Faculty Journal Articles and Book Chapters


This article explores a jurisprudential point: legal indeterminacy in the context of Mexican-American civil rights litigation. The article argues that because of legal uncertainty or indeterminacy the resolution of key issues was not inevitable. Judges often had discretion to reach their conclusions. In this regard, the article concludes that the courts generally exercised their discretion by taking a position on key issues against Mexican-Americans. The article points out that exposing the exercise of judicial discretion and the lack of inevitability in civil rights cases is important for two major reasons. At one level, exposing the exercise of judicial discretion is significant because it helps reveal the extent to which the courts have helped, or failed to help, establish the rights of Mexican-Americans. Thus, the article concludes that the courts could have done significantly more to help establish such rights.

Publication Title

U.C. Davis Law Review

Document Type



Mexican-Americans, Civil Rights, Legal Indeterminacy, Mexican-American Civil Rights Litigation, Discrimination, Race, Latinos, Critical Race Theory, Legal Pragmatism



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