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The Papers of Justice Tom C. Clark

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Hernandez v. Texas (1954)

Mexican American Civil Rights - Hernandez v. Texas, 1954

La Prensa News Clipping

From "La Prensa," San Antonio, Texas, June 15, 1960.

Selected Case Files

Docket Sheet

Bench Memorandum

Letter from Justice Clark to Chief Justice regarding joining opinion

Draft opinion of April 30, 1954

This case extended important civil rights protections to persons of Hispanic origin. In 1950, Pete Hernandez was charged with murder and convicted by an all-white jury in Jackson County, Texas. Like many Texas counties at the time, Jackson County systematically excluded Hispanic persons from jury service. On appeal to the Supreme Court, Hernandez argued that the equal protection guarantee of the U.S. Constitution protected persons from discrimination not just on the basis of race, but also on the basis of class. The Supreme Court agreed, and ruled that Hernandez had the constitutional right to be tried by a jury of his peers, and any system that excluded persons of his own class was invalid.



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