Monday, October 21, 2019

Historians' Brief on the 1866 Civil Rights Act

We’re grateful to learn of a legal historians' brief in Comcast Corporation, Petitioner v. National Association of African American-Owned Media (18-1171), which is pending in the U.S Supreme Court.  Erwin Chemerinsky is to argue for the respondents on November 13.

The brief argues that 42 U.S. C. Sec. 1981, surviving section of the 1866 Civil Rights Act promised broad federal protection of civil rights and ought not be read to require proof of “but for” discrimination, as several circuit courts of appeals have held.

The signers whose names appear on the printed brief are William M. Carter, Jr., Professor of Law and John E. Murray Faculty Scholar, University of Pittsburgh School of Law; Mark Graber, University System of Maryland Regents Professor; Ariela J. Gross, John B. and Alice R. Sharp Professor of Law and History, niversity of Southern California Gould School of Law; Hendrik Hartog, the Class of 1921 Bicentennial Professor in the History of American Law and Liberty, Emeritus, Princeton University; Maria L. Ontiveros,  Professor of Law, the University of San Francisco; George Rutherglen, the John Barbee Minor Distinguished Professor, the University of Virginia School of Law; Joseph William Singer, the Bussey Professor of Law, the Harvard Law School; Aviam Soifer, Dean and Professor of Law, the University of Hawai‘i, William S. Richardson School of Law; Alexander Tsesis, the Raymond & Mary Simon Chair in Constitutional Law and Professor of Law, Loyola University School of Law, Chicago; Michael Vorenberg, Associate Professor of History, Brown University; William M. Wiecek, the Congdon Professor of Public Law, Emeritus, Syracuse University College of Law; Rebecca E. Zietlow, Visiting Professor, University of Wisconsin Law School, 2019-2020, and the Charles W. Fornoff Professor of Law and Values, University at Toledo College of Law.  Lea VanderVelde, Josephine Witte Professor of Law, University of Iowa College of Law, also signed, although her name was inadvertently left off the printed brief.

--Dan Ernst