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University of Michigan Law School

Supreme Court of the United States

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Full-Text Articles in Law

Justice Ginsburg's Umbrella, Ellen D. Katz Jan 2015

Justice Ginsburg's Umbrella, Ellen D. Katz

Book Chapters

Near the end of her dissent in Shelby County v. Holder, Justice Ginsburg suggested a simple analogy to illustrate why the regional protections of the Voting Rights Act (VRA) were still necessary. She wrote that “[t]hrowing out preclearance when it has worked and is continuing to work to stop discriminatory changes is like throwing away your umbrella in a rainstorm because you are not getting wet.”


On Class-Not-Race, Samuel R. Bagenstos Jan 2015

On Class-Not-Race, Samuel R. Bagenstos

Book Chapters

Throughout the civil rights era, strong voices have argued that policy interventions should focus on class or socioeconomic status, not race. At times, this position-taking has seemed merely tactical, opportunistic, or in bad faith. Many who have opposed race-based civil rights interventions on this basis have not turned around to support robust efforts to reduce class-based or socioeconomic inequality. That sort of opportunism is interesting and important for understanding policy debates in civil rights, but it is not my focus here. I am more interested here in the people who clearly mean it. For example, President Lyndon Baines Johnson—who ...


Enforcing The Fifteenth Amendment, Ellen D. Katz Jan 2015

Enforcing The Fifteenth Amendment, Ellen D. Katz

Book Chapters

This chapter examines efforts to enforce the Fifteenth Amendment in the period from United States v. Reese through Shelby County v. Holder. Reese and Shelby County expose the most rigorous stance the Court has employed to review congressional efforts to enforce the Fifteenth Amendment, while the years in-between show Congress and the Court working more in tandem, at times displaying remarkable indifference to blatant violations of the Fifteenth Amendment, and elsewhere working cooperatively to help vindicate the Amendment’s promise. Defying simple explanation, this vacillation between cooperation and resistance captures the complex and deeply consequential way concerns about federal power ...


Bottlenecks And Antidiscrimination Theory, Samuel R. Bagenstos Jun 2014

Bottlenecks And Antidiscrimination Theory, Samuel R. Bagenstos

Reviews

In American antidiscrimination theory, two positions have competed for primacy. One, anticlassification, sees the proper goal of antidiscrimination law as being essentially individualistic. The problem with discrimination, in this view, is that it classifies individuals on the basis of an irrelevant or arbitrary characteristic—and that it, as a result, denies them opportunities for which they are otherwise individually qualified. The other position, antisubordination, sees the proper goal of antidiscrimination law as being more group oriented. The problem with discrimination, in this view, is that it helps constitute a social system in which particular groups are systematically subject to disadvantage ...


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 ...


Documenting Discrimination In Voting: Judicial Findings Under Section 2 Of The Voting Rights Act Since 1982, Ellen D. Katz, Margaret Aisenbrey, Anna Baldwin, Emma Cheuse, Anna Weisbrodt Jan 2006

Documenting Discrimination In Voting: Judicial Findings Under Section 2 Of The Voting Rights Act Since 1982, Ellen D. Katz, Margaret Aisenbrey, Anna Baldwin, Emma Cheuse, Anna Weisbrodt

Other Publications

The Voting Rights Initiative ("VRI") at the University of Michigan Law School was created during the winter of 2005 to help inform [...] the debates that led to this latest congressional reauthorization and the legal challenge to it that is certain to follow. A cooperative research venture involving 100 students working under faculty direction set out to produce a detailed portrait of litigation brought since 1982 under Section 2. This Report evaluates the results of that survey. The comprehensive data set may be found in a searchable form at http://www.votingreport.org or http://www.sitemaker.umich.edu/votingrights. The ...


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 ...


Documenting Discrimination In Voting: Judicial Findings Under Section 2 Of The Voting Rights Act Since 1982, Ellen D. Katz, Margaret Aisenbrey, Anna Baldwin, Emma Cheuse, Anna Weisbrodt Dec 2005

Documenting Discrimination In Voting: Judicial Findings Under Section 2 Of The Voting Rights Act Since 1982, Ellen D. Katz, Margaret Aisenbrey, Anna Baldwin, Emma Cheuse, Anna Weisbrodt

Other Publications

This year marks the fortieth anniversary of one of the most remarkable and consequential pieces of congressional legislation ever enacted. The Voting Rights Act of 1965 ("the VRA") targeted massive disfranchisement of African-American citizens in numerous Southern states. It imposed measures drastic in scope and extraordinary in effect. The VRA eliminated the use of literacy tests and other "devices" that Southern jurisdictions had long employed to prevent black residents from registering and voting. The VRA imposed on these jurisdictions onerous obligations to prove to federal officials that proposed changes to their electoral system would not discriminate against minority voters. Resistance ...


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 ...


Constitutional Sunsetting?: Justice O'Connor's Closing Comments On Grutter, Vikram David Amar, Evan H. Caminker Jan 2003

Constitutional Sunsetting?: Justice O'Connor's Closing Comments On Grutter, Vikram David Amar, Evan H. Caminker

Articles

Most Supreme Court watchers were unsurprised that Justice Sandra Day O'Connor's vote proved pivotal in resolving the University of Michigan affirmative action cases; indeed, Justice O'Connor has been in the majority in almost every case involving race over the past decade, and was in the majority in each and every one of the 5-4 decisions the Court handed down across a broad range of difficult issues last Term. Some smaller number of observers were unsurprised that Justice O'Connor decided (along with the four Justices who in the past have voted to allow latitude with regard 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 ...


Scholars' Reply To Professor Fried, Yale Kamisar, Lee C. Bollinger, Judith C. Areen, Barbara A. Black Jan 1989

Scholars' Reply To Professor Fried, Yale Kamisar, Lee C. Bollinger, Judith C. Areen, Barbara A. Black

Articles

As Solicitor General of the United States, Charles Fried, like any good advocate, was often in the position of attempting to generate broad holdings from relatively narrow and particularistic Supreme Court decisions. This was especially true in affirmative action cases. There, the Department of Justice argued that cautious precedents actually stood for the broad proposition that measures designed to put members of disadvantaged groups on a plane of equality should, for constitutional purposes, be treated the same as measures intended to stigmatize or subordinate them. The Supreme Court, however, has consistently rejected this reading of its precedents and the broad ...


The Distrust Of Politics, Terrance Sandalow Jan 1981

The Distrust Of Politics, Terrance Sandalow

Articles

In this Article, Dean Sandalow considers the justifications advanced by those who favor the removal of certain political issues from the political process by extending the reach of judicial review. He begins by examining the distrust of politics in a different context, discussing the proposals made by the Progressives for reforming municipal government, as a vehicle to expose the assumptions underlying the current debate. His comparison of the two historical settings reveals many similarities between the Progressives' reform proposals and the contemporary justiflcations.[or the displacement of politics with constitutional law. Dean Sandalow concludes that the distrust of politics rests ...


Judicial Protection Of Minorities, Terrance Sandalow May 1977

Judicial Protection Of Minorities, Terrance Sandalow

Articles

In United States v. Carolene Products Co., Justice Stone suggested by indirection that there "may be narrower scope for operation of the presumption of constitutionality" when courts are called upon to determine the validity "of statutes directed at particular religious . . . or national . . . or racial minorities."' In such cases, he explained, "prejudice against discrete and insular minorities may be a special condition, which tends seriously to curtail the operation of those political processes ordinarily to be relied upon to protect minorities, and which may call for a correspondingly more searching judicial inquiry."' Forty years later, that cautious suggestion has ripened into ...


Bakke: A Compelling Need To Discriminate, Theodore J. St. Antoine Jan 1977

Bakke: A Compelling Need To Discriminate, Theodore J. St. Antoine

Articles

Two of America's most cherished values collided head-on a few months ago, when the U.S. Supreme Court began to come to grips with the most significant civil rights suit since the school desegregation cases of 1954. Arrayed on one side is the principle of governmental "color-blindness," the appealing notion that the color of a person's skin should have nothing to do with the distribution of benefits or burdens by the state. Set against it is the goal of a truly integrated society, and the tragic realization that this objective cannot be achieved within the foreseeable future unless ...


Racial Preferences In Higher Education: Political Responsibility And The Judicial Role, Terrance Sandalow Jan 1975

Racial Preferences In Higher Education: Political Responsibility And The Judicial Role, Terrance Sandalow

Articles

Controversy continues unabated over the question left unresolved by DeFunis v. Odegaard: whether in its admissions process a state law school may accord preferential treatment to certain racial and ethnic minorities. In the pages of two journals published by the University of Chicago, Professors John Hart Ely and Richard Posner have established diametrically opposed positions in the debate. Their contributions are of special interest because each undertakes to answer the question within the framework of a theory concerning the proper distribution of authority between the judiciary and the other institutions of government. Neither position, in my judgment, adequately confronts the ...


Comment On Powell V. Mccormack, Terrance Sandalow Jan 1969

Comment On Powell V. Mccormack, Terrance Sandalow

Articles

The rapid pace of constitutional change during the past decade has blunted our capacity for surprise at Supreme Court decisions. Nevertheless, Powell v. McCormack is a surprising decision. Avoidance of politically explosive controversies was not one of the most notable characteristics of the Warren Court. And yet, it is one thing for the Court to do battle with the Congress in the service of important practical ends or when the necessity of doing so is thrust upon it by the need to discharge its traditional responsibilities. It is quite another to tilt at windmills, especially at a time when the ...


Constitutionality Of Segregation Ordinances, John B. Waite Jan 1917

Constitutionality Of Segregation Ordinances, John B. Waite

Articles

The effort of various southern states to segregate white persons and colored ones into mutually exclusive residential districts has received a final quietus, unless the Supreme Court of the United States shall reverse itself, by the decision in Buchanan v. Warley, handed down November 5, 1917. The suit in this case was for specific performance of a contract to buy land. The contract expressly stipulated that the buyer, a colored man, was not to be held to his purchase unless he had "the right under the laws of the state of Kentucky and the city of Louisville to ocupy said ...