Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Morton v. Mancari case brief summary

Morton v. Mancari (1974) – Affirmative Action for Indians.

The issue is:

(1) whether the EEOA of 1972 repeals the preferences given to Indians in BIA jobs by the IRA of 1934, and
(2) whether the provision of IRA violates the 5th Amendment EPC.

Blackmun first rules that the EEOA did not repeal § 12 of IRA, and second rules that it neither violates the 5th Amendment because Indians are a political classification, not a racial one, and therefore the case only demands rational scrutiny (statute must be rationally tied to Congress’ unique obligation to the Indians).

Legislation that singles out Indians for special treatment is in a special category because of the historical relationship of the U.S. with the Indians and the Indian Commerce Clause.

Indians should have leadership role in the BIA as a part of self-government.
(1)     Alternative argument: find congressional authority in some other area of the Con’n, and say the preference is rooted in the trust obligation to tribes in general. Federal recognition/blood quantum requirements are just a way to draw the line as to who this trust duty applies to. Then cite Lone Wolf, which gives congress extremely broad authority provided they are acting within this trust duty.
(2)     This case is typically cited for a political gov to gov relationship so that accommodations may be legally made that would otherwise be unconstitutional.

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