In the mid-20th century, the Warren Court revolutionized constitutional law by nationalizing norms of rights and equality. From Brown v. Board of Education to Miranda v. Arizona to Roe v. Wade, the U.S. Supreme Court invited those seeking to promote rights and equality to litigate in the federal courts. But, following changes in the composition of the Court in later decades, the tide has turned.
The Roberts Court has shown a willingness to water down or eliminate rights in some areas and seems likely to continue the trend of lowering the federal constitutional floor. Litigators who explore the alternative of going to the states confront the expense of litigating issues fifty times instead of one, among other challenges.
This symposium assessed how organizations whose mission is to promote rights and equality have responded to these challenges. It will compare the strategies that have led to successor failure in different areas, such as the death penalty, reproductive freedom, LGBT rights, eminent domain, and school equity, and considered how well national and local organizations have adapted to decentralization.