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Palmore v. Sidoti

Significance, Interracial Adoption


Linda Sidoti Palmore


Anthony J. Sidoti

Petitioner's Claim

Depriving a parent of custody because the parent is involved with someone of another race violates the Fourteenth Amendment's Equal Protection Clause.

Chief Lawyer for Petitioner

Robert J. Shapiro

Chief Lawyer for Respondent

John E. Hawtrey

Justices for the Court

Harry A. Blackmun, William J. Brennan, Jr., Warren E. Burger (writing for the Court), Thurgood Marshall, Sandra Day O'Connor, Lewis F. Powell, Jr., William H. Rehnquist, John Paul Stevens, Byron R. White

Justices Dissenting



Washington, D.C.

Date of Decision

25 April 1984


Using race as a factor in awarding child custody violates the Fourteenth Amendment.

Related Cases

  • Buchanan v. Warley, 245 U.S. 60 (1917).
  • Loving v. Commonwealth of Virginia, 388 U.S. 1 (1967).


Lewin, Tamar. "New Families Redraw Racial Boundaries." The New York Times. 27 October 1998.

Further Readings

  • Barbash, Fred. "Supreme Court, 9-0, Bars Race from Rulings on Child Custody." The Washington Post, April 26, 1984, p. A3.
  • Forde-Mazrui, Kim. "Black Identity and Child Placement: The Best Interests of Black Biracial Children." Michigan Law Review, February 1994, p. 925.
  • Goldstein, Joseph, et al. The Best Interests of the Child. New York: The Free Press, 1996.

Additional topics

Law Library - American Law and Legal InformationNotable Trials and Court Cases - 1981 to 1988