Equal Protection By Law: Federal Antidiscrimination Legislation After Morrison and Kimel

Reva B. Siegel, Yale Law School
Robert C. Post, Yale Law School


Last Term, the Supreme Court sent ominous signals about the future of federal antidiscrimination law. The Court twice ruled that Congress lacked power under Section 5 of the Fourteenth Amendment to enact laws prohibiting discrimination. In Kimel v. Florida Board of Regents, the Court concluded that Section 5 did not give Congress the power to abrogate state Eleventh Amendment immunity for suits under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967, and in United States v. Morrison, the Court held that Congress was without power under either the Commerce Clause or Section 5 to enact a provision of the Violence Against Women Act of 1994 (VAWA) creating a federal civil remedy for victims of gender-motivated violence.