Suing to Stop Race Discrimination

Race discrimination has been widespread in America ever since affirmative action became entrenched in the early 1970s. Now, the Supreme Court may finally be poised to bring it to an end, at least in some contexts.

Much as litigation was needed to bring an earlier iteration of race discrimination to an end, lawsuits will be necessary to stop institutions from continuing discriminatory practices to which they are deeply attached. Our friend Mark Perry has probably done more of this work than anyone, but he is not alone. In Texas, a white man who was unable to gain admission to medical school has started a race and sex discrimination class action against a number of public medical schools and related defendants. The case is Stewart v. Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center, and the complaint is embedded below. I think it is a good piece of work. It relies independently on the Fourteenth Amendment and on federal statutes, including 42 U.S.C. §2000d (Title VI), 20 U.S.C. §1681 (Title IX), and 42 U.S.C. §1983.

Currently, race and sex discrimination are legal in the context of university admissions. But if the Supreme Court holds race discrimination to be illegal in the pending Harvard and University of North Carolina cases, as many expect, the plaintiff in this Texas case clearly has the goods on the medical schools, on the facts.

Is race discrimination really slated for extinction? It would be nice to think so, but it is deeply entrenched–far more so than discrimination against blacks was entrenched as of 1954–and it will not be easy to uproot.

Here is the Stewart complaint:

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