Abstract

http://ssrn.com/abstract=2394617
 


 



Title VII as Precedent: Past and Prologue for Future Legislation


George A. Rutherglen


University of Virginia School of Law

February 1, 2014

Virginia Public Law and Legal Theory Research Paper No. 2014-13

Abstract:     
Congress passed the Civil Rights Act of 1964 after nearly 90 years in which it enacted no major civil rights legislation. The 1964 Act stood out then - as it stands out now - as Congress acting at its best rather than its worst. It confronted the historic problem of race in America, it overcame partisan divisions and sectional obstruction, and it acted to enforce constitutional principles. This is not to say that sponsors of the legislation made no compromises in the 1964 Act. On the contrary, they had to do so, particularly in the Senate, to obtain the two-thirds majority then needed to close off debate and end a filibuster. The resulting legislation, compromises and all, then became the foundation for all employment discrimination law, providing the template for prohibitions against discrimination on the basis of age and disability. Even more remarkably, the legislation was consistently extended and reinforced, often over the narrowing interpretations imposed by the Supreme Court. Long after the Civil Rights Era had ended, Congress continued to pass expansive and progressive legislation, with virtually no examples to the contrary. The few restrictive or qualifying provisions that Congress enacted invariably came as compromises, like those in the 1964 Act, added in order to pass expanded prohibitions against discrimination. This article recounts this pattern of legislation, the role that Title VII played in it, and possible explanations for it. These explanations, like those for passage of the 1964 Act, extend over a wide range: from the simple selection effect of noticing only the statutes that are passed rather than those that fail, to an unholy alliance between plaintiffs’ lawyers and big business, to the moral and ideological force of the principle against discrimination.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 39

working papers series





Download This Paper

Date posted: February 13, 2014  

Suggested Citation

Rutherglen, George A., Title VII as Precedent: Past and Prologue for Future Legislation (February 1, 2014). Virginia Public Law and Legal Theory Research Paper No. 2014-13. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=2394617 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2394617

Contact Information

George A. Rutherglen (Contact Author)
University of Virginia School of Law ( email )
580 Massie Road
Charlottesville, VA 22903
United States
434-924-7015 (Phone)
434-924-7536 (Fax)

Feedback to SSRN


Paper statistics
Abstract Views: 155
Downloads: 27

© 2014 Social Science Electronic Publishing, Inc. All Rights Reserved.  FAQ   Terms of Use   Privacy Policy   Copyright   Contact Us
This page was processed by apollo5 in 0.297 seconds