Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Julius Chambers' Legacy for Civil Rights and Education

JuliusChambersJulius Chambers, a champion for civil rights and education, died August 2, 2013, at the age of 76. His enduring legacy includes his advocacy for civil rights and education in landmark civil rights  cases such as Swann v. Charlotte–Mecklenburg Bd. of Ed. From 1984 to 1993, Chambers was director of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund. Later he served as Chancellor of his alma mater, North Carolina Central, from 1993-2001. Like many leaders in the civil rights movement, Chambers' advocacy led to personal attacks, including his home and car being firebombed and his office being burned to the ground. Rev. William Barber, president of the North Carolina chapter of the NAACP, said in a statement Sunday that "[w]e can learn much from his low-key but militant approach to the duty of our generation – to complete the work of dismantling the structural and psychological racism that grips our society." Read more in the Charlotte News Observer and more about his landmark victory in Swann v. Charlotte–Mecklenburg Bd. of Ed., by Professor Dan Morrill's (UNC Charlotte) here.

Among Julius Chambers’ notable cases include his advocacy at the U.S. Supreme Court:

Swann v. Charlotte–Mecklenburg Bd. of Ed., 402 U.S. 1 (1971) (holding that where dual school system had been maintained by school district, federal district court had broad powers to order remedies such as busing).

City of Riverside v. Rivera, 477 U.S. 561 (1986) (holding that there was no requirement under Civil Rights Attorney's Fees Awards Act that attorneys' fees be proportionate to civil rights plaintiffs' damages).

Thornburg v. Gingles, 478 U.S. 30 (1986) (holding that the legacy of official discrimination, along with multimember districting scheme, impaired minority groups to elect candidates of their choice).

Patterson v. McLean Credit Union, 491 U.S. 164 (1989) (holding that employee bypassed for promotion in racial discrimination suit under 42 U.S.C. 1981 does not have to show that promoted coworkers had lesser qualifications).

Missouri v. Jenkins, 491 U.S. 274 (1989) (Eleventh Amendment did not prohibit enhancement of fee award under Civil Rights Attorney's Fees Awards Act to compensate for delay in payment; separate compensation award for legal assistants in accord with Act).

Board of Educ. of Oklahoma City v. Dowell, 498 U.S. 237 (1991) (holding that federal court may permanently dissolve an injunction when a school system has shown that it is "being operated in compliance with the Equal Protection Clause, and that it was unlikely that the Board would return to its former ways.").

Houston Lawyers' Ass'n v. Texas Attorney Gen., 501 U.S. 419 (1991) (holding that prohibition of § 2 of the Voting Rights Act against vote dilution applies to the election of trial judges).

Shaw v. Hunt, 517 U.S. 899 (1996) (holding that only voters who resided in a congressional district alleged to have been created by racial gerrymandering had standing to challenge the constitutionality of that district's creation and districting plan was not narrowly tailored to serve compelling state interest, thus violating the equal protection clause).

-ld

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