Municipal Administrative Constitutionalism: The New York City Commission on Human Rights, Foreign Policy, and the First Amendment

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Administrative constitutionalism has been defined as “regulatory agencies’ interpretation and implementation of constitutional law,” and has come to represent a wider variety of administrative behavior and statutory construction. A finer approach to administrative constitutionalism may reveal the constitutional characteristics of those individual administrators as they engage in administrative decsionmaking. This Article recounts the story of how the New York City Commission on Human Rights sued the New York Times for violating a municipal human rights law that targeted job ads within the city that “directly or indirectly” discriminated on the basis of race, and analyzes the actions of the Commission administrators and their legal, intellectual, and political motives behind the statutory challenge.

This particular case study of anti‐apartheid activism at a municipal commission describes the winners and losers in a fight over racial discrimination and demonstrates how the municipal commission context, and the presence of external groups, mattered.

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