United States v. Morrison, 529 U.S. 598, 7 (2000)

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604

UNITED STATES v. MORRISON

Opinion of the Court

newspaper that Morrison would be returning to Virginia Tech for the fall 1995 semester, she dropped out of the university.

In December 1995, Brzonkala sued Morrison, Crawford, and Virginia Tech in the United States District Court for the Western District of Virginia. Her complaint alleged that Morrison's and Crawford's attack violated 13981 and that Virginia Tech's handling of her complaint violated Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, 86 Stat. 373-375, 20 U. S. C. 1681-1688. Morrison and Crawford moved to dismiss this complaint on the grounds that it failed to state a claim and that 13981's civil remedy is unconstitutional. The United States, petitioner in No. 99-5, intervened to defend 13981's constitutionality.

The District Court dismissed Brzonkala's Title IX claims against Virginia Tech for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted. See Brzonkala v. Virginia Polytechnic and State Univ., 935 F. Supp. 772 (WD Va. 1996). It then held that Brzonkala's complaint stated a claim against Morrison and Crawford under 13981, but dismissed the complaint because it concluded that Congress lacked authority to enact the section under either the Commerce Clause or 5 of the Fourteenth Amendment. Brzonkala v. Virginia Polytechnic and State Univ., 935 F. Supp. 779 (WD Va. 1996).

A divided panel of the Court of Appeals reversed the District Court, reinstating Brzonkala's 13981 claim and her Title IX hostile environment claim.1 Brzonkala v. Virginia Polytechnic and State Univ., 132 F. 3d 949 (CA4 1997). The full Court of Appeals vacated the panel's opinion and reheard the case en banc. The en banc court then issued an opinion affirming the District Court's conclusion that Brzonkala stated a claim under 13981 because her complaint alleged a crime of violence and the allegations of Morrison's crude and derogatory statements regarding his

1 The panel affirmed the dismissal of Brzonkala's Title IX disparate treatment claim. See 132 F. 3d, at 961-962.

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