Wygant v. Jackson Board of Education Case Brief

Summary of Wygant v. Jackson Board of Education

Facts: School board laid off more-senior white teachers in order to keep less-senior minority teachers. Gave as justification the desire to alleviate societal discrimination.

Holding: All race-based preferences must be subject to strict scrutiny. The school board had no compelling interest in alleviating societal discrimination, only prior institutional discrimination.

But, in this case, even if there was prior institutional discrimination, the racial classification still wouldn’t be sufficiently justified because fails on the second prong of necessity: it puts too great a burden on innocent parties and therefore isn’t sufficiently narrowly tailored.

Judgment: Unconstitutional.

Comments: O’Connor: agrees that remedying societal discrimination isn’t a sufficiently compelling state interest, but believes that a state interest in promoting racial diversity would be sufficiently compelling.



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