Wygant v. Jackson Board of Education Lisa Marie Amabile EDU 361 Professor Chamblin
Background • In 1972, The Board of Education and the teachers union in Jackson, Michigan added a “layoff provision” to their collective bargaining agreement that would protect employees who were members of certain minority groups against layoffs. • Collective bargaining • In 1974, when layoffs became necessary, the tenured teachers were kept and probationary minority teachers were laid off, they believed that this resulted in a violation to the 14th amendment and Civil Rights Act of 1964 ( Brown v. Board of Education)
The District Court upheld the constitutionality of the layoff. Stated that these layoffs were permissible. The Court of Appeals affirmed. Later a petition for certiorari to the United States Supreme Court. Certiorari - a writ issuing from a superior court calling up the record of a proceeding in an inferior court for review. The argument was that they were laid off because of their race. Violation the 14th amendment which is Equal Protection Clause and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Background
Case of Wendy Wygant • Schools then laid off some non-minority teachers while keeping other minority teachers with less seniority, Wendy Wygant, a displaced non-minority teachers, challenge the layoff in district court. • The displaced non-minority teachers sued in federal court, alleging the violation of the 14th amendment. • The District Court dismissed the teachers’ claims, holding that racial preferences were permissible as an attempt to remedy societal discrimination by providing role models for minority schoolchildren. • The U.S Court of Appeals affirmed
Case of Wendy Wygant • The United States Supreme Court reversed the decision. They believed the importance of this case was serious. • Certiorari • Other judgments: Justice O’Connor, Justice White, Justice Marshall, Justice Stevens.
Case of Wendy Wygant • In a 5 to 4 decision, the Court argued that Wygant’s layoff stemmed from race and that it did violate the Equal Protection Clause. • Affirmative Action • In Brown v. Board of Ed they rejected the racial preferences because it had to be based on prior discrimination.
Final Decision • The Wygant decision imposed a higher burden on government to justify affirmative actions programs, especially when white employees are laid off in order to kept minority employees. • Wygant won in her favor. But she raised more questions that it answered. Her case was and open question.
References • www.law.cornell.edu/supct/html/.../USSC_CR_0476_0267_ZS.html • www.enotes.com/wygant-v-jackson-board-education.../wygant-v-jackson-board-education • www.pbs.org/beyondbrown/brownpdfs/wygantjackson.pdf • legaldictionary.thefreedictionary.com/Wygant+v.+Jackson+Board+of+Education