Does this Federal Court’s ruling mean that Jews are “not white”? Shaare Tefila Congregation v. Cobb, 481 U.S. 615 (1987)
The U.S. Supreme Court held in a case where a synagogue was painted with anti-Semitic slogans and symbols, a lawsuit was filed in Federal District Court, alleging that the desecration violated 42 U.S.C. § 1982. The trial court dismissed petitioners’ claims, and the Court of Appeals affirmed, holding that discrimination against Jews is not racial discrimination under § 1982. This law was enacted as part of the 1866 Civil Rights Act. 42 USC §1982 provides: All citizens of the United States shall have the same right, in every State and Territory, as is enjoyed by white citizens thereof to inherit, purchase, lease, sell, hold, and convey real and personal property.
However, the U.S. Supreme Court reversed. It held that a charge of racial discrimination within the meaning of § 1982 cannot be made out by alleging only that the defendants were motivated by racial animus. It is also necessary to allege that that animus was directed toward the kind of group that Congress intended to protect when it passed the statute. P. 481 U. S. 617. The Court explained that Jews can state a § 1982 claim of racial discrimination, since they were among the peoples considered to be distinct races, and hence within the protection of the statute at the time it was passed. It doe snot matter that the defendants are also part of what today is considered the Caucasian race citing Saint Francis College v. Al-Khazraji, ante, p. 481 U. S. 604. Pp. 481 U. S. 617-618.
It is also worth reading a law review article on this case such as that by Racial Discrimination under 42 U.S.C. 1982_ Proof or Perceptions by Christopher E. Celichowski