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University of Pennsylvania Carey Law School

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Full-Text Articles in Law

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 ...


What Gideon Did, Sara Mayeux Jan 2016

What Gideon Did, Sara Mayeux

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

Many accounts of Gideon v. Wainwright’s legacy focus on what Gideon did not do—its doctrinal and practical limits. For constitutional theorists, Gideon imposed a preexisting national consensus upon a few “outlier” states, and therefore did not represent a dramatic doctrinal shift. For criminal procedure scholars, advocates, and journalists, Gideon has failed, in practice, to guarantee meaningful legal help for poor people charged with crimes.

Drawing on original historical research, this Article instead chronicles what Gideon did—the doctrinal and institutional changes it inspired between 1963 and the early 1970s. Gideon shifted the legal profession’s policy consensus on ...


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 ...


A Revolution At War With Itself? Preserving Employment Preferences From Weber To Ricci, Sophia Z. Lee Jun 2014

A Revolution At War With Itself? Preserving Employment Preferences From Weber To Ricci, Sophia Z. Lee

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

Two aspects of the constitutional transformation Bruce Ackerman describes in The Civil Rights Revolution were on a collision course, one whose trajectory has implications for Ackerman’s account and for his broader theory of constitutional change. Ackerman makes a compelling case that what he terms “reverse state action” (the targeting of private actors) and “government by numbers” (the use of statistics to identify and remedy violations of civil rights laws) defined the civil rights revolution. Together they “requir[ed] private actors, as well as state officials, to . . . realize the principles of constitutional equality” and allowed the federal government to “actually ...