Format: Research paper, 12pt Times New Roman font, 1” Margins, Double Spaced, 6-10pp.
Five months before his death, on June 19, 1963, President Kennedy called for civil rights legislation in a message to Congress to which he attached a proposed bill. His message stated the purpose of the proposed bill was, in part, [T]o promote the general welfare by eliminating discrimination based on race, color, religion, or national origin . . . through the exercise by Congress of the powers conferred upon it . . . to enforce the provisions of the fourteenth and fifteenth amendments to regulate commerce among the several States, and to make laws necessary and proper to execute the powers conferred upon it by the Constitution. Following President Kennedy’s assassination, President Johnson was able to see through the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which is comprised of eleven titles, each covering a different area of protection. Notably, Title II outlaws discrimination in public accommodations (generally defined as facilities, both public and private, used by the public), while Title VII does the same with regard to employment. In Title II, prohibited discrimination is defined as that based on race, color, or national origin, while Title VII also protects against discrimination based on sex or religion. Additional legislation has been passed by Congress that expands the scope of the Act’s protections, while numerous Executive Orders have also been signed to similar effect. Additionally, there exists a patchwork of state, county, and city-level protections across the United States that go beyond these federal protections. Yet, absent from congressional legislation is a clear prohibition against discrimination based on sexual orientation. Thus, while a gay person in Providence, Rhode Island, would almost certainly have legal recourse against their employer for sexual orientation discrimination, that same man would have no obvious legal remedies if he were denied a hotel room in Fayetteville, Arkansas, due to his sexuality. Further complicating the matter, two recent Supreme Court cases, Obergefell v. Hodges and Masterpiece Cakeshop, Ltd. v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission have seemingly expanded the legal footing of LGBT Americans, by recognizing a fundamental right to marry a partner of the same sex, while potentially validating a right of businesses to discriminate against them, by finding that a cake shop owner’s refusal to make a cake for a same-sex marriage was— given the narrow factual circumstances of the case—constitutionally permissible. 7 Unlike most developed nations, the default assumption in American law is that employers and businesses have broad latitude to make choices regarding whom they hire, fire, rent to, and serve. Of course, as has already been shown, this discretion, to an extent, is limited by an array of antidiscrimination protections that seek to regulate private businesses and other entities that operate in the public and semi-public spheres in order to promote certain desirable policy goals. Your task for this research paper is to answer the following questions: Is there a right to engage in public life—through employment and access to services—without discrimination? Why or why not? To what extent and which classes of people should be entitled to that right, however you have it defined? How would you place it in relation to the rights of a business/business owner? Focus your research on legal and policy sources. Your paper should provide an overview and interpretation of the legal foundation for why/why not and to what extent such a right exists, your opinion—supported by evidence—for whether the current American approach to antidiscrimination laws is correct, with particular focus on the rights of LGBT Americans, and how/what you would or would not change in the legal reasoning provided by the courts and legislatures for extending or not extending the scope of protections. Be creative, be thorough, and—most importantly—back up your argument with research and evidence! Please note that formatting is very important in the legal profession. As such, I am a stickler for students following instructions and proper formatting. Your paper must be typed in size twelve font, Times New Roman, double spaced, with one-inch margins. Please also include a title page and bibliography (which will not count in your overall page requirement). However, since there is not time in this course to teach proper legal citation—known as Bluebooking—you may use any form of your choice, i.e., Chicago, APA, MLA, etc., so long as you do so consistently.
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