Washington v. Davis

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Washington v. Davis
Court Supreme Court of the United States
Date decided June 7, 1976


A verbal test was used in the hiring process of at the Washington, D.C. police department in the 1970s. While the verbal test was facially neutral, the outcome was that many African-American applicants couldn't pass the verbal test.

In the 1970s, the impact of the verbal tests was a police force that was 80% white while the general DC population was 30% white.

Davis (plaintiff) was an African-American man who was turned down in the hiring process by the DC police department.


A discriminatory impact isn't enough to violate the Equal Protection Clause.