Critical Error: Courts’ Refusal To Recognize Intentional Race Discrimination Findings as Constitutional Facts raises a novel double standard: while fact-specific trial court findings of actual malice are reviewed under the “independent judgment” standard (a wholesale re-weighting of the trial court record and decision) on appeal, intentional race discrimination findings are reviewed under the far more deferential Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 52 clear error standard. Both legal concepts are arrived at through assessing state-of-mind determinations; both directly trigger constitutional proscriptions. Only actual malice, however, is classified as a constitutional fact, thus taking it out of the more deferential standard of review.
Critical Error: Courts’ Refusal to Recognize Intentional Race Discrimination Findings as Constitutional Facts, 28 YALE L. & POL'Y REV. 1