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September 26 - A True History of Public Accommodation Law


A rainbow hand holding the scales of justice
UNM Law Professor Series: A True History of Public Accommodation Law

Date: Thursday September 26, 2024
Time: Noon - 1 p.m.
Credits: 1.0 EIJ

Professor González will summarize the history of public accommodation law in the United States, contrast the recent approaches of the U.S. and New Mexico Supreme Courts, and answer questions regarding the state of public accommodation law.

In 303 Creative LLC v. Elenis , 600 U.S. 570 (2023), the Supreme Court of the United States created a Free Speech exception to the public accommodation provision of the Colorado Anti-Discrimination Act. While lower courts will deliberate on the contours of this exception in the coming years, the Court’s opinion in 303 Creative presents a major development—troubling to many—in the centurial history of public accommodation law in the United States.

In the same year, however, New Mexico courts charted a different course. In Johnson v. Board of Education for Albuquerque Public Schools , 2023-NMCA-069, 535 P.3d 687, the New Mexico Court of Appeals interpreted the public accommodation provision of the New Mexico Human Rights Act of 1969 (NMHRA), as amended, NMSA 1978, § 28-1-2(H), in a case involving egregious acts of anti-Indian racism enacted by an AP English teacher on Halloween 2018, and held “that Cibola High School, a secondary public school, is a public accommodation under the NMHRA[.]” Earlier this year, on April 29, 2024, the New Mexico Supreme Court heard oral argument in Johnson, S. Ct. No. S-1-SC-39961, and it seems clear that the justices are ready to affirm the Court of Appeals conclusion that Cibola High School is a public accommodation under the NMHRA (even prior to its substantial amendment in 2022). What is unclear at present is how the New Mexico Supreme Court will explain this conclusion, particularly in light of the relevant precedents, particularly Human Rights Comm’n of N.M. v. Bd. of Regents of Univ. of N.M. Coll. of Nursing , 1981-NMSC-026, 95 N.M. 576, 624 P.2d 518.


Marc-Tizoc González is a Professor of Law at the University of New Mexico, where he teaches Property; Wills and Trusts; Ethics; Intellectual Property; Latinas, Latinos, and the Law; and Food Justice, Law, and Policy. He is a coauthor of Richard Delgado et al., Latinos and the Law: Cases and Materials (West Academic Publishing, 2d ed. 2021) and has written numerous articles, book chapters, and essays, and several amicus curiae briefs for federal and state appellate courts, including Johnson v. Board of Education for Albuquerque Public Schools, the latest New Mexico public accommodations case. Much of Professor González’s scholarship critiques and theorizes how constitutional jurisprudence, civil rights statutes, and property law affect people who are hungry, impoverished, or otherwise socially marginalized. He also writes “critical ethnic legal histories” about lawyers, especially those with racialized ethnic identities, who try to promote sociolegal justice and protect the rule of law over authority. Professor González is a longtime director and officer of Latina and Latino Critical Legal Theory, Inc. (LatCrit), chair-elect of the Association of American Law Schools Section on Critical Theories, and a member of the New Mexico State Advisory Committee to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights. Email him at, and learn more at

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This program is available online only.  Accessing through a desktop or laptop is required; accessing via iPads or mobile devices with Internet capabilities is not recommended.

September 26, 2024
Thu 12:00 PM MDT

Duration 1H 0M

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