News 2004

August 4 : February 6 : January 14

August 4, 2004

  • Ninth Circuit Strikes down "racial tie-breaker" program in Washington
    The Seattle public high school system uses a series of four "tie-breaker" principles to decide admissions to over-subscribed schools. One of these is a racial tie-breaker which uses the applicant's racial category to try and achieve racial balance in the schools.

    Parents Involved in Community Schools sued in federal court alleging that the use of the racial tie-breaker violated, inter alia, the State of Washington's Civil Rights Act of 1998, an initiative forbidding any state-sponsored preferential treatment based on race in public employment, education, or contracting. The district court held that although the use of the tie-breaker did violate the initiative, because the Washington Constitution permits race-based classifications to achieve racial diversity in public schools, the initiative, by effecting an amendment to this authority, is itself in violation of the state constitution.

    The Ninth Circuit disagreed, upholding the validity of the initiative under Washington's Constitution, and invalidated the use of the racial tie-breaker.

    Click HERE to access the full opinion in Parents Involved in Community Schools v. Seattle School District No. 1. (PDF)

February 6, 2004

  • The First Amendment and State Treatment of the Boy Scouts--Webcast available
    The Federalist Society's Civil Rights Practice Group co-sponsored a panel discussion discussing the recent developments in Connecticut with regard to the Boy Scouts of America. The panel featured George Davidson, Hughes Hubbard & Reed, LLP, legal counsel for Boy Scouts of America; Prof. Jonathan Turley, George Washington University Law School; Erik S. Jaffe, Law Offices of Erik S. Jaffe; C. Joan Parker, Assistant Commission Counsel, Connecticut Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities and Hon. Walter Dellinger, O'Melveny & Meyers and former Solicitor General as moderator. The panel was webcast live and is available online. Please click HERE to watch the webcast of this program.

January 14, 2004

  • Federalist Society Practice Group Book Announcement
    The Cato Institute announces the publication of You Can't Say That! The Growing Threat to Civil Liberties from Antidiscrimination Laws, by Professor David E. Bernstein of George Mason University School of Law. To read the first chapter, click HERE. To purchase the book for $14 (30% discount) from, click HERE.

    GMU Law professor David Bernstein maintains that, in a misguided attempt to eradicate every vestige of "discrimination" in our society, activists and courts are using antidiscrimination laws to erode civil liberties such as free speech, the free exercise of religion, and freedom of association. Civil rights laws today are being applied in ways that threaten free speech on campus and in the workplace, the right of local community activists to speak out against government policies, the rights of private associations such as the Boy Scouts to determine their membership policies, and even the rights of individuals to choose their roommates. David Bernstein explores the social and constitutional ramifications of this trend in You Can't Say That! "A must-read for anyone -- left, right, elsewhere -- who seriously cares about liberty in America." --Eugene Volokh Professor of law, UCLA, and author of The First Amendment: Problems, Cases and Policy Arguments

2004 The Federalist Society