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Legal History Commons

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Civil rights

United States History

University of Pennsylvania Law School

Articles 1 - 5 of 5

Full-Text Articles in Legal History

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 ...


Introduction To The Workplace Constitution From The New Deal To The New Right, Sophia Z. Lee Jan 2014

Introduction To The Workplace Constitution From The New Deal To The New Right, Sophia Z. Lee

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

Today, most American workers do not have constitutional rights on the job. As The Workplace Constitution shows, this outcome was far from inevitable. Instead, American workers have a long history of fighting for such rights. Beginning in the 1930s, civil rights advocates sought constitutional protections against racial discrimination by employers and unions. At the same time, a conservative right-to-work movement argued that the Constitution protected workers from having to join or support unions. Those two movements, with their shared aim of extending constitutional protections to American workers, were a potentially powerful combination. But they sought to use those protections to ...


A New E.R.A. Or A New Era? Amendment Advocacy And The Reconstitution Of Feminism, Serena Mayeri Jan 2009

A New E.R.A. Or A New Era? Amendment Advocacy And The Reconstitution Of Feminism, Serena Mayeri

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

Scholars have largely treated the reintroduction of the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) after its ratification failure in 1982 as a mere postscript to a long, hard-fought, and ultimately unsuccessful campaign to enshrine women’s legal equality in the federal constitution. This Article argues that “ERA II” was instead an important turning point in the history of legal feminism and of constitutional amendment advocacy. Whereas ERA I had once attracted broad bipartisan support, ERA II was a partisan political weapon exploited by advocates at both ends of the ideological spectrum. But ERA II also became a vehicle for feminist reinvention. Congressional ...


The Strange Career Of Jane Crow: Sex Segregation And The Transformation Of Anti-Discrimination Discourse, Serena Mayeri Jan 2006

The Strange Career Of Jane Crow: Sex Segregation And The Transformation Of Anti-Discrimination Discourse, Serena Mayeri

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

This article examines the causes and consequences of a transformation in anti-discrimination discourse between 1970 and 1977 that shapes our constitutional landscape to this day. Fears of cross-racial intimacy leading to interracial marriage galvanized many white Southerners to oppose school desegregation in the 1950s and 1960s. In the wake of Brown v. Board of Education, some commentators, politicians, and ordinary citizens proposed a solution: segregate the newly integrated schools by sex. When court-ordered desegregation became a reality in the late 1960s, a smattering of southern school districts implemented sex separation plans. As late as 1969, no one saw sex-segregated schools ...


Where Shall We Live? Class And The Limitations Of Fair Housing Law, Wendell Pritchett Jan 2003

Where Shall We Live? Class And The Limitations Of Fair Housing Law, Wendell Pritchett

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

This paper examines the effort to secure fair housing laws at the local, state and federal levels in the 1950s, focusing in particular on New York City and state. It will examine the arguments that advocates made regarding the role the law should play in preventing housing discrimination, and the relationship of these views to advocates' understanding of property rights in general. My paper will argue that fair housing advocates had particular conceptions about the importance of housing in American society that both supported and limited their success. By arguing that minorities only sought what others wanted - a single-family home ...