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Columbia Law School

Columbia Law Review

Civil Rights and Discrimination

Articles 1 - 10 of 10

Full-Text Articles in Law

Equality Law Pluralism, Olatunde C.A. Johnson Jan 2017

Equality Law Pluralism, Olatunde C.A. Johnson

Faculty Scholarship

This contribution to the Constance Baker Motley Symposium examines the future of civil rights reform at a time in which longstanding limitations of the antidiscrimination law framework, as well as newer pressures such as the rise of economic populism, are placing stress on the traditional antidiscrimination project. This Essay explores the openings that nevertheless remain in public law for confronting persistent forms of exclusion and makes the case for greater pluralism in equality law frameworks. In particular, this Essay examines innovations that widen the range of regulatory levers for promoting inclusion, such as competitive grants, tax incentives, contests for labor ...


Risky Arguments In Social-Justice Litigation: The Case Of Sex Discrimination And Marriage Equality, Suzanne B. Goldberg Jan 2014

Risky Arguments In Social-Justice Litigation: The Case Of Sex Discrimination And Marriage Equality, Suzanne B. Goldberg

Faculty Scholarship

This Essay takes up the puzzle of the risky argument or, more precisely, the puzzle of why certain arguments do not get much traction in advocacy and adjudication even when some judges find them to be utterly convincing. Through a close examination of the sex discrimination argument's evanescence in contemporary marriage litigation, this Essay draws lessons about how and why arguments become risky in social-justice cases and whether they should be made nonetheless. The marriage context is particularly fruitful because some judges, advocates, and scholars find it "obviously correct" that laws excluding same-sex couples from marriage discriminate facially based ...


Thirteenth Amendment Optimism, Jamal Greene Jan 2012

Thirteenth Amendment Optimism, Jamal Greene

Faculty Scholarship

Thirteenth Amendment optimism is the view that the Thirteenth Amendment may be used to reach doctrinal outcomes neither specifically intended by the Amendment's drafters nor obvious to contemporary audiences. In prominent legal scholarship, Thirteenth Amendment optimism has supported constitutional rights to abortion and health care and constitutional powers to prohibit hate speech and domestic violence, among other things. This Essay examines the practical utility of Thirteenth Amendment optimism in the face of dim prospects for adaption by courts. The Essay argues that Thirteenth Amendment optimism is most valuable, both historically and today, as a means of motivating the political ...


Stimulus And Civil Rights, Olatunde C.A. Johnson Jan 2011

Stimulus And Civil Rights, Olatunde C.A. Johnson

Faculty Scholarship

Federal spending has the capacity to perpetuate racial inequality, not simply through explicit exclusion, but through choices made in the legislative and institutional design of spending programs. Drawing on the lessons of New Deal and postwar social programs, this Essay offers an account of the specificfeatures offederal spending that give it salience in structuring racial arrangements. Federal spending programs, this Essay argues, are relevant in structuring racial inequality due to their massive scale, their creation of new programmatic and spending infrastructures, and the choices made in these programs as to whether to impose explicit inclusionary norms on states and localities ...


Disparity Rules, Olatunde C.A. Johnson Jan 2007

Disparity Rules, Olatunde C.A. Johnson

Faculty Scholarship

In 1992, Congress required states receiving federal juvenile justice funds to reduce racial disparities in the confinement rates of minority juveniles. This provision, now known as the disproportionate minority contact standard (DMC), is potentially more far-reaching than traditional disparate impact standards: It requires the reduction of racial disparities regardless of whether those disparities were motivated by intentional discrimination orjustified by "legitimate" agency interests. Instead, the statute encourages states to address how their practices exacerbate racial disadvantage.

This Article casts the DMC standard as a partial response to the failure of constitutional and statutory standards to discourage actions that produce racial ...


Constitutional Tipping Points: Civil Rights, Social Change, And Fact-Based Adjudication, Suzanne B. Goldberg Jan 2006

Constitutional Tipping Points: Civil Rights, Social Change, And Fact-Based Adjudication, Suzanne B. Goldberg

Faculty Scholarship

This Article offers an account of how courts respond to social change, with a specific focus on the process by which courts "tip" from one understanding of a social group and its constitutional claims to another. Adjudication of equal protection and due process claims, in particular, requires courts to make normative judgments regarding the effect of traits such as race, sex, sexual orientation, or mental retardation on group members' status and capacity. Yet, Professor Goldberg argues, courts commonly approach decisionmaking by focusing only on the 'facts" about a social group, an approach that she terms 'fact-based adjudication." Professor Goldberg critiques ...


Cataclysmic Liability Risk Among Big Four Auditors, Eric L. Talley Jan 2006

Cataclysmic Liability Risk Among Big Four Auditors, Eric L. Talley

Faculty Scholarship

Since Arthur Andersen's implosion in 2002, policymakers have been encouraged with ever increasing urgency to insulate the auditing industry from legal liability. Advocates of such insulation cite many arguments, but the gravamen of their case is that the profession faces such significant risk of cataclysmic liability that its long term viability is imperiled. In this Essay, I explore the nature of these claims as a legal, theoretical, and empirical matter. Legally, it is clear that authority exists (within both state and federal law) to impose liability on auditing firms for financial fraud, and courts have been doing so sporadically ...


Second Generation Employment Discrimination: A Structural Approach, Susan Sturm Jan 2001

Second Generation Employment Discrimination: A Structural Approach, Susan Sturm

Faculty Scholarship

The judiciary's traditional rule-based approach has been successful in reducing overt discrimination against women and people of color. It has been less effective in addressing more subtle and complex forms of workplace inequity. These second generation forms of bias result from patterns of interaction, informal norms, networking, mentoring, and evaluation. Drawing on the potential of recent Supreme Court decisions, Professor Sturm proposes a structural regulatory solution to this problem of second generation employment discrimination. Her approach links the efforts of courts, workplaces, employees, lawyers, and mediating organizations to construct a regime that encourages employers to engage in effective problem ...


Desegregating Politics: "All-Out" School Desegregation Explained, James S. Liebman Jan 1990

Desegregating Politics: "All-Out" School Desegregation Explained, James S. Liebman

Faculty Scholarship

School desegregation is not dead. It lives quietly in what used to be the Confederate South. Notwithstanding the Reagan and Bush Administrations' ten-year campaign to limit the legal, remedial, and temporal scope of court-ordered integration plans throughout the nation, desegregation persists in southern rural areas where substantial numbers of black Americans continue to reside and in southern urban areas where school districts were organized in 1970 to encompass not only the inner city but also the suburbs. By many accounts, moreover, desegregation is an effective and accepted – one may even say respected – member of the family of social institutions active ...


The National Labor Relations Act And Racial Discrimination, Michael I. Sovern Jan 1962

The National Labor Relations Act And Racial Discrimination, Michael I. Sovern

Faculty Scholarship

When the United States Commission on Civil Rights completed its recent study of discrimination in employment, its findings began on the same depressing note sounded by virtually every student of the problem since the end of slavery:

[N]egro workers are still disproportionately concentrated in the ranks of the unskilled and semiskilled in both private and public employment. They are also disproportionately represented among the unemployed because of their concentration in unskilled and semi-skilled jobs-those most severely affected by both cyclical and structural unemployment-and because Negro workers often have relatively low seniority. These difficulties are due in some degree to ...