Resource: The Law Transmission System and the Southern Jurisprudence of Employment Discrimination

By: Alfred W. Blumrosen

January 1, 1984

This article uses the history of the nationwide steel industry consent decrees, entered in 1974 against nine of the 10 largest steel manufacturers, to assess law transmission. The abstract explains: During the past seven years, the Supreme Court has restricted the expansive reading given Title VII by the southern courts of appeals. Examining the social and legal context of this change, the author argues that the values underlying Title VII have been widely transmitted to employers and unions because of aggressive enforcement. The author traces this value transmission process from Congress through administrative agencies and the courts to the "voluntary acceptance" of nondiscrimination and affirmative action programs by major employers, and he analyzes substantial changes in the racial composition of the American work force. The apparent institutionalization of Title VII values suggests that some aspects of the southern jurisprudence, having successfully overcome the most entrenched forms of discrimination, may safely be modified without harm to the underlying goals of Title VII.