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Strauder v. West Virginia

100 U.S. 303 (1880)

tl;dr: Struck law excluding Black people from juries under the 14th Amendment.

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Strauder v. West Virginia was a landmark case that established the protection of civil rights for people of color under the Fourteenth Amendment. The case involved a Black man who was denied the right to have his trial heard by a jury selected without discrimination based on race or color in a West Virginia Circuit Court. This denial was due to a discriminatory State jury selection process that prohibited colored citizens from serving as jurors. The legal questions at hand were whether every citizen of the United States had the right to a fair trial by a non-discriminatory jury, and if a defendant could have their case removed to a federal court if this right was denied by the State. The Fourteenth Amendment prohibits States from denying equal protection under the law and protects citizens' privileges and immunities. Thus, the West Virginia statute that denied colored citizens the right to serve as jurors was deemed a violation of the Fourteenth Amendment. A defendant in a similar situation can file a petition in the State court before the trial or final hearing of the case to request the removal of the case to the next circuit court in the district where it is pending.

The Fourteenth Amendment grants African Americans all the civil rights enjoyed by white citizens and protects them from discrimination. The West Virginia statute that excludes people of color from serving on juries is discriminatory and violates the spirit of the Fourteenth Amendment. The right to a trial by jury is guaranteed to every citizen of West Virginia, and the composition of juries is essential to ensuring a fair trial. The Fourteenth Amendment protects against discrimination based on race or color, and any state action that denies this immunity to a person of color is unconstitutional. The question is whether Congress has the power to enforce the Fourteenth Amendment through legislation such as section 641 of the Revised Statutes.

Congress can protect constitutional rights through legislation, including allowing cases to be moved from state to federal courts. Section 641 of the Revised Statutes allows for such removal when a person is denied a right secured by a law providing for equal civil rights. The plaintiff was entitled to immunity from discrimination in jury selection based on their color, and their petition for removal to the Federal Circuit Court was valid. The State court erred in proceeding with the trial, and the judgment is reversed. Justices Field and Clifford dissent from the court's judgment, citing reasons previously stated in Ex parte Virginia.

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Facts & Holding

Facts:Strauder, a black man, was convicted of murder by a...

Holding:The common purpose of the Civil War amendments was to...

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Strauder v. West Virginia

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