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University of Michigan Law School

Affirmative action

Supreme Court of the United States

Michigan Law Review

Articles 1 - 13 of 13

Full-Text Articles in Law

Engineering The Endgame, Ellen D. Katz Jan 2010

Engineering The Endgame, Ellen D. Katz

Michigan Law Review

This Article explores what happens to longstanding remedies for past racial discrimination as conditions change. It shows that Congress and the Supreme Court have responded quite differently to changed conditions when they evaluate such remedies. Congress has generally opted to stay the course, while the Court has been more inclined to view change as cause to terminate a remedy. The Article argues that these very different responses share a defining flaw, namely, they treat existing remedies as fixed until they are terminated. As a result, remedies are either scrapped prematurely or left stagnant despite dramatically changed conditions. The Article seeks ...


The Politicization Of Clarence Thomas, Jagan Nicholas Ranjan May 2003

The Politicization Of Clarence Thomas, Jagan Nicholas Ranjan

Michigan Law Review

Perception often shapes memory. In particular, the way one perceives a noteworthy public figure often shapes that figure's historical legacy. For example, history largely remembers John Coltrane as one of the greatest jazz saxophone players of our time. His improvisational skill, innovative style, and mastery over his instrument all serve to classify him in the public memory as the ultimate jazz performer. Yet, as the example of Coltrane might demonstrate, perception is unjustly deficient. Coltrane was not merely a great saxophone player; he was first and foremost a religious figure whose spirituality drove his creativity and manifested itself in ...


White Interests And Civil Rights Realism: Rodrigo's Bittersweet Epiphany, Richard Delgado Mar 2003

White Interests And Civil Rights Realism: Rodrigo's Bittersweet Epiphany, Richard Delgado

Michigan Law Review

I had just settled down, taken off my tie, and was about to go over the two-page handout entitled "Information for Wedding Parties " that the minister of the small church had handed me minutes earlier, when I heard a knock and familiar voice from the other side of the anteroom door.


Some Effects Of Identity-Based Social Movements On Constitutional Law In The Twentieth Century, William N. Eskridge Jr. Aug 2002

Some Effects Of Identity-Based Social Movements On Constitutional Law In The Twentieth Century, William N. Eskridge Jr.

Michigan Law Review

What motivated big changes in constitutional law doctrine during the twentieth century? Rarely did important constitutional doctrine or theory change because of formal amendments to the document's text, and rarer still because scholars or judges "discovered" new information about the Constitution's original meaning. Precedent and common law reasoning were the mechanisms by which changes occurred rather than their driving force. My thesis is that most twentieth century changes in the constitutional protection of individual rights were driven by or in response to the great identity-based social movements ("IBSMs") of the twentieth century. Race, sex, and sexual orientation were ...


A Rational Basis For Affirmative Action: A Shaky But Classical Liberal Defense, Richard A. Epstein Aug 2002

A Rational Basis For Affirmative Action: A Shaky But Classical Liberal Defense, Richard A. Epstein

Michigan Law Review

I am honored to participate in a symposium on the occasion of the lOOth anniversary of one of America's preeminent law reviews. I am saddened, however, to write, at what should be a moment of celebration, with the knowledge that both the Law School and the College of Literature, Science and the Arts are enmeshed in extensive litigation over the critical and explosive issue of affirmative action. To find striking evidence of the deep split of learned judicial views on this issue, it is necessary to look no further than the sequence of opinions in Gratz v. Bollinger and ...


The Causation Fallacy: Bakke And The Basic Arithmetic Of Selective Admissions, Goodwin Liu Mar 2002

The Causation Fallacy: Bakke And The Basic Arithmetic Of Selective Admissions, Goodwin Liu

Michigan Law Review

Last Term, the Supreme Court turned down two invitations to resolve the constitutionality of affirmative action in college and university admissions. In May 2001, the Court for the second time declined to review a Fifth Circuit decision holding that the use of racial preferences to achieve diversity in the student body serves no compelling interest. A few weeks later, the Court let stand a conflicting Ninth Circuit decision that upheld a .law school affirmative action policy on the ground that "educational diversity is a compelling governmental interest that meets the demands of strict scrutiny." The legal controversy over admissions preferences ...


The Democracy-Forcing Constitution, Neal Devins May 1999

The Democracy-Forcing Constitution, Neal Devins

Michigan Law Review

During my freshman year in college, I was told not to judge a book by its cover. The book in question - Lolita; the cover suggested something quite salacious. My professor explained that a soldier, who had purchased Lolita to work out some of the kinks of military life, found himself tossing the book out, proclaiming in disgust "Literature!" Well, I cannot claim precisely the same reaction to Cass Sunstein's One Case at a Time (my expectations were lower than the soldier's). Nevertheless, for those expecting a lefty defense of judicial restraint, One Case at a Time is not ...


Race, Class, Caste…? Rethinking Affirmative Action, Clark D. Cunningham, N.R. Madhava Menon Mar 1999

Race, Class, Caste…? Rethinking Affirmative Action, Clark D. Cunningham, N.R. Madhava Menon

Michigan Law Review

Many who oppose affirmative action programs in the United States because they use "racial" categories such as black, African American, or Latino, claim that equally effective and more equitable programs can be developed using only class categories, such as "low income." A key test case for the "race v. class" debate is admission to law schools, made urgent by recent legal prohibitions on the use of "race" in the admission procedures to state universities in California, Washington, and Texas. An empirical study by Linda Wightman, the former director of research for the Law School Admissions Council (LSAC), has shown that ...


Affirmative Action, Caste, And Cultural Comparisons, Cass R. Sunstein Mar 1999

Affirmative Action, Caste, And Cultural Comparisons, Cass R. Sunstein

Michigan Law Review

What is permitted, and what is prohibited, by the equality principle of a liberal democracy? Does affirmative action run afoul of that principle? And where should we look to answer these questions? Many critics of affirmative action take it as axiomatic that affirmative action violates the equality principle. But this is far from clear. Every law classifies. The current law of equality itself classifies by, for example, treating discrimination on the basis of race differently from discrimination on the basis of age. No one thinks that the law of equality is, for this reason, inconsistent with the Equal Protection Clause ...


Caste, Class, And Equal Citizenship, William E. Forbath Jan 1999

Caste, Class, And Equal Citizenship, William E. Forbath

Michigan Law Review

There is a familiar egalitarian constitutional tradition and another we have largely forgotten. The familiar one springs from Brown v. Board of Education; its roots lie in the Reconstruction era. Court-centered and countermajoritarian, it takes aim at caste and racial subordination. The forgotten one also originated with Reconstruction, but it was a majoritarian tradition, addressing its arguments to lawmakers and citizens, not to courts. Aimed against harsh class inequalities, it centered on decent work and livelihoods, social provision, and a measure of economic independence and democracy. Borrowing a phrase from its Progressive Era proponents, I will call it the social ...


Progressive And Conservative Constitutionalism, Robin West Feb 1990

Progressive And Conservative Constitutionalism, Robin West

Michigan Law Review

The article's central thesis is that the understandings of the constitutional tradition most central to both paradigms are determined by sometimes implicit, but more often explicit, political dispositions toward various forms of social and private power, and the normative authority to which social and private power gives rise. Very broadly, conservative constitutionalists view private or social normative authority as the legitimate and best source of guidance for state action; accordingly, they view both the Constitution and constitutional adjudication as means of preserving and protecting that authority and the power that undergirds it against either legislative or judicial encroachment. Progressive ...


Decoding Richmond: Affirmative Action And The Elusive Meaning Of Constitutional Equality, Michel Rosenfeld Jun 1989

Decoding Richmond: Affirmative Action And The Elusive Meaning Of Constitutional Equality, Michel Rosenfeld

Michigan Law Review

This Article first briefly considers the conceptual and constitutional framework out of which the controversy in Croson emerges. Next, the Article turns to Croson itself, and focuses on the Court's adoption of the strict scrutiny test, on the disagreement among the Justices concerning the test's meaning and implications, and on the Court's use of decontextualization to manipulate the key conceptual and factual issues at stake. Finally, drawing upon the principle of equality of opportunity, the Article endeavors to demonstrate how the adoption of particular principles of substantive equality can lead to a comprehensive and coherent constitutional resolution ...


The 1986 And 1987 Affirmative Action Cases: It's All Over But The Shouting, Herman Schwartz Dec 1987

The 1986 And 1987 Affirmative Action Cases: It's All Over But The Shouting, Herman Schwartz

Michigan Law Review

For the moment, the affirmative action wars are over. In a ten-year set of decisions, culminating in five during the last two terms, the Court has now legitimated almost all types of race and gender preferences, even if they benefit nonvictims, including voluntarily adopted preferences in hiring, promotion, university admissions, and government contracting; hiring and promotion preferences in consent decrees; and court-ordered hiring and promotions. It has approved preferences by both public and private bodies, and for both racial-ethnic minorities and women. It has barred only layoffs of white (and presumably male) employees who have more seniority than employees hired ...