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Law and Race Commons

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Affirmative action

2002

Legal History

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Some Effects Of Identity-Based Social Movements On Constitutional Law In The Twentieth Century, William N. Eskridge Jr. Aug 2002

Some Effects Of Identity-Based Social Movements On Constitutional Law In The Twentieth Century, William N. Eskridge Jr.

Michigan Law Review

What motivated big changes in constitutional law doctrine during the twentieth century? Rarely did important constitutional doctrine or theory change because of formal amendments to the document's text, and rarer still because scholars or judges "discovered" new information about the Constitution's original meaning. Precedent and common law reasoning were the mechanisms by which changes occurred rather than their driving force. My thesis is that most twentieth century changes in the constitutional protection of individual rights were driven by or in response to the great identity-based social movements ("IBSMs") of the twentieth century. Race, sex, and sexual orientation were ...