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This contribution to the Constance Baker Motley Symposium examines the future of civil rights reform at a time in which longstanding limitations of the antidiscrimination law framework, as well as newer pressures such as the rise of economic populism, are placing stress on the traditional antidiscrimination project. This Essay explores the openings that nevertheless remain in public law for confronting persistent forms of exclusion and makes the case for greater pluralism in equality law frameworks. In particular, this Essay examines innovations that widen the range of regulatory levers for promoting inclusion, such as competitive grants, tax incentives, contests for labor agreements and licenses, requirements attached to land-use development, and scoring systems for public contracts that reward entities for pursuing equity goals. Relying on these types of regulatory incentives and levers expands the mechanisms typically employed to advance integration and equity and builds on tools available not just at the federal level but also at the state and local level. Even in the present political environment, this Essay argues there is utility in advancing new regulatory regimes that move beyond the formalist, liberalist assumptions of traditional civil rights regimes and that seek to link questions of identity inclusion to economic inequality and the distribution of public goods.


Civil Rights and Discrimination | Law | Public Law and Legal Theory