Publication Title

Harvard Civil Rights-Civil Liberties Law Review

Document Type



This Article suggests that the Court's current confusion derives in part from its failure to distinguish between two categories of discriminatory intent, which may be termed goal discrimination and means discrimination. Goal discrimination involves the invidious consideration of race in the selection of the objective which a government policy seeks to achieve. Means discrimination occurs when there is an invidious consideration of race in selecting or weighing the method to be used in achieving that objective. Both forms of discrimination fall within the equal protection clause's prohibition against discriminatory government action, but they involve different circumstances and thus must be proved in somewhat different ways. Recognition of the distinction between the two categories leads to a more objective method of analyzing evidence of intentional discrimination and contributes to a greater understanding of the meaning of the equal protection clause.



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