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Constitutional law

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Full-Text Articles in Law and Race

Pursuing Diversity: From Education To Employment, Amy L. Wax Oct 2020

Pursuing Diversity: From Education To Employment, Amy L. Wax

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

A central pillar of the Supreme Court’s educational affirmative-action jurisprudence is that the pedagogical benefits of being educated with students from diverse backgrounds are sufficiently “compelling” to justify some degree of race-conscious selection in university admissions.

This essay argues that the blanket permission to advance educational diversity, defensible or not, should not be extended to employment. The purpose of the workplace is not pedagogical. Rather, employees are hired and paid to do a job, deliver a service, produce a product, and complete specified tasks efficiently and effectively. Whether race-conscious practices for the purpose of creating a more diverse workforce ...


Color-Blind But Not Color-Deaf: Accent Discrimination In Jury Selection, Jasmine Gonzales Rose Jan 2020

Color-Blind But Not Color-Deaf: Accent Discrimination In Jury Selection, Jasmine Gonzales Rose

Faculty Scholarship

Every week brings a new story about racialized linguistic discrimination. It happens in restaurants, on public transportation, and in the street. It also happens behind closed courtroom doors during jury selection. While it is universally recognized that dismissing prospective jurors because they look like racial minorities is prohibited, it is too often deemed acceptable to exclude jurors because they sound like racial minorities. The fact that accent discrimination is commonly racial, ethnic, and national origin discrimination is overlooked. This Article critically examines sociolinguistic scholarship to explain the relationship between accent, race, and racism. It argues that accent discrimination in jury ...


Reproducing Dignity: Race, Disability, And Reproductive Controls, Mary Crossley Jan 2020

Reproducing Dignity: Race, Disability, And Reproductive Controls, Mary Crossley

Articles

Human rights treaties and American constitutional law recognize decisions about reproduction as central to human dignity. Historically and today, Black women and women with disabilities have endured numerous impairments of their freedom to form and maintain families. Other scholars have examined these barriers to motherhood. Unexplored, however, are parallels among the experiences of women in these two groups or the women for whom Blackness and disability are overlapping identities. This Article fills that void. The disturbing legacy of the Eugenics movement is manifest in many settings. Black and disabled women undergo sterilizations at disproportionately high rates. Public benefit programs discourage ...


Race And Reasonableness In Police Killings, Jeffrey A. Fagan, Alexis D. Campbell Jan 2020

Race And Reasonableness In Police Killings, Jeffrey A. Fagan, Alexis D. Campbell

Faculty Scholarship

Police officers in the United States have killed over 1000 civilians each year since 2013. The constitutional landscape that regulates these encounters defaults to the judgments of the reasonable police officer at the time of a civilian encounter based on the officer’s assessment of whether threats to their safety or the safety of others requires deadly force. As many of these killings have begun to occur under similar circumstances, scholars have renewed a contentious debate on whether police disproportionately use deadly force against African Americans and other nonwhite civilians and whether such killings reflect racial bias. We analyze data ...


The Shaw Claim: The Rise And Fall Of Colorblind Jurisprudence, Molly P. Matter Aug 2019

The Shaw Claim: The Rise And Fall Of Colorblind Jurisprudence, Molly P. Matter

Seattle Journal for Social Justice

No abstract provided.


Racial Antagonism, Sexual Betrayal, Graft, And More: Rethinking And Remedying The Universe Of Defense Counsel Failings, Sheri Lynn Johnson Jan 2019

Racial Antagonism, Sexual Betrayal, Graft, And More: Rethinking And Remedying The Universe Of Defense Counsel Failings, Sheri Lynn Johnson

Washington University Law Review

What should happen if a lawyer sleeps during parts of the trial—or is sleeping with the prosecutor? If defense counsel was mentally ill or intoxicated during the trial, should a court measure her performance by the deferential standards that apply to most ineffective assistance of counsel claims? Or should that court, after ascertaining those facts, simply grant the defendant a new trial? What about defendants represented by lawyers who aim to profit by securing media rights to their client’s case? Or defendants represented by lawyers seeking employment with the district attorney’s office?

No one doubts that lawyers ...


Section 5'S Forgotten Years: Congressional Power To Enforce The Fourteenth Amendment Before Katzenbach V. Morgan, Christopher W. Schmidt Sep 2018

Section 5'S Forgotten Years: Congressional Power To Enforce The Fourteenth Amendment Before Katzenbach V. Morgan, Christopher W. Schmidt

Northwestern University Law Review

Few decisions in American constitutional law have frustrated, inspired, and puzzled more than Katzenbach v. Morgan. Justice Brennan’s 1966 opinion put forth the seemingly radical claim that Congress—through its power, based in Section 5 of the Fourteenth Amendment, to “enforce, by appropriate legislation,” the rights enumerated in that Amendment—shared responsibility with the Court to define the meaning of Fourteenth Amendment rights. Although it spawned a cottage industry of scholarship, this claim has never been fully embraced by a subsequent Supreme Court majority, and in City of Boerne v. Flores, the Supreme Court rejected the heart of the ...


Equal Protection Under The Carceral State, Aya Gruber Jun 2018

Equal Protection Under The Carceral State, Aya Gruber

Northwestern University Law Review

McCleskey v. Kemp, the case that upheld the death penalty despite undeniable evidence of its racially disparate impact, is indelibly marked by Justice William Brennan’s phrase, “a fear of too much justice.” The popular interpretation of this phrase is that the Supreme Court harbored what I call a “disparity-claim fear,” dreading a future docket of racial discrimination claims and erecting an impossibly high bar for proving an equal protection violation. A related interpretation is that the majority had a “color-consciousness fear” of remedying discrimination through race-remedial policies. In contrast to these conventional views, I argue that the primary anxiety ...


Diversity Entitlement: Does Diversity-Benefits Ideology Undermine Inclusion?, Kyneshawau Hurd, Victoria C. Plaut Jun 2018

Diversity Entitlement: Does Diversity-Benefits Ideology Undermine Inclusion?, Kyneshawau Hurd, Victoria C. Plaut

Northwestern University Law Review

Ideologies are most successful (or most dangerous) when they become common-sense—when they become widely accepted, taken-for-granted truths—because these truths subsequently provide implicit guidelines and expectations about what is moral, legitimate, and necessary in our society. In Regents of University of California v. Bakke, the Court, without a majority opinion, considered and dismissed all but one of several “common-sense” rationales for affirmative action in admissions. While eschewing rationales that focused on addressing discrimination and underrepresentation, the Court found that allowing all students to obtain the educational benefits that flow from diversity was a compelling rationale—essential, even, for a ...


Constitutional Law—Do Black Lives Matter To The Constitution?, Bruce K. Miller Jan 2018

Constitutional Law—Do Black Lives Matter To The Constitution?, Bruce K. Miller

Faculty Scholarship

Do Black lives matter to the Constitution? To the original Constitution, premised as it is on white supremacy, they plainly do not. But do the post-Civil War Amendments, sometimes characterized as a "Second Founding," provide a basis for a more optimistic reading? The Supreme Court's application of the Fourteenth Amendment's Equal Protection guarantee, shaped by the long discredited (and now formally overruled) decision in Korematsu v. U.S., has seriously diminished the likelihood that our basic law can redeem the promise of racial equality. Korematsu's embrace of a purely formal account of racial discrimination, its blindness to ...


The Loving Story: Using A Documentary To Reconsider The Status Of An Iconic Interracial Married Couple, Regina Austin Jan 2018

The Loving Story: Using A Documentary To Reconsider The Status Of An Iconic Interracial Married Couple, Regina Austin

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

The Loving Story (Augusta Films 2011), directed by Nancy Buirski, tells the backstory of the groundbreaking U.S. Supreme Court case, Loving v. Virginia, that overturned state laws barring interracial marriage. The article looks to the documentary to explain why the Lovings should be considered icons of racial and ethnic civil rights, however much they might be associated with marriage equality today. The film shows the Lovings to be ordinary people who took their nearly decade long struggle against white supremacy to the nation’s highest court out of a genuine commitment to each other and a determination to live ...


Terry Stops And Frisks: The Troubling Use Of Common Sense In A World Of Empirical Data, David Rudovsky, David A. Harris Jan 2018

Terry Stops And Frisks: The Troubling Use Of Common Sense In A World Of Empirical Data, David Rudovsky, David A. Harris

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

The investigative detention doctrine first announced in Terry v. Ohio and amplified over the past fifty years has been much analyzed, praised, and criticized from a number of perspectives. Significantly, however, over this time period commentators have only occasionally questioned the Supreme Court’s “common sense” judgments regarding the factors sufficient to establish reasonable suspicion for stops and frisks. For years, the Court has provided no empirical basis for its judgments, due in large part to the lack of reliable data. Now, with the emergence of comprehensive data on these police practices, much can be learned about the predictive power ...


Undignified: The Supreme Court, Racial Justice, And Dignity Claims, Darren Lenard Hutchinson Jan 2017

Undignified: The Supreme Court, Racial Justice, And Dignity Claims, Darren Lenard Hutchinson

UF Law Faculty Publications

The Supreme Court has interpreted the Equal Protection Clause as a formal equality mandate. In response, legal scholars have advocated alternative conceptions of equality, such as antisubordination theory, that interpret equal protection in more substantive terms. Antisubordination theory would consider the social context in which race-based policies emerge and recognize material distinctions between policies intended to oppress racial minorities and those designed to ameliorate past and current racism. Antisubordination theory would also closely scrutinize facially neutral state action that systemically disadvantages vulnerable social groups. The Court has largely ignored these reform proposals. Modern Supreme Court rulings, however, have invoked the ...


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 ...


They Were Here First: American Indian Tribes, Race, And The Constitutional Minimum, Sarah Krakoff Jan 2017

They Were Here First: American Indian Tribes, Race, And The Constitutional Minimum, Sarah Krakoff

Articles

In American law, Native nations (denominated in the Constitution and elsewhere as “tribes”) are sovereigns with a direct relationship with the federal government. Tribes’ governmental status situates them differently from other minority groups for many legal purposes, including equal protection analysis. Under current equal protection doctrine, classifications that further the federal government’s unique relationship with tribes and their members are subject to rationality review. Yet this deferential approach has recently been subject to criticism and is currently being challenged in the courts. Swept up in the larger drift toward colorblind or race-neutral understandings of the Constitution, advocates and commentators ...


Seizing Family Homes From The Innocent: Can The Eighth Amendment Protect Minorities And The Poor From Excessive Punishment In Civil Forfeiture?, Louis S. Rulli Jan 2017

Seizing Family Homes From The Innocent: Can The Eighth Amendment Protect Minorities And The Poor From Excessive Punishment In Civil Forfeiture?, Louis S. Rulli

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

Civil forfeiture laws permit the government to seize and forfeit private property that has allegedly facilitated a crime without ever charging the owner with any criminal offense. The government extracts payment in kind—property—and gives nothing to the owner in return, based upon a legal fiction that the property has done wrong. As such, the government’s taking of property through civil forfeiture is punitive in nature and constrained by the Eighth Amendment’s Excessive Fines Clause, which is intended to curb abusive punishments.

The Supreme Court’s failure to announce a definitive test for determining the constitutional excessiveness ...


Tightening The Ooda Loop: Police Militarization, Race, And Algorithmic Surveillance, Jeffrey L. Vagle Feb 2016

Tightening The Ooda Loop: Police Militarization, Race, And Algorithmic Surveillance, Jeffrey L. Vagle

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

This Article examines the role military automated surveillance and intelligence systems and techniques have supported a self-reinforcing racial bias when used by civilian police departments to enhance predictive policing programs. I will focus on two facets of this problem. First, my research will take an inside-out perspective, studying the role played by advanced military technologies and methods within civilian police departments, and how they have enabled a new focus on deterrence and crime prevention by creating a system of structural surveillance where decision support relies increasingly upon algorithms and automated data analysis tools, and which automates de facto penalization and ...


The History, Means, And Effects Of Structural Surveillance, Jeffrey L. Vagle Feb 2016

The History, Means, And Effects Of Structural Surveillance, Jeffrey L. Vagle

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

The focus on the technology of surveillance, while important, has had the unfortunate side effect of obscuring the study of surveillance generally, and tends to minimize the exploration of other, less technical means of surveillance that are both ubiquitous and self-reinforcing—what I refer to as structural surveillance— and their effects on marginalized and disenfranchised populations. This Article proposes a theoretical framework for the study of structural surveillance which will act as a foundation for follow-on research in its effects on political participation.


Recovering Forgotten Struggles Over The Constitutional Meaning Of Equality, Helen Norton Jan 2016

Recovering Forgotten Struggles Over The Constitutional Meaning Of Equality, Helen Norton

Articles

No abstract provided.


The Fight For Equal Protection: Reconstruction-Redemption Redux, Kermit Roosevelt Iii, Patricia Stottlemyer Jan 2016

The Fight For Equal Protection: Reconstruction-Redemption Redux, Kermit Roosevelt Iii, Patricia Stottlemyer

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

With Justice Scalia gone, and Justices Ginsburg and Kennedy in their late seventies, there is the possibility of significant movement on the Supreme Court in the next several years. A two-justice shift could upend almost any area of constitutional law, but the possible movement in race-based equal protection jurisprudence provides a particularly revealing window into the larger trends at work. In the battle over equal protection, two strongly opposed visions of the Constitution contend against each other, and a change in the Court’s composition may determine the outcome of that struggle. In this essay, we set out the current ...


Teaching Slavery In American Constitutional Law, Paul Finkelman Jul 2015

Teaching Slavery In American Constitutional Law, Paul Finkelman

Akron Law Review

From 1787 until the Civil War, slavery was probably the single most important economic institution in the United States. On the eve of the Civil War, slave property was worth at least two billion dollars. In the aggregate, the value of all the slaves in the United States exceeded the total value of all the nations railroads or all its factories. Slavery led to two major political compromises of the antebellum period, as well as to the most politically divisive Supreme Court decision in our history. Vast amounts of political and legal energy went into dealing with the institution. It ...


The Civil Rights Of Sexually Exploited Youth In Foster Care, Dale Margolin Cecka Apr 2015

The Civil Rights Of Sexually Exploited Youth In Foster Care, Dale Margolin Cecka

West Virginia Law Review

No abstract provided.


Moving From Carolene To The Commerce Clause: A New Approach To Race For The New American Future, Nareissa L. Smith Apr 2015

Moving From Carolene To The Commerce Clause: A New Approach To Race For The New American Future, Nareissa L. Smith

West Virginia Law Review

No abstract provided.


An Analysis Of The Legal And Practical Implications Of The Potential Increased Participation In Jury Service By Racial Minorities In The U.S. Criminal Justice System, Brian Keith Leonard Apr 2015

An Analysis Of The Legal And Practical Implications Of The Potential Increased Participation In Jury Service By Racial Minorities In The U.S. Criminal Justice System, Brian Keith Leonard

West Virginia Law Review

No abstract provided.


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 ...


Racial Classification And Ascriptive Injury, Paul Gowder Jan 2014

Racial Classification And Ascriptive Injury, Paul Gowder

Washington University Law Review

No abstract provided.


The Law And Economics Of Stop-And-Frisk, David S. Abrams Jan 2014

The Law And Economics Of Stop-And-Frisk, David S. Abrams

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

The relevant economic and legal research relating to police use of stop-and-frisk has largely been distinct. There is much to be gained by taking an interdisciplinary approach. This Essay emphasizes some of the challenges faced by those seeking to evaluate the efficacy and legality of stop-and-frisk, and suggests some ways forward and areas of exploration for future research.


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 ...


Inextricably Political: Race, Membership, And Tribal Sovereignty, Sarah Krakoff Jan 2012

Inextricably Political: Race, Membership, And Tribal Sovereignty, Sarah Krakoff

Articles

Courts address equal protection questions about the distinct legal treatment of American Indian tribes in the following dichotomous way: are classifications concerning American Indians "racial or political?" If the classification is political (i.e., based on federally recognized tribal status or membership in a federally recognized tribe) then courts will not subject it to heightened scrutiny. If the classification is racial rather than political, then courts may apply heightened scrutiny. This Article challenges the dichotomy itself. The legal categories "tribe" and "tribal member" are themselves political, and reflect the ways in which tribes and tribal members have been racialized by ...


From Rapists To Superpredators: What The Practice Of Capital Punishment Says About Race, Rights And The American Child, Robyn Linde Mar 2011

From Rapists To Superpredators: What The Practice Of Capital Punishment Says About Race, Rights And The American Child, Robyn Linde

Faculty Publications

At the turn of the 20th century, the United States was widely considered to be a world leader in matters of child protection and welfare, a reputation lost by the century’s end. This paper suggests that the United States’ loss of international esteem concerning child welfare was directly related to its practice of executing juvenile offenders. The paper analyzes why the United States continued to carry out the juvenile death penalty after the establishment of juvenile courts and other protections for child criminals. Two factors allowed the United States to continue the juvenile death penalty after most states ...