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Race, the Supreme Court, and the Judicial-Institutional Interest in Stability


Stuart Chinn


University of Oregon School of Law

November 6, 2010

Journal of Law (Law & Commentary), Vol. 1, p. 95, 2011

Abstract:     
For anyone interested in understanding the historical development of American constitutional law, one crucial issue that must be addressed are the various factors that have historically driven judicial behavior. In this Article, I aim to shed light on one set of influences upon judicial behavior that prevailing scholarship tends to underemphasize: the historically-embedded institutional interests of the judiciary itself. In particular, I focus on the Supreme Court's institutional interest in promoting stability. I argue that this judicial-institutional interest consistently emerges in the aftermath of transformative reforms that dismantle social hierarchy, and that it stems from both the unusual political context of post-reform periods and the Court's peculiar commitment to promoting legality values. Finally, I offer historical support for the theory by examining the post-Reconstruction and the post-Civil Rights Era race cases.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 90

Keywords: Constitutional History, Constitutional Law, Race, Stability, Reconstruction, Civil Rights Era, Institutional Interests, American Political Development

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Date posted: November 7, 2010 ; Last revised: June 18, 2011

Suggested Citation

Chinn, Stuart, Race, the Supreme Court, and the Judicial-Institutional Interest in Stability (November 6, 2010). Journal of Law (Law & Commentary), Vol. 1, p. 95, 2011. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1704136

Contact Information

Stuart Chinn (Contact Author)
University of Oregon School of Law ( email )
1515 Agate Street
Eugene, OR 97403
United States
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