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Full-Text Articles in Law and Race

An "Unintended Consequence": Dred Scott Reinterpreted, Sam Erman Apr 2008

An "Unintended Consequence": Dred Scott Reinterpreted, Sam Erman

Michigan Law Review

Austin Allen's monograph marks the 150th anniversary of the decision in Dred Scott v. Sandford with a revisionist interpretation of that oft-examined case. Many scholars have portrayed the case as a proslavery decision that fanned sectional fires. After all, the Court held that blacks were not U.S. citizens and that Congress was impotent to bar slavery in U.S. territories. Allen, by contrast, understands the case primarily as a judicial attempt to rationalize federal commerce and slavery jurisprudences. Part I argues that this ambitious reinterpretation enriches, but does not topple, existing Dred Scott historiography. In the case of ...


From Pedagogical Sociology To Constitutional Adjudication: The Meaning Of Desegregation In Social Science Research And Law, Anne Richardson Oakes Jan 2008

From Pedagogical Sociology To Constitutional Adjudication: The Meaning Of Desegregation In Social Science Research And Law, Anne Richardson Oakes

Michigan Journal of Race and Law

In the United States following the case of Brown v. Board of Education (1954) federal judges with responsibility for public school desegregation but no expertise in education or schools management appointed experts from the social sciences to act as court advisors. In Boston, MA, educational sociologists helped Judge W. Arthur Garrity design a plan with educational enhancement at its heart, but the educational outcomes were marginalized by a desegregation jurisprudence conceptualized in terms of race rather than education. This Article explores the frustration of outcomes in Boston by reference to the differing conceptualizations of desegregation in law and social science ...


Let's Not Jump To Conclusions: Approaching Felon Disenfranchisement Challenges Under The Voting Rights Act, Thomas G. Varnum Jan 2008

Let's Not Jump To Conclusions: Approaching Felon Disenfranchisement Challenges Under The Voting Rights Act, Thomas G. Varnum

Michigan Journal of Race and Law

Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 invalidates voting qualifications that deny the right to vote on account of race or color. This Article confronts a split among the federal appellate courts concerning whether felons may rely on Section 2 when challenging felon disenfranchisement laws. The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals allows felon disenfranchisement challenges under Section 2; however, the Second and Eleventh Circuits foresee unconstitutional consequences and thus do not. After discussing the background of voting rights jurisprudence, history of felon disenfranchisement laws, and evolution of Section 2, this Article identifies the points of contention among the ...


Public Rights, Social Equality, And The Conceptual Roots Of The Plessy Challenge, Rebecca J. Scott Jan 2008

Public Rights, Social Equality, And The Conceptual Roots Of The Plessy Challenge, Rebecca J. Scott

Articles

This Article argues that the test case that gave rise to the 1896 decision in Plessy v. Ferguson is best understood as part of a wellestablished, cosmopolitan tradition of anticaste activism in Louisiana rather than as a quixotic effort that contradicted nineteenth-century ideas of the boundaries of citizens' rights. By drawing a dividing line between civil and political rights, on the one hand, and social rights, on the other, the Supreme Court construed challenges to segregation as claims to a "social equality" that was beyond the scope of judicially cognizable rights. The Louisiana constitutional convention of 1867-68, however, had defined ...