Legal Studies Research Paper Series

(From Legal Scholarship Network: Legal Studies Research Paper Series, University of North Carolina RSS)

The Integration of UNC-Chapel Hill – Law School First

Donna L. Nixon
In June 1951, five African-Americans, Harvey Beech, James Lassiter, J. Kenneth Lee, Floyd McKissick, and James Robert Walker enrolled in classes at the law school at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (Carolina Law). Their enrollment and attendance at Carolina Law was the result of years of efforts to desegregate higher education in the U.S. The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) litigated case after case, building precedent for U.S. Supreme Court challenges to racial segregation, in education and in all areas of society. McKissick v. Carmichael, the 1951 case that removed the legal barrier to African-American admission to Carolina Law, was one of those cases.

This article builds upon the work of scholars like Charles Daye, Augustus M. Burns III, and Wendy Scott, who have chronicled the history of African-Americans at Carolina Law, and the work of numerous scholars who have chronicled other aspects of the struggle for racial equality. This work fills a space in the scholarship by telling the deeper story of how these men came to be the first, how their case fit into the context of a broader civil rights campaign, and how that experience shaped the young men’s lives and the lives of many others. It developed from my involvement in a project by the Kathrine R. Everett Law Library to build a digital collection of material recognizing the young men who integrated Carolina Law, and highlighting the legal battle that brought them to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC-Chapel Hill). The digital collection documents the events surrounding that history-making integration of Carolina Law, which was also the first integration of the entire UNC-Chapel Hill campus. The article outlines events before, during and after the young men’s groundbreaking attendance. It is gleaned from news accounts, university and organization archives, oral histories, scholarly writings, and documented interviews. It starts by setting the stage, outlining the background surrounding the young men’s enrollment. It then discusses challenges that they dealt with during and after their time at UNC-Chapel Hill, and some ways in which they and the people around them handled those challenges.

-March 1, 2019

Third-Party Burdens and Conscientious Objection to War

William P. Marshall
The oldest religious exemption from neutral laws is the excusal of religious conscientious objectors from combatant military service. As the oldest religious exemption, the exclusion of conscientious objectors from combatant military service has obvious implications for the contemporary debate regarding whether religious exemptions that impose third party burdens violate the establishment clause. Its relevance and importance, moreover, stand not only on its historical pedigree. The conscientious objector provision also offers the most dramatic example of the religious exemption/third-party burden dilemma. On the one side, there may be no greater intrusion on religious conscience than being required to kill. On the other, there may be no greater burden imposed on a third party than that created by excusing the conscientious objector from combatant military service because the burdens of military service then fall on the third party conscripted in the objector’s place. The third party then becomes the person potentially compelled to take the life of another—and, not incidentally, the person forced to risk his or her own life as well. The conscientious objector exemption example thus presents the religious exemption/third-party burden issue in a context where the stakes on both sides are at their highest. This Article accordingly reviews the history and the debates surrounding conscientious objection to war in order to determine what insights, if any, this account offers in relation to the religious exemption/third-party burden question.

-January 28, 2019

The Takings Doctrine and the Principle of Legality

Michael Louis Corrado
The prohibitions of the criminal law promise an arena within which we may pursue our lives pretty much free of the fear of being preyed upon by our less scrupulous neighbors; but that arena of freedom can be threatened by the intrusions that the state makes use of to enforce those very prohibitions. The limits that keep the state from overstepping its bounds, traditionally thought to be called for by the notions of moral responsibility and desert, are instead called for by the promise itself of personal freedom made by the criminal law. But beyond the limits on the state's use of force, and in the absence of responsibility and desert, fairness calls for some amount of compensation for those detainees whose liberty is sacrificed to safeguard the community.

-January 28, 2019

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