This article looks into the implications of the Civil Rights Act that was established in 1994 in promoting equal treatments to all Americans regardless of the gender, sex, color or racial backgrounds. This act shows the history of America as well as the background upon which the constitution is found. Before it was converted into law, the Jim Crow laws that allowed for discrimination of the minority communities were used. African Americans, for instance, were not allowed admission to individual schools, transport in public vehicles and access to public accommodations were prohibited among other discriminatory acts. Additionally, the minority groups had to go through hard procedures that hindered them from participating in elections. It was due to such governance that the black community sought equal treatment.
The establishment of the Civil Rights Act of 1994 was faced with several challenges but was later approved by the court. This act was concerned with the prohibition of discrimination in public facilities and inclusion in projects that were funded by the federal government. It also addressed the issue of unfair access to employment opportunities by women and the minority groups. Today, the impacts of the act can be felt and seen in the implementation of policies. Unlike in the past, racial segregation has reduced. People from all genders are entitled to equal treatment at work, and any organization that violates such policies can be sued. The voting and election process has also become transparent. The problematic procedures were eliminated, and people regardless of their race can vie for elections. The media is active in showing the positive and negative aspects of the government in meeting the requirements of the 1964 Act. Overall, Americans enjoy harmony in the country due to this act.
Civil Rights Act of 1964
The Civil Rights Acts (1964) is one of the most important laws to be passed in the history of America. Under this act, every American regardless of their color, origin or religion would be treated equally. For quite a long time, the minority groups, especially the people from the black community were treated inhumanly. With this act, they would comfortably access public services. Upon enforcement of this law, an employment commission was also created to address the issue of employers and laborers. It also focused on banning gender discrimination which was prevalent in America.
The 1964 Civil Rights Act created a solid foundation upon which all Americans are treated equally regardless of their race, national origin, gender, and color. This paper examines the relation of this act to the history and constitutional foundation of the American government, system of checks and balances and the election process and public policy roles.
Historical and Constitutional Background
Thisact is a depiction of the historical background of the American government as well as a basis upon which the constitution has been established. Before the civil war, the American government was cruel to the black people and other minority communities. The governance was guided by Jim Crow laws which enhanced racial segregation. Black people, especially in the southern part of America, were denied rights to access public facilities such as schools, hotels, parks and theaters among others (Dudzial, 2011). However, the African American community leaders were resilient in fighting for the rights of its people. Some of the historical events that led to the formation of this act include the Brown Versus Education Board which brought to an end racial segregation in schools (Graglia, 2014). This case was brought about by the existence of white dominated schools whereby black students were denied admission. Certain leaders such as Rosa Parks pushed for the promotion of access to public vehicles. Freedom rides, black student committees, and leadership conferences also saw the 1964 Act of civil rights established. Its establishment helped in solving the problem of inequality thus enabling the blacks to have better lives.
This act further created a basis upon which the American constitution is found. Following the establishment of the Act, several provisions were designed to ensure that discrimination in all aspects of the American community was brought to an end. For instance, the EEOC was established to ensure that all people secured jobs regardless of their sex, race, color or nation of origin. Further, voting rights were granted to all people through the Ku Klux Klan Act (Alexander, 2015). The Fair Housing Act was also passed to prevent discriminatory practices in the sale and rental of housing (History, Acts, and Archives, n.d.). Currently, the constitution guarantees every person equal rights in accessing similar services in all the American aspects.
Checks and Balances
The 1964 Civil Rights Act puts the system of checks and balances in place. It is expected that the legislative powers are divide so that justice is promoted. Even though the Supreme Court is supposed to give the final judgment in a case, the constitution allows for separation of powers. For instance, the Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009 is an example of how the Civil Rights Act contributes towards checks and balances in the government (Schaefer, 2009). Ledbetter sued her company for discriminatory pay. However, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of the company. It was argued that Ledbetter should have sued the company the moment the compensation decisions were made in the organization. This was the wrong interpretation of the employment laws that require both men and women to be treated fairly at work (Aiken, Salmon and Hanges, 2013). The President and the Congress had to come in and make the decision that the court had made unfairly.
It is through the enacting of this act that there is a balance of power is maintained in the government today. The constitution dictates that none of the government branches which are the executive, legislative and judicial, is more powerful than the other. For instance, the executive branch is responsible for enforcing laws. The legislative branch has the duty to make laws. The judicial system, on the other hand, interprets the law. For such reasons, power is balanced across all the government branches. If the legislative branch makes a bill, the executive has the power to reject it. Additionally, the judicial system can also reject laws made by the legislative arm and declare them unconstitutional. With such division of power, justice is served to everyone as in seen in the case of Ledbetter. At times, the court might fail to give the correct judgment and this would deter the fulfillment of the requirements of the civil rights act of 1964.As such, this act has contributed greatly towards division of power in the government.
Public Policy, Elections, and Media
This act undoubtedly brought changes to the public policy and elections in America. When it was passed, the discriminated people were eager to enjoy similar rights with those who were considered superior, the whites. Segregation was banned in all public facilities (Gazzar, 2014). All the people would have the right to vote for their leaders without harassment. Women and men would be given equal opportunities to secure employment. Most importantly, access to fair housing was made easy for every person. These changes have impacted public policies in different ways. Currently, they have to be geared towards ensuring equal treatment for all Americans. There are no longer schools strictly for the whites. Instead, students can now study together regardless of their racial backgrounds. Most importantly, public policies regarding housing promote the equal acquisition of rental and sale of houses to every person. When it comes to elections, American citizens regardless of the color or race can participate. Most importantly, if an organization fails to meet the requirements of the policies, they are bound to face legal charges.
The best aspect of having public policies that promote equality andfairness is that harmony in the society is promoted. The interests of the citizens are well represented such that there is equal access to national resources.
Before this act became law, the media portrayed the law as discriminatory. It helped to highlight the segregation in the country. Today, through the freedom of expression, the media has been in a position to portray the implementation of this civil rights act. It not only highlights about the government activities but also helps civilians to understand the impact that such activities have on their lives. It has enabled people to discover the achievements as well as the shortcomings of governance. By criticizing the government, the media has fostered the making of positive transformations in the society.
Voting and the Election Process
The act also paved the way for fair process in the voting and election process in the country. Initially, people had to go through literacy tests. Devices to disqualify people especially the African Americans from voting were utilized. The white segregation practices against the blacks were prevalent especially in the southern parts of America. Any attempt to bring justice was faced with a lot of challenges. Part of the reason for the challenges was the fact that many authoritarian positions were held by the white people. They,therefore, had the power to implement to Jim Crow laws which fostered hatred between majority and minority communities. This deterred transparency and participation of all people in the election process. Following this, provisions for voting were created. The lengthy procedures of literacy tests were banned. Federal examiners would now be implemented to register voters. Proceedings would from then on be instituted by an Attorney General. The act required more voter registration from the black community. It was declared that if any of the local registrars refused to register the blacks, federal officials would be sent to ensure that the activity was completed. Additionally, the act required that people who violated the requirements of the voting and election process to be considered as criminals and thus penalized.
Today, elections are usually free and fair. Any person eligible for becoming a president can vie unlike in the past whereby presidents had to come from the majority group.A good example is when President Obama was voted as the 44thpresident of America. His coming to power was a clear indication that voting segregation laws that existed in the past have been done away with. Moreover, every American, whether black or white or any other color, is allowed to vote for their preferable leaders. At least now, there are no complexities and long procedures during the voting and election process. In fact, voting is now done within a very short time. It is transparent and this has gone a long way in ensuring equality in the country.
It is clear that the 1964 Civil Rights Act was one of the best laws passed in the history of America. It was adequate in promoting equal treatment to Americans in all aspects of the society. The act also acts as a basis upon which the constitution was created and is a depiction of the American history. Today, men and women are guaranteed fair treatment in their jobs. Every person has access to adequate housing regardless of their color, race or sex.The act also helps in enhancing the requirements of checks and balances in the government. Having balance of power in the government promotes proper observance and interpretation of law. This further causes justice in the society. Public policies are now based on the interests of all people. Following this act, Americans enjoy similar rights and treatment regardless of their color, gender, race and national origin. The racial separation practices during elections no longer exist. As long as an American meets the eligibility requirements, they can vote. There is also transparency in the voter registration and elections process. Ultimately, this has caused harmony in the society.
Alexander, C. C. (2015). The Ku Klux Klan in the Southwest. University Press of Kentucky.
Aiken, J. R., Salmon, E. D., " Hanges, P. J. (2013). The origins and legacy of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Journal of Business and Psychology, 28(4), 383-399.
Dudziak, M. L. (2011). Cold War civil rights: Race and the image of American democracy. Princeton University Press.
Gazzar, B. (2014). How the Civil Rights Act of 1964 changed America. Los Angeles Daily News
Retrieved from https://www.dailynews.com/2014/07/01/how-the-civil-rights-act-of-1964-changed-america/
Graglia, L. A. (2014). The Supreme Court's Perversion of the 1964 Civil Rights Act. Harvard Journal of Law " Public Policy, 37, 103.
Schaefer, J. E. (2009). Checks and Balances at Work: Congress and the President Correct the Supreme Court. Constitutional Accountability Center
Retrieved from https://www.theusconstitution.org/text-history/485