Will lawmakers slip disparate impact, punitive damages into Title VI?

by Walter Olson on December 11, 2012

Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits discrimination by recipients of federal education spending and other programs, does not currently allow private litigants to sue demanding punitive (as distinct from compensatory) damages, nor do the courts entertain private suits complaining of “disparate impact” under it. Some trial lawyers and advocates of expansive discrimination law have long wanted to change that, and now Hans Bader of the Competitive Enterprise Institute is warning that there are efforts afoot to slip an expansion into law by attaching it to some “must-pass” piece of legislation. An effort by Democratic senators to attach it to the Defense Authorization Act appears to have fallen short, but it may be back as a rider on other bills, with serious courtroom consequences, Bader warns, for schools and colleges and also for doctors and hospitals.

{ 3 comments }

1 AMcA 12.11.12 at 11:48 am

I’ve gotta say the progressives are off their game here. Where are the fee shifting provisions?

2 John David Galt 12.12.12 at 12:46 am

What we desperately need is exactly the opposite: a Civil Rights Reform Act, spelling out that an employer who has a good behavior-based reason to discriminate against someone has an affirmative right to do it, regardless of whether it (or a pattern of it) causes “disparate impact” under the Civil Rights Act, ADA, or any similar law.

The disgusting thing about the whole thing is that THIS idea will even be controversial.

Who’s with me?

3 William Nuesslein 12.12.12 at 10:58 am

The beloved 1954 Brown vs. Board decision was based on the disparate impact of segregated schools. We have had an integration policy for decades now, including years of school busing. I understand that the achievement gap in education has not narrowed. The AMA looked into medical school admissions and found that results now would equal pre-54 results using the same standards. All the educational programs over the years had no effect at all with respect to the admissions measure.

Rational people would pull the plug on disparate impact litigation and regulation.

Comments on this entry are closed.