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More or Less Equal

15 Pages Posted: 7 May 2005  

David Kairys

Temple University - Beasley School of Law


Scholarship on racial equality issues is usually limited to examination of cases and issues exclusively within one of a few categories. For example, scholarship on affirmative action focuses on affirmative action cases; scholarship on school desegregation focuses on school desegregation cases. This article compares decisions across the spectrum of racial equality issues and challenges the generally accepted notion that there is one uniform equality standard, one set of rules and assumptions, and one approach. Placing the cases in three categories - minority plaintiffs challenging discrimination, white plaintiff challenging affirmative action, and white plaintiffs challenging remedial measures - the article further develops a "dual system thesis," concluding that there are two distinct sets of rules, assumptions and approaches, one that makes it near impossible to establish a case of violation of equal protection, the other that makes it quite easy. Further, the article offers an explanation of how this has been accomplished in decisions that purport to follow one set of rules and assumptions and to embody one approach.

Keywords: Equality, race, equal protection

Suggested Citation

Kairys, David, More or Less Equal. Temple Political and Civil Rights Law Review, Vol. 13, pp. 675-689, 2004. Available at SSRN:

David Kairys (Contact Author)

Temple University - Beasley School of Law ( email )

1719 N. Broad Street
Philadelphia, PA 19122
United States

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