Shaare Tefila Congregation v. Cobb

481 U. S. 615

May 18, 1987

The Shaare Tefila synagogue was vandalized with anti-Semitic obscenities. The congregation attempted to bring a section 1982 racial discrimination claim, but faced the response that Jews were not a racial minority, and thus could not file such a claim. The Court ruled unanimously that Jews could be considered a race for section 1982 purposes. White wrote that the case was squarely controlled by the Court’s holding the same day in Al-Khazjari. The exact same analysis applied.

These two cases were unanimous for a reason. There really couldn’t be much argument based on the legislative history. Together, they illustrate how slippery the concept of race really is. While I accept that race is almost entirely a social construct (and a harmful one at that), the Jews ironically have a better claim than anyone else to actually being a true race. The scriptures testify over and over again that they are God’s separate and chosen people, blessed with His Word, protected by His hand, and beloved in His heart.


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