Issue Archives

In celebrating the monumental accomplishments of the new form of public law litigation that Constance Baker Motley and her colleagues pioneered, this Essay reinterprets their paradigm-shifting body of work in a manner that obliges the current generation of civil rights advocates to change direction. In the hopes of reengaging the affirmative force of constitutional litigation after decades in which it has waned, this Essay argues that the central...

Introduction Constance Baker Motley hardly needs an introduction in American civil rights circles. The first African American female attorney (and only the second female attorney) to join the storied NAACP Legal Defense Fund (LDF) in 1946 (after graduating from Columbia Law School), Motley was a legendary civil rights lawyer by the time she joined the […]

Introduction Constance Baker Motley, the first female attorney of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund (LDF), was dedicated to reimagining the nature and scope of civil rights protections in American jurisprudence. Motley’s legal career chronicles the ways in which litigation served to bring about revolutionary social changes in our society. Motley, a staunch believer in the […]

Equality Law Pluralism

Olatunde C.A. Johnson*

This contribution to the Constance Baker Motley Symposium examines the future of civil rights reform at a time in which longstanding limitations of the antidiscrimination law framework, as well as newer pressures such as the rise of economic populism, are placing stress on the traditional antidiscrimination project. This Essay explores the openings that nevertheless remain in public law for confronting persistent forms of exclusion and makes the...

Introduction In 1961, James Meredith applied for admission to the University of Mississippi. Although he was eminently qualified, he was rejected. The University had never admitted a black student, and Meredith was black. Represented by Constance Baker Motley and the NAACP Legal De­fense and Educational Fund (LDF), Meredith brought suit in the United States District […]