"If one race be inferior to the other socially, the Constitution of the United States cannot put them on the same plane"
—From the majority opinion of the U.S. Supreme Court in Plessy v. Ferguson, 1896.
"But in the view of the Constitution, in the eye of the law, there is in this country no superior, dominant, ruling class of citizens. There is no caste system here. Our Constitution is color-blind."
—Associate Justice John Marshall Harlan, dissenting in the same case.
At the stroke of noon, one day last week, Chief Justice Earl...