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Equal Protection: Race and the Law

This course will examine the application of constitutional and statutory antidiscrimination law to race related controversies across a variety of settings. The course will begin with an exploration of the historical developments that led to antidiscrimination law, and with an introduction to the competing frameworks that define current antidiscrimination law: the discriminatory purpose and anti-classification approaches that feature prominently in equal protection doctrine, and the disparate impact framework that is incorporated into some statutory law. After some exploration of the historical origins of antidiscrimination law and its alternative formulations, the course will then turn to the specific contexts in which controversies arise. The settings that will be examined include criminal justice, college admissions, political participation, primary/secondary education, employment, housing, hate speech, and the formation of family relationships. In each of these settings, we will devote close attention to the role of antidiscrimination law in specific controversies. Throughout, our intellectual goals will be twofold: to understand the special challenges that race poses, and to appreciate more generally some of the dilemmas of legal regulation.

Instructors for this course (Past and Present)

Ralph Richard Banks