Yick Wo v. Hopkins (1886) J. Matthews
Facially neutral law: required laundries to be in brick/stone buildings unless waiver. Over 200 Chinese petitions had been denied, but all but 1 of non-Chinese individuals were granted.
Holding: Law was directed so exclusively against particular class of people, def violated EP
Closing schools & granting public $ for whites to go to private school. Clear reason was so they wouldn’t have to integrate.
Washington v. Davis (1976) J. White
effects not enough, need purpose
Applicants for D.C. police needed to take test, stats showed blacks failed the exam much more than whites.
Holding: Effects not enough, need intent or purpose. Proof of discriminatory impact not enough, by itself, to show existence of racial classification. Won’t invalidate law solely b/c it has racially disproportionate impact.
Implications: Key case articulating requirement for proof of discriminatory purpose. Laws that are facially neutral as to race & national origin will receive more than rational basis review only if there is proof of discriminatory purpose
Arlington Heights v. Metropolitan Housing Corp. (1977) J. Powell
Challenge to city’s refusal to rezone parcel of land to allow construction of low income housing. P’s alleged this had discriminatory effect in excluding blacks from the city.
Holding: 3 ways discriminatory purpose can be demonstrated:
Law is so clearly discriminatory as to allow no other explanation than that it was adopted for those purposes (ex. Yick Wo)
NOT Palmer v. Thompson (1971): EP wasn’t violated when a city closed its previously segregated swimming pool rather than allowing it to be integrated. Discriminatory purpose alone wasn’t sufficient – impact effects all races equally
History surrounding gov’ts action: if it reveals series of official actions taken for invidious purposes or sequence of events shed’s light on purpose (ex. Griffin v. School Board, where district closed schools and granted public funds for whites to go to private schools)
Legislative or administrative history of a law