A Critical Legal Rhetoric Approach to 'In Re African-American Slave Descendants Litigation'

74 Pages Posted: 19 Apr 2008

See all articles by Lolita Buckner Inniss

Lolita Buckner Inniss

Southern Methodist University - Dedman School of Law

Date Written: 4/14/08

Abstract

In this paper I apply critical legal rhetoric to the judicial opinion rendered in response to the Defendants' Motion to Dismiss Plaintiffs' Second Amended and Consolidated Complaint in 'In Re African American Slave Descendants', a case concerning the efforts of a group of modern-day descendants of enslaved African-Americans to obtain redress for the harms of slavery. The chief methodological framework for performing critical legal rhetorical analysis comes from the work of Marouf Hasian, Jr. particularly his schema for analysis which he calls substantive units in critical legal rhetoric. Critical legal rhetoric is a potent tool for exposing the way in which the public ideologies of society and the private ideologies of jurists, legislators and other legal actors are manifested in legal and law-like pronouncements. After introducing this case, I briefly tracing the evolution and meaning of the term rhetoric and examine the relationship between rhetoric and law. I next explore the connection between rhetoric and ideology, which is crystallized in the form of the ideograph and its use as a tool of what is known as critical rhetoric. Finally, I show how critical legal rhetoric is achieved by bringing critical rhetoric to law, and thereafter apply critical legal rhetoric to the case of 'In Re African American Slave Descendants'.

Keywords: Rhetoric, critical legal rhetoric, African-Americans, reparations, ideology, constitution

Suggested Citation

Buckner Inniss, Lolita, A Critical Legal Rhetoric Approach to 'In Re African-American Slave Descendants Litigation' (4/14/08). Cleveland-Marshall Legal Studies Paper No. 8-155. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1120364 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1120364

Lolita Buckner Inniss (Contact Author)

Southern Methodist University - Dedman School of Law ( email )

P.O. Box 750116
Dallas, TX 75275
United States

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