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LAW Alternative Conceptions of Antidiscrimination

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LAW 547

Alternative Conceptions of Antidiscrimination

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[ Academia ] [ Litigation ] [ Regulatory & Policy ] Public Interest Law: Direct Legal Services

Why it is relevant for ...

[ Academia ] [ Litigation ] [ Regulatory & Policy ] as a Related Elective for those interested in Civil Rights: Antidiscrimination : Discrimination or unequal treatment is frequently the gravamen of civil rights litigation. Students interested in a civil rights practice should take one or more courses that address the legal framework of the anti-discrimination or equal opportunity laws. This course examines traditional explanations as to why profit-motivated actors might discriminate.

General course Description:

This course carefully examines traditional explanations of why profit-motivated actors (employers; sellers of goods and services) might discriminate against members of historically subordinated groups. It also surveys traditional ideas about why such subordinated groups might be disproportionately disempowered in the public, political sphere, and how we might identify which public decisions were discriminatory. It then looks in considerable detail at a variety of broader and narrower conceptions of what illegitimate discrimination is, conceptions that are more and less accepting of the legitimacy of “productivity-based” distribution of income, and “one person, one vote” views of democratic legitimacy. It explores the degree to which the antidiscrimination principle can be understood wholly individualistically, without reference to the existence of social groups and discusses a wide range of theories in which group subordination is more or less central to our understanding of illegitimate discrimination. It examines whether antidiscrimination law does or should be used as a “regulatory tax” to advance group ends, and if it is, how we do or should define the groups who are appropriate beneficiaries of such taxes and the groups that are appropriately burdened, and the degree to which antidiscrimination law should be viewed as a mechanism to counteract subordinating cultural practices.

The course confronts these very basic, general issues in very specific legal contexts: for example, Title VII regulation of job testing; sexual harassment law; the ADA’s requirement that employers and owners of public accommodations make reasonable accommodations to disabled workers and patrons; IDEA’s requirement that disabled students receive a free, appropriate education in the least restrictive environment, and that disabled students not be disciplined if the conduct for which they would be disciplined is a manifestation of their disability; affirmative action admissions programs for universities; hate speech codes; and Title IX requirements that women athletes receive (roughly) equal resources to male athletes.

Course Style: A Substantive course teaches the law, theory, and policy in a particular area of law

Course Frequency: Varied, check w/ registrar

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