Open Access. Powered by Scholars. Published by Universities.®

Law Commons

Open Access. Powered by Scholars. Published by Universities.®

Series

Columbia Law School

Law and Race

2004

Title VII

Articles 1 - 2 of 2

Full-Text Articles in Law

The "Inexorable Zero", Bert I. Huang Jan 2004

The "Inexorable Zero", Bert I. Huang

Faculty Scholarship

For over a quarter century, legal arguments about segregation, discrimination, and affirmative action have invoked the image of the "inexorable zero" – complete absence of any women or minorities at a given school or workplace. Yet as evocative as the phrase might be, its precise doctrinal import has remained elusive. This Note recounts the original use of the concept in a landmark Title VII case and documents a current circuit split. It then articulates theoretical grounds upon which the concept’s intuitive appeal might rest. Finally, it excavates a further, more complex rationale that the Supreme Court may have contemplated at ...


The "Inexorable Zero", Bert I. Huang Jan 2004

The "Inexorable Zero", Bert I. Huang

Faculty Scholarship

[F]ine tuning of the statistics could not have obscured the glaring absence of minority [long-distance] drivers .... [T]he company's inability to rebut the inference of discrimination came not from a misuse of statistics but from "the inexorable zero."

The Supreme Court first uttered the phrase "inexorable zero" a quarter-century ago in International Brotherhood of Teamsters v. United States, a landmark Title VII case. Ever since, this enigmatic name for a rule of inference has echoed across legal argument about segregation, discrimination, and affirmative action. Justice O'Connor, for instance, cited the "inexorable zero" in a major sex discrimination ...