Runyon v. McCrary
|Runyon v. McCrary|
Supreme Court of the United States
|Argued April 26, 1976
Decided June 25, 1976
|Full case name||Runyon, et ux., dba Bobbe's School v. McCrary, et al.|
|Citations||427 U.S. 160 (more)|
|Federal law prohibits private schools from discriminating on the basis of race.|
|Majority||Stewart, joined by Burger, Brennan, Marshall, Blackmun, Powell, Stevens|
|Dissent||White, joined by Rehnquist|
Runyon v. McCrary, 427 U.S. 160 (1976), was a case heard before the United States Supreme Court, which held that federal law prohibited private schools from discriminating on the basis of race. Dissenting Justice Byron White argued that the legislative history of 42 U.S.C. § 1981 (popularly known as the "Ku Klux Klan Act") indicated that the Act was not designed to prohibit private racial discrimination, but only state-sponsored racial discrimination (as had been held in the Civil Rights Cases of 1883).
White was concerned about the potential far-reaching impact of holding private racial discrimination illegal, which, if taken to its logical conclusion, might ban many varied forms of voluntary self-segregation, including social and advocacy groups that limited their membership to blacks.
Runyon's holding was severely limited by Patterson v. McLean Credit Union, 491 U.S. 164 (1989), which narrowly construed Section 1981 not to apply to any discrimination occurring after the making of a contract, such as racial harassment on the job (although the Patterson majority expressly claimed that they were not overruling Runyon). In turn, Patterson was legislatively overruled by the Civil Rights Act of 1991.
Coincidentally, this case involved two NFL players. Dissenting Justice Byron White had twice been the NFL Rushing champion. Also, the child who had been refused into the private preschool, Michael McCrary, would grow up to later win Super Bowl XXXV with the Baltimore Ravens. Both were All-Pro, and in 2000, McCrary won the "Whizzer" White NFL Man of the Year Award, named in honor of the Justice who had ruled against him in his case almost a quarter of a century earlier.
- List of United States Supreme Court cases, volume 427
- Jones v. Alfred H. Mayer Co., 392 U.S. 409 (1968)
- Michael McCrary
- Brown v. Board of Education (similar case, but involved public schools)
- See 427 U.S. 212 (White, J., dissenting): "Whether such conduct should be condoned or not, whites and blacks will undoubtedly choose to form a variety of associational relationships pursuant to contracts which exclude members of the other race. Social clubs, black and white, and associations designed to further the interests of blacks or whites are but two examples."
- Bogdanski, John A. (1977). "Section 1981 and the Thirteenth Amendment after Runyon v. McCrary. On the Doorsteps of Discriminatory Private Clubs". Stanford Law Review (Stanford Law Review, Vol. 29, No. 4) 29 (4): 747–793. doi:10.2307/1228260. JSTOR 1228260.
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