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Courts Can Use 'Animus' Lens To Determine Unconstitutional Bias

Matt H. Wade (CC BY-SA 3.0)
Wikimedia Commons http://bit.ly/2ubQjox

How do U.S. courts determine whether a law is biased? Law professor and author William Araiza puts forth this scenario:  

"If a town council denies a zoning permit for a group home for intellectually disabled persons because residents don’t want 'those kinds of people' in the neighborhood, the town’s decision is motivated by the public’s dislike of a particular group."

In constitutional law theory, this justification can be described as “animus.” The modern U.S. Supreme Court has used the idea as reasoning for why some policies are discriminatory in nature, and therefore, unconstitutional.

What role could the concept play in the future of American policy? Can animus be used as a means of legal protection for marginalized groups?

Guest: William D. Araiza, vice dean and professor at Brooklyn Law School and author of "Animus: A Short Introduction to Bias in the Law"

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Jan Ross Piedad Sakian is TPR’s News Operations Producer. In this role, she develops strategy on collaborative and digital initiatives for the station. Since 2016, Jan Ross has served in a coordinating capacity for TPR’s state and national partners, including The Texas Newsroom.