1

In How To Get Away With Murder S04E13, a character says

In Washington v. Davis, your predecessors decided that even if a law has a discriminatory effect, it is unconstitutional if that was not its intended purpose.

Should this instead be any of the following:

  1. 'if a law has a discriminatory effect, it is unconstitutional even if that was not its intended purpose'

  2. 'even if a law has a discriminatory effect, it is constitutional if that was not its intended purpose' ?

3

Washington v. Davis held that if a law or other action (in this case, a Verbal Skill Test as part of D.C. police hiring practices) is not necessarily unconstitutional if it results in discriminatory outcome. In order to be actionable against the state, one must prove that the law was intended to discriminate from the creation of the law. Your quoted source is in fact wrong and your number 2 option is the correct summation of the quote.

Only laws that are purposefully discriminatory are unconstitutional.

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