Toward Neutral Principles of Constitutional Law, Herbert Wechsler, the Brown v. the Board of Education Legal Decision, equality, black and white schools, principle of neutrality, racial segregation, Constitution
In "Toward Neutral Principles of Constitutional Law", Herbert Wechsler brings up difficult issues that are eternally present in cases that make their way up to the Supreme Court. While we often deny these issues and simply assume that the court is making a decision that is "Constitutional" and "reasonable", by deeply analyzing certain cases, we are confronted with the fact that there are many areas of grey with no easy solutions. In the Brown v. Board of Education Supreme Court case, Wechsler criticizes the pretense that the judges have used a "neutral" approach to come to their decision.
[...] Ferguson was decided using the same principles in the same Constitution, and yet the conclusion in the case was the opposite. Wechsler then argues that it would be incorrect to suggest that this reinterpretation hinges on the idea that Plessy assumed that school facilities were equal, whereas Brown proved that the equality did not exist. Instead, he argues that the reinterpretation exists not because of this perceived inequality, but for other reasons. Wechsler writes, Does it not involve an inquiry into the motive of the legislature, which is generally foreclosed to the courts? [...]
[...] Wechsler writes, is there a basis in neutral principles for holding that the Constitution demands that the claims for association should prevail? I should like to think there is, but I confess that I have not yet written the opinion. With these words, Wechsler comments on the difficulty of establishing a principle of neutrality in such a case. The truth is, in my opinion, that the Constitution is simply not long enough to provide us with an answer to every possible dilemma. [...]
[...] Such problems and inconsistencies will occasionally come up, and it is up to the Justices and, yes, their personal values, to decide how to rule on a particular case. While difficult to accept for many of us, the Justices are not robots who are programmed to follow the guidelines in the Constitution. Their minds and the ideas within those minds are obviously involved in the process of legal interpretation, and for this reason, we cannot and should not assume that a Supreme Court ruling can be made just by reading and knowing the Constitution. Works Cited Herbert Wechsler. Toward Neutral Principles of Constitutional Law Harv. L. [...]
[...] Rev (1959). Herbert Wechsler, Toward Neutral Principles of Constitutional Law Harv. L. Rev (1959) Wechsler, supra note at 34. [...]
Online readingwith our online reader
Content validatedby our reading committee