The Southern Manifesto was a document written in the United States Congress opposed to racial integration in public places. The manifesto was signed by 101 politicians (99 Democrats and 2 Republicans) from Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and Virginia. The document was largely drawn up to counter the landmark Supreme Court 1954 ruling Brown v. Board of Education.
Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, 347 U.S. 483 (1954), was a landmark decision of the United States Supreme Court that declared state laws establishing separate public schools for black and white students unconstitutional. The decision overturned the Plessy v. Ferguson decision of 1896 which allowed state-sponsored segregation. Handed down on May 17, 1954, the Warren Court's unanimous (9–0) decision stated that "separate educational facilities are inherently unequal." As a result, de jure racial segregation was ruled a violation of the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment of the United States Constitution. This ruling paved the way for integration and the civil rights movement
The initial version of the southern manifesto was written by Strom Thurmond and the final version mainly by Richard Russell. The manifesto was signed by 19 Senators and 82 members of the House of Representatives, including the entire congressional delegations of the states of Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, South Carolina and Virginia. All of the signatures were Southern Democrats except two: Republicans Joel Broyhill and Richard Poff of Virginia. School segregation laws were some of the most enduring and best-known of the Jim Crow laws that characterized the American South and several northern states at the time. The Southern Manifesto accused the Supreme Court of "clear abuse of judicial power." It further promised to use "all lawful means to bring about a reversal of this decision which is contrary to the Constitution and to prevent the use of force in its implementation."  One of the theories used was that the Tenth Amendment to the United States Constitution should also limit the reach of the Supreme Court.
"The unwarranted decision of the Supreme Court in the public school cases is now bearing the fruit always produced when men substitute naked power for established law." "The original Constitution does not mention education. Neither does the 14th Amendment nor any other amendment. The debates preceding the submission of the 14th Amendment clearly show that there was no intent that it should affect the system of education maintained by the States." "This unwarranted exercise of power by the Court, contrary to the Constitution, is creating chaos and confusion in the States principally affected. It is destroying the amicable relations between the white and Negro races that have been created through 90 years of patient effort by the good people of both races. It has planted hatred and suspicion where there has been heretofore friendship and understanding
Its Equal Protection Clause requires each state to provide equal protection under the law to all people within its jurisdiction. This clause was the basis for Brown v. Board of Education (1954), the Supreme Court decision which precipitated the dismantling of racial segregation in the United States. In Reed v. Reed (1971), the Supreme Court for the first time ruled that laws arbitrarily requiring sex discrimination violated the Equal Protection Clause
For much of the sixty years preceding the Brown case, race relations in the U.S. had been dominated by racial segregation. This policy had been endorsed in 1896 by the United States Supreme Court case of Plessy v. Ferguson, which held that as long as the separate facilities for the separate races were equal, segregation did not violate the Fourteenth Amendment ("no State shall... deny to any person... the equal...
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