Civil Rights Attorney's Fees Award Act of 1976
The Civil Rights Attorney's Fees Award Act of 1976 is a law of the United States. It is often referred to as "Section 1988" (since the law is codified in 42 U.S.C. § 1988(b)). It allows a Federal court to award reasonable attorneys' fees to a prevailing party in certain civil rights cases.
The Act was designed to create an enforcement mechanism for the nation's civil rights laws without creating an enforcement bureaucracy.
The House of Representatives passed a bill entitled the "Public Expression of Religion Act" on September 26, 2006. Were this bill to become law, it would amend Section 1988 to disallow the awarding of attorneys' fees to prevailing parties in Establishment Clause cases.