Strauder v. West Virginia,  Supreme Court of The Untied States 100 U.S. 303; 1879 U.S. OCTOBER, 1879 Term

CORE TERMS: colored, color, immunity, jurors, citizenship, enjoyment, Fourteenth Amendment, removal, sect, exemption, emancipated, indictment, unfriendly, peers, oath, prohibitory, verified, commenced, inferiority, composed, guaranteed, grand, practically, tribunals, petit, distinctively, enjoyed, declares, forbidden, ‘negroes’

FACTS:

The plaintiff in error, a colored man, was indicted for murder in the Circuit Court of Ohio County, in West Virginia, on the 20th of October, 1874, and upon trial was convicted and sentenced. The record was then removed to the Supreme Court of the State, and there the judgment of the Circuit Court was affirmed. The present case is a writ of error to that court, and it is now, in substance, averred that at the trial in the State court the defendant (now plaintiff in error) was denied rights to which he was entitled under the Constitution and laws of the United States.

OPINION BY JUSTICE STRONG;

The Fourteenth Amendment of the Federal Constitution both gave citizenship as well as the privileges of citizenship to persons of color and denied to any State the power to withhold from them the equal protection of the laws. The amendment also authorized Congress to enact appropriate legislation and to enforce the provisions of the amendment.

The Statute in question which in effect singles out and denies to colored citizens the right and privilege of participating in the administration of the law, as jurors, because of their color, is a discrimination against that race, forbidden by the amendment. It amounts to a denial of the equal protection of the laws to the race excluded by the statute

Section 641 of the Revised Statutes, which declares that "When any civil suit or criminal prosecution is commenced in any State Court, for any cause whatsoever, against any person who is denied or cannot enforce in the judicial tribunals of the State, or in the part of the State where such suit or prosecution is pending, any right secured to him by any law providing for the equal civil rights of citizens of the United States, such suit or prosecution may, upon the petition of such defendant, filed in said State Court at any time before the trial or final hearing of the cause, stating the facts and verified by oath, be removed for trial into the next Circuit Court to be held in the district where it is pending," considered, and held not to be in conflict with the Federal Constitution.

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