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Race Discrimination

Davis v. Ayala - Post-Decision SCOTUScast

SCOTUScast 7-8-15 featuring Ronald Eisenberg
Ronald Eisenberg July 08, 2015

On June 18, 2015, the Supreme Court issued its decision in Davis v. Ayala. The issue in this case was whether Ayala was entitled to federal habeas relief because the judge in his capital murder trial, when responding to Ayala’s objection that the prosecution used its peremptory challenges to strike potential jurors based on race, excluded Ayala from the hearing during which the judge considered the prosecution’s explanation for the peremptory challenges.  The Ninth Circuit granted Ayala’s petition for habeas relief.

In an opinion delivered by Justice Alito, the Court reversed the Ninth Circuit by a vote of 5-4 and remanded the case.  Any federal constitutional error that may have occurred as a result of the exclusion of Ayala from the hearing, the Supreme Court held, was harmless with respect to all seven prospective jurors who had been stricken.

Justice Alito’s opinion was joined by the Chief Justice and Justices Thomas, Scalia, and Kennedy.  Justices Kennedy and Thomas filed concurring opinions. Justice Sotomayor filed a dissenting opinion, which was joined by Justices Breyer, Kagan, and Ginsburg. 

To discuss the case, we have Ronald Eisenberg, who heads the Law Division of the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office. 

Supreme Court Upholds Disparate Impact: Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs v. The Inclusive Communities Project, Inc. - Podcast

Civil Rights Practice Group Podcast
William Consovoy, Ralph W. Kasarda July 02, 2015

On June 25, the Supreme Court issued a 5-4 decision that the Wall Street Journal has characterized as a "Disastrous Misreading of the Fair Housing Act," ruling that disparate-impact claims are cognizable under the Fair Housing Act. The consensus of court-watchers predicted an opposite holding. Is the Court’s decision a broad endorsement of the government’s use of disparate impact theory? Our experts discussed the implications of the decision.

  • William Consovoy, Partner, Consovoy McCarthy PLLC
  • Ralph W. Kasarda, Staff Attorney, Pacific Legal Foundation

Disparate Impact Liability and the Fair Housing Act: Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs v. The Inclusive Communities Project, Inc. - Podcast

Civil Rights Practice Group Podcast
Todd F. Gaziano January 22, 2015

On Wednesday, January 21, 2015, the Supreme Court heard oral arguments in Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs v. The Inclusive Communities Project Inc. The Supreme Court has previously attempted twice to hear cases reaching the question of whether disparate impact claims are cognizable under the Fair Housing Act, in Magner v. Gallagher and Mount Holly v. Mount Holly Gardens Citizens in Action, and in both instances the cases were settled less than a month before oral arguments. The Fair Housing Act makes it illegal to “refuse to sell or rent . . . or to refuse to negotiate for the sale or rental of, or otherwise make unavailable or deny, a dwelling to any person because of race.” Do policies that can be demonstrated to have a discriminatory effect on certain racial groups, without a showing of discriminatory intent, violate the statute?

  • Hon. Todd F. Gaziano, Executive Director, Washington, D.C. Center and Senior Fellow in Constitutional Law, Pacific Legal Foundation

College Admissions and Affirmative Action - Podcast

Civil Rights Practice Group Podcast
Edward Blum, William Consovoy January 09, 2015

The battle over the use of affirmative action in college admissions seems far from over, as the recent filing of two federal lawsuits demonstrates. The Project for Fair Representation recently sued both Harvard University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill for allegedly capping the number of Asian-Americans they admit and using racial classifications to engage in invidious discrimination. Edward Blum and William Consovoy provided a litigation update on these and other cases.

  • Edward Blum, Director, The Project on Fair Representation
  • William Consovoy, Partner, Consovoy McCarthy PLLC

Challenging Racial Preferences in Government Contracts - Podcast

Civil Rights Practice Group Podcast
David F. Barton, Roger B. Clegg October 17, 2014

While the Supreme Court in City of Richmond v. J.A. Croson Co. (1989) and Adarand Constructors, Inc. v. Pena (1995) handed down landmark decisions against the use of racial preferences in government contracting, the practice continues. One of the largest such federal programs is run by the Small Business Administration, but Rothe Development Co. has now challenged it, in a case where the federal district court will hear oral argument later this month. The lawyer in that case -- who also represented Rothe in its successful challenge to a similar U.S. Department of Defense program -- is David Barton, and he discussed the case in this Teleforum. Also participating in the discussion was Roger Clegg, President and General Counsel of the Center for Equal Opportunity.

  • David F. Barton, Partner, The Gardner Law Firm
  • Roger Clegg, President and General Counsel, Center for Equal Opportunity