Equal Justice Under Law
Author: Linda Weber for Sunnylands Seminars 2009, Annenberg Classroom
In its first constitutional challenge to the equal protection clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, Yick Wo v. Hopkins, the U.S. Supreme Court decided to hear a case brought by a Chinese im- migrant, not an American citizen.In this lesson, students explore the cause-and-effect relationships between historical events and the development of constitutional principles that protect the rights of all people in America today. The words inscribed on the U.S. Supreme Court building are a reminder of that protection— “Equal Justice Under Law.”
- Examine the cause-and-effect relationships between historical events and the development of constitutional principles related to the equal protection clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.
- Explain the relationship between justice and law in the U.S.Identify the legal precedents set by Yick Wo v. Hopkins.
- Explain the significance of Yick Wo for citizens and non-citizens in the U.S. today.
- Describe how the Supreme Court’s interpretation of “equal protection” expanded over time and the contribution of Yick Wo v. Hopkins to that expansion.
- Appreciate the impact that one person can have on the development of the law when resources and supports are rallied to pursue justice under the Constitution.
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