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Full-Text Articles in Law and Race

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 ...


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 ...


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 ...


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 ...


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.


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.


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.


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 ...


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 ...


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 ...


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 ...


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.


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 ...


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 ...


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 ...


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 ...


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 ...


A New Dimension In Equal Protection?, Theodore J. St. Antoine Jan 1977

A New Dimension In Equal Protection?, Theodore J. St. Antoine

Articles

Two of America's most cherished values will collide head-on this year, when the U.S. Supreme Court comes 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 race and color ...


Race Segregation Ordinance Invalid, Henry M. Bates Jan 1918

Race Segregation Ordinance Invalid, Henry M. Bates

Articles

The opinion in Buchanan v. Warley reflects the confusion and difficulty of that troublesome problem, the place of the negro race in the United States, with which the case and the segregation ordinance of Louisville discussed therein are essentially concerned. The decision by a unanimous court reverses the holding of the Kentucky Court of Appeals, and declares that the ordinance violates the Fourteenth Amendment. This result is reached by one of those anomalous and objectionable devices which characterize our methods of solving fundamental constitutional questions. The case arose upon a bill for specific performance of a contract, whereby the plaintiff ...