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Monroe v. Pape is an important historical legal case. There are many lessons to be learned by a careful reading of this case. Essentially, Monroe v. Pape is a case in which a black family seeks redress for a racially based violation of their Civil Rights by biased local police officers. The local Chicago police officers did not have the official right to have even been in the petitioner’s home so they were acting under the “color of law” when they burst in and took the man away and held him without access to due process. Monroe v Pape shows how a case rooted in a local violation of Civil Rights can make it to Federal Jurisdiction and change how we interpret the law. Although in some situations a petitioner may perceive a strategic advantage to proceeding through the state court system, there are other times when invoking Federal law may be advantageous. Federal district courts have original jurisdiction over "civil actions arising under the Constitution, laws or treaties of the United States." Cases which present federal questions are removable to the federal district courts under 28 U.S.C. § 1441(b) (1988 ed.), which provides that when there is a distinct claim in a complaint that presents a federal question, the defendant may remove the entire case to federal court.
The Ku Klux Klan Act was passed by Congress in 1871 as a result of a 600 page report delineating the inability of state governments to cope with the Klan’s increasing racial violence. In Monroe v. Pape the petitioner, a Black man, charged that although there were laws in Illinois by which he could request redress, it was impossible for a Black man under the political pressure of Klu Klux Klan to receive justice in the District courts. The case evoked the standard of a "principle of justice so rooted in the traditions and conscience of our people as to be ranked as fundamental." The essence of the claim was that the police conduct offended those requirements of decency and fairness. To show the violations of Civil Rights, the petitioners invoked primarily the Fourteenth Amendment\'s Due Process Clause, claiming that no state shall deprive any person of life, liberty or property without “due process of law”. They asserted that the essence of the liberty is protected both by the common law and by the American Constitution. The claim stated that the essence of the liberty was "the right to shut the door on officials of the state unless their entry is under proper authority of law".