One of the bleakest moral episodes in American history after slavery was segregation. But as Americans are wont to do they put a legal spin on what separate but equal might mean: which of course was neither separate nor equal. The following is a quote from the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court in the Decision Plessey v. Ferguson 163 U.S. 537 (1896) which legalized segregation. If he be a white man and assigned to a colored coach he may have his action for damages against the company for being deprived of his so-called property. Upon the other hand if he be a colored man and be so assigned he has been deprived of no property since he is not lawfully entitled to the reputation of being a white man. Provide answers to these three questions:Considering private property rights and the market from chapter 3 in your text what property rights was the Supreme Court trying to give ‘whiteness?’How would the courts need to justify each of the three arguments for property: utility autonomy and fairness for ‘whiteness’ to be a kind of property?What arguments before the court would you make against attributing property rights to ‘whiteness’?
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