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Upcoming Events

   Intellectual Disability, National Origin, and the Death Penalty Hernandez v. Stephens
   Second Annual Executive Branch Review Conference

Recent Publications

   Is the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Act in Part Unconstitutional? - Podcast

Constitution quill

Congress premised the part of the Hate Crimes Prevention Act banning crimes based on race on Congress's Thirteenth Amendment power to end slavery and involuntary servitude. (Another part of the Act, which addressed crimes committed on the basis of other biases, was passed pursuant to Congress's Commerce Clause power.) But with slavery long dead, some argue that the connection between it and contemporary hate crimes is at best distant. Does the Thirteenth Amendment give Congress the power to reach race-based hate crimes and other social ills arguably related to slavery? This issue will be before the U.S. Supreme Court in a petition for certiorari in Hatch v. United States, which the Court is scheduled to consider on March 21. In this call, Professor Jennifer McAward of Notre Dame discussed the scope of Congress's power to pass legislation pursuant to the Thirteenth Amendment and the pending cert petition - will it be granted? Should it be granted? Additional comments were made by Professor Gail Heriot of the University of San Diego School of Law.


  • Prof. Jennifer Mason McAward, Associate Professor of Law, Notre Dame Law School
  • Hon. Gail Heriot, Professor of Law, San Diego School of Law

[Listen now!]

   The Twilight of Race-Based Preferences in College Admissions - Event Audio/Video

The Twilight of Race-Based Preferences in College Admissions - Event Audio/VideoThe Michigan Lawyers Chapter hosted this event on February 12, 2014, at Thomas M. Cooley Law School in Lansing, Michigan.


  • Mr. Trevor Coleman, Author and Speechwriter
  • Mr. Mark Fancher, ACLU of Michigan
  • Ms. Jennifer Gratz, XIV Foundation
  • Mr. Hans von Spakovsky, Heritage Foundation
  • Moderator: Mr. Henry Payne, The Detroit News
  • Introduction: Mr. Matthew G. Davis, Communications Chair, Michigan Lawyers Chapter
  • Introduction: Ms. Penelope Williams, President, Thomas M. Cooley Student Chapter

Thomas M. Cooley Law School
Lansing, MI

[Watch or listen now!]

   A Lady or a Tiger?: Thoughts on Fisher v. University of Texas and the Future of Race Preferences in America

civil rights - equalityThere are not many dull moments in the debate about race preferences in university admissions. Nevertheless, the issuance of the recent Fisher v. University of Texas case has often been painted as one of them. “In with a bang, out with a fizzle” is the title of one account of Fisher, and “Fisher’s big news: No big news” is the headline of another. But perhaps this perennially hot debate has not cooled down after all, and Fisher is better understood as a cliffhanger—one akin to the ending of Frank Stockton’s 1882 “The Lady or the Tiger?,” which famously leaves the protagonist uncertain whether a beautiful woman or a starved tiger will emerge from behind the door he is about to open....[Read Now!]

   School Discipline and the Expansion of Disparate Impact - Podcast

school lockersOn January 8, 2014, the Department of Justice Civil Rights Division and the Department of Education Office for Civil Rights jointly released a memo urging public schools to revisit discipline policies that they assert have a disproportionate effect on minority students. “Schools ... violate Federal law when they evenhandedly implement facially neutral policies and practices that, although not adopted with the intent to discriminate, nonetheless have an unjustified effect of discriminating against students on the basis of race," read the memo. "Examples of policies that can raise disparate impact concerns include policies that impose mandatory suspension, expulsion, or citation (e.g., ticketing or other fines or summonses) upon any student who commits a specified offense — such as being tardy to class, being in possession of a cellular phone, being found insubordinate, acting out, or not wearing the proper school uniform.” Our experts discussed the expansion of disparate impact analysis into school discipline. Materials referenced during this podcast are available on this web page under "Related Links."


  • Hans Bader, Senior Attorney and Counsel for Special Projects, Competitive Enterprise Institute
  • Roger Clegg, President and General Counsel, Center for Equal Opportunity
  • Moderator: Dean Reuter, Vice President and Director of Practice Groups, The Federalist Society

[Listen now!]

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