1. Marbury v. Madison


Holding: Yes. 5. Reasoning



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4. Holding: Yes.
5. Reasoning: Artificial and unnecessary barriers to employment operate invidiously to discriminate against blacks. The motive of good or bad intent does not change the fact that the practical affect of the employment standards was discrimination against blacks. Congress intended to prevent the consequences of racially biased employment screens, not just the motivation behind them.
6. Notes: In Wards Cove Packing Co. v. Atonio, the court held that mere statistical data alone was not enough to show discriminatory effect of policies. The burden was on the plaintiff to show that qualified individuals were being discriminated against, and that the source of the unequal representation of races in the work force was due to the particular policy in issue, and not to other causes that are beyond the control of the employer. However, the dissent stated that the majority position would make it too difficult for legitimate claims to overcome the burden of proof. However, in Jefferson v. Hackney, the court rejected a de-facto challenge to a state welfare benefit calculation law (granting less “need” to AFDC recipients), stating that just because there were “naked statistics” showing more minorities in AFDC rather than other welfare programs, did not mean that the law violated the 14th amendment.
1. Washington v. Davis, (1976); pg. 710, briefed 2/11/96
2. Facts: The D.C. police department administers an entrance examination which tests reading and writing communication skills. The test was developed by the U.S. Civil Service Commission, and is the same test used generally throughout the civil service. Statistically, more blacks than whites failed the test.
3. Procedural Posture: The district court found that the test was not discriminatory merely because of the effect. However, the court of appeals applied Griggs (which was applicable to Title VII cases), to invalidate it solely on its disparate statistical effect.
4. Issue: Whether the D.C. police department employment exam is a violation of equal protection due to its de facto effect of more blacks failing than whites.
5. Holding: No.
6. Majority Reasoning: A facially neutral statute or policy can still be discriminatory in effect. The invidious discriminatory purpose behind it may be inferred from the totality of the relevant facts, including the statistical evidence that it bears more heavily on one race rather than another. Nevertheless, a law does not violate equal protection simply because it may affect a greater proportion of one race than another. The D.C. police department has the legitimate interest of setting minimum standards for its police officers. That blacks did not score as well as whites does not demonstrate racial discrimination. Also, there is also evidence that the police department actively and aggressively recruits black officers, so there is no inference of racially discriminative motive. The more rigorous standard of Griggs (requiring the defendant to “validate” the requirements) is only applicable to Title VII cases, not 14th or 5th amendment equal protection.
7. Concurrence Reasoning: [Stevens] felt that bare statistics may be probative enough in some situations to demonstrate racial discrimination (such as in Yick Wo) without more. But here, the statistics were not probative enough because the D.C. police only represented a small sample of those taking the test.
8. Notes: In Arlington Heights v. Metropolitan Housing Corp., the court reaffirmed Davis, holding that although the “ultimate effect” of a law may be racially discriminatory, it will not violate equal protection absent “proof of racially discriminatory intent or purpose.” “Subjects of proper inquiry” to determine intent would be the history leading up to the enactment of the law, whether the statistical effect was grossly lopsided (as in Yick Wo), and departures from normal procedural sequence. Even if an improper motivation can be shown, the city could still provide evidence that the law would be sustainable on otherwise valid grounds.

1. Personnel Administrator of Mass. v. Feeney, (1979); pg. 716, briefed 2/11/96
2. Facts: Mass. had a state law which gave an “absolute lifetime” preference to veterans over non-veterans for civil service positions. The veterans in Mass. were 98% male and 2% female. In effect, the law gave statistically significant preferences to males.
3. Issue: Whether the law, which is facially neutral, is nevertheless a violation of equal protection given its disparate impact on men vs. women.
4. Holding: No.
5. Majority Reasoning: Davis stands for the principle that the 14th amendment “guarantees equal laws, not equal results.” Clearly, this law is facially neutral. Although it has a disparate affect on women, that is the result of the traditional military roles of men and women, which is not on trial here. Also, many men are disadvantaged by this law as well. It is not a pretext for discrimination against women, but rather against non-veterans, a significant portion of whom are men.
6. Concurrence Reasoning: [Stevens] stated that the statistics show clearly that there are about 2 million men disadvantaged by this preference, and only about 3 million women. When taken in combination with other evidence, this difference does not support a finding that the law was intended to benefit males as a class.
7. Dissent Reasoning: [Marshall] felt that the law was purposeful discrimination because the legislators were presumed to have intended the natural and probable consequences of the law - discrimination against women. There is clear evidence from the legislative history that the legislature understood the impact against women, and took steps to make sure that women could still qualify for the lower-paying jobs.

1. Green v. County School Board, (1968); pg. 729, briefed 2/11/96
2. Facts: A small school district had a racially desegregated population, but the “freedom of choice” rule had done very little to promote desegregation of the schools. No whites had gone to the predominantly black school, and few blacks were attending the white school.
3. Issue: Whether the freedom of choice plan was an adequate compliance with the desegregation mandates of Brown II.
4. Holding: No.
5. Reasoning: The racial identification of the schools between white and black had remained completely intact. The goal of Brown was to transition to a single, non-racial school system. Clearly, the school board here has not acheived that goal. There has been too much delay in the implementation of Brown II remedies, and it is up to the school board to take more aggressive action. Freedom of choice is unacceptable because its practical effect is to maintain the status quo.
1. Swann v. Charlotte-Mecklenburg Board of Education, (1971); pg. 731, briefed 2/11/96
2. Facts: In Charlotte, N.C., the school in a metorpolitan area was not becoming racially desegregated, and so the lower court instituted a busing plan, and a grouping plan to affirmatively integrate the schools to represent the underlying racial representation in the population.
3. Issue: Whether the district court had the constitutional authority to force integration in the schools.
4. Holding: Yes.
5. Reasoning: The court may excercise broad equitable remedial powers when there is a constitutional violation, as there was here. The mathematical ratio proposed by the lower court of 71% to 29% is not a rigid requirement, but it is a starting point and well within the courts power to use mathematical ratios to ensure desegregation in practice. The transfer arrangement is also valid, given that the students are provided free transportation and that room is made for them at the target school. Even though this will be inconvenient and appear bizzare, it is necessary in the short term to overcome years of building infrastructure designed to support segregation. Thus, pairing and grouping is valid. Lastly, the use of school buses is widely practiced and may be employed as a means of forcing integration.
1. Milliken v. Bradley, (1974); pg. 746, briefed 2/18/96
2. Facts: A particular urban school district in Detroit was found to have de jure segregation. There were other school districts in the suburban areas.
3. Procedural Posture: The lower court found that the appropriate remedy would be interdistrict in nature, including busing of suburban outlying school districts. They based this holding on the notion that school district lines were a matter of political convenience, and may not be used by the state to deny constitutional rights.
4. Issue: Whether the remedy for unconstitutional de jure segregation found in a particular public school district may include busing the suburban school districts also.
5. Holding: No.
6. Majority Reasoning: The scope of the lower court’s remedy exceeded the scope of the constitutional violation. The remedy must not be interdistrict if the violation was not interdistrict. Since only one particular school district was found to have de jure segregation, it was the only district to which remedies were appropriate. There was no finding that the other school districts contributed to the segregation.
7. Dissent Reasoning: [Marshall] The decision of the majority emasculates the equal protection. Where de jure segregation is found, it is the duty of the court to eliminate it “root and branch” which requires the greatest degree of actual desegregation. There is no reason why the drawing of the school district lines should sheild the state. [White] stated that the result is that the state can sheild itself from constitutional attack by vesting more power in its individual school districts. The majority’s plan will result in even more white flight.
8. Notes: However, in Hills v. Gautreaux, in deciding that the court could validly take remedial measures against HUD beyond the city boundaries, the court stated that nothing in Miliken suggests a per se rule that federal courts lack the power to order parties found to have violated the Constitution to undertake remedial efforts beyond the municipal boundaries of the city where the violation occured. In Missouri v. Jenkins, the court held that the remedy of directly imposing taxes on a school district’s resident in order to finance the desgregation was beyond the limit of their power unless no other alternative existed. However, the court could allow the school district to impose its own taxes, and enjoin any state laws that would prohibit such a levy. In Spallone v. United States, the court held that personal contempt orders against city council members for refusing to implement a desegregation plan could not be upheld, although contempt orders against the city itself were permissible.

1. Board of Education of Oklahoma City Public Schools v. Dowell, (1991); pg. 226 Supp., briefed 2/18/96
2. Facts: Oklahoma City had been ordered to desegregate its schools, and in 1972, the court ordered mandatory busing to integrate the schools. The busing plan was successful in integrating the schools, and so in 1977, the court entered an order terminating its jurisdiction to enforce remedies. In 1984, the school board voted to institute a neighborhood (non-bussed) school system for K-4 students.
3. Procedural Posture: A motion was made to “re-open” the case, and the district court denied it. The court of appeals reversed, and the Supreme Court reversed the court of appeals.
4. Issue: Whether a federal court has the power to terminate its jurisdiction over enforcing remedies after a reasonable time has passed in which the school district has complied with the remedies.
5. Holding: Yes.
6. Majority Reasoning: The federal court must give way to the concern for the autonomy of the local control of the school board after the remedy has been given effect. This does not mean that the court must take for face value that the board promises not to return to segregative practices. However, the court must recognize that the composition and motives of the school board change over time, and must determine whether there will be a good faith effort to continue the desegregation in the future, unsupervised. Even if the court is wrong, the equal protection clause still exists, and a new action may be brought if the school board violates it.
7. Dissent Reasoning: [Marshall] felt that 13 years of compliance after 65 years of forced segregation was not enough. The remedy should be in effect until the effects of the prior segregation are fully eliminated.

1. Freeman v. Pitts, (1992); pg. 228, briefed 2/18/96
2. Facts: The school board in DeKalb, Ga., had been forcibly integrated from 1969 to 1986. However, instead of becoming more racially integrated, the school district became less racially integrated, due to the demographic change in the area (more blacks) rather than any intentional resistance to desegregation.
3. Procedural Posture: The school board moved to have the remedial order dismissed, and the district court found that it had been complied with in part, but that many areas needed continued supervision. Thus, the district court withdrew from supervision of the areas that it deemed appropriate. The school board still sought total dismissal, and the court of appeals upheld the district court’s holding that some remedial measures were still needed, except that it reversed with respect to the holding that the court could partially dismiss.
4. Issue: Whether the district court has the power to withdraw from supervision of certain facets of a desegregation plan if there are other facets that still require supervision in order to accomplish a “unitary” school system.
5. Holding: Yes.
6. Majority Reasoning: The court may change its remedies to fit the violations. Due to the strong interest a local school district has in self-determination, the court exceeds its remedial powers when it continues supervision of programs that no longer alleviate the initial constitutional violation. This withdrawal may proceed in incremental stages, especially where it is found that the contributing factor to the re-segregation is a change in demographics which is beyond the control of the school board.
7. Concurrence Reasoning: [Scalia] proposed that the time had come to resolve what the court was going to do about terminating the temporary remedial measures, and reinstating the traditional principles of law which require proof of intent and causation. [Souter] indicated that it was possible that the school system’s policies contributed to the change in demographics, in which case, the remedial measures should remain in place. [Blackmun] agreed with Souter and was in favor of remanding the case for the school district to try to prove that the racially identifiable schools are in no way the result of past segregation.
8. Notes: In United States v. Fordice, the court held that the state had an affirmative obligation to dismantle the dual-standard university system as well as the elementary and secondary schools. Regardless of whether an independent and legitimate purpose now existed for the policies that were intentionally discriminatory in the past, they must be dismantled. Note that Justice Thomas felt that there may be a “sound educational justification” for preserving the predominantly black colleges that had done so much for blacks during the years of segregation. In Missouri v. Jenkins (1995), the court again stated that the lower court had exceeded its judicial power, this time in attempting to make one of the local schools spend a considerable amount of money to make it a “magnet school” in order to counteract the effects of white flight. Notably, Justice Thomas again stated that separate education by choice for blacks was not by definition inferior. The equal protection clause only protects from intentional discrimination by the state, not from imagined inferiorities of black educational establishments assumed by social science data studies.

1. Kahn v. Shevin, (1974); pg. 752, briefed 2/18/96
2. Facts: A state property tax exemption existed for widows, but not for widowers.
3. Procedural Posture: Unknown.
4. Issue: Whether the “benign” gender classification in favor of women promoted by the state statute is a violation of equal protection, and under what standard should the court scrutinize it.
5. Holding: No. Rational basis.
6. Reasoning: The law was easily sustainable because it rested upon some ground of difference having a “fair and substantial relation” to the subject of the legislation. Laws designed to rectify the effects of past discrimination against women are justifiable.
7. Dissent Reasoning: [Brennan] urged “close judicial scrutiny” of even benign gender classifications. Although the law served a “compelling governmental interest,” the classification was not narrow enough to effect that interest alone. Less drastic means were available to remedy the history of discrimination, i.e. the state could have limited the exemption to only those widows who needed it.
8. Notes: In Orr v. Orr, by applying intermediate scrutiny, the court struck down laws which authorized the Alabama courts to impose alimony obligations on husbands but not wives. Since alimony hearings were already being conducted, they could also be used to determine the wife’s obligations, if any. The law was based on prohibited stereotypes. However, in Califano v. Webster, also under intermediate scrutiny, the court upheld a benign gender classification that allowed women to discard three more of the lower-paying employment years than men when determining social security benefits, as a legitimate way of redressing the past effects of discrimination against women in their wages. However, in Schlesinger v. Ballard, the court upheld a difference in promotional standards between male and female Naval Officers, stating that the male and femal officers were not similarly situated. In Weinberger v. Wiesenfeld, the court invalidated a social security provision that paid death benefits to the widow and children in case of the father’s death, but only to the children in case of the mother’s death, finding that it actually discriminated against women by providing them less post-death benefits than a similarly situated male. Similarly, in Califano v. Goldfarb, the court struck down a similar statute that required the widower to show that he got at least half of his support from his deceased wife in order to obtain her death benefits.

1. Wengler v. Druggists Mutual Ins. Co., (1980); pg. 755, briefed 2/18/96
2. Facts: Wengler’s wife died in a job related accident. He sought to collect worker’s compensation for her death. However, a state law required that the widower not be able to collect for worker’s compensation for his wife’s death unless he could show that he was physically disabled or dependent on his wife’s salary. Wengler did not fit either of these qualifications.
3. Procedural Posture: Wengler brought an action challenging the state law on equal protection grounds. The state court rejected the challenge, holding that the substantive difference in the economic standing of working men and women justifies the advantage that the law gives to the widow.
4. Issue: Whether the law is a violation of equal protection, even though it presumably gives widows a benefit.
5. Holding: Yes.
6. Reasoning: The law here is a discrimination against both living women, and surviving men. In both cases, it deprives the parties of the benefits they would get as (or from) a similarly situated male. Thus, under intermediate scrutiny, although having enough resources to provide for needy spouses is an important governmental objective, the classification used is not substantially related to the accomplishment of this objective. The state could either pay benefits to both spouses without a showing, or require a showing from both spouses. However, the difference in treatment here appears to be solely based on the stereotypical assumption that the widower will not need the assistance in most cases. As such, it appears to be only for administrative convenience. Although administrative convenience may properly withstand heightened scrutiny in some contexts, it does not in this case.

1. Regents of Univ. of Cal. v. Bakke, (1978); pg. 760, briefed 2/22/96
2. Facts: Bakke was an applicant to the U.C. Davis Medical School, which had two separate admissions programs - one for whites, and one for minorities. They had a 16% minorities quota system. Bakke was not admitted, but minorities with significantly lower qualifications were admitted.
3. Procedural Posture: Bakke filed suit in the lower court under Title VI of the civil rights act and equal protection. The trial court held that the university could not take race into account, but refused to order Bakke’s admission claiming that he had failed his burden of proof that he would have been admitted but for the existence of special admissions. The Cal. Supreme Court applied strict scrutiny to strike it down, holding that there were less intrusive means of furthering the important state interest in having minority physicians, and ordered Bakke admitted.
4. Issue: Whether the U.C. Davis admissions program is a violation of equal protection because it discriminates intentionally against whites.
5. Holding: Yes.
6. Majority Reasoning: The fact that this is discrimination against whites (and thus benign against minorities) does not change the court’s obligation to use strict scrutiny, because this is still a racial classification. Any classification based upon race must be necessary to accomplish a substantial state interest. A classification which intentionally disadvantages one race in order to grant other races an advantage is unconstitutional in the absence of specific findings of a constitutional violation [de jure]. The constitution forbids discrimination for its own sake. The state has a legitimate interest in eliminating and correcting for discrimination. However, there has been no finding of any constitutional violation which would give rise to a requirement for a remedy. The state’s interest in promoting diversity in education is also legitimate. However, race may only be one factor in the determination of diversity among otherwise qualified applicants. There are other characteristics besides race that promote diversity. Since the white students may only compete for certain seats, and the minorities are free to compete for every seat, solely because of race, this practice violates the equal protection clause because there are less burdensome alternatives available, such as aggressive recruiting.
7. Concurrence Reasoning: [Brennan] The majority is correct in stating that race may be considered in admissions. Strict scrutiny is applicable here, but this admissions process passes it. Sometimes the white majority is required to bear the burden of societal discrimination in the remedying of past discrimination. To hold that there must be finding of actual constitutional violations as a prerequisite to race-conscious remedial actions would discourage voluntary compliance. The purpose of the University’s policy is to overcome the effects of prior segregation. It compensates applicants who would have been more admittable but for the existence of societal discrimination. Once admitted, they are judged by the same standards as the other students. [Marshall] It is unnecessary in the 20th century for individual blacks to demonstrate that they were discriminated against, given the long history of state-sponsored, legal discrimination. [Stevens] The issue of whether race could ever be used as a factor in the determination of admissions was not before this court. This was not a class action, but an individual action. The only admissions policy before the court was that of U.C. Davis.



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