Amicus Briefs

Buck v. Stephens (2016)

The Racial Justice Project filed an amicus curiae brief in the United States Supreme Court on behalf of the National Black Law Students Association in Buck v. Davis (formerly Buck v. Stephens).  Mr. Buck was convicted of capital murder in Texas. During the penalty phase, Mr. Buck’s own defense attorney presented the testimony of a clinical psychologist who said that he included race in his future dangerousness analysis because Blacks and Latinos are overrepresented in the criminal justice system.  On cross examination, the prosecution prompted the psychologist to clarify his position and the psychologist stated that the fact that Mr. Buck is Black created a greater likelihood of future dangerousness.  The jury found that Mr. Buck was a future danger and sentenced him to death.  Mr. Buck’s new counsel are now challenging his sentence on grounds of ineffective assistance of counsel, but have faced procedural hurdles.

The amicus brief recounts the history of the stereotype that Black people are unusually dangerous and how the narrative of Black dangerousness remains a part of our cultural view.  The brief also argues that when there are racial appeals in the criminal justice system, procedural hurdles should not be interpreted to prevent review.

 

To read the brief, click here.

Adkins v. Morgan Stanley (2015)

The Racial Justice Project filed an amicus curiae brief in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit with the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, the Damon J. Keith Center for Civil Rights at Wayne State Law School, and the  Michigan Welfare Rights Organization in the case of Adkins v. Morgan Stanley.  The litigation is an important case challenging the predatory lending practices of Morgan Stanley in Detroit, Michigan that contributed to the destruction of Black communities in Detroit.

To read the brief, click here.

Fisher v. The University of Texas at Austin (2015)

The NYLS Racial Justice Project filed an amicus curiae brief in the United States Supreme Court in the case of Fisher v. The University of Texas at Austin.  The case is a challenge to UT Austin’s consideration of race as one factor of one component of its admissions program.  One of the appellant’s primary arguments is that UT Austin should be foreclosed from considering race as part of its individualized, holistic review of candidates and instead rely solely on the Texas Top Ten Percent Plan to achieve a racially and ethnically diverse class.  The Racial Justice Project’s brief takes on the Texas Top Percent Plan, arguing that the Top Ten Percent Plan is only relatively successful because it relies on extreme racial segregation in Texas’ public schools and that it fails to achieve intra-racial diversity which is a critical component of UT Austin’s compelling interest in achieving a “diverse” student body.

To read the brief, click here.

Texas Department of Housing & Community Affairs v. Inclusive Communities Project (2014)

The NYLS Racial Justice Project filed an amicus brief urging the United States Supreme Court to affirm the ruling of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit upholding the recognition of disparate impact claims under the Fair Housing Act.

To read the brief, click here.

Shelby County v. Holder (2013)

The NYLS Racial Justice Project filed an amicus brief on behalf of Congressman John Lewis in Shelby County v. Holder, a challenge to the constitutionality of Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, which will be argued before the U.S. Supreme Court in February. Read more about the case here.

To read the brief, click here.

Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin (2012)

The New York Law School Racial Justice Project filed an amicus curiae brief in Fisher v. The University of Texas at Austin, a case the U.S. Supreme Court will hear in October.  The case is a challenge to UT Austin’s consideration of race as a factor in undergraduate admissions and will be the first time the Court addresses affirmative action in higher education since Grutter v. Bollinger in 2003. Read more about the case here.

To read the brief, click here.

Hithon v. Tyson Foods (2010)

The New York Law School Racial Justice Project filed a brief in a case in the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals, Hithon v. Tyson Foods.  The brief was submitted on behalf of pioneers of the civil rights movement, including Hon. U.W. Clemon, Alabama’s first African-American federal judge;  Rev. Joseph E. Lowery, a founder and former president of the SCLC; Rev. Fred L. Shuttlesworth, a founder of SCLC; Rev. C.T. Vivian, Executive Staff for the SCLC; Dr. Wyatt Tee Walker, former Chief of Staff to Dr. King; the Hon. Andrew Young, former Executive Director of the SCLC, Mayor of Atlanta, Congressman, and Ambassador to the United Nations; and Rev. Robert S. Graetz, Jr., a leader of the Montgomery Bus Boycott. In Hithon v. Tyson Foods,  Mr. Hithon, an African-American man, claims that Tyson Foods discriminated against  him when it denied him a promotion.  Two Alabama juries found for Mr. Hithon and awarded him substantial damages.  The appeals court, however, reversed both juries. Mr. Hithon is now seeking to have the en banc court of appeals rehear the case.

To read the brief, click here.

Frank Ricci v. John Destefano (2009)

The New York Law School Racial Justice Project filed a brief in a case in the United States Second Circuit Court of Appeals in Frank Ricci v. John Destefano, in a case concerning racially motivated employment practices.

To read the brief, click here.