William & Mary Bill of Rights Journal


Racially and sexually discriminatory private trusts are presumed to be valid under traditional common law governing dispositions of property. Most courts have held that if the state plays a "passive" role, only private actors are involved and the Fourteenth Amendment is not implicated The United States Supreme Court, however, has declared in one context that discriminatory charitable trusts violate public policy and are unconstitutional. This Note argues that because private trusts involve unlawful state action and are not purely private, courts have an affirmative obligation imposed by the Supreme Court and a moral responsibility because of well-established public policy against racial and sexual discrimination to invalidate discriminatory terms in private trusts.