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Washington v. Davis

United States Supreme Court
426 U.S. 229 (1976)


Facts

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

The rule of law is the black letter law upon which the court rested its decision. To access this section, start your 7-day free trial of Quimbee for Law Students.

Issue

The issue section includes the dispositive legal issue in the case phrased as a question. To access this section, start your 7-day free trial of Quimbee for Law Students.

Holding and Reasoning (White, J.)

The holding and reasoning section includes:

  • A “yes” or “no” answer to the question framed in the issue section;
  • A summary of the majority or plurality opinion, using the CREAC method; and
  • The procedural disposition (e.g. reversed and remanded, affirmed, etc.).

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Concurrence (Stevens, J.)

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Dissent (Brennan, J.)

The dissent section is for members only and includes a summary of the dissenting judge or justice’s opinion. To access this section, start your 7-day free trial of Quimbee for Law Students.