has interpreted the bill of rights act to contain penumbras that provide for the right to the protection of privacy. The constitution specifically provides this right in areas such the marriage, reproduction and abortion, and sexual orientation (Harr, Hess and Orthmann, 2012). In a 1957 court case involving Roe vs. Wade, the state of Texas had created a statute that illegalised all abortions unless ones performed to save the life of the mother. Jane Roe fought this provision as invasion to privacy. Being unmarried and pregnant, and could not secure an abortion since her life had not been threatened. The Supreme Court overturned a state law illegalisingabortion on the grounds that, it was an invasion to personal privacy. Decision on whether to abort was the mother’s.

Question 6:

The 1954 court case between Board of education of Topeka vs. Linda Brown appeared to overrule the separate but equal doctrine (Harr, Hess and Orthmann, 2012). In the case, Linda brown had been denied admission into the local school based on her race. The court relied on the principle of violation of the equal protection as guaranteed by the fourteenth amendment of the US constitution. This decision resulted in the empowerment of the minority groups. The court argued that segregation of the minority had resulted in hindrance to their full development as they had been imposed as inferior (Harr, Hess and Orthmann, 2012).


Harr, J. S., Hess, M. H., & Orthmann, C. H. (2012). Constitutional law and the criminal justice system (5th ed). Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.

Roberson, C. (2009). Constitutional law and criminal justice. Boca Raton, Florida: CRC Press.

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