United States Supreme Court
490 U.S. 755 (1989)
A group of black firefighters filed a class action lawsuit against the City of Birmingham and the Jefferson County Personnel Board (the City) (defendants). The black firefighters alleged that the City had engaged in racially discriminatory hiring and promotion practices in public service jobs in violation of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The City entered into a consent decree, which set requirements for hiring and promoting black firefighters, to settle the suit. A group of white firefighters (plaintiffs) then sued the City, arguing that they were denied promotions in favor of less qualified black firefighters because of the racially discriminatory consent decree. The City asserted that the consent decree precluded the plaintiffs’ lawsuit. Thus, the City moved to dismiss the reverse discrimination suit, arguing it was an impermissible collateral attack. The district court granted the motion. The Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals reversed, holding that the plaintiffs’ claims could not be precluded by the consent decrees because they were not parties to the previous action. The United States Supreme Court granted certiorari.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Rehnquist, J.)
Dissent (Stevens, J.)
What to do next…
Unlock this case brief with a free (no-commitment) trial membership of Quimbee.
You’ll be in good company: Quimbee is one of the most widely used and trusted sites for law students, serving more than 97,000 law students since 2011. Some law schools—such as Yale, Vanderbilt, Berkeley, and the University of Illinois—even subscribe directly to Quimbee for all their law students. Read our student testimonials.
Learn more about Quimbee’s unique (and proven) approach to achieving great grades at law school.
Quimbee is a company hell-bent on one thing: helping you get an “A” in every course you take in law school, so you can graduate at the top of your class and get a high-paying law job. We’re not just a study aid for law students; we’re the study aid for law students. Read more about Quimbee.
Here's why 220,000 law students have relied on our case briefs:
- Written by law professors and practitioners, not other law students. 14,100 briefs, keyed to 189 casebooks. Top-notch customer support.
- The right amount of information, includes the facts, issues, rule of law, holding and reasoning, and any concurrences and dissents.
- Access in your classes, works on your mobile and tablet. Massive library of related video lessons and high quality multiple-choice questions.
- Easy to use, uniform format for every case brief. Written in plain English, not in legalese. Our briefs summarize and simplify; they don’t just repeat the court’s language.