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Washington v. Davis
United States Supreme Court
426 U.S. 229 (1976)
Davis (plaintiff) was an African American man who, along with another African American man, applied for admission to the Washington, D.C. police department. Both men were turned down and brought suit in federal district court against Washington (defendant), the mayor of Washington, D.C., alleging that the police department used racially discriminatory hiring practices by administering a verbal skills test (Test 21) disproportionately failed by African Americans. The district court held for Washington, but the court of appeals reversed on the grounds that Test 21 was unconstitutional because of its disproportionate impact on African Americans, regardless of whether the police department’s motive was to use the test to discriminate against a particular race. The United States Supreme Court granted certiorari.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (White, J.)
Concurrence (Stevens, J.)
Dissent (Brennan, J.)
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