One Small Step for Courts, One Giant Leap for Group Rights: Accommodating the Associational Role of "Intimate" Government Entities

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African-Americans and Native Americans are detached from mainstream American society. As individuals, they suffer from this detachment; no less damaging is the suffering, of society caused by the loss of individuals from a democracy that depends on the "civic virtue" and participation of its members. In this Article, Professor Kevin Worthen argues that African-American and Native American youth would benefit greatly from access to "intimate associations' groups that instill a sense of belonging and societal values. Certain governmental entities-in the case of African-Americans, the inner-city public schools, and, in the case of Native Americans, the tribe-could fill this associational role if allowed to by the courts. Professor Worthen believes that, with only a slight rethinking of existing doctrines, the constitutional protection already afforded private associations logically can extend to such governmental intimate associations. This 'mall step" by the judiciary would allow public schools and tribes to form associations that may exclude some, but will fill the associational void for others and benefit both individuals and society by helping prepare the "Native Sons" to live productive lives.


N.C. L. Rev.

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North Carolina Law Review