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In 1964, the Congress of the United States took a bold step toward erasing discrimination in an important area. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 sought to end employment discrimination and provide equal opportunity in the job market. Without this statute, unprotected minorities and women could not expect to become full participants in the economic society of the United States. The purpose of this legislation was admirable, but the legislation was flawed in one respect. In an attempt to solve various ills with one statute, Congress violated the first amendment of the Constitution. The prohibition of discrimination based on religion, as set out in Title VII, is contrary to the establishment clause and possibly the free exercise clause of that amendment. A detailed review of both the first amendment and Title VII will indicate the nature of the defect.


Ronald W. Eades is an Assistant Professor, University of Louisville School of Law.

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