Jackson v. Birmingham Board of Edu.

By: Ethan Arnold

Summary of Case

Mr. Jackson was fired from being the girls basketball coach at Birmingham because of complaints about sexual discrimination. Mr Jackson’s complaints were about the unfair budget difference in the girls basketball teams and the boys basketball team. Because Mr. Jackson got unfairly fired, he filed suit stating that the school was violating Title IX. Title IX is defined as “a comprehensive federal law that prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in any federally funded education program or activity.”

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Decision of Court

Knowing that Title IX prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex, and that the school was giving the girls basketball team less funding than the boys, the court ruled in a 5-4 opinion that the Title IX did allow suits for retaliation for complaints about unlawful sex discrimination. So in result, Mr. Jackson was able to pursue his claim in court.

Dissenting Opinion

Justice Thomas wrote a lengthy dissenting opinion on the topic and stated that Title IX (if taken word for word) says that it only applies when on the basis of sexual discrimination in specific, and that alleging retaliation is not the same as complaining about sexual discrimination. Justice Thomas did not want to try and read in between the lines on Title IX, instead he chose to look at the plain language and interpret it as he pleased.

Significance of the Case

Jackson claimed, “Title IX gave him the right to sue - a ‘private right of action’ - because he suffered for reporting sex discrimination against others, despite the fact the he did not suffer from sex discrimination. The federal district court and appellate court ruled against Jackson.” Because Jackson won, this case determined whether a person who is retaliated against for complaining of sex discrimination in federally funded education programs may bring a lawsuit for damages under Title IX, the federal law banning sex discrimination in education.
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