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Equal Protection Under The Carceral State, Aya Gruber Jan 2018

Equal Protection Under The Carceral State, Aya Gruber

Articles

McCleskey v. Kemp, the case that upheld the death penalty despite undeniable evidence of its racially disparate impact, is indelibly marked by Justice William Brennan’s phrase, “a fear of too much justice.” The popular interpretation of this phrase is that the Supreme Court harbored what I call a “disparity-claim fear,” dreading a future docket of racial discrimination claims and erecting an impossibly high bar for proving an equal protection violation. A related interpretation is that the majority had a “color-consciousness fear” of remedying discrimination through race-remedial policies. In contrast to these conventional views, I argue that the primary anxiety ...


The Modern Class Action Rule: Its Civil Rights Roots And Relevance Today, Suzette M. Malveaux Jan 2017

The Modern Class Action Rule: Its Civil Rights Roots And Relevance Today, Suzette M. Malveaux

Articles

The modern class action rule recently turned fifty years old — a golden anniversary. However, this milestone is marred by an increase in hate crimes, violence and discrimination. Ironically, the rule is marking its anniversary within a similarly tumultuous environment as its birth — the civil rights movement of the 1960’s. This irony calls into question whether this critical aggregation device is functioning as the drafters intended. This article makes three contributions.

First, the article unearths the rule’s rich history, revealing how the rule was designed in 1966 to enable structural reform and broad injunctive relief in civil rights cases ...


The Ada And The Supreme Court: A Mixed Record, Samuel R. Bagenstos Jan 2015

The Ada And The Supreme Court: A Mixed Record, Samuel R. Bagenstos

Articles

According to conventional wisdom, the Supreme Court has resisted the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) at every turn. The Court, the story goes, has read the statute extremely narrowly and, as a result, stripped away key protections that Congress intended to provide. Its departure from congressional intent, indeed, was so extreme that Congress passed a statute that overturned several key decisions and codified broad statutory protections. That statute, the ADA Amendments Act of 2008 (ADAAA). passed with widespread bipartisan support, and President George W. Bush signed it into law. The conventional wisdom leaves out a major part of the story ...


Outing Privacy, Scott Skinner-Thompson Jan 2015

Outing Privacy, Scott Skinner-Thompson

Articles

The government regularly outs information concerning people's sexuality, gender identity, and HIV status. Notwithstanding the implications of such outings, the Supreme Court has yet to resolve whether the Constitution contains a right to informational privacy - a right to limit the government's ability to collect and disseminate personal information.

This Article probes informational privacy theory and jurisprudence to better understand the judiciary's reluctance to fully embrace a constitutional right to informational privacy. The Article argues that while existing scholarly theories of informational privacy encourage us to broadly imagine the right and its possibilities, often focusing on informational privacy ...


Dismissing Deterrence, Ellen D. Katz Apr 2014

Dismissing Deterrence, Ellen D. Katz

Articles

The proposed Voting Rights Amendment Act of 20144 (VRAA)[...]’s new criteria defining when jurisdictions become subject to preclearance are acutely responsive to the concerns articulated in Shelby County[ v. Holder]. The result is a preclearance regime that, if enacted, would operate in fewer places and demand less from those it regulates. This new regime, however, would not only be more targeted and less powerful, but, curiously, more vulnerable to challenge. In fact, the regime would be more vulnerable precisely because it is so responsive to Shelby County. Some background will help us see why.


Universalism And Civil Rights (With Notes On Voting Rights After Shelby), Samuel R. Bagenstos Jan 2014

Universalism And Civil Rights (With Notes On Voting Rights After Shelby), Samuel R. Bagenstos

Articles

After the Supreme Court’s decision in Shelby County v. Holder, voting rights activists proposed a variety of legislative responses. Some proposals sought to move beyond measures that targeted voting discrimination based on race or ethnicity. They instead sought to eliminate certain problematic practices that place too great a burden on voting generally. Responses like these are universalist, because rather than seeking to protect any particular group against discrimination, they formally provide uniform protections to everyone. As Bruce Ackerman shows, voting rights activists confronted a similar set of questions—and at least some of them opted for a universalist approach ...


Formalism And Employer Liability Under Title Vii, Samuel R. Bagenstos Jan 2014

Formalism And Employer Liability Under Title Vii, Samuel R. Bagenstos

Articles

Most lawyers, law professors, and judges are familiar with two standard critiques of formalism in legal reasoning. One is the unacknowledged-policymaking critique. This critique argues that formalist reasoning purports to be above judicial policymaking but instead simply hides the policy decisions offstage. The other is the false-determinacy critique. This critique observes that formalist reasoning purports to reduce decision costs in the run of cases by sorting cases into defined categories, but argues that instead of going away the difficult questions of application migrate to the choice of the category in which to place a particular case.


South Carolina's 'Evolutionary Process', Ellen D. Katz Jan 2013

South Carolina's 'Evolutionary Process', Ellen D. Katz

Articles

When Congress first enacted the Voting Rights Act (VRA) in 1965, public officials in South Carolina led the charge to scrap the new statute. Their brief to the Supreme Court of the United States described the VRA as an “unjustified” and “arbitrary” affront to the “Equality of Statehood” principle, and a “usurp[ation]” of the State’s legislative and executive functions. Not surprisingly, the Warren Court was unpersuaded and opted instead to endorse broad congressional power to craft “inventive” remedies to address systematic racial discrimination and to “shift the advantage of time and inertia from the perpetrators of evil to ...


Mandatory Sentencing And Racial Disparity, Assessing The Role Of Prosecutors And The Effects Of Booker, Sonja B. Starr, M. Marit Rehavi Jan 2013

Mandatory Sentencing And Racial Disparity, Assessing The Role Of Prosecutors And The Effects Of Booker, Sonja B. Starr, M. Marit Rehavi

Articles

This Article presents new empirical evidence concerning the effects of United States v. Booker, which loosened the formerly mandatory U.S. Sentencing Guidelines, on racial disparities in federal criminal cases. Two serious limitations pervade existing empirical literature on sentencing disparities. First, studies focus on sentencing in isolation, controlling for the “presumptive sentence” or similar measures that themselves result from discretionary charging, plea-bargaining, and fact-finding processes. Any disparities in these earlier processes are excluded from the resulting sentence-disparity estimates. Our research has shown that this exclusion matters: pre-sentencing decision-making can have substantial sentence-disparity consequences. Second, existing studies have used loose causal ...


Shelby County V. Holder: Why Section 2 Matters, Ellen D. Katz Jan 2013

Shelby County V. Holder: Why Section 2 Matters, Ellen D. Katz

Articles

Editor’s Note: Professor Ellen D. Katz writes and teaches about election law, civil rights and remedies, and equal protection. She and the Voting Rights Initiative at Michigan Law filed a brief as amicus curiae in Shelby County v. Holder, on which the U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments February 27. Here, she examines why Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act bears consideration in the case, which involves a challenge to Section 5 of the act.


On Estimating Disparity And Inferring Causation: Sur-Reply To The U.S. Sentencing Commission Staff, Sonja B. Starr, M. Marit Rehavi Jan 2013

On Estimating Disparity And Inferring Causation: Sur-Reply To The U.S. Sentencing Commission Staff, Sonja B. Starr, M. Marit Rehavi

Articles

In this Essay, Professors Starr and Rehavi respond to the U.S. Sentencing Commission’s empirical staff’s criticisms of their recent article, which found, contrary to the Commission’s prior work, no evidence that racial disparity in sentences increased in response to United States v. Booker. As Starr and Rehavi suggest, their differences with the Commission perhaps relate to differing objectives. The Commission staff’s reply expresses a lack of interest in identifying Booker’s causal effects; in contrast, that is Starr and Rehavi’s central objective. In addition, Starr and Rehavi’s approach also accounts for disparities arising ...


What Was Wrong With The Record?, Ellen D. Katz Jan 2013

What Was Wrong With The Record?, Ellen D. Katz

Articles

Shelby County v. Holder offers three reasons for why the record Congress amassed to support the 2006 reauthorization of the Voting Rights Act (VRA) was legally insufficient to justify the statute's continued regional application: (1) the problems Congress documented in 2006 were not as severe as those that prompted it to craft the regime in 1965; (2) these problems did not lead Congress to alter the statute's pre-existing coverage formula; and (3) these problems did not exclusively involve voter registration and the casting of ballots.


A Cure Worse Than The Disease?, Ellen D. Katz Jan 2013

A Cure Worse Than The Disease?, Ellen D. Katz

Articles

The pending challenge to section 5 of the Voting Rights Act insists the statute is no longer necessary. Should the Supreme Court agree, its ruling is likely to reflect the belief that section 5 is not only obsolete but that its requirements do more harm today than the condition it was crafted to address. In this Essay, Professor Ellen D. Katz examines why the Court might liken section 5 to a destructive treatment and why reliance on that analogy in the pending case threatens to leave the underlying condition unaddressed and Congress without the power to address it.


From Wards Cove To Ricci: Struggling Against The Built-In Headwinds Of A Skeptical Court, Melissa Hart Jan 2011

From Wards Cove To Ricci: Struggling Against The Built-In Headwinds Of A Skeptical Court, Melissa Hart

Articles

When the Supreme Court in 1971 first recognized disparate impact as a legal theory under Title VII, the Court explained that the "absence of discriminatory intent does not redeem employment procedures or testing mechanisms that operate as ‘built-in headwinds’ for minority groups and are unrelated to measuring job capability." Forty years later, it is the built-in headwinds of a Supreme Court skeptical of - perhaps even hostile to - the goals of disparate impact theory that pose the greatest challenge to continued movement toward workplace equality. The essay examines the troubled trajectory that disparate impact law has taken in the Court's ...


On The Contemporary Meaning Of Korematsu: 'Liberty Lies In The Hearts Of Men And Women', David A. Harris Jan 2011

On The Contemporary Meaning Of Korematsu: 'Liberty Lies In The Hearts Of Men And Women', David A. Harris

Articles

In just a few years, seven decades will have passed since the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Korematsu v. U.S., one of the most reviled of all of the Court’s cases. Despised or not, however, similarities between the World War II era and our own have people looking at Korematsu in a new light. When the Court decided Korematsu in 1944, we were at war with the Japanese empire, and with this came considerable suspicion of anyone who shared the ethnicity of our foreign enemies. Since 2001, we have faced another external threat – from the al ...


Front Loading And Heavy Lifting: How Pre-Dismissal Discovery Can Address The Detrimental Effect Of Iqbal On Civil Rights Cases, Suzette M. Malveaux Jan 2010

Front Loading And Heavy Lifting: How Pre-Dismissal Discovery Can Address The Detrimental Effect Of Iqbal On Civil Rights Cases, Suzette M. Malveaux

Articles

Although the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure are trans-substantive, they have a greater detrimental effect on certain substantive claims. In particular, the Supreme Court’s recent interpretation of Rule 8(a)(2)’s pleading requirement and Rule 12(b)(6)’s dismissal criteria - in Bell Atlantic v. Twombly and Ashcroft v. Iqbal - sets forth a plausibility pleading standard which makes it more difficult for potentially meritorious civil rights claims alleging intentional discrimination to survive dismissal. Such claims are more vulnerable to dismissal because: plaintiffs alleging intentional discrimination often plead facts consistent with both legal and illegal conduct; discriminatory intent is ...


The Future Of Disparate Impact, Richard A. Primus Jan 2010

The Future Of Disparate Impact, Richard A. Primus

Articles

The Supreme Court's decision in Ricci v. DeStefano foregrounded the question of whether Title VIl's disparate impact standard conflicts with equal protection. This Article shows that there are three ways to read Ricci, one of which is likely fatal to disparate impact doctrine but the other two of which are not.


Reviving The Right To Vote, Ellen D. Katz Jan 2007

Reviving The Right To Vote, Ellen D. Katz

Articles

Losers in partisan districting battles have long challenged the resulting districting plans under seemingly unrelated legal doctrines. They have filed lawsuits alleging malapportionment, racial gerrymandering, and racial vote dilution, and they periodically prevail. Many election law scholars worry about these lawsuits, claiming that they needlessly "racialize" fundamentally political disputes, distort important legal doctrines designed for other purposes, and provide an inadequate remedy for a fundamentally distinct electoral problem. I am not convinced. This Article argues that the application of distinct doctrines to invalidate or diminish what are indisputably partisan gerrymanders is not necessarily problematic, and that the practice may well ...


Fighting Discrimination While Fighting Litigation: A Tale Of Two Supreme Courts, Scott A. Moss Jan 2007

Fighting Discrimination While Fighting Litigation: A Tale Of Two Supreme Courts, Scott A. Moss

Articles

The U.S. Supreme Court has issued an odd mix of pro-plaintiff and pro-defendant employment law rulings. It has disallowed harassment lawsuits against employers even with failed antiharassment efforts, construed statutes of limitations narrowly to bar suits about ongoing promotion and pay discrimination, and denied protection to public employee internal complaints. Yet the same Court has issued significant unanimous rulings easing discrimination plaintiffs' burdens of proof.

This jurisprudence is often miscast in simple pro-plaintiff or pro-defendant terms. The Court's duality traces to its inconsistent and unaware adoption of competing policy arguments:

Policy 1: Employees must try internal dispute resolution ...


The Riddle Of Hiram Revels, Richard A. Primus Jan 2006

The Riddle Of Hiram Revels, Richard A. Primus

Articles

In 1870, a black man named Hiram Revels was named to represent Mississippi in the Senate. Senate Democrats objected to seating him and pointed out that the Constitution specifies that no person may be a senator who has not been a citizen of the United States for at least nine years. Before the ratification of the Fourteenth Amendment in 1868, the Democrats argued, Revels had not been a citizen on account of the Supreme Court's 1857 decision in Dred Scott v. Sandford. Thus, even if Revels were a citizen in 1870, he had held that status for only two ...


From Laredo To Fort Worth: Race, Politics And The Texas Redistricting Case, Ellen D. Katz Jan 2006

From Laredo To Fort Worth: Race, Politics And The Texas Redistricting Case, Ellen D. Katz

Articles

LULAC v. Perry held that Texas violated Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act when it displaced nearly 100,000 Latino residents from a congressional district in Laredo to protect the Republican incumbent they refused to support. At the same time, the Justices let stand the dismantling of a so-called “coalition” district in Fort Worth where African-American voters comprising a minority of the district’s population allegedly enjoyed effective control in deciding the district’s representative. Only Justice Kennedy supported the outcome in both Laredo and Fort Worth. His opinion marks the first time that he, or indeed a majority ...


Comparative Fiscal Federalism: What Can The U.S. Supreme Court And The European Court Of Justice Learn From Each Other's Tax Jurisprudence?, Reuven S. Avi-Yonah Jan 2006

Comparative Fiscal Federalism: What Can The U.S. Supreme Court And The European Court Of Justice Learn From Each Other's Tax Jurisprudence?, Reuven S. Avi-Yonah

Articles

In October 2005, a group of distinguished tax experts from the European Union and the United States, who had never met before, convened at the University of Michigan Law School for a conference on "Comparative Fiscal Federalism: Comparing the U.S. Supreme Court and European Court of Justice Tax Jurisprudence." The purpose of the conference was to shed comparative light on the very different approaches taken by the European Court of Justice (ECJ) and the U.S. Supreme Court to the question of fiscal federalism. The conference was sponsored by the U-M Law School, U-M's European Union Center, and ...


Bolling Alone, Richard A. Primus Jan 2004

Bolling Alone, Richard A. Primus

Articles

Under the doctrine of reverse incorporation, generally identified with the Supreme Court's decision in Bolling v. Sharpe, equal protection binds the federal government even though the Equal Protection Clause by its terms is addressed only to states. Since Bolling, however, the courts have almost never granted relief to litigants claiming unconstitutional racial discrimination by the federal government. Courts have periodically found unconstitutional federal discrimination on nonracial grounds such as sex and alienage, and reverse incorporation has also limited the scope of affirmative action. But in the presumed core area of preventing federal discrimination against racial minorities, Boiling has virtually ...


Note, Two Wrongs Make A Right: Hybrid Claims Of Discrimination, Ming Hsu Chen Jan 2004

Note, Two Wrongs Make A Right: Hybrid Claims Of Discrimination, Ming Hsu Chen

Articles

This Note reinterprets and recontextualizes the pronouncement in Employment Division v. Smith (Smith II) that exemptions from generally applicable laws will not be granted unless claims of free exercise are accompanied by the assertion of another constitutional right. It argues that when Arab American Muslims, and others who are of minority race and religion, bring claims for exemption from generally applicable laws on the basis of free exercise and equal protection principles, they ought to be able to invoke Smith II's hybridity exception, thus meriting heightened judicial scrutiny and increased solicitude from courts.


Reinforcing Representation: Enforcing The Fourteenth And Fifteenth Amendments In The Rehnquist And Waite Courts, Ellen D. Katz Jan 2003

Reinforcing Representation: Enforcing The Fourteenth And Fifteenth Amendments In The Rehnquist And Waite Courts, Ellen D. Katz

Articles

A large body of academic scholarship accuses the Rehnquist Court of "undoing the Second Reconstruction," just as the Waite Court has long been blamed for facilitating the end of the First. This critique captures much of what is meant by those generally charging the Rehnquist Court with "conservative judicial activism." It posits that the present Court wants to dismantle decades' worth of federal antidiscrimination measures that are aimed at the "reconstruction" of public and private relationships at the local level. It sees the Waite Court as having similarly nullified the civil-rights initiatives enacted by Congress following the Civil War to ...


Equal Protection And Disparate Impact: Round Three, Richard A. Primus Jan 2003

Equal Protection And Disparate Impact: Round Three, Richard A. Primus

Articles

Prior inquiries into the relationship between equal protection and disparate impact have focused on whether equal protection entails a disparate impact standard and whether laws prohibiting disparate impacts can qualify as legislation enforcing equal rotection. In this Article, Professor Primus focuses on a third question: whether equal protection affirmatively forbids the use of statutory disparate impact standards. Like affirmative action, a statute restricting racially disparate impacts is a race-conscious mechanism designed to reallocate opportunities from some racial groups to others. Accordingly, the same individualist view of equal protection that has constrained the operation of affirmative action might also raise questions ...


Federalism, Preclearance, And The Rehnquist Court, Ellen D. Katz Jan 2001

Federalism, Preclearance, And The Rehnquist Court, Ellen D. Katz

Articles

Lopez v. Monterey County is an odd decision. Justice O'Connor's majority opinion easily upholds the constitutionality of a broad construction of section 5 of the Voting Rights Act (VRA) in language reminiscent of the Warren Court. Acknowledging the "substantial 'federalism costs" resulting from the VRA's "federal intrusion into sensitive areas of state and local policymaking," Lopez recognizes that the Reconstruction Amendments "contemplate" this encroachment into realms "traditionally reserved to the States." Justice O'Connor affirms as constitutionally permissible the infringement that the section 5 preclearance process "by its nature" effects on state sovereignty, and applies section 5 ...


The Constitutionality Of Taxing Compensatory Damages For Mental Distress When There Was No Accompanying Physical Injury, Douglas A. Kahn Jan 1999

The Constitutionality Of Taxing Compensatory Damages For Mental Distress When There Was No Accompanying Physical Injury, Douglas A. Kahn

Articles

Since 1919, statutory tax law has excluded from gross income compensatory damages received on account of a personal injury or sickness.1 The current version of that exclusion is set forth in section 104 (a) (2) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986.2 The construction of that exclusion, both by the courts and by the Commissioner, underwent significant alterations over the 80-year period that the provision has existed.3 The statute itself was amended several times, most recently in 1996.4 It is the 1996 amendment that has raised a constitutional issue concerning the validity of a portion of ...


Why Mandatory Arbitration May Benefit Workers, Theodore J. St. Antoine Jan 1997

Why Mandatory Arbitration May Benefit Workers, Theodore J. St. Antoine

Articles

Would employees-including union employees-be better off with mandatory arbitration, even of statutory employment claims? The answer to this important question should depend less on abstract notions about the importance of statutory claims and the sanctity of the right to a jury trial, and more on a pragmatic assessment of what is likely to be best for the great majority of workers. Employing this type of analysis, which would take into account an overworked, underfunded Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, backlogged court dockets and other practical problems, my view is that most employees might well be better off with mandatory arbitration, provided ...


Taxation Of Damages After Schleier - Where Are We And Where Do We Go From Here?, Douglas A. Kahn Jan 1995

Taxation Of Damages After Schleier - Where Are We And Where Do We Go From Here?, Douglas A. Kahn

Articles

This article will examine the reasoning of the Schleier decision and speculate as to how taxation of pre-1996 damages will likely apply in light of Schleier. First, the article will set forth a very brief history of the judicial and administrative constructions of the statutory exclusion, and explore tax policy justifications for providing an exclusion from gross income for certain damages. These latter two items (set forth in Parts II and III of this article) are areas that have been extensively addressed previously by several commentators, including the author of this article.' The reason for exploring tax policy issues is ...