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“Nixon’S Sabotage”: How Politics Pushed The “Discriminatory Purpose” Requirement Into Equal Protection Law, Danieli Evans Feb 2013

“Nixon’S Sabotage”: How Politics Pushed The “Discriminatory Purpose” Requirement Into Equal Protection Law, Danieli Evans

Danieli Evans

This article describes the way that politics—resistance from the elected branches coupled with President Nixon appointing Chief Justice Burger—shaped the Court’s unanimous decision in Swann v. Charlotte-Mecklenburg, 402 U.S. 1 (1971), a school desegregation case that played a crucial role in limiting the forms of state action considered unconstitutional discrimination. Chief Justice Burger defied longstanding Supreme Court procedure to assign himself the majority opinion even though he disagreed with the majority outcome. Justice Douglas alleged that he did this “in order to write Nixon’s view of freedom of choice into the law.” Justice Burger’s ...