On the occasion of the fiftieth anniversary of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, this Essay examines the problem of private enforcement of Title VI. The Essay reviews the unduly constrained approach to private enforcement taken by courts in prominent decisions such as Regents of the University of California v. Bakke and Alexander v. Sandoval. Yet the Essay argues that to focus primarily on private court enforcement of Title VI will continue to relegate the provision to the margins of civil rights discourse, to make the provision appear largely as the “sleeping giant” of civil rights law. The practice of Title VI lawyering entails not just efforts to seek compliance in courts, but oversight, implementation, expansion, and elaboration of the provision in agencies and policy contexts, through which Title VI gains meaning and helps transform institutional practices.

 

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