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What Can Brown Do For You?: Addressing Mccleskey V. Kemp As A Flawed Standard For Measuring The Constitutionally Significant Risk Of Race Bias Aug 2019

What Can Brown Do For You?: Addressing Mccleskey V. Kemp As A Flawed Standard For Measuring The Constitutionally Significant Risk Of Race Bias

Erwin Chemerinsky

This Essay asserts that in McCleskey v. Kemp, the Supreme Court created a problematic standard for the evidence of race bias necessary to uphold an equal protection claim under the Fourteenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. First, the Court’s opinion reinforced the cramped understanding that constitutional claims require evidence of not only disparate impact but also discriminatory purpose, producing significant negative consequences for the operation of the U.S. criminal justice system. Second, the Court rejected the Baldus study’s findings of statistically significant correlations between the races of the perpetrators and victims and the imposition of the ...


Charging The Poor: Criminal Justice Debt & Modern-Day Debtors' Prisons, Neil L. Sobol Jul 2018

Charging The Poor: Criminal Justice Debt & Modern-Day Debtors' Prisons, Neil L. Sobol

Neil L Sobol

Debtors’ prisons should no longer exist. While imprisonment for debt was common in colonial times in the United States, subsequent constitutional provisions, legislation, and court rulings all called for the abolition of incarcerating individuals to collect debt. Despite these prohibitions, individuals who are unable to pay debts are now regularly incarcerated, and the vast majority of them are indigent. In 2015, at least ten lawsuits were filed against municipalities for incarcerating individuals in modern-day debtors’ prisons. Criminal justice debt is the primary source for this imprisonment.

Criminal justice debt includes fines, restitution charges, court costs, and fees. Monetary charges exist ...


Equal Protection And The Social Sciences Thirty Years After Mccleskey V. Kemp, Destiny Peery, Osagie K. Obasogie Jun 2018

Equal Protection And The Social Sciences Thirty Years After Mccleskey V. Kemp, Destiny Peery, Osagie K. Obasogie

Northwestern University Law Review

No abstract provided.


Blind Justice: Why The Court Refused To Accept Statistical Evidence Of Discriminatory Purpose In Mccleskey V. Kemp—And Some Pathways For Change, Reva B. Siegel Jun 2018

Blind Justice: Why The Court Refused To Accept Statistical Evidence Of Discriminatory Purpose In Mccleskey V. Kemp—And Some Pathways For Change, Reva B. Siegel

Northwestern University Law Review

In McCleskey v. Kemp, the Supreme Court refused to accept statistical evidence of race discrimination in an equal protection challenge to the death penalty. This lecture, on the decision’s thirtieth anniversary, locates McCleskey in cases of the Burger and Rehnquist Courts that restrict proof of discriminatory purpose in terms that make it exceedingly difficult for minority plaintiffs successfully to assert equal protection claims.

The lecture’s aims are both critical and constructive. The historical reading I offer shows that portions of the opinion justify restrictions on evidence to protect prosecutorial discretion, while others limit proof of discrimination in ways ...


What Can Brown Do For You?: Addressing Mccleskey V. Kemp As A Flawed Standard For Measuring The Constitutionally Significant Risk Of Race Bias, Mario L. Barnes, Erwin Chemerinsky Jun 2018

What Can Brown Do For You?: Addressing Mccleskey V. Kemp As A Flawed Standard For Measuring The Constitutionally Significant Risk Of Race Bias, Mario L. Barnes, Erwin Chemerinsky

Northwestern University Law Review

This Essay asserts that in McCleskey v. Kemp, the Supreme Court created a problematic standard for the evidence of race bias necessary to uphold an equal protection claim under the Fourteenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. First, the Court’s opinion reinforced the cramped understanding that constitutional claims require evidence of not only disparate impact but also discriminatory purpose, producing significant negative consequences for the operation of the U.S. criminal justice system. Second, the Court rejected the Baldus study’s findings of statistically significant correlations between the races of the perpetrators and victims and the imposition of the ...


Equal Protection Under The Carceral State, Aya Gruber Jun 2018

Equal Protection Under The Carceral State, Aya Gruber

Northwestern University Law Review

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 ...


Equal Protection And White Supremacy, Paul Butler Jun 2018

Equal Protection And White Supremacy, Paul Butler

Northwestern University Law Review

The project of using social science to help win equal protection claims is doomed to fail if its premise is that the Supreme Court post-McCleskey just needs more or better evidence of racial discrimination. Everyone—including the Justices of the Court—already knows that racial discrimination is endemic in the criminal justice system. Social science does help us to understand the role of white supremacy in U.S. police and punishment practices. Social science also can help us understand how to move people to resist, and can inform our imagination of the transformation needed for equal justice under the ...


The Futile Fourth Amendment: Understanding Police Excessive Force Doctrine Through An Empirical Assessment Of Graham V. Connor, Osagie K. Obasogie, Zachary Newman Jun 2018

The Futile Fourth Amendment: Understanding Police Excessive Force Doctrine Through An Empirical Assessment Of Graham V. Connor, Osagie K. Obasogie, Zachary Newman

Northwestern University Law Review

Graham v. Connor established the modern constitutional landscape for police excessive force claims. The Supreme Court not only refined an objective reasonableness test to describe the constitutional standard, but also held that the Fourth Amendment is the sole avenue for courts to adjudicate claims that police violated a person’s constitutional rights in using force. In this Essay, we ask: What impact did this decision have on the nature of police excessive force claims in federal courts? To address this, we engaged in a qualitative examination of 500 federal cases (250 in the twenty-six years before Graham and 250 in ...


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 ...


A Diverse Student Body Without Student Bodies?: Online Classrooms And Affirmative Action, Ryan H. Nelson Jul 2017

A Diverse Student Body Without Student Bodies?: Online Classrooms And Affirmative Action, Ryan H. Nelson

Pepperdine Law Review

America’s public universities engage students in myriad classroom environments that range from traditional, entirely-in-person classroom environments to entirely-online, virtual classrooms, with every shade of grey in between. These varied learning environments pose a fascinating question with respect to the ways such universities use affirmative action in admissions. In Grutter v. Bollinger, the United States Supreme Court held that “student body diversity is a compelling state interest that can justify the use of race in university admissions.” Indeed, student body diversity remains one of the few “compelling interests” that the Court has held satisfies the constitutional imperative that the “government ...


Undignified: The Supreme Court, Racial Justice, And Dignity Claims, Darren Lenard Hutchinson Jan 2017

Undignified: The Supreme Court, Racial Justice, And Dignity Claims, Darren Lenard Hutchinson

UF Law Faculty Publications

The Supreme Court has interpreted the Equal Protection Clause as a formal equality mandate. In response, legal scholars have advocated alternative conceptions of equality, such as antisubordination theory, that interpret equal protection in more substantive terms. Antisubordination theory would consider the social context in which race-based policies emerge and recognize material distinctions between policies intended to oppress racial minorities and those designed to ameliorate past and current racism. Antisubordination theory would also closely scrutinize facially neutral state action that systemically disadvantages vulnerable social groups. The Court has largely ignored these reform proposals. Modern Supreme Court rulings, however, have invoked the ...


Intersectionality And The Constitution Of Family Status, Serena Mayeri Jan 2017

Intersectionality And The Constitution Of Family Status, Serena Mayeri

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

Marital supremacy—the legal privileging of marriage—is, and always has been, deeply intertwined with inequalities of race, class, gender, and region. Many if not most of the plaintiffs who challenged legal discrimination based on family status in the 1960s and 1970s were impoverished women, men, and children of color who made constitutional equality claims. Yet the constitutional law of the family is largely silent about the status-based impact of laws that prefer marriage and disadvantage non-marital families. While some lower courts engaged with race-, sex-, and wealth-based discrimination arguments in family status cases, the Supreme Court largely avoided recognizing ...


Martin Luther King, Jr. Celebration Keynote Address: The Honorable Carlton W. Reeves, United States District Court For The Southern District Of Mississippi, Roger Williams University School Of Law Jan 2016

Martin Luther King, Jr. Celebration Keynote Address: The Honorable Carlton W. Reeves, United States District Court For The Southern District Of Mississippi, Roger Williams University School Of Law

School of Law Conferences, Lectures & Events

No abstract provided.


Race, Restructurings, And Equal Protection Doctrine Through The Lens Of Schuette V. Bamn, Steve Sanders Jan 2016

Race, Restructurings, And Equal Protection Doctrine Through The Lens Of Schuette V. Bamn, Steve Sanders

Brooklyn Law Review

In 2012, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit ruled that Michigan voters had violated principles of the fair lawmaking process when they amended their state constitution to prohibit race-conscious affirmative action in public university admissions, reasoning that the amendment, known as “Proposal 2,” constituted a political restructuring that had violated the Equal Protection Clause by disadvantaging African Americans from being able to equally access political change. However, the Sixth Circuit was careful to avoid saying that Proposal 2 created a racial classification or was motivated by a purpose of discriminating on the basis of race. Instead ...


Charging The Poor: Criminal Justice Debt & Modern-Day Debtors' Prisons, Neil L. Sobol Jan 2016

Charging The Poor: Criminal Justice Debt & Modern-Day Debtors' Prisons, Neil L. Sobol

Faculty Scholarship

Debtors’ prisons should no longer exist. While imprisonment for debt was common in colonial times in the United States, subsequent constitutional provisions, legislation, and court rulings all called for the abolition of incarcerating individuals to collect debt. Despite these prohibitions, individuals who are unable to pay debts are now regularly incarcerated, and the vast majority of them are indigent. In 2015, at least ten lawsuits were filed against municipalities for incarcerating individuals in modern-day debtors’ prisons. Criminal justice debt is the primary source for this imprisonment.

Criminal justice debt includes fines, restitution charges, court costs, and fees. Monetary charges exist ...


Disparate Impact And The Role Of Classification And Motivation In Equal Protection Law After Inclusive Communities, Samuel Bagenstos Jan 2016

Disparate Impact And The Role Of Classification And Motivation In Equal Protection Law After Inclusive Communities, Samuel Bagenstos

Articles

At least since the Supreme Court’s 2009 decision in Ricci v. DeStefano, disparate-impact liability has faced a direct constitutional threat. This Article argues that the Court’s decision last Term in Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs v. Inclusive Communities Project, Inc., which held that disparate-impact liability is available under the Fair Housing Act, has resolved that threat, at least for the time being. In particular, this Article argues, Inclusive Communities is best read to adopt the understanding of equal protection that Justice Kennedy previously articulated in his pivotal concurrence in the 2007 Parents Involved case—which argued ...


Recovering Forgotten Struggles Over The Constitutional Meaning Of Equality, Helen Norton Jan 2016

Recovering Forgotten Struggles Over The Constitutional Meaning Of Equality, Helen Norton

Articles

No abstract provided.


Edmonson V. Leesville Concrete Co.: State Action Or Inaction - Does It Matter?, Chad Murdock Jul 2015

Edmonson V. Leesville Concrete Co.: State Action Or Inaction - Does It Matter?, Chad Murdock

Akron Law Review

This note first reviews the facts of Edmonson. Second, this note examines the history of judicial inquiry into the use of peremptory challenges. Third, this note reviews the application of Batson to civil cases. Finally, this note analyzes the extension of the state action doctrine in Edmonson and discusses an alternative to the Edmonson approach to state action


Marital Supremacy And The Constitution Of The Nonmarital Family, Serena Mayeri Jan 2015

Marital Supremacy And The Constitution Of The Nonmarital Family, Serena Mayeri

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

Despite a transformative half century of social change, marital status still matters. The marriage equality movement has drawn attention to the many benefits conferred in law by marriage at a time when the “marriage gap” between affluent and poor Americans widens and rates of nonmarital childbearing soar. This Essay explores the contested history of marital supremacy—the legal privileging of marriage—through the lens of the “illegitimacy” cases of the 1960s and 1970s. Often remembered as a triumph for nonmarital families, these decisions defined the constitutional harm of illegitimacy classifications as the unjust punishment of innocent children for the “sins ...


The Ironies Of Affirmative Action, Kermit Roosevelt Iii Jan 2015

The Ironies Of Affirmative Action, Kermit Roosevelt Iii

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

The Supreme Court’s most recent confrontation with race-based affirmative action, Fisher v. University of Texas, did not live up to people’s expectations—or their fears. The Court did not explicitly change the current approach in any substantial way. It did, however, signal that it wants race-based affirmative action to be subject to real strict scrutiny, not the watered-down version featured in Grutter v. Bollinger. That is a significant signal, because under real strict scrutiny, almost all race-based affirmative action programs are likely unconstitutional. This is especially true given the conceptual framework the Court has created for such programs ...


The Law And Economics Of Stop-And-Frisk, David S. Abrams Jan 2014

The Law And Economics Of Stop-And-Frisk, David S. Abrams

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

The relevant economic and legal research relating to police use of stop-and-frisk has largely been distinct. There is much to be gained by taking an interdisciplinary approach. This Essay emphasizes some of the challenges faced by those seeking to evaluate the efficacy and legality of stop-and-frisk, and suggests some ways forward and areas of exploration for future research.


Federal Preemption And Immigrants' Rights, Karla M. Mckanders Jan 2013

Federal Preemption And Immigrants' Rights, Karla M. Mckanders

Vanderbilt Law School Faculty Publications

Recently, immigration scholars have focused on the relationship between federal, state, and local governments in regulating immigration to the exclusion of civil rights issues. States and localities assert that they should be able to use their Tenth Amendment police powers to regulate unauthorized immigrants within their borders, while the federal government claims exclusivity in the area of immigration law and policy. In the middle of this debate, there is the question of whether states abrogate individual civil rights and civil liberties when exercising their police powers to regulate immigration. This article takes a detailed look at these complex issues of ...


A Failure Of The Fourth Amendment & Equal Protection's Promise: How The Equal Protection Clause Can Change Discriminatory Stop And Frisk Policies, Brando Simeo Starkey Sep 2012

A Failure Of The Fourth Amendment & Equal Protection's Promise: How The Equal Protection Clause Can Change Discriminatory Stop And Frisk Policies, Brando Simeo Starkey

Michigan Journal of Race and Law

Terry v. Ohio changed everything. Before Terry, Fourth Amendment law was settled. The Fourth Amendment had long required that police officers have probable cause in order to conduct Fourth Amendment invasions; to administer a "reasonable" search and seizure, the state needed probable cause. But in 1968, the Warren Court, despite its liberal reputation, lowered the standard police officers had to meet to conduct a certain type of search: the so-called "'stop' and 'frisk.'" A "stop and frisk" occurs when a police officer, believing a suspect is armed and crime is afoot, stops the suspect, conducts an interrogation, and pats him ...


Contingent Equal Protection: Reaching For Equality After Ricci And Pics, Jennifer S. Hendricks Jan 2010

Contingent Equal Protection: Reaching For Equality After Ricci And Pics, Jennifer S. Hendricks

Michigan Journal of Gender & Law

This Article uses the term contingent equal protection to describe the constitutional analysis that applies to a range of governmental efforts to ameliorate race and sex hierarchies. "Contingent" refers to the fact that the equal protection analysis is contingent upon the existence of structural, de facto inequality. Contingent equal protection cases include those that involve explicit race and sex classifications, facially neutral efforts to reduce inequality, and accommodation of sex differences to promote equality. Uniting all three kinds of cases under a single conceptual umbrella reveals the implications that developments in one area can have for the other two.


The Supreme Court's Post-Racial Turn Towards A Zero-Sum Understanding Of Equality, Helen Norton Jan 2010

The Supreme Court's Post-Racial Turn Towards A Zero-Sum Understanding Of Equality, Helen Norton

Articles

The Supreme Court--along with the rest of the country--has long divided over the question whether the United States has yet achieved a 'post-racial" society in which race no longer matters in significant ways. How, if at all, this debate is resolved carries enormous implications for constitutional and statutory antidiscrimination law. Indeed, a post-racial discomfort with noticing and acting upon race supports a zero-sum approach to equality: if race no longer matters to the distribution of life opportunities, a decision maker's concern for the disparities experienced by members of one racial group may be seen as inextricable from its intent ...


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.


Snyder V. Louisiana: Continuing The Historical Trend Towards Increased Scrutiny Of Peremptory Challenges, John P. Bringewatt Dec 2009

Snyder V. Louisiana: Continuing The Historical Trend Towards Increased Scrutiny Of Peremptory Challenges, John P. Bringewatt

Michigan Law Review

In March 2008, the Supreme Court decided Snyder v. Louisiana, the latest in the line of progeny of Batson v. Kentucky. This Note demonstrates that Snyder is part of a historical pattern of Supreme Court decisions concerning the use of peremptory challenges in which the Court has moved away from permitting the unfettered use of the peremptory challenge in favor of stronger Equal Protection considerations. Snyder alters the requirements for trial judges in deciding Batson challenges by requiring them to provide some explanation of their reasons for accepting a prosecutor's justification of a peremptory challenge. Snyder is the latest ...


Servitude, Liberté Et Citoyenneté Dans Le Monde Atlantique Des Xviiie Et Xixe Siècles: Rosalie De Nation Poulard…, Rebecca J. Scott, Jean Hebrard Jan 2008

Servitude, Liberté Et Citoyenneté Dans Le Monde Atlantique Des Xviiie Et Xixe Siècles: Rosalie De Nation Poulard…, Rebecca J. Scott, Jean Hebrard

Articles

On December 4, 1867, the ninth day of the convention to write a new post-Civil War constitution for the state of Louisiana, delegate Edouard Tinchant rose to propose that the convention should provide “for the legal protection in this State of all women” in their civil rights, “without distinction of race or color, or without reference to their previous condition.” Tinchant’s proposal plunged the convention into additional debates ranging from voting rights and equal protection to recognition of conjugal relationships not formalized by marriage.

This article explores the genesis of Tinchant’s conceptions of citizenship and women’s rights ...


Can Michigan Universities Use Proxies For Race After The Ban On Racial Preferences?, Brian T. Fitzpatrick Jan 2007

Can Michigan Universities Use Proxies For Race After The Ban On Racial Preferences?, Brian T. Fitzpatrick

Vanderbilt Law School Faculty Publications

In 2003, the Supreme Court of the United States held that public universities - and the University of Michigan in particular - had a compelling reason to use race as one of many factors in their admissions processes: to reap the educational benefits of a racially diverse student body. In 2006, in response to the Supreme Court's decision, the people of Michigan approved a ballot proposal - called the Michigan Civil Rights Initiative (MCRI) - that prohibits public universities in the state from discriminating or granting preferential treatment on the basis of race. Shortly after the MCRI was approved, a number of Michigan ...


Constitutional Tipping Points: Civil Rights, Social Change, And Fact-Based Adjudication, Suzanne B. Goldberg Jan 2007

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 ...