The Supreme Court decided to eviscerate a key civil rights protection. It created a new and tougher standard that will make it harder for people to sue over racial discrimination in employment and other contract negotiations. The decision was not a surprise, given the current ideological make-up of the Supreme Court. What was a surprise is that the court decided unanimously to crush this civil rights protection. The four liberal justices signed on to an opinion on civil rights that was written by Neil Gorsuch.
The 9-0 ruling came down in a case called Comcast v. National Association of African American–Owned Media. At issue is a contract dispute between cable giant Comcast and Entertainment Studios Network, which is owned by television producer and comedian Byron Allen. Allen, who is black, alleges that Comcast discriminated against him when it decided not to carry his network.
Allen sued under section 1981 of the Civil Rights Act of 1866. This Reconstruction-era law guarantees that all people have the same right to contract “as is enjoyed by white citizens.”