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

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

90 Pages Posted: 7 Nov 2010 Last revised: 18 Jun 2011

Stuart Chinn

University of Oregon School of Law

Date Written: November 6, 2010

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.

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

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: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1704136

Stuart Chinn (Contact Author)

University of Oregon School of Law ( email )

1515 Agate Street
Eugene, OR Oregon 97403
United States

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