Year of Graduation


Document Type



Political Science

Directing Professor

Ashleigh Breske


The purpose of this thesis is to explore the interpretation of the Equal Protection Clause by the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) and how this interpretation can become more intersectional for Black queer women. This question is explored within the scope of two theoretical frameworks: Derrick Bell’s theory of interest convergence and Kimberlé Crenshaw’s theory of intersectionality. This project examines whether any factors compel SCOTUS to be more intersectional in its approach to the Fourteenth Amendment. Simultaneously, this study also considers what social contexts make SCOTUS more likely to focus on the interests of the oppressor, a demographic the Supreme Court justices are often included in. Due to the nature of this research seeking the motivations and rationale of SCOTUS in their decision-making, I utilize a mixed methods explanatory sequential research design by conducting a discourse analysis and running chi-square significance testing. My discourse analysis includes an investigation of Supreme Court cases, the justices included in the decision-making of each case, and societal contexts at the time of each case. Although there is currently an abundance of literature in the legal world about making scrutiny more intersectional, my work contributes to this discourse by making the intersectionality specific to Black queer women, a population rendered invisible by the Supreme Court and lawmakers alike.