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University at Buffalo School of Law

Equal protection

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Facing The Ghost Of Cruikshank In Constitutional Law, Martha T. Mccluskey Jan 2015

Facing The Ghost Of Cruikshank In Constitutional Law, Martha T. Mccluskey

Journal Articles

For a symposium on Teaching Ferguson, this essay considers how the standard introductory constitutional law course evades the history of legal struggle against institutionalized anti-black violence. The traditional course emphasizes the drama of anti-majoritarian judicial expansion of substantive rights. Looming over the doctrines of equal protection and due process, the ghost of Lochner warns of dangers of judicial leadership in substantive constitutional change. This standard narrative tends to lower expectations for constitutional justice, emphasizing the virtues of judicial modesty and formalism.

By supplementing the ghost of Lochner with the ghost of comparably infamous and influential case, United States v. Cruikshank ...