Logourl black

Plessy v. Ferguson

United States Supreme Court
163 U.S. 537 (1896)


Facts

In 1890, the State of Louisiana passed a law that provided for separate railway cars for Caucasian and African American persons. Plessy (defendant) was seven-eighths Caucasian and one-eighth African American, but was considered African American under Louisiana law. He challenged the law by taking a seat in a Caucasian railway car and was asked to move to the African American car by the conductor. When he refused, he was forcibly ejected and imprisoned. The Committee of Citizens originally brought suit on behalf of Plessy in Louisiana state court challenging his arrest and conviction. The presiding judge, Ferguson (plaintiff), held that Louisiana had a right to enact such legislation to regulate railway companies as long as those companies operated within the state’s borders. Plessy then sought a writ of prohibition against Ferguson. The Committee of Citizens appealed on Plessy’s behalf to the Louisiana Supreme Court, which upheld Judge Ferguson’s ruling. The United States Supreme Court granted certiorari.

Rule of Law

The rule of law is the black letter law upon which the court rested its decision. To access this section, start your 7-day free trial of Quimbee for Law Students.

Issue

The issue section includes the dispositive legal issue in the case phrased as a question. To access this section, start your 7-day free trial of Quimbee for Law Students.

Holding and Reasoning (Brown, J.)

The holding and reasoning section includes:

  • A “yes” or “no” answer to the question framed in the issue section;
  • A summary of the majority or plurality opinion, using the CREAC method; and
  • The procedural disposition (e.g. reversed and remanded, affirmed, etc.).

To access this section, start your 7-day free trial of Quimbee for Law Students.

Dissent (Harlan, J.)

The dissent section is for members only and includes a summary of the dissenting judge or justice’s opinion. To access this section, start your 7-day free trial of Quimbee for Law Students.

Here's why 86,000 law students rely on our case briefs:

  • Reliable - written by law professors and practitioners not other law students.
  • The right length and amount of information - includes the facts, issue, rule of law, holding and reasoning, and any concurrences and dissents.
  • Access in your class - works on your mobile and tablet.
  • 12,053 briefs - keyed to 161 casebooks.
  • Uniform format for every case brief.
  • Written in plain English - not in legalese and not just repeating the court's language.
  • Massive library of related video lessons - and practice questions.
  • Ability to tag case briefs in an outlining tool.
  • Top-notch customer support.
Start Your Free Trial Now