EQUAL PROTECTION OF THE LAWS
Scope and Application
The Fourteenth Amendment, by its terms, lim-its discrimination only by governmental entities, not by private parties.1338 As the Court has noted, “the action inhibited by the first section of the Fourteenth Amendment is only such action as may fairly be said to be that of the States. That Amendment erects no shield against merely private conduct, however discriminatory or wrongful.”1339 Although state action requirements also apply to other provisions of the Constitution1340 and to federal governmental actions,1341 the doctrine is most often associated with the application of the Equal Protection Clause to the states.1342
Certainly, an act passed by a state legislature that directs a discriminatory result is state action and would violate the first section of the Fourteenth Amendment.1343 In addition, acts by other branches of government “by whatever instruments or in whatever modes that action may be taken” can result in a finding of “state action.”1344 But the difficulty for the Court has been when the conduct complained of is not so clearly the action of a state. For instance, is it state action when a minor state official’s act was not authorized or perhaps was even forbidden by state law? What if a private party engages in discrimination while in a special relationship with governmental authority? “The vital requirement is State responsibility,” Justice Frankfurter once wrote, “that somewhere, somehow, to some extent, there be an infusion of conduct by officials, panoplied with State power, into any scheme” to deny protected rights.1345
The state action doctrine is not just a textual interpretation of the Fourteenth Amendment, but may also serve the purposes of federalism. Thus, following the Civil War, when the Court sought to reassert states’ rights, it imposed a rather rigid state action standard, limiting the circumstances under which discrimination suits could be pursued. During the civil rights movement of the 1950s and 1960s, however when almost all state action contentions were raised in a racial context, the Court generally found the presence of state action. As it grew more sympathetic to federalism concerns in the late 1970s and 1980s, the Court began to reassert a strengthened state action doctrine, primarily but hardly exclusively in non-racial cases.1346 “Careful adherence to the ‘state action’ requirement preserves an area of individual freedom by limiting the reach of federal law and federal judicial power. It also avoids imposing on the State, its agencies or officials, responsibility for conduct for which they cannot fairly be blamed. A major consequence is to require the courts to respect the limits of their own power as directed against state governments and private interests. Whether this is good or bad policy, it is a fundamental fact of our political order.”1347
Operation of the state action doctrine was critical in determining whether school systems were segregated unconstitutionally by race. The original Brown cases as well as many subsequent cases arose in the context of statutorily mandated separation of the races, and therefore the finding of state action occasioned no controversy.1348 In the South, the aftermath of the case more often involved disputes over which remedies were needed to achieve a unitary system than it did the requirements of state action.1349 But if racial segregation is not the result of state action in some aspect, then its existence is not subject to constitutional remedy.1350 Distinguishing between the two situations has occasioned much controversy.
For instance, in a case arising from a Denver, Colorado school system in which no statutory dual system had ever been imposed, the Court restated the obvious principle that de jure racial segregation caused by “intentionally segregative school board actions” is to be treated as if it had been mandated by statute, and is to be distinguished from de facto segregation arising from actions not associated with the state.1351 In addition, when it is proved that a meaningful portion of a school system is segregated as a result of official action, the responsible agency must then bear the burden of proving that other school segregation within the system is adventitious and not the result of official action.1352 Moreover, the Court has also apparently adopted a rule that if it can be proved that at some time in the past a school board has purposefully maintained a racially separated system, a continuing obligation to dismantle that system can devolve upon the agency so that so that subsequent facially neutral or ambiguous school board policies can form the basis for a judicial finding of intentional discrimination.1353
Different results follow, however, when inter-district segregation is an issue. Disregard of district lines is permissible by a federal court in formulating a desegregation plan only when it finds an inter-district violation. “Before the boundaries of separate and autonomous school districts may be set aside by consolidating the separate units for remedial purposes by imposing a cross-district remedy, it must first be shown that there has been a constitutional violation within one district that produces a significant segregative effect in another district. Specifically it must be shown that racially discriminatory acts of the state or local school districts, or of a single school district, have been a substantive cause of inter-district segregation.”1354 The de jure/de facto distinction is thus well established in school cases and is firmly grounded upon the “state action” language of the Fourteenth Amendment.
It has long been established that the actions of state officers and agents are attributable to the state. Thus, application of a federal statute imposing a criminal penalty on a state judge who excluded African-Americans from jury duty was upheld as within congressional power under the Fourteenth Amendment; the judge’s action constituted state action even though state law did not authorize him to select the jury in a racially discriminatory manner.1355 The fact that the “state action” category is not limited to situations in which state law affirmatively authorizes discriminatory action was made clearer in Yick Wo v. Hopkins,1356 in which the Court found unconstitutional state action in the discriminatory administration of an ordinance that was fair and non-discriminatory on its face. Not even the fact that the actions of the state agents are illegal under state law makes the action unattributable to the state for purposes of the Fourteenth Amendment. “Misuse of power, possessed by virtue of state law and made possible only because the wrongdoer is clothed with the authority of state law, is action taken ‘under color of ’ state law.”1357 When the denial of equal protection is not commanded by law or by administrative regulation but is nonetheless accomplished through police enforcement of “custom”1358 or through hortatory admonitions by public officials to private parties to act in a discriminatory manner,1359 the action is state action. In addition, when a state clothes a private party with official authority, that private party may not engage in conduct forbidden the state.1360
Beyond this are cases where a private individual discriminates, and the question is whether a state has encouraged the effort or has impermissibly aided it.1361 Of notable importance and a subject of controversy since it was decided is Shelley v. Kraemer.1362 There, property owners brought suit to enforce a racially restrictive covenant, seeking to enjoin the sale of a home by white sellers to black buyers. The covenants standing alone, Chief Justice Vinson said, violated no rights protected by the Fourteenth Amendment. “So long as the purposes of those agreements are effectuated by voluntary adherence to their terms, it would appear clear that there has been no action by the State and the provisions of the Amendment have not been violated.” However, this situation is to be distinguished from where “the purposes of the agreements were secured only by judicial enforcement by state courts of the restrictive terms of the agreements.”1363 Establishing that the precedents were to the effect that judicial action of state courts was state action, the Court continued to find that judicial enforcement of these covenants was forbidden. “The undisputed facts disclose that petitioners were willing purchasers of properties upon which they desire to establish homes. The owners of the properties were willing sellers; and contracts of sale were accordingly consummated. . . .”1364
Arguments about the scope of Shelley began immediately. Did the rationale mean that no private decision to discriminate could be effectuated in any manner by action of the state, as by enforcement of trespass laws or judicial enforcement of discrimination in wills? Or did it rather forbid the action of the state in interfering with the willingness of two private parties to deal with each other? Disposition of several early cases possibly governed by Shelley left this issue unanswered.1365 But the Court has experienced no difficulty in finding that state court enforcement of common-law rules in a way that has an impact upon speech and press rights is state action and triggers the application of constitutional rules.1366
It may be that the substantive rule that is being enforced is the dispositive issue, rather than the mere existence of state action. Thus, in Evans v. Abney,1367 a state court, asked to enforce a discriminatory stipulation in a will that property devised to a city for use as a public park should never be used by African-Americans, ruled that the city could not operate the park in a segregated fashion. Instead of striking the segregation requirement from the will, however, the court instead ordered return of the property to the decedent’s heirs, inasmuch as the trust had failed. The Supreme Court held the decision permissible, inasmuch as the state court had merely carried out the testator’s intent with no racial motivation itself, and distinguished Shelley on the basis that African-Americans were not discriminated against by the reversion, because everyone was deprived of use of the park.1368
The case of Reitman v. Mulkey1369 was similar to Shelley in both its controversy and the uncertainty of its rationale. In Reitman, the Court struck down an amendment to the California Constitution that prohibited the state and its subdivisions and agencies from forbidding racial discrimination in private housing. The Court, finding the provision to deny equal protection of the laws, appeared to ground its decision on either of two lines of reasoning. First was that the provision constituted state action to impermissibly encourage private racial discrimination. Second was that the provision made discriminatory racial practices immune from the ordinary legislative process, and thus impermissibly burdened minorities in the achievement of legitimate aims.1370 In a subsequent case, Hunter v. Erickson,1371 the latter rationale was used in a unanimous decision voiding an Akron ordinance, which suspended an “open housing” ordinance and provided that any future ordinance regulating transactions in real property “on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin or ancestry” must be submitted to a vote of the people before it could become effective.1372
Two later decisions involving state referenda on busing for integration confirm that the condemning factor of Mulkey and Hunter was the imposition of barriers to racial amelioration legislation.1373 Both cases agree that “the simple repeal or modification of desegregation or antidiscrimination laws, without more, never has been viewed as embodying a presumptively invalid racial classification.”1374 It is thus not impermissible merely to overturn a previous governmental decision, or to defeat the effort initially to arrive at such a decision, simply because the state action may conceivably encourage private discrimination.
In other instances in which the discrimination is being practiced by private parties, the question essentially is whether there has been sufficient state involvement to bring the Fourteenth Amendment into play.1375 There is no clear formula. “Only by sifting facts and weighing circumstances can the nonobvious involvement of the State in private conduct be attributed its true significance.”1376 State action has been found in a number of circumstances. The “White Primary” was outlawed by the Court not because the party’s discrimination was commanded by statute but because the party operated under the authority of the state and the state prescribed a general election ballot made up of party nominees chosen in the primaries.1377 Although the City of Philadelphia was acting as trustee in administering and carrying out the will of someone who had left money for a college, admission to which was stipulated to be for white boys only, the city was held to be engaged in forbidden state action in discriminating against African-Americans in admission.1378 When state courts on petition of interested parties removed the City of Macon as trustees of a segregated park that had been left in trust for such use in a will, and appointed new trustees in order to keep the park segregated, the Court reversed, finding that the City was still inextricably involved in the maintenance and operation of the park.1379
In a significant case in which the Court explored a lengthy list of contacts between the state and a private corporation, it held that the lessee of property within an off-street parking building owned and operated by a municipality could not exclude African-Americans from its restaurant. The Court emphasized that the building was publicly built and owned, that the restaurant was an integral part of the complex, that the restaurant and the parking facilities complemented each other, that the parking authority had regulatory power over the lessee, and that the financial success of the restaurant benefitted the governmental agency. The “degree of state participation and involvement in discriminatory action,” therefore, was sufficient to condemn it.1380
The question arose, then, what degree of state participation was “significant”? Would licensing of a business clothe the actions of that business with sufficient state involvement? Would regulation? Or provision of police and fire protection? Would enforcement of state trespass laws be invalid if it effectuated discrimination? The “sit-in” cases of the early 1960s presented all these questions and more but did not resolve them.1381 The basics of an answer came in Moose Lodge No. 107 v. Irvis,1382 in which the Court held that the fact that a private club was required to have a liquor license to serve alcoholic drinks and did have such a license did not bar it from discriminating against African-Americans. It denied that private discrimination became constitutionally impermissible “if the private entity receives any sort of benefit or service at all from the State, or if it is subject to state regulation in any degree whatever,” since any such rule would eviscerate the state action doctrine. Rather, “where the impetus for the discrimination is private, the State must have ‘significantly involved itself with invidious discrimination.’ ”1383 Moreover, although the state had extensive powers to regulate in detail the liquor dealings of its licensees, “it cannot be said to in any way foster or encourage racial discrimination. Nor can it be said to make the State in any realistic sense a partner or even a joint venturer in the club’s enterprise.”1384 And there was nothing in the licensing relationship here that approached “the symbiotic relationship between lessor and lessee” that the Court had found in Burton.1385
The Court subsequently made clear that governmental involvement with private persons or private corporations is not the critical factor in determining the existence of “state action.” Rather, “the inquiry must be whether there is a sufficiently close nexus between the State and the challenged action of the regulated entity so that the action of the latter may be fairly treated as that of the State itself.”1386 Or, to quote Judge Friendly, who first enunciated the test this way, the “essential point” is “that the state must be involved not simply with some activity of the institution alleged to have inflicted injury upon a plaintiff but with the activity that caused the injury. Putting the point another way, the state action, not the private action, must be the subject of the complaint.”1387 Therefore, the Court found no such nexus between the state and a public utility’s action in terminating service to a customer. Neither the fact that the business was subject to state regulation, nor that the state had conferred in effect a monopoly status upon the utility, nor that in reviewing the company’s tariff schedules the regulatory commission had in effect approved the termination provision (but had not required the practice, had “not put its own weight on the side of the proposed practice by ordering it”)1388 operated to make the utility’s action the state’s action.1389 Significantly tightening the standard further against a finding of “state action,” the Court asserted that plaintiffs must establish not only that a private party “acted under color of the challenged statute, but also that its actions are properly attributable to the State. . . .”1390 And the actions are to be attributable to the state apparently only if the state compelled the actions and not if the state merely established the process through statute or regulation under which the private party acted.
Thus, when a private party, having someone’s goods in his possession and seeking to recover the charges owned on storage of the goods, acts under a permissive state statue to sell the goods and retain his charges out of the proceeds, his actions are not governmental action and need not follow the dictates of the Due Process Clause.1391 Or, where a state workers’ compensation statute was amended to allow, but not require, an insurer to suspend payment for medical treatment while the necessity of the treatment was being evaluated by an independent evaluator, this action was not fairly attributable to the state, and thus pre-deprivation notice of the suspension was not required.1392 In the context of regulated nursing home situations, in which the homes were closely regulated and state officials reduced or withdrew Medicaid benefits paid to patients when they were discharged or transferred to institutions providing a lower level of care, the Court found that the actions of the homes in discharging or transferring were not thereby rendered the actions of the government.1393
In a few cases, the Court has indicated that discriminatory action by private parties may be precluded by the Fourteenth Amendment if the particular party involved is exercising a “public function.”1394 For instance, in Marsh v. Alabama,1395 a Jehovah’s Witness had been convicted of trespass after passing out literature on the streets of a company-owned town, but the Court reversed. It is not entirely clear from the Court’s opinion what it was that made the privately owned town one to which the Constitution applied. In essence, it appears to have been that the town “had all the characteristics of any other American town” and that it was “like” a state. “The more an owner, for his advantage, opens up his property for use by the public in general, the more do his rights become circumscribed by the statutory and constitutional rights of those who use it.”1396 A subsequent attempt to extend Marsh to privately owned shopping centers was at first successful, but was soon turned back, resulting in a sharp curtailment of the “public function” doctrine.1397
Attempts to apply this theory to other kinds of private conduct, such as operation of private utilities,1398 use of permissive state laws to secure property claimed to belong to creditors,1399 maintaining schools for “problem” children referred by public institutions,1400 provision of workers’ compensation coverage by private insurance companies,1401 and operation of nursing homes in which patient care is almost all funded by public resources,1402 proved unavailing. The question is not “whether a private group is serving a ‘public function.’ . . . That a private entity performs a function which serves the public does not make its acts state action.”1403 The “public function” doctrine is to be limited to a delegation of “a power ‘traditionally exclusively reserved to the State.’ ”1404
Public function did play an important part, however, in the Court’s finding state action in the exercise of peremptory challenges in jury selection by non-governmental parties. Using tests developed in an earlier case involving garnishment and attachment,1405 the Court found state action in the racially discriminatory use of such challenges during voir dire in a civil case.1406 The Court first asked “whether the claimed constitutional deprivation resulted from the exercise of a right or privilege having its source in state authority,” and then “whether the private party charged with the deprivation could be described in all fairness as a state actor.” In answering the second question, the Court considered three factors: “the extent to which the actor relies on governmental assistance and benefits, whether the actor is performing a traditional governmental function, and whether the injury caused is aggravated in a unique way by the incidents of governmental authority.”1407 There was no question that the exercise of peremptory challenges derives from governmental authority (either state or federal, as the case may be); exercise of peremptory challenges is authorized by law, and the number is limited. Similarly, the Court easily concluded that private parties exercise peremptory challenges with the “overt” and “significant” assistance of the court.
In addition, jury selection was found to be a traditional governmental function: the jury “is a quintessential governmental body, having no attributes of a private actor,” and it followed, so the Court majority believed, that selection of individuals to serve on that body is also a governmental function whether or not it is delegated to or shared with private individuals.1408 Finally, the Court concluded that “the injury caused by the discrimination is made more severe because the government permits it to occur within the courthouse itself.”1409 Dissenting Justice O’Connor complained that the Court was wiping away centuries of adversary practice in which “unrestrained private choice” has been recognized in exercise of peremptory challenges; “[i]t is antithetical to the nature of our adversarial process,” the Justice contended, “to say that a private attorney acting on behalf of a private client represents the government for constitutional purposes.”1410
The Court soon applied these same principles to hold that the exercise of peremptory challenges by the defense in a criminal case also constitutes state action,1411 even though in a criminal case it is the government and the defendant who are adversaries. The same generalities apply with at least equal force: there is overt and significant governmental assistance in creating and structuring the process, a criminal jury serves an important governmental function and its selection is also important, and the courtroom setting intensifies harmful effects of discriminatory actions. An earlier case1412 holding that a public defender was not a state actor when engaged in general representation of a criminal defendant was distinguished, with the Court emphasizing that “exercise of a peremptory challenge differs significantly from other actions taken in support of a defendant’s defense,” because it involves selection of persons to wield governmental power.1413
Previously, the Court’s decisions with respect to state “involvement” in the private activities of individuals and entities raised the question whether financial assistance and tax benefits provided to private parties would so clothe them with state action that discrimination by them and other conduct would be subject to constitutional constraints. Many lower courts had held state action to exist in such circumstances.1414 However the question might have been answered under prior Court holdings, it is evident that the more recent cases would not generally support a finding of state action in these cases. In Rendell-Baker v. Kohn,1415 a private school received “problem” students referred to it by public institutions, it was heavily regulated, and it received between 90 and 99% of its operating budget from public funds. In Blum v. Yaretsky,1416 a nursing home had practically all of its operating and capital costs subsidized by public funds and more than 90% of its residents had their medical expenses paid from public funds; in setting reimbursement rates, the state included a formula to assure the home a profit. Nevertheless, in both cases the Court found that the entities remained private, and required plaintiffs to show that as to the complained of actions the state was involved, either through coercion or encouragement.1417 “That programs undertaken by the State result in substantial funding of the activities of a private entity is no more persuasive than the fact of regulation of such an entity in demonstrating that the State is responsible for decisions made by the entity in the course of its business.”1418
In the social welfare area, the Court has drawn a sharp distinction between governmental action subject to substantive due process requirements, and governmental inaction, not so constrained. There being “no affirmative right to governmental aid,” the Court announced in DeShaney v. Winnebago County Social Services Department1419 that “as a general matter, . . . a State’s failure to protect an individual against private violence simply does not constitute a violation of the Due Process Clause.” Before there can be state involvement creating an affirmative duty to protect an individual, the Court explained, the state must have taken a person into its custody and held him there against his will so as to restrict his freedom to act on his own behalf. Thus, although the Court had recognized due process violations for failure to provide adequate medical care to incarcerated prisoners,1420 and for failure to ensure reasonable safety for involuntarily committed mental patients,1421 no such affirmative duty arose from the failure of social services agents to protect an abused child from further abuse from his parent. Even though possible abuse had been reported to the agency and confirmed and monitored by the agency, and the agency had done nothing to protect the child, the Court emphasized that the actual injury was inflicted by the parent and “did not occur while [the child] was in the State’s custody.”1422 Although the state may have incurred liability in tort through the negligence of its social workers, “[not] every tort committed by a state actor [is] a constitutional violation.”1423 “[I]t is well to remember . . . that the harm was inflicted not by the State of Wisconsin, but by [the child’s] father.”1424
Judicial inquiry into the existence of “state action” may lead to different results depending on what remedy is sought to be enforced. While cases may be brought against a private actor to compel him to halt his discriminatory action (for example, to enjoin him to admit blacks to a lunch counter), one could just as readily bring suit against the government to compel it to cease aiding the private actor in his discriminatory conduct. Enforcing the latter remedy might well avoid constitutional issues that an order directed to the private party would raise.1425 In either case, however, it must be determined whether the governmental involvement is sufficient to give rise to a constitutional remedy. In a suit against the private party it must be determined whether he is so involved with the government as to be subject to constitutional restraints, while in a suit against the government agency it must be determined whether the government’s action “impermissibly fostered” the private conduct.
Thus, in Norwood v. Harrison,1426 the Court struck down the provision of free textbooks by a state to racially segregated private schools (which were set up to avoid desegregated public schools), even though the textbook program predated the establishment of these schools. “[A]ny tangible state assistance, outside the generalized services government might provide to private segregated schools in common with other schools, and with all citizens, is constitutionally prohibited if it has ‘a significant tendency to facilitate, reinforce, and support private discrimination.’ . . . The constitutional obligation of the State requires it to steer clear, not only of operating the old dual system of racially segregated schools, but also of giving significant aid to institutions that practice racial or other invidious discriminations.”1427 And in a subsequent case, the Court approved a lower court order that barred the city from permitting exclusive temporary use of public recreational facilities by segregated private schools because that interfered with an outstanding order mandating public school desegregation. But it remanded for further factfinding with respect to permitting nonexclusive use of public recreational facilities and general government services by segregated private schools so that the district court could determine whether such uses “involve government so directly in the actions of those users as to warrant court intervention on constitutional grounds.”1428 The lower court was directed to sift facts and weigh circumstances on a case-by-case basis in making determinations.1429
It should be noted, however, that, without mentioning these cases, the Court has interposed a potentially significant barrier to use of the principle set out in them. In a 1976 decision, which it has since expanded, it held that plaintiffs, seeking disallowal of governmental tax benefits accorded to institutions that allegedly discriminated against complainants and thus involved the government in their actions, must show that revocation of the benefit would cause the institutions to cease the complained-of conduct.1430
In the case in which it was first called upon to in-terpret this clause, the Court doubted whether “any action of a State not directed by way of discrimination against the negroes as a class, or on account of their race, will ever be held to come within the purview of this provision.”1431 Nonetheless, in deciding the Granger Cases shortly thereafter, the Justices, as with the due process clause, seemingly entertained no doubt that the railroad corporations were entitled to invoke the protection of the clause.1432 Nine years later, Chief Justice Waite announced from the bench that the Court would not hear argument on the question whether the Equal Protection Clause applied to corporations. “We are all of the opinion that it does.”1433 The word has been given the broadest possible meaning. “These provisions are universal in their application, to all persons within the territorial jurisdiction, without regard to any differences of race, of color, or of nationality. . . .”1434 The only qualification is that a municipal corporation cannot invoke the clause against its state.1435
“Within Its Jurisdiction”.
Persons “within its jurisdiction” are entitled to equal protection from a state. Largely because Article IV, § 2, has from the beginning guaranteed the privileges and immunities of citizens in the several states, the Court has rarely construed the phrase in relation to natural persons.1436 As to business entities, it was first held that a foreign corporation that was not doing business in a state in a manner that subjected it to the process of a state’s courts was not “within the jurisdiction” of the state and could not complain that resident creditors were given preferences in the distribution of assets of an insolvent corporation.1437 This holding was subsequently qualified, however, with the Court holding that a foreign corporation seeking to recover possession of property wrongfully taken in one state, but suing in another state in which it was not licensed to do business, was “within the jurisdiction” of the latter state, so that unequal burdens could not be imposed on the maintenance of the suit.1438 The test of amenability to service of process within the state was ignored in a later case dealing with discriminatory assessment of property belonging to a nonresident individual.1439 On the other hand, if a state has admitted a foreign corporation to do business within its borders, that corporation is entitled to equal protection of the laws, but not necessarily to identical treatment with domestic corporations.1440
Equal Protection: Judging Classifications by Law
A guarantee of equal protection of the laws was contained in every draft leading up to the final version of section 1 of the Fourteenth Amendment.1441 The desire to provide a firm constitutional basis for already-enacted civil rights legislation1442 and to place repeal beyond the accomplishment of a simple majority in a future Congress was important to its sponsors.1443 No doubt there were conflicting interpretations of the phrase “equal protection” among sponsors and supporters and the legislative history does little to clarify whether any sort of consensus was accomplished and if so what it was.1444 Although the Court early recognized that African-Americans were the primary intended beneficiaries of the protections thus adopted,1445 the spare language was majestically unconfined to so limited a class or to so limited a purpose. Though efforts to argue for an expansive interpretation met with little initial success,1446 the equal protection standard ultimately came to be applicable to all classifications by legislative and other official bodies. Now, the Equal Protection Clause looms large in the fields of civil rights and fundamental liberties as a constitutional text affording the federal and state courts extensive powers of review with regard to differential treatment of persons and classes.
The Traditional Standard: Restrained Review.
The tradi-tional standard of review of equal protection challenges of classifications developed largely though not entirely in the context of economic regulation.1447 It is still most often applied there, although it appears in many other contexts as well,1448 including so-called “class-of-one” challenges.1449 A more active review has been developed for classifications based on a “suspect” indicium or affecting a “fundamental” interest. “The Fourteenth Amendment enjoins ‘the equal protection of the laws,’ and laws are not abstract propositions.” Justice Frankfurter once wrote, “They do not relate to abstract units, A, B, and C, but are expressions of policy arising out of specific difficulties, addressed to the attainment of specific ends by the use of specific remedies. The Constitution does not require things which are different in fact or opinion to be treated in law as though they were the same.”1450 Thus, the mere fact of classification will not void legislation,1451 because in the exercise of its powers a legislature has considerable discretion in recognizing the differences between and among persons and situations.1452 “Class legislation, discriminating against some and favoring others, is prohibited; but legislation which, in carrying out a public purpose, is limited in its application, if within the sphere of its operation it affects alike all persons similarly situated, is not within the amendment.”1453 Or, more succinctly, “statutes create many classifications which do not deny equal protection; it is only ‘invidious discrimination’ which offends the Constitution.”1454
How then is the line between permissible and invidious classification to be determined? In Lindsley v. Natural Carbonic Gas Co.,1455 the Court summarized one version of the rules still prevailing. “1. The equal protection clause of the Fourteenth Amendment does not take from the State the power to classify in the adoption of police laws, but admits of the exercise of a wide scope of discretion in that regard, and avoids what is done only when it is without any reasonable basis and therefore is purely arbitrary. 2. A classification having some reasonable basis does not offend against that clause merely because it is not made with mathematical nicety or because in practice it results in some inequality. 3. When the classification in such a law is called in question, if any state of facts reasonably can be conceived that would sustain it, the existence of that state of facts at the time the law was enacted must be assumed. 4. One who assails the classification in such a law must carry the burden of showing that it does not rest upon any reasonable basis, but is essentially arbitrary.” Especially because of the emphasis upon the necessity for total arbitrariness, utter irrationality, and the fact that the Court will strain to conceive of a set of facts that will justify the classification, the test is extremely lenient and, assuming the existence of a constitutionally permissible goal, no classification will ever be upset. But, contemporaneously with this test, the Court also pronounced another lenient standard which did leave to the courts a judgmental role. In F.S. Royster Guano Co. v. Virginia,1456 the court put forward the following test: “[T]he classification must be reasonable, not arbitrary, and must rest upon some ground of difference having a fair and substantial relation to the object of the legislation, so that all persons similarly circumstanced shall be treated alike.”1457 Use of the latter standard did in fact result in some in-validations.1458
But then, coincident with the demise of substantive due process in the area of economic regulation,1459 the Court reverted to the former standard, deferring to the legislative judgment on questions of economics and related matters; even when an impermissible purpose could have been attributed to the classifiers it was usually possible to conceive of a reason that would justify the classification.1460 Strengthening the deference was the recognition of discretion in the legislature not to try to deal with an evil or a class of evils all within the scope of one enactment but to approach the problem piecemeal, to learn from experience, and to ameliorate the harmful results of two evils differently, resulting in permissible over-and under-inclusive classifications.1461
In recent years, the Court has been remarkably inconsistent in setting forth the standard which it is using, and the results have reflected this. It has upheld economic classifications that suggested impermissible intention to discriminate, reciting at length the Lindsley standard, complete with the conceiving-of-a-basis and the one-step-at-a-time rationale,1462 and it has applied this relaxed standard to social welfare regulations.1463 In other cases, it has used the Royster Guano standard and has looked to the actual goal articulated by the legislature in determining whether the classification had a reasonable relationship to that goal,1464 although it has usually ended up upholding the classification. Finally, purportedly applying the rational basis test, the Court has invalidated some classifications in the areas traditionally most subject to total deference.1465
Attempts to develop a consistent principle have so far been unsuccessful. In Railroad Retirement Board v. Fritz,1466 the Court acknowledged that “[t]he most arrogant legal scholar would not claim that all of these cases cited applied a uniform or consistent test under equal protection principles,” but then went on to note the differences between Lindsley and Royster Guano and chose the former. But, shortly, in Schweiker v. Wilson,1467 in an opinion written by a different Justice,1468 the Court sustained another classification, using the Royster Guano standard to evaluate whether the classification bore a substantial relationship to the goal actually chosen and articulated by Congress. In between these decisions, the Court approved a state classification after satisfying itself that the legislature had pursued a permissible goal, but setting aside the decision of the state court that the classification would not promote that goal; the Court announced that it was irrelevant whether in fact the goal would be promoted, the question instead being whether the legislature “could rationally have decided” that it would.1469
In short, it is uncertain which formulation of the rational basis standard the Court will adhere to.1470 In the main, the issues in recent years have not involved the validity of classifications, but rather the care with which the Court has reviewed the facts and the legislation with its legislative history to uphold the challenged classifications. The recent decisions voiding classifications have not clearly set out which standard they have been using.1471 Clarity in this area, then, must await presentation to the Court of a classification that it would sustain under the Lindsley standard and invalidate under Royster Guano.
The New Standards: Active Review.
When government leg-islates or acts either on the basis of a “suspect” classification or with regard to a “fundamental” interest, the traditional standard of equal protection review is abandoned, and the Court exercises a “strict scrutiny.” Under this standard government must demonstrate a high degree of need, and usually little or no presumption favoring the classification is to be expected. After much initial controversy within the Court, it has now created a third category, finding several classifications to be worthy of a degree of “intermediate” scrutiny requiring a showing of important governmental purposes and a close fit between the classification and the purposes.
Paradigmatic of “suspect” categories is classification by race. First in the line of cases dealing with this issue is Korematsu v. United States,1472 concerning the wartime evacuation of Japanese-Americans from the West Coast, in which the Court said that because only a single ethnic-racial group was involved the measure was “immediately suspect” and subject to “rigid scrutiny.” The school segregation cases1473 purported to enunciate no per se rule, however, although subsequent summary treatment of a host of segregation measures may have implicitly done so, until in striking down state laws prohibiting interracial marriage or cohabitation the Court declared that racial classifications “bear a far heavier burden of justification” than other classifications and were invalid because no “overriding statutory purpose”1474 was shown and they were not necessary to some “legitimate overriding purpose.”1475 “A racial classification, regardless of purported motivation, is presumptively invalid and can be upheld only upon an extraordinary justification.”1476 Remedial racial classifications, that is, the development of “affirmative action” or similar programs that classify on the basis of race for the purpose of ameliorating conditions resulting from past discrimination, are subject to more than traditional review scrutiny, but whether the highest or some intermediate standard is the applicable test is uncertain.1477 A measure that does not draw a distinction explicitly on race but that does draw a line between those who seek to use the law to do away with or modify racial discrimination and those who oppose such efforts does in fact create an explicit racial classification and is constitutionally suspect.1478
Toward the end of the Warren Court, there emerged a trend to treat classifications on the basis of nationality or alienage as suspect,1479 to accord sex classifications a somewhat heightened traditional review while hinting that a higher standard might be appropriate if such classifications passed lenient review,1480 and to pass on statutory and administrative treatments of illegitimates inconsistently.1481 Language in a number of opinions appeared to suggest that poverty was a suspect condition, so that treating the poor adversely might call for heightened equal protection review.1482
However, in a major evaluation of equal protection analysis early in this period, the Court reaffirmed a two-tier approach, determining that where the interests involved that did not occasion strict scrutiny, the Court would decide the case on minimum rationality standards. Justice Powell, writing for the Court in San Antonio School Dist. v. Rodriguez,1483 decisively rejected the contention that a de
facto wealth classification, with an adverse impact on the poor, was either a suspect classification or merited some scrutiny other than the traditional basis,1484 a holding that has several times been strongly reaffirmed by the Court.1485 But the Court’s rejection of some form of intermediate scrutiny did not long survive.
Without extended consideration of the issue of standards, the Court more recently adopted an intermediate level of scrutiny, perhaps one encompassing several degrees of intermediate scrutiny. Thus, gender classifications must, in order to withstand constitutional challenge, “serve important governmental objectives and must be substantially related to achievement of those objectives.”1486 And classifications that disadvantage illegitimates are subject to a similar though less exacting scrutiny of purpose and fit.1487 This period also saw a withdrawal of the Court from the principle that alienage is always a suspect classification, so that some discriminations against aliens based on the nature of the political order, rather than economics or social interests, need pass only the lenient review standard.1488
The Court has so far resisted further expansion of classifications that must be justified by a standard more stringent than rational basis. For example, the Court has held that age classifications are neither suspect nor entitled to intermediate scrutiny.1489 Although the Court resists the creation of new suspect or “quasi-suspect” classifications, it may still, on occasion, apply the Royster Guano rather than the Lindsley standard of rationality.1490
The other phase of active review of classifications holds that when certain fundamental liberties and interests are involved, government classifications which adversely affect them must be justified by a showing of a compelling interest necessitating the classification and by a showing that the distinctions are required to further the governmental purpose. The effect of applying the test, as in the other branch of active review, is to deny to legislative judgments the deference usually accorded them and to dispense with the general presumption of constitutionality usually given state classifications.1491
It is thought1492 that the “fundamental right” theory had its origins in Skinner v. Oklahoma ex rel. Williamson,1493 in which the Court subjected to “strict scrutiny” a state statute providing for compulsory sterilization of habitual criminals, such scrutiny being thought necessary because the law affected “one of the basic civil rights.” In the apportionment decisions, Chief Justice Warren observed that, “since the right to exercise the franchise in a free and unimpaired manner is preservative of other basic civil and political rights, any alleged infringement of the right of citizens to vote must be carefully and meticulously scrutinized.”1494 A stiffening of the traditional test could be noted in the opinion of the Court striking down certain restrictions on voting eligibility1495 and the phrase “compelling state interest” was used several times in Justice Brennan’s opinion in Shapiro v. Thompson.1496 Thereafter, the phrase was used in several voting cases in which restrictions were voided, and the doctrine was asserted in other cases.1497
Although no opinion of the Court attempted to delineate the process by which certain “fundamental” rights were differentiated from others,1498 it was evident from the cases that the right to vote,1499 the right of interstate travel,1500 the right to be free of wealth distinctions in the criminal process,1501 and the right of procreation1502 were at least some of those interests that triggered active review when de jure or de facto official distinctions were made with respect to them. In Rodriguez,1503 the Court also sought to rationalize and restrict this branch of active review, as that case involved both a claim that de facto wealth classifications should be suspect and a claim that education was a fundamental interest, so that providing less of it to people because they were poor triggered a compelling state interest standard. The Court readily agreed that education was an important value in our society. “But the importance of a service performed by the State does not determine whether it must be regarded as fundamental for purposes of examination under the Equal Protection Clause. . . . [T]he answer lies in assessing whether there is a right to education explicitly or implicitly guaranteed by the Constitution.”1504 A right to education is not expressly protected by the Constitution, continued the Court, and it was unwilling to find an implied right because of its undoubted importance.
But just as Rodriguez did not ultimately prevent the Court’s adoption of a “three-tier” or “sliding-tier” standard of review, Justice Powell’s admonition that only interests expressly or impliedly protected by the Constitution should be considered “fundamental” did not prevent the expansion of the list of such interests. The difficulty was that Court decisions on the right to vote, the right to travel, the right to procreate, as well as other rights, premise the constitutional violation to be of the Equal Protection Clause, which does not itself guarantee the right but prevents the differential governmental treatment of those attempting to exercise the right.1505 Thus, state limitation on the entry into marriage was soon denominated an incursion on a fundamental right that required a compelling justification.1506 Although denials of public funding of abortions were held to implicate no fundamental interest—abortion’s being a fundamental interest—and no suspect classification—because only poor women needed public funding1507 —other denials of public assistance because of illegitimacy, alienage, or sex have been deemed to be governed by the same standard of review as affirmative harms imposed on those grounds.1508 And, in Plyler v. Doe,1509 the complete denial of education to the children of illegal aliens was found subject to intermediate scrutiny and invalidated.
An open question after Obergefell v. Hodges, the 2015 case finding the right to same-sex marriage is protected by the Constitution, is the extent to which the Court is reconceptualizing equal protection analysis.1510 In Obergefell, the Court concluded that state laws that distinguished between marriages between same- and opposite-sex married couples violated the Equal Protection Clause.1511 However, in lieu of more traditional equal protection analysis, the Obergefell Court did not identify whether the base classification made by the challenged state marriage laws was “suspect.” Nor did the Obergefell Court engage in a balancing test to determine whether the purpose of the state classification was tailored to or fit the contours of the classification. Instead, the Court merely declared that state laws prohibiting same-sex marriage “abridge[d] central precepts of equality.”1512 It remains to be seen whether Obergefell signals a new direction for the Court’s equal protection jurisprudence or is merely an anomaly that indicates the fluctuating nature of active review, as the doctrine has been subject to shifting majorities and varying degrees of concern about judicial activism and judicial restraint. Nonetheless, as will be more fully reviewed below, the sliding scale of review underlies many of the Court’s most recent equal protection cases, even if the jurisprudence and its doctrinal basis have not been fully elucidated or consistently endorsed by the Court.
Testing Facially Neutral Classifications Which Impact on Minorities
A classification made expressly upon the basis of race triggers strict scrutiny and ordinarily results in its invalidation; similarly, a classification that facially makes a distinction on the basis of sex, or alienage, or illegitimacy triggers the level of scrutiny appropriate to it. A classification that is ostensibly neutral but is an obvious pretext for racial discrimination or for discrimination on some other forbidden basis is subject to heightened scrutiny and ordinarily invalidation.1513 But when it is contended that a law, which is in effect neutral, has a disproportionately adverse effect upon a racial minority or upon another group particularly entitled to the protection of the Equal Protection Clause, a much more difficult case is presented.
In Washington v. Davis, the Court held that is necessary that one claiming harm based on the disparate or disproportionate impact of a facially neutral law prove intent or motive to discriminate.1514 For a time, in reliance upon a prior Supreme Court decision that had seemed to eschew motive or intent and to pinpoint effect as the key to a constitutional violation, lower courts had questioned this proposition.1515 Further, the Court had considered various civil rights statutes which provided that when employment practices are challenged for disqualifying a disproportionate numbers of blacks, discriminatory purpose need not be proved and that demonstrating a rational basis for the challenged practices was not a sufficient defense.1516 Thus, the lower federal courts developed a constitutional “disproportionate impact” analysis under which, absent some justification going substantially beyond what would be necessary to validate most other classifications, a violation could be established without regard to discriminatory purpose by showing that a statute or practice adversely affected a class.1517 These cases were disapproved in Davis, but the Court noted that “an invidious discriminatory purpose may often be inferred from the totality of the relevant facts, including the fact, if it be true, that the law bears more heavily on one race than another. It is also not infrequently true that the discriminatory impact . . . may for all practical purposes demonstrate unconstitutionality because in various circumstances the discrimination is very difficult to explain on nonracial grounds.”1518
The application of Davis in the following Terms led to both elucidation and not a little confusion. Looking to a challenged zoning decision of a local board that had a harsher impact upon blacks and low-income persons than upon others, the Court in Village of Arlington Heights v. Metropolitan Housing Dev. Corp.1519 explained in some detail how inquiry into motivation would work. First, a plaintiff is not required to prove that an action rested solely on discriminatory purpose; establishing “a discriminatory purpose” among permissible purposes shifts the burden to the defendant to show that the same decision would have resulted absent the impermissible motive.1520 Second, determining whether a discriminatory purpose was a motivating factor “demands a sensitive inquiry into such circumstantial and direct evidence of intent as may be available.” Impact provides a starting point and “[s]ometimes a clear pattern, unexplainable on grounds other than race, emerges from the effect of the state action even when the governing legislation appears neutral on its face,” but this is a rare case.1521 In the absence of such a stark pattern, a court will look to such factors as the “historical background of the decision,” especially if there is a series of official discriminatory actions. The specific sequence of events may shed light on purpose, as would departures from normal procedural sequences or from substantive considerations usually relied on in the past to guide official actions. Contemporary statements of decisionmakers may be examined, and “[i]n some extraordinary instances the members might be called to the stand at trial to testify concerning the purpose of the official action, although even then such testimony frequently will be barred by privilege.”1522 In most circumstances, a court is to look to the totality of the circumstances to ascertain intent.
Strengthening of the intent standard was evidenced in a decision sustaining against a sex discrimination challenge a state law giving an absolute preference in civil service hiring to veterans. Veterans who obtain at least a passing grade on the relevant examination may exercise the preference at any time and as many times as they wish and are ranked ahead of all non-veterans, no matter what their score. The lower court observed that the statutory and administrative exclusion of women from the armed forces until the recent past meant that virtually all women were excluded from state civil service positions and held that results so clearly foreseen could not be said to be unintended. Reversing, the Supreme Court found that the veterans preference law was not overtly or covertly gender-based; too many men are non-veterans to permit such a conclusion, and some women are veterans. That the preference implicitly incorporated past official discrimination against women was held not to detract from the fact that rewarding veterans for their service to their country was a legitimate public purpose. Acknowledging that the consequences of the preference were foreseeable, the Court pronounced this fact insufficient to make the requisite showing of intent. “ ‘Discriminatory purpose’ . . . implies more than intent as volition or intent as awareness of consequences. . . . It implies that the decisionmaker . . . selected or reaffirmed a particular course of action at least in part ‘because of,’ not merely ‘in spite of,’ its adverse effects upon an identifiable group.”1523
Moreover, in City of Mobile v. Bolden1524 a plurality of the Court apparently attempted to do away with the totality of circumstances test and to separately evaluate each of the factors offered to show a discriminatory intent. At issue was the constitutionality of the use of multi-member electoral districts to select the city commission. A prior decision had invalidated a multi-member districting system as discriminatory against blacks and Hispanics by listing and weighing a series of factors which in totality showed invidious discrimination, but the Court did not consider whether its ruling was premised on discriminatory purpose or adverse impact.1525 But in the plurality opinion in Mobile, each of the factors, viewed “alone,” was deemed insufficient to show purposeful discrimination.1526 Moreover, the plurality suggested that some of the factors thought to be derived from its precedents and forming part of the totality test in opinions of the lower federal courts—such as minority access to the candidate selection process, governmental responsiveness to minority interests, and the history of past discrimination—were of quite limited significance in determining discriminatory intent.1527 But, contemporaneously with Congress’s statutory rejection of the Mobile plurality standards,1528 the Court, in Rogers v. Lodge,1529 appeared to disavow much of Mobile and to permit the federal courts to find discriminatory purpose on the basis of “circumstantial evidence”1530 that is more reminiscent of pre-Washington v. Davis cases than of the more recent decisions.
Rogers v. Lodge was also a multimember electoral district case brought under the Equal Protection Clause1531 and the Fifteenth Amendment. The fact that the system operated to cancel out or dilute black voting strength, standing alone, was insufficient to condemn it; discriminatory intent in creating or maintaining the system was necessary. But direct proof of such intent is not required. “[A]n invidious purpose may often be inferred from the totality of the relevant facts, including the fact, if it is true, that the law bears more heavily on one race than another.”1532 Turning to the lower court’s enunciation of standards, the Court approved the Zimmer formulation. The fact that no black had ever been elected in the county, in which blacks were a majority of the population but a minority of registered voters, was “important evidence of purposeful exclusion.”1533 Standing alone this fact was not sufficient, but a historical showing of past discrimination, of systemic exclusion of blacks from the political process as well as educational segregation and discrimination, combined with continued unresponsiveness of elected officials to the needs of the black community, indicated the presence of discriminatory motivation. The Court also looked to the “depressed socio-economic status” of the black population as being both a result of past discrimination and a barrier to black access to voting power.1534 As for the district court’s application of the test, the Court reviewed it under the deferential “clearly erroneous” standard and affirmed it.
The Court in a jury discrimination case also seemed to allow what it had said in Davis and Arlington Heights it would not permit.1535 Noting that disproportion alone is insufficient to establish a violation, the Court nonetheless held that the plaintiff ’s showing that 79 percent of the county’s population was Spanish-surnamed, whereas jurors selected in recent years ranged from 39 to 50 percent Spanish-surnamed, was sufficient to establish a prima facie case of discrimination. Several factors probably account for the difference. First, the Court has long recognized that discrimination in jury selection can be inferred from less of a disproportion than is needed to show other discriminations, in major part because if jury selection is truly random any substantial disproportion reveals the presence of an impermissible factor, whereas most official decisions are not random.1536 Second, the jury selection process was “highly subjective” and thus easily manipulated for discriminatory purposes, unlike the process in Davis and Arlington Heights, which was regularized and open to inspection.1537 Thus, jury cases are likely to continue to be special cases and, in the usual fact situation, at least where the process is open, plaintiffs will bear a heavy and substantial burden in showing discriminatory racial and other animus.
- The Amendment provides that “[n]o State” and “nor shall any State” engage in the proscribed conduct. There are, of course, numerous federal statutes that prohibit discrimination by private parties. See, e.g., Civil Rights Act of 1964, Title II, 78 Stat. 241, 243, 42 U.S.C. §§ 2000a et seq. These statutes, however, are generally based on Congress’s power to regulate commerce. See Katzenbach v. McClung, 379 U.S. 294 (1964); Heart of Atlanta Motel v. United States, 379 U.S. 241 (1964).
- Shelley v. Kraemer, 334 U.S. 1, 13 (1948). “It is State action of a particular character that is prohibited. Individual invasion of individual rights is not the subject-matter of the amendment. It has a deeper and broader scope. It nullifies and makes void all State legislation, and State action of every kind, which impairs the privileges and immunities of citizens of the United States, or which injures them in life, liberty or property without due process of law, or which denies to any of them the equal protection of the laws.” Civil Rights Cases, 109 U.S. 3, 11 (1883).
- The doctrine applies to other rights protected of the Fourteenth Amendment, such as privileges and immunities and failure to provide due process. It also applies to Congress’s enforcement powers under section 5 of the Amendment. For discussion of the latter, see Section 5, Enforcement, “State Action,” infra. Several other constitutional rights are similarly limited—the Fifteenth Amendment (racial discrimination in voting), the Nineteenth Amendment (sex discrimination in voting) and the Twenty-sixth Amendment (voting rights for 18-year olds)—although the Thirteenth Amendment, banning slavery and involuntary servitude, is not.
- The scope and reach of the “state action” doctrine is the same whether a state or the National Government is concerned. See CBS v. Democratic Nat’l Comm., 412 U.S. 94 (1973).
- Recently, however, because of broadening due process conceptions and the resulting litigation, issues of state action have been raised with respect to the Due Process Clause. See, e.g., Jackson v. Metropolitan Edison Co., 419 U.S. 345 (1974); Flagg Bros. v. Brooks, 436 U.S. 149 (1978); Rendell-Baker v. Kohn, 457 U.S. 830 (1982); Lugar v. Edmondson Oil Co., 457 U.S. 922 (1982); Blum v. Yaretsky, 457 U.S. 991 (1982).
- United States v. Raines, 362 U.S. 17, 25 (1960). A prime example is the statutory requirement of racially segregated schools condemned in Brown v. Board of Education, 347 U.S. 483 (1954). See also Peterson v. City of Greenville, 373 U.S. 244 (1963), holding that trespass convictions of African-Americans “sitting-in” at a lunch counter over the objection of the manager cannot stand because of a local ordinance commanding such separation, irrespective of the manager’s probable attitude if no such ordinance existed.
- Ex parte Virginia, 100 U.S. 339, 346 (1880). “A State acts by its legislative, its executive, or its judicial authorities. It can act in no other way. The constitutional provision, therefore, must mean that no agency of the State, or of the officers or agents by whom its powers are exerted, shall deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws. Whoever, by virtue of public position under a State government, deprives another of property, life, or liberty, without due process of law, or denies or takes away the equal protection of the laws, violates the constitutional inhibition; and as he acts in the name and for the State, and is clothed with the State’s power, his act is that of the State.” Id. at 346–47
- Terry v. Adams, 345 U.S. 461, 473 (1953) (concurring) (concerning the Fifteenth Amendment).
- The history of the state action doctrine makes clear that the Court has considerable discretion and that the weighing of the opposing values and interests will lead to substantially different applications of the tests. “Only by sifting facts and weighing circumstances can the nonobvious involvement of the State in private conduct be attributed its true significance.” Burton v. Wilmington Parking Auth., 365 U.S. 715, 722 (1961).
- Lugar v. Edmondson Oil Co., 457 U.S. 922, 936–37 (1982). “Freedom of the individual to choose his associates or his neighbors, to use and dispose of his property as he sees fit, to be irrational, arbitrary, capricious, even unjust in his personal relations are things all entitled to a large measure of protection from governmental interference. This liberty would be overridden in the name of equality, if the structures of the amendment were applied to governmental and private action without distinction. Also inherent in the concept of state action are values of federalism, a recognition that there are areas of private rights upon which federal power should not lay a heavy hand and which should properly be left to the more precise instruments of local authority.” Peterson v. City of Greenville, 373 U.S. 244, 250 (1963) (Justice Harlan concurring).
- Brown v. Board of Education, 347 U.S. 483 (1954).
- See “Brown’s Aftermath,” supra.
- Compare Washington v. Seattle School Dist., 458 U.S. 457 (1982), with Crawford v. Los Angeles Bd. of Educ., 458 U.S. 527 (1982).
- “[T]he differentiating factor between de jure segregation and so-called de facto segregation . . . is purpose or intent to segregate.” Keyes v. Denver School District, 413 U.S. 189, 208 (1973) (emphasis by Court). See also Columbus Bd. of Educ. v. Penick, 443 U.S. 449, 457 n.5 (1979).
- It is not the responsibility of complainants to show that each school in a system is de jure segregated to be entitled to a system-wide desegregation plan. 413 U.S. at 208–13. The continuing validity of the Keyes shifting-of-the-burden principle, after Washington v. Davis, 426 U.S. 229 (1976), and Dayton Bd. of Educ. v. Brinkman, 433 U.S. 406 (1977), was asserted in Columbus Bd. of Educ. v. Penick, 443 U.S. 449, 455–458 & n.7, 467–68 (1979), and Dayton Bd. of Educ. v. Brinkman, 443 U.S. 526, 540–42 (1979).
- Columbus Bd. of Educ. v. Penick, 443 U.S. 449, 458–61 (1979); Dayton Bd. of Educ. v. Brinkman, 443 U.S. 526, 534–40 (1979).
- Milliken v. Bradley, 418 U.S. 717, 744–45 (1974).
- Ex parte Virginia, 100 U.S. 339 (1880). Similarly, the acts of a state governor are state actions, Cooper v. Aaron, 358 U.S. 1, 16–17 (1958); Sterling v. Constantin, 287 U.S. 378, 393 (1932), as are the acts of prosecuting attorneys, Mooney v. Holohan, 294 U.S. 103, 112, 113 (1935), state and local election officials, United States v. Classic, 313 U.S. 299 (1941), and law enforcement officials. Griffin v. Maryland, 378 U.S. 130 (1964); Monroe v. Pape, 365 U.S. 167 (1961); Screws v. United States, 325 U.S. 91 (1945). One need not be an employee of the state to act “under color of ” state law; mere participation in an act with state officers suffices. United States v. Price, 383 U.S. 787 (1966).
- 118 U.S. 356 (1886).
- United States v. Classic, 313 U.S. 299, 326 (1941). See also Screws v. United States, 325 U.S. 91, 109 (1945) (citation omitted); Williams v. United States, 341 U.S. 97 (1951); United States v. Price, 383 U.S. 787 (1966). See also United States v. Raines, 362 U.S. 17, 25 (1960). As Justice Brandeis noted in Iowa-Des Moines Nat’l Bank v. Bennett, 284 U.S. 239, 246 (1931), “acts done ‘by virtue of public position under a State government . . . and . . . in the name and for the State’ . . . are not to be treated as if they were the acts of private individuals, although in doing them the official acted contrary to an express command of the state law.” Note that, for purposes of being amenable to suit in federal court, however, the immunity of the states does not shield state officers who are alleged to be engaging in illegal or unconstitutional action. Ex parte Young, 209 U.S. 123 (1908). Cf. Screws v. United States, 325 U.S. at 147–48. .
- Cf. Adickes v. S.H. Kress & Co., 398 U.S. 144 (1970).
- Lombard v. Louisiana, 373 U.S. 267 (1963). No statute or ordinance mandated segregation at lunch counters but both the mayor and the chief of police had recently issued statements announcing their intention to maintain the existing policy of separation. Thus, the conviction of African-Americans for trespass because they refused to leave a segregated lunch counter was voided.
- Griffin v. Maryland, 378 U.S. 130 (1964). Guard at private entertainment ground was also deputy sheriff; he could not execute the racially discriminatory policies of his private employer. See also Williams v. United States, 341 U.S. 97 (1951).
- Examples already alluded to include Lombard v. Louisiana, 373 U.S. 267 (1963), in which certain officials had advocated continued segregation, Peterson v. City of Greenville, 373 U.S. 244 (1963), in which there were segregation-requiring ordinances and customs of separation, and Robinson v. Florida, 378 U.S. 153 (1964), in which health regulations required separate restroom facilities in any establishment serving both races.
- 334 U.S. 1 (1948).
- 334 U.S. at 13–14.
- “These are not cases . . . in which the States have merely abstained from action, leaving private individuals free to impose such discriminations as they see fit. Rather, these are cases in which the States have made available to such individuals the full coercive power of government to deny to petitioners, on the grounds of race or color, the enjoyment of property rights in premises which petitioners are willing and financially able to acquire and which the grantors are willing to sell.” 334 U.S. at 19. In Hurd v. Hodge, 334 U.S. 24 (1948), the Court outlawed judicial enforcement of restrictive covenants in the District of Columbia as violating civil rights legislation and public policy. Barrows v. Jackson, 346 U.S. 249 (1953), held that damage actions for violations of racially restrictive covenants would not be judicially entertained.
- Rice v. Sioux City Memorial Park Cemetery, 245 Iowa 147, 60 N.W. 2d 110 (1953), aff’d by an equally divided Court, 348 U.S. 880 (1954), rehearing granted, judgment vacated and certiorari dismissed, 349 U.S. 70 (1955); Black v. Cutter Laboratories, 351 U.S. 292 (1956). The central issue in the “sit-in” cases, whether state enforcement of trespass laws at the behest of private parties acting on the basis of their own discriminatory motivations, was evaded by the Court, in finding some other form of state action and reversing all convictions. Individual Justices did elaborate, however. Compare Bell v. Maryland, 378 U.S. 226, 255–60 (1964) (opinion of Justice Douglas), with id. at 326 (Justices Black, Harlan, and White dissenting).
- In New York Times Co. v. Sullivan, 376 U.S. 254 (1964), and progeny, defamation actions based on common-law rules were found to implicate First Amendment rights and Court imposed varying limitations on such rules. See id. at 265 (finding state action). Similarly, in NAACP v. Claiborne Hardware Co., 458 U.S. 886 (1982), a civil lawsuit between private parties, the application of state common-law rules to assess damages for actions in a boycott and picketing was found to constitute state action. Id. at 916 n.51.
- 396 U.S. 435 (1970). The matter had previously been before the Court in Evans v. Newton, 382 U.S. 296 (1966).
- 396 U.S. at 445. Note the use of the same rationale in another context in Palmer v. Thompson, 403 U.S. 217, 226 (1971). On a different result in the “Girard College” will case, see Pennsylvania v. Board of Trustees, 353 U.S. 230 (1957), discussed infra.
- 387 U.S. 369 (1967). The decision was 5-to-4, Justices Harlan, Black, Clark, and Stewart dissenting. Id. at 387.
- See, e.g., 387 U.S. at 377 (language suggesting both lines of reasoning). But see City of Cuyahoga Falls v. Buckeye Community Hope Foundation, 538 U.S. 188 (2003) (ministerial acts associated with a referendum repealing a low-income housing ordinance did not constitute state action, as the referendum process was facially neutral, and the potentially discriminatory repeal was never enforced).
- 393 U.S. 385 (1969).
- In contrast, other ordinances would become effective when passed, except that petitions could be submitted to revoke those ordinances by referendum. 393 U.S. at 389–90 (1969). In Lee v. Nyquist, 318 F. Supp. 710 (W.D.N.Y. 1970), aff’d, 402 U.S. 935 (1971), New York enacted a statute prohibiting the assignment of students or the establishment of school districts for the purpose of achieving racial balance in attendance, unless with the express approval of a locally elected school board or with the consent of the parents, a measure designed to restrict the state education commissioner’s program to ameliorate de facto segregation. The federal court held the law void, relying on Mulkey to conclude that the statute encouraged racial discrimination and that by treating educational matters involving racial criteria differently than it treated other educational matters it made more difficult a resolution of the de facto segregation problem.
- Washington v. Seattle School Dist., 458 U.S. 457 (1982); Crawford v. Los Angeles Bd. of Educ., 458 U.S. 527 (1982). A five-to-four majority in Seattle found the fault to be a racially based structuring of the political process making it more difficult to undertake actions designed to improve racial conditions than to undertake any other educational action. An 8-to-1 majority in Crawford found that repeal of a measure to bus to undo de facto segregation, without imposing any barrier to other remedial devices, was permissible.
- Crawford, 458 U.S. at 539, quoted in Seattle, 458 U.S. at 483. See also Dayton Bd. of Educ. v. Brinkman, 433 U.S. 406, 414 (1977).
- Burton v. Wilmington Parking Authority, 365 U.S. 715 (1961) (private discrimination is not constitutionally forbidden “unless to some significant extent the State in any of its manifestations has been found to have become involved in it”).
- 365 U.S. at 722.
- Smith v. Allwright, 321 U.S. 649, 664 (1944).
- Pennsylvania v. Board of Trustees, 353 U.S. 230 (1957). On remand, the state courts substituted private persons as trustees to carry out the will. In re Girard College Trusteeship, 391 Pa. 434, 138 A.2d 844, cert. denied, 357 U.S. 570 (1958). This expedient was, however, ultimately held unconstitutional. Brown v. Pennsylvania, 392 F.2d 120 (3d Cir.), cert. denied, 391 U.S. 921 (1968).
- Evans v. Newton, 382 U.S. 296 (1966). Justices Black, Harlan, and Stewart dissented. Id. at 312, 315. For the subsequent ruling in this case, see Evans v. Abney, 396 U.S. 435 (1970).
- Burton v. Wilmington Parking Authority, 365 U.S. 715, 724 (1961).
- See, e.g., the various opinions in Bell v. Maryland, 378 U.S. 226 (1964).
- 407 U.S. 163 (1972). One provision of the state law was, however, held unconstitutional. That provision required a licensee to observe all its by-laws and therefore mandated the Moose Lodge to follow the discrimination provision of its by-laws. Id. at 177–79.
- 407 U.S. at 173.
- 407 U.S. at 176–77.
- 407 U.S. at 174–75.
- Jackson v. Metropolitan Edison Co., 419 U.S. 345, 351 (1974) (under the Due Process Clause).
- Powe v. Miles, 407 F.2d. 73, 81 (2d Cir. 1968). See also NCAA v. Tarkanian, 488 U.S. 179 (1988) (where individual state has minimal influence over national college athletic association’s activities, the application of association rules leading to a state university’s suspending its basketball coach could not be ascribed to the state.). But see Brentwood Academy v. Tennessee Secondary School Athletic Assoc., 531 U.S. 288 (2001) (where statewide public school scholastic association is “overwhelmingly” composed of public school officials for that state, this “entwinement” is sufficient to ascribe actions of association to state).
- Jackson v. Metropolitan Edison Co., 419 U.S. 345, 357 (1974). In dissent, Justice Marshall protested that the quoted language marked “a sharp departure” from precedent, “that state authorization and approval of ‘private’ conduct has been held to support a finding of state action.” Id. at 369. In Cantor v. Detroit Edison Co., 428 U.S. 579 (1976), the plurality opinion used much the same analysis to deny antitrust immunity to a utility practice merely approved but not required by the regulating commission, but most of the Justices were on different sides of the same question in the two cases.
- Jackson v. Metropolitan Edison Co., 419 U.S. 345, 351–58 (1974). On the due process limitations on the conduct of public utilities, see Memphis Light, Gas & Water Div. v. Craft, 436 U.S. 1 (1978).
- Flagg Bros. v. Brooks, 436 U.S. 149, 156 (1978) (due process).
- 436 U.S. at 164–66. If, however, a state officer acts with the private party in securing the property in dispute, that is sufficient to create the requisite state action and the private party may be subjected to suit if the seizure does not comport with due process. Lugar v. Edmondson Oil Co., 457 U.S. 922 (1982).
- American Mfrs. Mut. Ins. Co. v. Sullivan, 526 U.S. 40 (1999).
- Blum v. Yaretsky, 457 U.S. 991 (1982).
- This rationale is one of those that emerges from various opinions in Terry v. Adams, 345 U.S. 461 (1953) (holding that a political association limited to white voters that held internal elections to designate which of its member would run in the Texas Democratic primaries was acting as part of the state-established electoral system).
- 326 U.S. 501 (1946).
- 326 U.S. at 506.
- See Amalgamated Food Employees Union v. Logan Valley Plaza, 391 U.S. 308 (1968), limited in Lloyd Corp. v. Tanner, 407 U.S. 551 (1972), and overruled in Hudgens v. NLRB, 424 U.S. 507 (1976). The Marsh principle is good only when private property has taken on all the attributes of a municipality. Id. at 516–17.
- Jackson v. Metropolitan Edison Co., 419 U.S. 345, 352 (1974).
- Flagg Bros. v. Brooks, 436 U.S. 149, 157–159 (1978).
- Rendell-Baker v. Kohn, 457 U.S. 830, 842 (1982).
- American Mfrs. Mut. Ins. Co. v. Sullivan, 526 U.S. 40 (1999).
- Blum v. Yaretsky, 457 U.S. 991, 1011–1012 (1982).
- Rendell-Baker v. Kohn, 457 U.S. 830, 842 (1982).
- Flagg Bros. v. Brooks, 436 U.S. 149, 157 (1978) (quoting Jackson v. Metropolitan Edison Co., 419 U.S. 345, 352 (1974)).
- Lugar v. Edmondson Oil Corp., 457 U.S. 922 (1982).
- Edmonson v. Leesville Concrete Co., 500 U.S. 614 (1991).
- Edmonson v. Leesville Concrete Co., 500 U.S. 614, 620–22 (1991) (citations omitted).
- 500 U.S. at 624, 625.
- 500 U.S. at 628.
- 500 U.S. at 639, 643.
- Georgia v. McCollum, 505 U.S. 42 (1992). It was, of course, beyond dispute that a prosecutor’s exercise of peremptory challenges constitutes state action. See Swain v. Alabama, 380 U.S. 202 (1965); Batson v. Kentucky, 476 U.S. 79 (1986).
- Polk County v. Dodson, 454 U.S. 512 (1981).
- 505 U.S. at 54. Justice O’Connor, again dissenting, pointed out that the Court’s distinction was inconsistent with Dodson’s declaration that public defenders are not vested with state authority “when performing a lawyer’s traditional functions as counsel to a defendant in a criminal proceeding.” Id. at 65–66. Justice Scalia, also dissenting again, decried reduction of Edmonson “to the terminally absurd: A criminal defendant, in the process of defending himself against the state, is held to be acting on behalf of the state.” Id. at 69–70. Chief Justice Rehnquist, who had dissented in Edmonson, concurred in McCollum in the belief that it was controlled by Edmonson, and Justice Thomas, who had not participated in Edmonson, expressed similar views in a concurrence.
- On funding, see Simkins v. Moses H. Cone Memorial Hosp., 323 F.2d 959 (4th Cir. 1963), cert. denied, 376 U.S. 938 (1964); Kerr v. Enoch Pratt Free Library, 149 F.2d 212 (4th Cir.), cert. denied, 326 U.S. 721 (1945); Christhilf v. Annapolis Emergency Hosp. Ass’n, 496 F.2d 174 (4th Cir. 1974). But cf. Greco v. Orange Mem. Hosp. Corp., 513 F.2d 873 (5th Cir.), cert. denied, 423 U.S. 1000 (1975). On tax benefits, see Green v. Connally, 330 F. Supp. 1150 (D.D.C.) (three-judge court), aff’d. sub nom. Coit v. Green, 404 U.S. 997 (1971);McGlotten v. Connally, 338 F. Supp. 448 (D.D.C. 1972); Jackson v. Statler Foundation, 496 F.2d 623 (2d Cir. 1974). But cf. New York City Jaycees v. United States Jaycees, 512 F.2d 856 (2d Cir. 1976); Greenya v. George Washington Univ., 512 F.2d 556 (D.C. Cir.), cert. denied, 423 U.S. 995 (1975).
- 457 U.S. 830 (1982).
- 457 U.S. 991 (1982).
- The rules developed by the Court for general business regulation are that (1) the “mere fact that a business is subject to state regulation does not by itself convert its action into that of the State for purposes of the Fourteenth Amendment,” Blum v. Yaretsky, 457 U.S. 991, 1004 (1982) quoting Jackson v. Metropolitan Edison Co., 419 U.S. 345, 350 (1974); Cf. Moose Lodge No. 107 v. Irvis, 407 U.S. 163 (1972), and (2) “a State normally can be held responsible for a private decision only when it has exercised coercive power or has provided such significant encouragement, either overt or covert, that the choice must be deemed to be that of the State.” Blum v. Yaretsky, 457 U.S. 991, 1004 (1982). To the latter point, see Flagg Bros. v. Brooks, 436 U.S. 149, 166 (1978); Jackson v. Metropolitan Edison Co., 419 U.S. 345, 357 (1974).
- 457 U.S. at 1011.
- 489 U.S. 189, 197 (1989).
- Estelle v. Gamble, 429 U.S. 97 (1976).
- Youngberg v. Romeo, 457 U.S. 307 (1982).
- 489 U.S. at 201.
- 489 U.S. at 202.
- 489 U.S. at 203.
- For example, if a Court finds a relationship between the state and a discriminating private group (which may have rights of association protected by the First Amendment), a remedy directed against the relationship might succeed, where a direction to such group to eliminate such discrimination might not. See Moose Lodge No. 107 v. Irvis, 407 U.S. 163, 179–80 (1972) (Justice Douglas dissenting); Gilmore v. City of Montgomery, 417 U.S. 556, 575 (1974); Norwood v. Harrison, 413 U.S. 455, 470 (1973). The right can be implicated as well by affirmative legislative action barring discrimination in private organizations. See Runyon v. McCrary, 427 U.S. 160, 175–79 (1976).
- 413 U.S. 455 (1973).
- Gilmore v. City of Montgomery, 417 U.S. 556, 568–69 (1974) (quoting Norwood v. Harrison, 413 U.S. 455, 466, 467 (1973)).
- Gilmore v. City of Montgomery, 417 U.S. 556, 570 (1974).
- Unlike the situation in which private club discrimination is attacked directly, “the question of the existence of state action centers in the extent of the city’s involvement in discriminatory actions by private agencies using public facilities. . . .” Receipt of just any sort of benefit or service at all does not by the mere provision—electricity, water, and police and fire protection, access generally to municipal recreational facilities—constitute a showing of state involvement in discrimination and the lower court’s order was too broad because not predicated upon a proper finding of state action. “If, however, the city or other governmental entity rations otherwise freely accessible recreational facilities, the case for state action will naturally be stronger than if the facilities are simply available to all comers without condition or reservation.” 417 U.S. at 573–74. See also Blum v. Yaretsky, 457 U.S. 991 (1982) (plaintiffs unsuccessfully sued public officials, objecting not to regulatory decision made by the officials as to Medicaid payments, but to decisions made by the nursing home in discharging and transferring patients).
- Simon v. Eastern Kentucky Welfare Rights Organization, 426 U.S. 26 (1976). See id. at 46, 63–64 (Justice Brennan concurring and dissenting).
- Slaughter-House Cases, 83 U.S. (16 Wall.) 36, 81 (1873). Cf. Weber v. Aetna Casualty & Surety Co., 406 U.S. 164, 177 (1972) (Justice Rehnquist dissenting).
- Chicago, B. & Q. R.R. v. Iowa, 94 U.S. 155 (1877); Peik v. Chicago & N.W. Ry., 94 U.S. 164 (1877); Chicago, M. & St. P. R.R. v. Ackley, 94 U.S. 179 (1877); Winona & St. Peter R.R. v. Blake, 94 U.S. 180 (1877).
- Santa Clara County v. Southern Pac. R.R., 118 U.S. 394, 396 (1886). The background and developments from this utterance are treated in H. GRAHAM, EVERY-MAN ’ S CONSTITUTION: HISTORICAL ESSAYS ON THE FOURTEENTH AMENDMENT, THE CONSPIRACY THEORY, AND AMERICAN CONSTITUTIONALISM chs. 9, 10, and pp. 566–84 (1968). Justice Black, in Connecticut Gen. Life Ins. Co. v. Johnson, 303 U.S. 77, 85 (1938), and Justice Douglas, in Wheeling Steel Corp. v. Glander, 337 U.S. 562, 576 (1949), have disagreed that corporations are persons for equal protection purposes.
- Yick Wo v. Hopkins, 118 U.S. 356, 369 (1886). For modern examples, see Levy v. Louisiana, 391 U.S. 68, 70 (1968); Graham v. Richardson, 403 U.S. 365, 371 (1971).
- City of Newark v. New Jersey, 262 U.S. 192 (1923); Williams v. Mayor of Baltimore, 289 U.S. 36 (1933).
- But see Plyler v. Doe, 457 U.S. 202, 210–16 (1982) (explicating meaning of the phrase in the context of holding that aliens illegally present in a state are “within its jurisdiction” and may thus raise equal protection claims).
- Blake v. McClung, 172 U.S. 239, 261 (1898); Sully v. American Nat’l Bank, 178 U.S. 289 (1900).
- Kentucky Finance Corp. v. Paramount Auto Exchange Corp., 262 U.S. 544 (1923).
- Hillsborough v. Cromwell, 326 U.S. 620 (1946).
- Wheeling Steel Corp. v. Glander, 337 U.S. 562 (1949); Hanover Fire Ins. Co. v. Harding, 272 U.S. 494 (1926). See also Philadelphia Fire Ass’n v. New York, 119 U.S. 110 (1886).
- The story is recounted in J. JAMES, THE FRAMING OF THE FOURTEENTH AMENDMENT (1956). See also JOURNAL OF THE JOINT COMMITTEE OF FIFTEEN ON RECONSTRUCTION (B. Kendrick, ed. 1914). The floor debates are collected in 1 STATUTORY HISTORY OF THE UNITED STATES: CIVIL RIGHTS 181 (B. Schwartz, ed. 1970).
- Civil Rights Act of 1866, ch. 31, 14 Stat. 27, now in part 42 U.S.C. §§ 1981, 1982. See Jones v. Alfred H. Mayer Co., 392 U.S. 409, 422–37 (1968).
- As in fact much of the legislation which survived challenge in the courts was repealed in 1894 and 1909. 28 Stat. 36; 35 Stat. 1088. See R. CARR, FEDERAL PROTECTION OF CIVIL RIGHTS: QUEST FOR A SWORD 45–46 (1947).
- TEN BROEK, EQUAL UNDER LAW (rev. ed. 1965); Frank & Munro, The Original Understanding of ‘Equal Protection of the Laws’, 50 COLUM. L. REV. 131 (1950); Bickel, The Original Understanding and the Segregation Decision, 69 HARV. L. REV. 1 (1955); see also the essays collected in H. GRAHAM, EVERYMAN ’ S CONSTITUTION: HISTORICAL ESSAYS ON THE FOURTEENTH AMENDMENT, THE “CONSPIRACY THEORY,” AND AMERICAN CONSTITUTIONALISM (1968). In calling for reargument in Brown v. Board of Education, 345 U.S. 972 (1952), the Court asked for and received extensive analysis of the legislative history of the Amendment with no conclusive results. Brown v. Board of Education, 347 U.S. 483, 489–90 (1954).
- Slaughter-House Cases, 83 U.S. (16 Wall.) 36, 81 (1873).
- In Buck v. Bell, 274 U.S. 200, 208 (1927), Justice Holmes characterized the Equal Protection Clause as “the usual last resort of constitutional arguments.”
- See Yick Wo v. Hopkins, 118 U.S. 356 (1886) (discrimination against Chinese on the West Coast).
- Vacco v. Quill, 521 U.S. 793 (1997) (assisted suicide prohibition does not violate Equal Protection Clause by distinguishing between terminally ill patients on life-support systems who are allowed to direct the removal of such systems and patients who are not on life support systems and are not allowed to hasten death by self-administering prescribed drugs).
- The Supreme Court has recognized successful equal protection claims brought by a class-of-one, where a plaintiff alleges that she has been intentionally treated differently from others similarly situated and that there is no rational basis for that difference. Village of Willowbrook v. Olech, 528 U.S. 562, 564 (2000) (per curiam) (village’s demand for an easement as a condition of connecting the plaintiff ’s property to the municipal water supply was irrational and wholly arbitrary). However, the class-of-one theory, which applies with respect to legislative and regulatory action, does not apply in the public employment context. Engquist v. Oregon Department of Agriculture, 128 S. Ct. 2146, 2149 (2008) (allegation that plaintiff was fired not because she was a member of an identified class but simply for “arbitrary, vindictive, and malicious reasons” does not state an equal protection claim). In Engquist, the Court noted that “the government as employer indeed has far broader powers than does the government as sovereign,” id. at 2151 (quoting Waters v. Churchill, 511 U.S. 661, 671 (1994), and that it is a “common-sense realization” that government offices could not function if every employment decision became a constitutional matter. Id. at 2151, 2156.
- Tigner v. Texas, 310 U.S. 141, 147 (1980).
- Atchison, T. & S.F.R.R. v. Matthews, 174 U.S. 96, 106 (1899). From the same period, see also Orient Ins. Co. v. Daggs, 172 U.S. 557 (1869); Bachtel v. Wilson, 204 U.S. 36 (1907); Watson v. Maryland, 218 U.S. 173 (1910). For later cases, see Kotch v. Board of River Port Pilot Comm’rs, 330 U.S. 552 (1947); Goesaert v. Cleary, 335 U.S. 464 (1948); McGowan v. Maryland, 366 U.S. 420 (1961); Schilb v. Kuebel, 404 U.S. 357 (1971); Railroad Retirement Bd. v. Fritz, 449 U.S. 166 (1980); Schweiker v. Wilson, 450 U.S. 221 (1981).
- Barrett v. Indiana, 229 U.S. 26 (1913).
- Barbier v. Connolly, 113 U.S. 27, 32 (1885).
- Ferguson v. Skrupa, 372 U.S. 726, 732 (1963); Williamson v. Lee Optical Co., 348 U.S. 483, 489 (1955).
- 220 U.S. 61, 78–79 (1911), quoted in full in Morey v. Doud, 354 U.S. 457, 463–64 (1957). Classifications which are purposefully discriminatory fall before the Equal Protection Clause without more. E.g., Barbier v. Connolly, 113 U.S. 27, 30 (1885); Yick Wo v. Hopkins, 118 U.S. 356, 373–74 (1886). Cf. New York City Transit Auth. v. Beazer, 440 U.S. 568, 593 n.40 (1979). Explicit in all the formulations is that a legislature must have had a permissible purpose, a requirement which is seldom failed, given the leniency of judicial review. But see Zobel v. Williams, 457 U.S. 55, 63–64 (1982), and id. at 65 (Justice Brennan concurring).
- 253 U.S. 412 (1920).
- 253 U.S. at 415. See also Brown-Forman Co. v. Kentucky, 217 U.S. 563, 573 (1910).
- E.g., F.S. Royster Guano Co. v. Virginia, 253 U.S. 412 (1920) (striking down a tax on the out-of-state income of domestic corporations that did business in the state, when domestic corporations that engaged only in out-of-state business were exempted); Stewart Dry Goods Co. v. Lewis, 294 U.S. 550 (1935) (striking down a graduated tax on gross receipts as arbitrary because it was insufficiently related to net profits); Mayflower Farms v. Ten Eyck, 297 U.S. 266 (1936) (striking down a milk-price-control regulation that distinguished between certain milk producers based on their dates of entry into the market).
- In Nebbia v. New York, 291 U.S. 502, 537 (1934), speaking of the limits of the Due Process Clause, the Court observed that “in the absence of other constitutional restrictions, a state is free to adopt whatever economic policy may reasonably be deemed to promote public welfare.”
- E.g., Tigner v. Texas, 310 U.S. 141 (1940) (exclusion of agriculture and livestock from price-fixing statute justified by heightened concerns surrounding concentrations of power in other industries); Kotch v. Board of River Port Pilot Comm’rs, 330 U.S. 552 (1947) (where apprenticeship was a requirement to obtain a river pilot license, allowing river pilots to apprentice mostly friends and relatives justified upon desire to create a cohesive piloting community); Goesaert v. Cleary, 335 U.S. 464 (1948) (court will not question legislature’s determination that allowing women to bartend gives rise to moral and social problems, but that such problems are relieved when a barmaid’s husband or father is the owner of the bar); Railway Express Agency v. New York, 336 U.S. 106 (1949) (upholding ban on advertising on the side of delivery trucks except by the business employing the truck, as legislature could determine that the nature and extent of the distraction presented by the latter advertising did not present the same threat to traffic); McGowan v. Maryland, 366 U.S. 420 (1961) (allowing the sale of certain products on Sunday, while prohibiting the sale of others, does not exceed a state’s wide discretion to affect some groups of citizens differently than others).
- Williamson v. Lee Optical Co., 348 U.S. 483, 489 (1955); McDonald v. Board of Election Comm’rs, 394 U.S. 802, 809 (1969); Schilb v. Kuebel, 404 U.S. 357, 364–65 (1971); City of New Orleans v. Dukes, 427 U.S. 297, 303 (1976); Minnesota v. Clover Leaf Creamery Co., 449 U.S. 456, 466 (1981).
- City of New Orleans v. Dukes, 427 U.S. 297, 303–04 (1976); City of Pittsburgh v. Alco Parking Corp., 417 U.S. 369 (1974).
- Dandridge v. Williams, 397 U.S. 471, 485–86 (1970); Jefferson v. Hackney, 406 U.S. 535, 549 (1972). See also New York City Transit Auth. v. Beazer, 440 U.S. 568, 587–94 (1979).
- E.g., McGinnis v. Royster, 410 U.S. 263, 270–77 (1973); Johnson v. Robison, 415 U.S. 361, 374–83 (1974); City of Charlotte v. International Ass’n of Firefighters, 426 U.S. 283, 286–89 (1976). It is significant that these opinions were written by Justices who subsequently dissented from more relaxed standard of review cases and urged adherence to at least a standard requiring articulation of the goals sought to be achieved and an evaluation of the “fit” of the relationship between goal and classification. Railroad Retirement Bd. v. Fritz, 449 U.S. 166, 182 (1980) (Justices Brennan and Marshall dissenting); Schweiker v. Wilson, 450 U.S. 221, 239 (1981) (Justices Powell, Brennan, Marshall, and Stevens dissenting). See also New York City Transit Auth. v. Beazer, 440 U.S. 568, 594 (1979) (Justice Powell concurring in part and dissenting in part), and id. at 597, 602 (Justices White and Marshall dissenting).
- E.g., Lindsey v. Normet, 405 U.S. 56, 74–79 (1972) (requirement for tenant to post forfeitable bond for twice the amount of rent expected to accrue pending appellate decision on landlord-tenant dispute violates Equal Protection); Eisenstadt v. Baird, 405 U.S. 438 (1972) (state cannot provide dissimilar access to contraceptives for married and unmarried persons); James v. Strange, 407 U.S. 128 (1972) (statute allowing state to seek recoupment of attorney fees from indigent defendants who were provided legal counsel may not treat defendants differently from other civil debtors); Department of Agriculture v. Moreno, 413 U.S. 528 (1973) (state may not exclude households containing a person unrelated to other members of the household from food stamp program); City of Cleburne v. Cleburne Living Center, 473 U.S. 432 (1985) (rejecting various justifications offered for exclusion of a home for the mentally retarded in an area where boarding homes, nursing and convalescent homes, and fraternity or sorority houses were permitted). The Court in Reed v. Reed, 404 U.S. 71, 76 (1971), used the Royster Guano formulation and purported to strike down a sex classification on the rational basis standard, but, whether the standard was actually used or not, the case was the beginning of the decisions applying a higher standard to sex classifications.
- 449 U.S. 166, 174–79 (1980). The quotation is at 176–77 n.10. The extent of deference is notable, inasmuch as the legislative history seemed clearly to establish that the purpose the Court purported to discern as the basis for the classification was not the congressional purpose at all. Id. at 186–97 (Justice Brennan dissenting). The Court observed, however, that it was “constitutionally irrelevant” whether the plausible basis was in fact within Congress’s reasoning, inasmuch as the Court has never required a legislature to articulate its reasons for enactng a statute. Id. at 179. For a continuation of the debate over actual purpose and conceivable justification, see Kassel v. Consolidated Freightways Corp., 450 U.S. 662, 680–85 (1981) (Justice Brennan concurring), and id. at 702–06 (Justice Rehnquist dissenting). Cf. Schweiker v. Wilson, 450 U.S. 221, 243–45 (1981) (Justice Powell dissenting).
- 450 U.S. 221, 230–39 (1981). Nonetheless, the four dissenters thought that the purpose discerned by the Court was not the actual purpose, that it had in fact no purpose in mind, and that the classification was not rational. Id. at 239.
- Justice Blackmun wrote the Court’s opinion in Wilson, Justice Rehnquist in Fritz.
- Minnesota v. Clover Leaf Creamery Co., 449 U.S. 456, 461–70 (1981). The quoted phrase is at 466.
- In City of Mesquite v. Aladdin’s Castle, Inc., 455 U.S. 283 (1982), the Court observed that it was not clear whether it would apply Royster Guano to the classification at issue, citing Fritz as well as Craig v. Boren, 429 U.S. 190 (1976), an intermediate standard case involving gender. Justice Powell denied that Royster Guano or Reed v. Reed had ever been rejected. Id. at 301 n.6 (dissenting). See also id. at 296–97 (Justice White).
- The exception is Reed v. Reed, 404 U.S. 71 (1971), which, though it purported to apply Royster Guano, may have applied heightened scrutiny. See Zobel v. Williams, 457 U.S. 55, 61–63 (1982), in which the Court found the classifications not rationally related to the goals, without discussing which standard it was using.
- 323 U.S. 214, 216 (1944). In applying “rigid scrutiny,” however, the Court was deferential to the judgment of military authorities, and to congressional judgment in exercising its war powers.
- Brown v. Board of Education, 347 U.S. 483 (1954).
- McLaughlin v. Florida, 379 U.S. 184, 192, 194 (1964).
- Loving v. Virginia, 388 U.S. 1, 11 (1967). In Lee v. Washington, 390 U.S. 333 (1968), it was indicated that preservation of discipline and order in a jail might justify racial segregation there if shown to be necessary.
- Personnel Administrator v. Feeney, 442 U.S. 256, 272 (1979), quoted in Washington v. Seattle School Dist., 458 U.S. 457, 485 (1982).
- Regents of the Univ. of California v. Bakke, 438 U.S. 265, 287–20 (1978) (Justice Powell announcing judgment of Court) (suspect), and id. at 355–79 (Justices Brennan, White, Marshall, and Blackmun concurring in part and dissenting in part) (intermediate scrutiny); Fullilove v. Klutznick, 448 U.S. 448, 491–92 (1980) (Chief Justice Burger announcing judgment of Court) (“a most searching examination” but not choosing a particular analysis), and id. at 495 (Justice Powell concurring), 523 (Justice Stewart dissenting) (suspect), 548 (Justice Stevens dissenting) (searching scrutiny).
- Hunter v. Erickson, 393 U.S. 385 (1969); Washington v. Seattle School Dist., 458 U.S. 457 (1982).
- Graham v. Richardson, 403 U.S. 365, 371–72 (1971).
- Reed v. Reed, 404 U.S. 71 (1971); for the hint, see Eisenstadt v. Baird, 405 U.S. 438, 447 n.7 (1972).
- See Levy v. Louisiana, 391 U.S. 68 (1968) (strict review); Labine v. Vincent, 401 U.S. 532 (1971) (lenient review); Weber v. Aetna Casualty & Surety Co., 406 U.S. 164 (1972) (modified strict review).
- Cf. McDonald v. Board of Election Comm’rs, 394 U.S. 802, 807 (1969); Bullock v. Carter, 405 U.S. 134 (1972). See Shapiro v. Thompson, 394 U.S. 618, 658–59 (1969) (Justice Harlan dissenting). But cf. Lindsey v. Normet, 405 U.S. 56 (1972); Dandridge v. Williams, 397 U.S. 471 (1970).
- San Antonio School Dist. v. Rodriguez, 411 U.S. 1 (1973).
- 411 U.S. at 44–45. The Court asserted that only when there is an absolute deprivation of some right or interest because of inability to pay will there be strict scrutiny. Id. at 20.
- E.g., United States v. Kras, 409 U.S. 434 (1973); Maher v. Roe, 432 U.S. 464 (1977); Harris v. McRae, 448 U.S. 297 (1980).
- Craig v. Boren, 429 U.S. 190, 197 (1976). Justice Powell noted that he agreed the precedents made clear that gender classifications are subjected to more critical examination than when “fundamental” rights and “suspect classes” are absent, id. at 210 (concurring), and added: “As is evident from our opinions, the Court has had difficulty in agreeing upon a standard of equal protection analysis that can be applied consistently to the wide variety of legislative classifications. There are valid reasons for dissatisfaction with the ‘two-tier’ approach that has been prominent in the Court’s decisions in the past decade. Although viewed by many as a result-oriented substitute for more critical analysis, that approach—with its narrowly limited ‘upper tier’—now has substantial precedential support. As has been true of Reed and its progeny, our decision today will be viewed by some as a ‘middle-tier’ approach. While I would not endorse that characterization and would not welcome a further subdividing of equal protection analysis, candor compels the recognition that the relatively deferential ‘rational basis’ standard of review normally applied takes on a sharper focus when we address a gender-based classification. So much is clear from our recent cases.” Id. at 210, n.*. Justice Stevens wrote that in his view the two-tiered analysis does not describe a method of deciding cases “but rather is a method the Court has employed to explain decisions that actually apply a single standard in a reasonably consistent fashion.” Id. at 211, 212. Chief Justice Burger and Justice Rehnquist would employ the rational basis test for gender classification. Id. at 215, 217 (dissenting). Occasionally, because of the particular subject matter, the Court has appeared to apply a rational basis standard in fact if not in doctrine, E.g., Rostker v. Goldberg, 453 U.S. 57 (1981) (military); Michael M. v. Superior Court, 450 U.S. 464 (1981) (application of statutory rape prohibition to boys but not to girls). Four Justices in Frontiero v. Richardson, 411 U.S. 677, 684–87 (1973), were prepared to find sex a suspect classification, and in Mississippi Univ. for Women v. Hogan, 458 U.S. 718, 724 n.9 (1982), the Court appeared to leave open the possibility that at least some sex classifications may be deemed suspect.
- Mills v. Habluetzel, 456 U.S. 91, 99 (1982); Parham v. Hughes, 441 U.S. 347 (1979); Lalli v. Lalli, 439 U.S. 259 (1978); Trimble v. Gordon, 430 U.S. 762 (1977). In Mathews v. Lucas, 427 U.S. 495, 506 (1976), it was said that “discrimination against illegitimates has never approached the severity or pervasiveness of the historic legal and political discrimination against women and Negroes.” Lucas sustained a statutory scheme virtually identical to the one struck down in Califano v. Goldfarb, 430 U.S. 199 (1977), except that the latter involved sex while the former involved illegitimacy.
- Applying strict scrutiny, see, e.g., Sugarman v. Dougall, 413 U.S. 634 (1973); Nyquist v. Mauclet, 432 U.S. 1 (1977). Applying lenient scrutiny in cases involving restrictions on alien entry into the political community, see Foley v. Connelie, 435 U.S. 291 (1978); Ambach v. Norwick, 441 U.S. 68 (1979); Cabell v. Chavez-Salido, 454 U.S. 432 (1982). See also Plyler v. Doe, 457 U.S. 202 (1982).
- Massachusetts Bd. of Retirement v. Murgia, 427 U.S. 307 (1976) (upholding mandatory retirement at age 50 for state police); Vance v. Bradley, 440 U.S. 93 (1979) (mandatory retirement at age 60 for foreign service officers); Gregory v. Ashcroft, 501 U.S. 452 (1991) (mandatory retirement at age 70 for state judges). See also City of Cleburne v. Cleburne Living Center, 473 U.S. 432, 442 (1985) (holding that a lower court “erred in holding mental retardation a quasi-suspect classification calling for a more exacting standard of judicial review than is normally accorded economic and social legislation”).
- City of Cleburne v. Cleburne Living Center, 473 U.S. 432 (1985); see discussion, supra.
- Kramer v. Union Free School Dist., 395 U.S. 621, 627 (1969); Shapiro v. Thompson, 394 U.S. 618, 638 (1969).
- Shapiro v. Thompson, 394 U.S. at 660 (Justice Harlan dissenting).
- 316 U.S. 535, 541 (1942).
- Reynolds v. Sims, 377 U.S. 533, 562 (1964).
- Carrington v. Rash, 380 U.S. 89 (1965); Harper v. Virginia Bd. of Elections, 383 U.S. 663 (1966); Williams v. Rhodes, 393 U.S. 23 (1968).
- 394 U.S. 618, 627, 634, 638 (1969).
- Kramer v. Union Free School Dist., 395 U.S. 621 (1969); Cipriano v. City of Houma, 395 U.S. 701 (1969); City of Phoenix v. Kolodziejski, 399 U.S. 204 (1970); Dunn v. Blumstein, 405 U.S. 330 (1972).
- This indefiniteness has been a recurring theme in dissents. E.g., Shapiro v. Thompson, 394 U.S. 618, 655 (1969) (Justice Harlan); Weber v. Aetna Casualty & Surety Co., 406 U.S. 164, 177 (1972) (Justice Rehnquist).
- E.g., Dunn v. Blumstein, 405 U.S. 330 (1972).
- E.g., Shapiro v. Thompson, 394 U.S. 618 (1969).
- E.g., Tate v. Short, 401 U.S. 395 (1971).
- Skinner v. Oklahoma ex rel. Williamson, 316 U.S. 535 (1942).
- San Antonio Indep. School Dist. v. Rodriguez, 411 U.S. 1 (1973).
- 411 U.S. at 30, 33–34. But see id. at 62 (Justice Brennan dissenting), 70, 110–17 (Justices Marshall and Douglas dissenting).
- Zobel v. Williams, 457 U.S. 55, 60 & n.6 (1982), and id. at 66–68 (Justice Brennan concurring), 78–80 (Justice O’Connor concurring) (travel).
- Zablocki v. Redhail, 434 U.S. 374 (1978).
- Maher v. Roe, 432 U.S. 464 (1977); Harris v. McRae, 448 U.S. 297 (1980).
- E.g., Jiminez v. Weinberger, 417 U.S. 628 (1974) (illegitimacy); Nyquist v. Mauclet, 432 U.S. 1 (1977) (alienage); Califano v. Goldfarb, 430 U.S. 199 (1977) (sex).
- 457 U.S. 202 (1982).
- See 576 U.S. ___, No. 14–556, slip op. at 2, 28 (2015).
- Id. at 22.
- See, e.g., Yick Wo v. Hopkins, 118 U.S. 356 (1886); Guinn v. United States, 238 U.S. 347 (1915); Lane v. Wilson, 307 U.S. 268 (1939); Gomillion v. Lightfoot, 364 U.S. 339 (1960). Government may make a racial classification that, for example, does not separate whites from blacks but that by focusing on an issue of racial import creates a classification that is suspect. Washington v. Seattle School Dist., 458 U.S. 457, 467–74 (1982).
- 426 U.S. 229, 242 (1976) (“[A] law, neutral on its face and serving ends otherwise within the power of government to pursue, is not invalid under the Equal Protection Clause simply because it may affect a greater proportion of one race than of another.”) A classification having a differential impact, absent a showing of discriminatory purpose, is subject to review under the lenient, rationality standard. Id. at 247–48; Rogers v. Lodge, 458 U.S. 613, 617 n.5 (1982). The Court has applied the same standard to a claim of selective prosecution allegedly penalizing exercise of First Amendment rights. Wayte v. United States, 470 U.S. 598 (1985) (no discriminatory purpose shown). See also Bazemore v. Friday, 478 U.S. 385 (1986) (existence of single-race, state-sponsored 4–H Clubs is permissible, given wholly voluntary nature of membership).
- The principal case was Palmer v. Thompson, 403 U.S. 217 (1971), in which a 5-to-4 majority refused to order a city to reopen its swimming pools closed allegedly to avoid complying with a court order to desegregate them. The majority opinion strongly warned against voiding governmental action upon an assessment of official motive, id. at 224–26, but it also drew the conclusion (and the Davis Court read it as actually deciding) that, because the pools were closed for both whites and blacks, there was no discrimination. The city’s avowed reason for closing the pools—to avoid violence and economic loss—could not be impeached by allegations of a racial motive. See also Wright v. Council of City of Emporia, 407 U.S. 451 (1972).
- Griggs v. Duke Power Co., 401 U.S. 424 (1971); Albemarle Paper Co. v. Moody, 422 U.S. 405 (1975). The Davis Court adhered to this reading of Title VII, merely refusing to import the statutory standard into the constitutional standard. Washington v. Davis, 426 U.S. 229, 238–39, 246–48 (1976). Subsequent cases involving gender discrimination raised the question of the vitality of Griggs, General Electric Co. v. Gilbert, 429 U.S. 125 (1976); Nashville Gas Co. v. Satty, 434 U.S. 136 (1977), but the disagreement among the Justices appears to be whether Griggs applies to each section of the antidiscrimination provision of Title VII. See Dothard v. Rawlinson, 433 U.S. 321 (1977); Furnco Const. Co. v. Waters, 438 U.S. 567 (1978). But see General Building Contractors Ass’n v. Pennsylvania, 458 U.S. 375 (1982) (unlike Title VII, under 42 U.S.C. § 1981, derived from the Civil Rights Act of 1866, proof of discriminatory intent is required).
- See Washington v. Davis, 426 U.S. 229, 244 n.12 (1976) (listing and disapproving cases). Cases that the Court did not cite include those in which the Fifth Circuit wrestled with the distinction between de facto and de jure segregation. In Cisneros v. Corpus Christi Indep. School Dist. 467 F.2d 142, 148–50 (5th Cir. 1972) (en banc), cert. denied, 413 U.S. 920 (1973), the court held that motive and purpose were irrelevant and the “de facto and de jure nomenclature” to be “meaningless.” After the distinction was reiterated in Keyes v. Denver School District, 413 U.S. 189 (1973), the Fifth Circuit adopted the position that a decisionmaker must be presumed to have intended the probable, natural, or foreseeable consequences of his decision and therefore that a school board decision that results in segregation is intentional in the constitutional sense, regardless of its motivation. United States v. Texas Educ. Agency, 532 F.2d 380 (5th Cir.), vacated and remanded for reconsideration in light of Washington v. Davis, 426 U.S. 229 (1976), modified and adhered to, 564 F.2d 162, reh. denied, 579 F.2d 910 (5th Cir. 1977–78), cert denied, 443 U.S. 915 (1979). See also United States v. Texas Educ. Agency, 600 F.2d 518 (5th Cir. 1979). This form of analysis was, however, substantially cabined in Massachusetts Personnel Adm’r v. Feeney, 442 U.S. 256, 278–80 (1979), although foreseeability as one kind of proof was acknowledged by Columbus Bd. of Educ. v. Penick, 443 U.S. 449, 464–65 (1979).
- Washington v. Davis, 426 U.S. at 242 (1976).
- 429 U.S. 252 (1977).
- 429 U.S. at 265–66, 270 n.21. See also Mt. Healthy City Bd. of Educ. v. Doyle, 429 U.S. 274, 284–87 (1977) (once plaintiff shows defendant acted from impermissible motive in not rehiring him, burden shifts to defendant to show result would have been same in the absence of that motive; constitutional violation not established merely by showing of wrongful motive); Hunter v. Underwood, 471 U.S. 222 (1985) (circumstances of enactment made it clear that state constitutional amendment requiring disenfranchisement for crimes involving moral turpitude had been adopted for purpose of racial discrimination, even though it was realized that some poor whites would also be disenfranchised thereby).
- Arlington Heights, 429 U.S. at 266.
- 429 U.S. 267–68.
- Massachusetts Personnel Adm’r v. Feeney, 442 U.S. 256, 279 (1979). This case clearly established the application of Davis and Arlington Heights to all nonracial classifications attacked under the Equal Protection Clause. But compare Columbus Bd. of Educ. v. Penick, 443 U.S. 449 (1979), and Dayton Bd. of Educ. v. Brinkman, 443 U.S. 526 (1979), in the context of the quotation in the text. These cases found the Davis standard satisfied on a showing of past discrimination coupled with foreseeable impact in the school segregation area.
- 446 U.S. 55 (1980). Also decided by the plurality was that discriminatory purpose is a requisite showing to establish a violation of the Fifteenth Amendment and of the Equal Protection Clause in the “fundamental interest” context, vote dilution, rather than just in the suspect classification context.
- White v. Regester, 412 U.S. 755 (1972), was the prior case. See also Whitcomb v. Chavis, 403 U.S. 124 (1971). Justice White, the author of Register, dissented in Mobile, 446 U.S. at 94, on the basis that “the totality of the facts relied upon by the District Court to support its inference of purposeful discrimination is even more compelling than that present in White v. Register.” Justice Blackmun, id. at 80, and Justices Brennan and Marshall, agreed with him as alternate holdings, id. at 94, 103.
- 446 U.S. at 65–74.
- 446 U.S. at 73–74. The principal formulation of the test was in Zimmer v. McKeithen, 485 F.2d 1297, 1305 (5th Cir. 1973), aff’d on other grounds sub nom. East Carroll Parish School Bd. v. Marshall, 424 U.S. 636 (1976), and its components are thus frequently referred to as the Zimmer factors.
- By the Voting Rights Act Amendments of 1982, P.L. 97–205, 96 Stat. 131, 42 U.S.C. § 1973 (as amended), see S. REP. NO. 417, 97th Congress, 2d Sess. 27–28 (1982), Congress proscribed a variety of electoral practices “which results” in a denial or abridgment of the right to vote, and spelled out in essence the Zimmer factors as elements of a “totality of the circumstances” test.
- 458 U.S. 613 (1982). The decision, handed down within days of final congressional passage of the Voting Rights Act Amendments, was written by Justice White and joined by Chief Justice Burger and Justices Brennan, Marshall, Blackmun, and O’Connor. Justices Powell and Rehnquist dissented, id. at 628, as did Justice Stevens. Id. at 631.
- 458 U.S. at 618–22 (describing and disagreeing with the Mobile plurality, which had used the phrase at 446 U.S. 74). The Lodge Court approved the prior reference that motive analysis required an analysis of “such circumstantial and direct evidence” as was available. Id. at 618 (quoting Arlington Heights, 429 U.S. at 266).
- The Court confirmed the Mobile analysis that the “fundamental interest” side of heightened equal protection analysis requires a showing of intent when the criteria of classification are neutral and did not reach the Fifteenth Amendment issue in this case. 458 U.S. at 619 n.6.
- 458 U.S. at 618 (quoting Washington v. Davis, 426 U.S. 229, 242 (1976)).
- 458 U.S. at 623–24.
- 458 U.S. at 624–27. The Court also noted the existence of other factors showing the tendency of the system to minimize the voting strength of blacks, including the large size of the jurisdiction and the maintenance of majority vote and single-seat requirements and the absence of residency requirements.
- Castaneda v. Partida, 430 U.S. 482 (1977). The decision was 5-to-4, Justice Blackmun writing the opinion of the Court and Chief Justice Burger and Justices Stewart, Powell, and Rehnquist dissenting. Id. at 504–07.
- 430 U.S. at 493–94. This had been recognized in Washington v. Davis, 426 U.S. 229, 241 (1976), and Village of Arlington Heights v. Metropolitan Housing Dev. Corp., 429 U.S. 252, 266 n.13 (1977).
- Castaneda v. Partida, 430 U.S. 482, 494, 497–99 (1977).