civil rights

De Facto Segregation

During racial integration efforts in schools during the 1960’s, “de facto segregation” was a term used to describe a situation in which legislation did not overtly segregate students by race, but nevertheless school segregation continued.


A reason why the plaintiff or prosecutor should not prevail on a cause of action or demand for relief. A defense can either allege a failure to state a claim, or affirm the existence of a claim and present additional reasons that prevent the plaintiff...

Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA)

Definition from Nolo’s Plain-English Law DictionarySo-called Defense of Marriage laws define marriage as a relationship between one man and one woman, for the purpose of excluding same-sex couples from the institution of marriage. The federal DOMA...


Different treatment for similarly situated parties, especially when no legitimate reason appears to exist. An employer who rejects all male applicants and hires the first female applicant with the same qualifications might be discriminating on the...

Disparate Impact

A test or other tool used for selection that, though appearing neutral, actually has an adverse effect on a particular protected class of individuals.

Disparate Treatment

When one particular set individuals whose members are of a protected class is treated differently than others.

Disproportionate Impact

See Disparate Impact

Dred Scott v. Sandford (1857)

Definition from Nolo’s Plain-English Law Dictionary

The U.S. Supreme Court decision in which the Court ruled that African Americans, whether enslaved or free, were not citizens of the United States and therefore did not have the right to sue in federal...

Driving while Black

Definition from Nolo’s Plain-English Law DictionarySlang for police profiling of drivers who deviate from the ethnic standards of a community -- for example, regularly stopping African American drivers in a Caucasian neighborhood, or stopping Mexican...


Definition from Nolo’s Plain-English Law DictionarySee: Equal Employment Opportunity Commission

Definition provided by Nolo’s Plain-English Law Dictionary.