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Supreme Court of the United States

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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.


Constitutional Expectations, Richard A. Primus Jan 2010

Constitutional Expectations, Richard A. Primus

Articles

The inauguration of Barack Obama was marred by one of the smallest constitutional crises in American history. As we all remember, the President did not quite recite his oath as it appears in the Constitution. The error bothered enough people that the White House redid the ceremony a day later, taking care to get the constitutional text exactly right. Or that, at least, is what everyone thinks happened. What actually happened is more interesting. The second time through, the President again departed from the Constitution's text. But the second time, nobody minded. Or even noticed. In that unremarked feature of …


Public Rights, Social Equality, And The Conceptual Roots Of The Plessy Challenge, Rebecca J. Scott Jan 2008

Public Rights, Social Equality, And The Conceptual Roots Of The Plessy Challenge, Rebecca J. Scott

Articles

This Article argues that the test case that gave rise to the 1896 decision in Plessy v. Ferguson is best understood as part of a wellestablished, cosmopolitan tradition of anticaste activism in Louisiana rather than as a quixotic effort that contradicted nineteenth-century ideas of the boundaries of citizens' rights. By drawing a dividing line between civil and political rights, on the one hand, and social rights, on the other, the Supreme Court construed challenges to segregation as claims to a "social equality" that was beyond the scope of judicially cognizable rights. The Louisiana constitutional convention of 1867-68, however, had defined …


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 years. …


Post-Admissions Educational Programming In A Post-Grutter World: A Response To Professor Brown, Evan H. Caminker Jan 2006

Post-Admissions Educational Programming In A Post-Grutter World: A Response To Professor Brown, Evan H. Caminker

Articles

When asked to provide commentary on another scholar's reflections on Grutterl and Gratz and affirmative action, I am usually struck by two fears. First, because so much ink has been spilled on this topic, I worry the main presenter will have nothing new and interesting to say. Today this worry has been put to rest; I am so pleased that Professor Dorothy Brown offers a number of novel and intriguing observations and, in the end, advances a novel and intriguing proposal about the role Critical Race Theory ought to play in our nation's law school classrooms. Second, for the same …


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 no …


A Glimpse Behind And Beyond Grutter, Evan H. Caminker Jan 2004

A Glimpse Behind And Beyond Grutter, Evan H. Caminker

Articles

Many people have suggested that the recent battle over affirmative action was a defining moment for the contemporary relevance of Brown v. Board of Education and that it would determine the promise and potential for widespread societal integration. In my remarks, I want to comment upon a couple of comparisons and links between the Brown, Bakke, Grutter, and Gratz cases.


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 …


Constitutional Sunsetting?: Justice O'Connor's Closing Comments On Grutter, Vikram David Amar, Evan H. Caminker Jan 2003

Constitutional Sunsetting?: Justice O'Connor's Closing Comments On Grutter, Vikram David Amar, Evan H. Caminker

Articles

Most Supreme Court watchers were unsurprised that Justice Sandra Day O'Connor's vote proved pivotal in resolving the University of Michigan affirmative action cases; indeed, Justice O'Connor has been in the majority in almost every case involving race over the past decade, and was in the majority in each and every one of the 5-4 decisions the Court handed down across a broad range of difficult issues last Term. Some smaller number of observers were unsurprised that Justice O'Connor decided (along with the four Justices who in the past have voted to allow latitude with regard to race-based affirmative action programs) …


Race, Peremptories, And Capital Jury Deliberations, Samuel R. Gross Jan 2001

Race, Peremptories, And Capital Jury Deliberations, Samuel R. Gross

Articles

In Lonnie Weeks's capital murder trial in Virginia in 1993, the jury was instructed: If you find from the evidence that the Commonwealth has proved beyond a reasonable doubt, either of the two alternative aggravating factors], and as to that alternative you are unanimous, then you may fix the punishment of the defendant at death or if you believe from all the evidence that the death penalty is not justified, then you shall fix the punishment of the defendant at life imprisonment ... This instruction is plainly ambiguous, at least to a lay audience. Does it mean that if the …


Integrity And Circumspection: The Labor Law Vision Of Bernard D. Meltzer, Theodore J. St. Antoine Jan 1986

Integrity And Circumspection: The Labor Law Vision Of Bernard D. Meltzer, Theodore J. St. Antoine

Articles

Bernard Meltzer has testified under oath that he "rarely take[s] absolute positions." The record bears him out. While his colleagues among labor law scholars often strain to demonstrate that the labor relations statutes and even the Constitution support their hearts' desires, the typical Meltzer stance is one of cool detachment, pragmatic assessment, and cautious, balanced judgment. The "itch to do good," Meltzer has remarked wryly, "is a doubtful basis for jurisdiction" -or, he would likely add, for any other legal conclusion. In this brief commentary I propose to examine the Meltzer approach to four broad areas of labor law: (1) …


Judicial Protection Of Minorities, Terrance Sandalow May 1977

Judicial Protection Of Minorities, Terrance Sandalow

Articles

In United States v. Carolene Products Co., Justice Stone suggested by indirection that there "may be narrower scope for operation of the presumption of constitutionality" when courts are called upon to determine the validity "of statutes directed at particular religious . . . or national . . . or racial minorities."' In such cases, he explained, "prejudice against discrete and insular minorities may be a special condition, which tends seriously to curtail the operation of those political processes ordinarily to be relied upon to protect minorities, and which may call for a correspondingly more searching judicial inquiry."' Forty years later, …


Racial Preferences In Higher Education: Political Responsibility And The Judicial Role, Terrance Sandalow Jan 1975

Racial Preferences In Higher Education: Political Responsibility And The Judicial Role, Terrance Sandalow

Articles

Controversy continues unabated over the question left unresolved by DeFunis v. Odegaard: whether in its admissions process a state law school may accord preferential treatment to certain racial and ethnic minorities. In the pages of two journals published by the University of Chicago, Professors John Hart Ely and Richard Posner have established diametrically opposed positions in the debate. Their contributions are of special interest because each undertakes to answer the question within the framework of a theory concerning the proper distribution of authority between the judiciary and the other institutions of government. Neither position, in my judgment, adequately confronts the …


Comment On Powell V. Mccormack, Terrance Sandalow Jan 1969

Comment On Powell V. Mccormack, Terrance Sandalow

Articles

The rapid pace of constitutional change during the past decade has blunted our capacity for surprise at Supreme Court decisions. Nevertheless, Powell v. McCormack is a surprising decision. Avoidance of politically explosive controversies was not one of the most notable characteristics of the Warren Court. And yet, it is one thing for the Court to do battle with the Congress in the service of important practical ends or when the necessity of doing so is thrust upon it by the need to discharge its traditional responsibilities. It is quite another to tilt at windmills, especially at a time when the …