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Race Against the Court : The Supreme Court and Minorities in Contemporary America - Girardeau A. Spann

Race Against the Court

The Supreme Court and Minorities in Contemporary America

Paperback Published: 1st February 1994
ISBN: 9780814779934
Number Of Pages: 248

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"Must reading for anyone who seeks a better understanding of the U.S. Supreme Court's role in race relations policy."
--"Choice"

"Beware Those committed to the Supreme Court as the ultimate defender of minority rights should not read Race Against the Court. Through a systematic peeling away of antimajoritarian myth, Spann reveals why the measure of relief the Court grants victims of racial injustice is determined less by the character of harm suffered by blacks than the degree of disadvantage the relief sought will impose on whites. A truly pathbreaking work."
--Derrick Bell

As persuasive as it is bold. Race Against The Court stands as a necessary warning to a generation of progressives who have come to depend on the Supreme Court of the perils of such dependency. It joins with Bruce Ackerman's We, the People and John Brigham's Cult of the Court as the best in contemporary work on the Supreme Court.
--Austin Sarat, William Nelson, Cromwell Professor of Jurisprudence and Political Science, Amherst College

The controversies surrounding the nominations, confirmations, and rejections of recent Supreme Court justices, and the increasingly conservative nature of the Court, have focused attention on the Supreme Court as never before. Although the Supreme Court is commonly understood to be the guardian of minority rights against the tyranny of the majority, Race Against The Court argues that the Court has never successfully performed this function. Rather the actual function of the Court has been to perpetuate the subordination of racial minorities by operating as an undetected agent of majoritarian preferences in the political preferences. In this provocative, controversial, and timely work, Girardeau Spann illustrates how the selection process for Supreme Court justices ensures that they will share the political preferences of the elite majority that runs the nation. Customary safeguards that are designed to protect the judicial process from majoritarian predispositions, Spann contends, cannot successfully insulate judicial decisionmaking from the pervasive societal pressures that exist to discount racial minority interests.

The case most often cited as the icon of Court sensitivity to minority rights, Brown v. Board of Education, has more recently served to lull minorities into believing that efforts at political self-determination are futile, fostering a seductive dependence and overreliance on the Court as the caretaker of minority rights. Race Against The Court demonstrates how the Court has centralized the law of affirmative action in a way that stymies minority efforts for meaningful political and economic gain and how it has legitimated the legal status quo in a way that causes minorities never even to question the inevitability of their subordinate social status.

Spann contends that racial minorities would be better off seeking to advance their interests in the pluralist political process and proposes a novel strategy for minorities to pursue in order to extricate themselves from the seemingly inescapable grasp of Supreme Court protection. Certain to generate lively, heated debate, "Race Against The Court" exposes the veiled majoritarianism of the Supreme Court and the dangers of allowing the Court to formulate our national racial policy.

"Must reading for anyone who seeks a better understanding of the U.S. Supreme Court's role in race relations policy." --Choice"Beware! Those committed to the Supreme Court as the ultimate defender of minority rights should not read Race Against the Court. Through a systematic peeling away of antimajoritarian myth, Spann reveals why the measure of relief the Court grants victims of racial injustice is determined less by the character of harm suffered by blacks than the degree of disadvantage the relief sought will impose on whites. A truly pathbreaking work." --Derrick Bell "As persuasive as it is bold. Race Against The Court stands as a necessary warning to a generation of progressives who have come to depend on the Supreme Court of the perils of such dependency. It joins with Bruce Ackerman's We, the People and John Brigham's Cult of the Court as the best in contemporary work on the Supreme Court." --Austin Sarat, William Nelson,Cromwell Professor of Jurisprudence and Political Science, Amherst College

Acknowledgments
Introductionp. 1
Veiled Majoritarianism
The Traditional Model of Judicial Reviewp. 9
The Traditional Modelp. 10
Formal Safeguardsp. 14
Operational Safeguardsp. 17
The Majoritarian Courtp. 19
The Socialized Judiciaryp. 20
Inadequacy of the Formal Safeguardsp. 23
Inadequacy of the Operational Safeguardsp. 26
Infiltration of Principlesp. 27
Incorporation of Majoritarian Preferencesp. 27
Incorporation through Deferencep. 31
Selection of Principlesp. 36
Intent v. Effectsp. 37
State Action v. Private Autonomyp. 41
Discrimination v. Discretionp. 50
Application of Principlesp. 58
Intentp. 60
State Actionp. 66
Discriminationp. 70
Perpetuating Subordination
The Political Alternativep. 85
Pure Politicsp. 86
Minority Influence in Pluralist Politicsp. 89
Minority Frustrations in the Supreme Courtp. 94
A Political Model of the Supreme Courtp. 99
Dependencyp. 104
Brown and the Political Modelp. 105
The Danger of Dependencyp. 110
Centralizationp. 119
The Statistical Nature of Affirmative Actionp. 120
The Centralization of Affirmative Actionp. 124
The Concrete Dangers of Centralizationp. 130
The Subtle Dangers of Centralizationp. 136
Legitimationp. 150
Majoritarian Legitimationp. 151
The Danger of Legitimationp. 159
Summary and Conclusionp. 161
Summary of Part Ip. 162
Summary of Part IIp. 165
Conclusionp. 169
Notesp. 173
Bibliographyp. 231
Table of Legal Authoritiesp. 245
Indexp. 253
Table of Contents provided by Blackwell. All Rights Reserved.

ISBN: 9780814779934
ISBN-10: 081477993X
Audience: General
Format: Paperback
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 248
Published: 1st February 1994
Publisher: New York University Press
Country of Publication: US
Dimensions (cm): 22.84 x 14.91  x 1.55
Weight (kg): 0.38