Saturday, December 7, 2013

DeFunis v. Odegaard case brief

DeFunis v. Odegaard case brief summary
416 U.S. 312 (1974)

The court had to consider whether petitioner student's case alleging discrimination in admission procedures by respondent law school was rendered moot by the fact that petitioner was in his final year of law school.

Petitioner student commenced action against respondent law school contending that the procedures and criteria employed by respondent invidiously discriminated against him on account of his race in violation of the Equal Protection Clause of U.S. Constitutional Amendment XIV. The trial court agreed with petitioner's claim and granted the requested relief of allowing petitioner to start law school.

  • On appeal, the judgment was reversed but by this time petitioner was in his second year at law school. Upon consideration, the court reversed the judgment of the court and remanded. 
  • The court found that the controversy between the parties had clearly ceased to be "definite and concrete" and no longer touched the legal relations of parties having adverse legal interests because the petitioner would have completed his law school studies at the end of the term for which he was registered regardless of any decision the court reached on the merits of the litigation. 
  • The court found that it cold not, consistently with the limitations of U.S. Constitutional art. III, consider the substantive constitutional issues tendered by the parties.

The court vacated an order that found that respondent law school's admissions procedures were not unconstitutional in petitioner student's case because the case had been rendered moot when petitioner was scheduled to complete his law studies regardless of the decision of the court.

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