Discrimination, Retaliation and Implied Private Rights of Action
February 1, 2005Kevin C. Newsom
On Tuesday, November 30, 2004, the U.S. Supreme Court heard oral argument in Jackson v. Birmingham Board of Education. The facts giving rise to the case are simply stated: Roderick Jackson, the one-time girls' basketball coach at Ensley High School in Birmingham, Alabama (the author's home town, incidentally) alleged that the school board demoted him in response to-in legal jargon, in "retaliation" for-his complaint to supervisors that his team was being denied equal access to gym facilities in violation of Title IX of the federal Education Amendments of 1972. The question the Supreme Court agreed to decide is "[w]hether the private right of action for violations of Title IX . . . encompasses redress for retaliation for complaints about unlawful sex discrimination." On behalf of eight other States, the State of Alabama, through yours truly, intervened and urged the Court-both in a written brief and at the oral argument-to answer that question in the negative.