Civil Rights Case in the City of Chicago

Subject: History
Pages: 5
Words: 856
Reading time:
4 min
Study level: Bachelor


The case was argued in December 1968 and determined in March 1969. The case originated from Dick Gregory, who organized a demonstration in Chicago in 1966. Protesters gathered to voice their displeasure with the city of Chicago’s policy of segregated public schools. The protesters marched to by then-Mayor Richard Daley’s (which was an all-white neighborhood). Even though the demonstration was peaceful, several of the mayor’s neighbors started to shout and hurl objects at the demonstrators. After the demonstrators refused to leave Chicago, police arrived and removed them. When petitioners, who were peaceful civil rights marchers, refused to disperse on orders from Chicago police, who expected civil disruption as a result of the onlookers’ disruptive behavior (Mantler, 2017), they were detained and convicted of disorderly conduct. The Illinois Supreme Court upheld the decision.

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The Court’s opinion was given by Mr. Chief Justice Warren that it was an easy case to understand. Petitions for desegregation of public schools marched from City Hall to the Mayor’s mansion with the assistance of Chicago police and an assistant city attorney in a calm and orderly parade. Even though the protesters and other demonstrators marched legally, the observers got more agitated as the crowd grew larger. To avoid civil unrest, the police in Chicago ordered the marchers to disperse or face arrest. Disobedient petitioners were taken into custody for disruptive behavior as a result (Mantler, 2017), for a peaceful and orderly march of petitioners. The court judgment implied that petitioners were convicted because they refused to disperse when asked to do so by police in Chicago. Petitions were prosecuted because they were held, not because they refused to obey an officer of the peace.

The decision of the Court

The conviction was reversed by the Supreme Court of the United States, which ruled unanimously. This was as a result of no evidence to back the petitioners’ convictions and there were no arrests because of a refusal to follow police command. The jury might be convicted of First Amendment violations by the trial judge’s allegation. California v. Stromberg If onlookers’ disorderly conduct causes a demonstration to be arrested, it amounts to a “heckler’s vote,” Justice Hugo Black stated in his concurring opinion (Mantler, 2017). As a second step, he looked into the history of the Bankruptcy Code. Section 362(a) added the language “exercise control over property” in 1984. Afterward, there was no explanation and no cross-reference to Section 452. (a). Congress had been expected to make a change to the legislation requiring any entity in possession of a debtor’s property to hand it up immediately under pain of penalties for violating the automatic stay. For these reasons, Justice Alito concluded that Section 362 does not prohibit the mere maintenance of bankrupt estate property in section 362 (a).

Sotomayor, on the other hand, concurred that non-payment of fines and penalties immediately became a huge financial burden for the city because of the penalties and late fees (Raghunandan, 2018). Bankruptcy was the only way to regain their cars, but the city refused to return them until their debt was paid or the bankruptcy proceedings were completed, a process that may take a long time (even for those with few assets). Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor called for a more comprehensive response to these problems from legislators and policymakers. Since our last update, only the Fulton case has been prosecuted, although there have been several other notable death penalty judgments since then. Since federal executions started six months ago, the government has executed 13 criminals, including Dustin Higgs. In an unseemly rush to put as many death row inmates to death as possible before the incoming administration stops executions, the Court has entered the fray. The Supreme Court granted a petition for certiorari before judgment and removed the district court’s stay of execution before the circuit court heard the argument in Higgs.

Justice Sotomayor stated that the Federal Government had executed more individuals in the preceding six months than it did in the previous six decades (Trestman, 2017). And she called for an emergency appeal heard by the Court seeking fundamental questions about the Federal Death Penalty Act. However, a majority of the Court had frequently rejected detainees’ legitimate pleas for relief even dropping stays of execution issued by lower courts (Trestman, 2017). This ensured that the inmates’ arguments would never be heard. Justice Sotomayor argued that the act was not right and executions should have been restarted cautiously by the federal government after almost two decades.


This is possible, but the burden it throws on this case is obvious: the necessity to anticipate disruption sources and to properly isolate those interests that should be and constitutionally may be protected by local legislation becomes higher than ever before. If you don’t know what you’re going to defend, it’s impossible to enact “narrowly drafted legislation” until you’ve already been assaulted. Protest in an urban location where communication is fast and public services are heavily centralized necessitates the need for forethought. The judgment favors the people of America in that the citizens have a right to express and demonstrate when fighting for their rights.


Mantler, G.K. (2017). “Organize the People”: The 1975 City Council Races in Multiracial Chicago. Journal of Civil and Human Rights, 3(2), 1. Web.

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Raghunandan, A. (2018). Are Non-Financial and Financial Misconduct Complements?: Evidence From Federal Agency Penalties. SSRN Electronic Journal. Web.

Trestman, M. (2017). Women Advocates before the Supreme Court, from October Term 1880 through December 2016. Journal of Supreme Court History, 42(2), 209–211. Web.