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University of Michigan Law School

United States Supreme Court

Law and Race

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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 ...


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 ...


Beyond Common Sense: A Social Psychological Study Of Iqbal's Effect On Claims Of Race Discrimination, Victor D. Quintanilla Sep 2011

Beyond Common Sense: A Social Psychological Study Of Iqbal's Effect On Claims Of Race Discrimination, Victor D. Quintanilla

Michigan Journal of Race and Law

Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8(a) once operated as a notice pleading rule, requiring plaintiffs to set forth only a "short and plain" statement of their claim. In Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, and then Ashcroft v. Iqbal, the United States Supreme Court recast Rule 8(a) into a plausibility pleading standard. To survive a motion to dismiss, a complaint must contain sufficient factual matter "to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face." Iqbal requires federal courts, when deciding whether a complaint is plausible, to draw on their "judicial experience and common sense." Courts apply ...


The Color Of Perspective: Affirmative Action And The Constitutional Rhetoric Of White Innocence, Cecil J. Hunt Ii Jan 2006

The Color Of Perspective: Affirmative Action And The Constitutional Rhetoric Of White Innocence, Cecil J. Hunt Ii

Michigan Journal of Race and Law

This Article discusses the Supreme Court's use of the rhetoric of White innocence in deciding racially-inflected claims of constitutional shelter. It argues that the Court's use of this rhetoric reveals its adoption of a distinctly White-centered perspective, representing a one-sided view of racial reality that distorts the Court's ability to accurately appreciate the true nature of racial reality in contemporary America. This Article examines the Court's habit of using a White-centered perspective in constitutional race cases. Specifically, it looks at the Court's use of the rhetoric of White innocence in the context of the Court ...


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 ...


Through The Lens Of Diversity: The Fight For Judicial Elections After Republic Party Of Minnesota V. White, Sherrilyn A. Ifill Jan 2004

Through The Lens Of Diversity: The Fight For Judicial Elections After Republic Party Of Minnesota V. White, Sherrilyn A. Ifill

Michigan Journal of Race and Law

This Article is directed at the ongoing discussion taking place in many states and among members of the bench and bar about whether states that elect judges should switch to appointment in light of White. The author argues that states should resist what he regards as the Court's heavy-handed dicta denouncing judicial elections in White. Rather than accede to the pressure to shift from an elective to an appointive system-pressure that is being felt in several states- the author contends that states should regard the White decision as an opportunity to engage in a thorough and far-reaching review of ...


Does A Diverse Judiciary Attain A Rule Of Law That Is Inclusive?: What Grutter V. Bollinger Has To Say About Diversity On The Bench, Sylvia R. Lazos Vargas Jan 2004

Does A Diverse Judiciary Attain A Rule Of Law That Is Inclusive?: What Grutter V. Bollinger Has To Say About Diversity On The Bench, Sylvia R. Lazos Vargas

Michigan Journal of Race and Law

This Article concludes that political dialogue engendered by controversial minority judicial nominations, like those of Miguel Estrada and Janice Rogers Brown, could be an avenue to educating the polity as to why it is important to achieve greater minority representation on the bench. The pluralistic process-based model of judging advocates that a critical mass of diverse judges be achieved, not that the minority judges be liberal rather than conservative, communitarian rather than individualist, or Democrat rather than Republican. The goal is that there be a critical mass of minority judges on benches that make decisions as a group, like circuit ...


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

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

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 ...


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 ...


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 ...