Race Discrimination: U.S. Supreme Court Cases
Created by FindLaw's team of legal writers and editors | Last reviewed July 21, 2017
The United States has a lengthy history of racial discrimination in various aspects of life including education, employment, housing, public accommodations and other areas; the Supreme Court has dealt with the issue in numerous cases. Below is a list of U.S. Supreme Court cases involving race discrimination and the rights of members of racial groups, including links to the full text of the U.S. Supreme Court decisions.
- Korematsu v. U.S. (1944) The Court in this case upheld the conviction of an American of Japanese descent, who had been prosecuted for remaining in California after a 1942 presidential order designating much of the west coast a "military area", and requiring relocation of most Japanese-Americans from California (among other west coast states)
- Shelley v. Kraemer (1948) This decision held that "racially restrictive covenants" in property deeds are unenforceable. In this case, the "covenants" were terms or obligations in property deeds that limited property rights to Caucasians, excluding members of other races.
- Brown v. Board of Education (1954) In this landmark case, the Court prohibited racial segregation of public schools.
- Brown v. Board of Education II (1955) This decision quickened the process for implementing the anti-segregation orders issued in "Brown I."
- Bailey v. Patterson (1962) The Court in this case prohibited racial segregation of interstate and intrastate transportation facilities.
- Loving v. Virginia (1967) This decision holds that state laws prohibiting inter-racial marriage are unconstitutional.
- Jones v. Mayer Co. (1968) The Court held in this case that federal law bars all racial discrimination (private or public), in sale or rental of property.
- Lau v. Nichols (1973) The Court found that a city school system's failure to provide English language instruction to students of Chinese ancestry amounted to unlawful discrimination.
- University of California Regents v. Bakke (1978) The Court decides that a public university may take race into account as a factor in admissions decisions.
- Batson v. Kentucky (1986) This decision holds that a state denies an African American defendant equal protection when it puts him on trial before a jury from which members of his race have been purposefully excluded.
- Grutter v. Bollinger (2003) In this case, the Court finds that a law school's limited "affirmative action" use of race in admissions is constitutional.
- Schuette v. Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action(2014) This decision holds that a state constitutional amendment that bans affirmative action does not violate the Equal Protection clause.
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