University of Chicago Law Review

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When it comes to recognizing multiracial individuals under the Equal Protection Clause, courts have fallen short. Only rarely do courts explicitly identify multiracial plaintiffs as just that—multiracial. Instead, the majority of courts revert to a “one-drop” rule in which they view plaintiffs as only one part of their self-identified racial composition. In doing so, the unique identities and experiences of multiracial individuals remain unaddressed. This Comment builds off previous scholarship by arguing that courts can and should do better at recognizing multiracial plaintiffs in equal protection cases by using a “class-of-one” framework. Under that doctrine, the Supreme Court has held individuals that do not identify with some commonly recognized marginalized class may still assert discrimination claims as a class of one by alleging that they were treated differently from others similarly situated. Given our increasingly multiracial society, it is more important than ever that courts play this vital role in the country’s continued discussions about race by acknowledging the often-marginalized identities of multiracial individuals.

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