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Things Invisible To See: State Action & Private Property, Joseph William Singer, Isaac Saidel-Goley Jun 2018

Things Invisible To See: State Action & Private Property, Joseph William Singer, Isaac Saidel-Goley

Texas A&M Law Review

This Article revisits the state action doctrine, a judicial invention that shields “private” or “non-governmental” discrimination from constitutional scrutiny. Traditionally, this doctrine has applied to discrimination even in places of public accommodation, like restaurants, hotels, and grocery stores. Born of overt racial discrimination, the doctrine has inflicted substantial injustice throughout its inglorious history, and courts have continuously struggled in vain to coherently apply the doctrine. Yet, the United States Supreme Court has not fully insulated “private” or “horizontal” relations among persons from constitutional scrutiny. The cases in which it has applied constitutional norms to non-governmental actors should be celebrated rather …