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Articles

Equal protection

Constitutional Law

2007

University of Michigan Law School

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Full-Text Articles in Law

The Kerr Principle, State Action, And Legal Rights, Donald J. Herzog Jan 2007

The Kerr Principle, State Action, And Legal Rights, Donald J. Herzog

Articles

A Baltimore library refused to admit Louise Kerr to a training program because she was black. Not that it had anything against blacks, but its patrons did. When Kerr launched a civil suit against the library alleging a violation of equal protection of the laws, the courts credited the library's claim that it had no racist purpose, but Kerr still prevailed-even though the case occurred before Title VII and Brown v. Board of Education. Here a neutral and generally applicable rule ("serve the patrons"), when coupled with particular facts about private parties (the white patrons dislike blacks), yielded an …