Curriculum Guide · Courses
Professor Charles Abernathy
J.D. Course 062 | 3 credit hours
This course studies the statutory, common law, and constitutional issues that arise in federal civil rights litigation. The course is organized around the basic statutes that authorize civil rights claims. Part I covers traditional constitutional litigation in federal courts under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, focusing on the distinctive features of such litigation and the unusually broad sources of law that govern these cases. Some attention is also given to suits under 42 U.S.C. § 1981-82, which primarily authorize claims against private persons for racial discrimination. Part II covers the modern civil right statutes (primarily from the 1960's-1990's) and the basic analytical structures that these modern statutes add to basic constitutional analysis. Principal attention is given to Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and Title IX of the Higher Education Amendments (race and sex discrimination by federal grantees in a broad range of activities, including education), Title VII of the 1964 Act (race, sex, and other discrimination in employment), and the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act (discrimination against and affirmative accommodation for disabled persons). From time to time some attention may be given to the Voting Rights Act. The student will notice recurring themes of federal-state comity; judicial control over private, state, or federal actors; and sources of Congressional power to enact civil rights legislation that goes beyond minimal Constitution-based guarantees.
Prerequisite: Prior or concurrent enrollment in Constitutional Law II: Individual Rights and Liberties. This prerequisite can be waived by the professor for students who have taken the substantial equivalent or show they have other preparation.