Abstract

The article looks at how social and cultural factors shape judicial decisions, with respect to the AIDS epidemic in the United States, with reference to the early years of the epidemic from 1983-1989. The temporal analysis of the opinions of AIDS related cases suggests the emergence of more than one AIDS case congregation, by the end of the 1980s among reported cases. The initial construction of AIDS as a gay disease mobilized gay activists, including gay rights litigators who saw up close the problems that White gay people with AIDS faced in the workplace, housing, and health care. The activists responded by forming alliances with other organizations, such as medical and public health organizations to press anti-discrimination claims. The decreasing significance of social advantage, as well as the increasing importance of the geographical location of the court, may both be a reflection of this well supported campaign at that time.

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