(1) The district court found that several provisions of the Alabama Constitution of 1901 were adopted for the purpose of limiting the imposition on whites of property taxes that would pay for the education of black public school students. The first question presented is: Do black public school children and their parents have standing to challenge the validity under the Equal Protection Clause of state constitutional provisions adopted for the purpose of limiting the imposition on whites of property taxes that would be used to educate black public school students?
(2) In 2004 the District Judge in Knight v. Alabama held that certain aspects of Amendments 325 and 373 to the Alabama Constitution were adopted for racially discriminatory reasons. In 2011 the District Judge in the instant case, applying different legal standards, concluded that the Amendments were enacted for a nondiscriminatory purpose. The second question presented is: Which district judge applied the correct constitutional standard?
(3) The district court in the instant case found that prior to 1971 real property in Alabama was assessed far below its fair market value, and that the "primar[y]" reason for those low assessments was to protect white landowners from paying property taxes that would be used to educate black public school students. After 1971 Alabama adopted two constitutional amendments whose purpose, the court of appeals recognized, was to "entrench" those race-based pre-1971 assessments. The third question presented is: Is the Equal Protection Clause violated by a state constitutional amendment adopted for the purpose of entrenching pre-existing race-based property tax assessments?
Larry T. Menefee, Edward Still, Eric Schnapper, and James U. Blacksher, Petition for a Writ of Certiorari, Volume 1 of 2 (Petition with Appendix Pages 1a-563a). Lynch v. Alabama, 135 S. Ct. 53 (2014) (No. 13-1232), 2014 U.S. LEXIS 5672 (2014), https://digitalcommons.law.uw.edu/faculty-court-briefs/35