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The U.S. Supreme Court and Racial Minorities

Two Centuries of Judicial Review on Trial Leslie F. Goldstein, Judge Hugh M. Morris Professor Emerita, University of Delaware, US
The U.S. Supreme Court and Racial Minorities offers an in-depth, chronologically arranged look at the record of the U.S. Supreme Court on racial minorities over the course of its first two centuries. It does not pose the anachronistic standard, “Did the Supreme Court get it right?” but rather, “How did the Supreme Court compare to other branches of the federal government at the time?” Have these Justices, prevented against removal from office by discontented voters (in contrast to the President and the members of Congress), done any better than the elected branches of government at protecting racial minorities in America?
Extent: 480 pp
Hardback Price: $165.00 Web: $148.50
Publication Date: 2017
ISBN: 978 1 78643 882 9
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  • Law - Academic
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The U.S. Supreme Court and Racial Minorities offers an in-depth, chronologically arranged look at the record of the U.S. Supreme Court on racial minorities over the course of its first two centuries. It does not pose the anachronistic standard, “Did the Supreme Court get it right?” but rather, “How did the Supreme Court compare to other branches of the federal government at the time?” Have these Justices, prevented against removal from office by discontented voters (in contrast to the President and the members of Congress), done any better than the elected branches of government at protecting racial minorities in America?

Goldstein examines treatment of four racial minorities (Indians, Blacks, Asians, and Hispanics) in this investigation of the life-tenured Supreme Court’s comparative willingness to protect racial minorities. She finds that judicial review, while no panacea, did help America's racial minorities: when the Court was willing to help, it was particularly willing to act to check state-level oppressive policies and federal-level administrative abuses. She also documents the Supreme Court's leadership role on the civil rights of Black Americans from 1911-1989.

This book will be a critical resource not only for scholars of political science and law, but for anyone interested in the history of the treatment of racial minorities by the U.S. government and the value of judicial review as a protector of minority rights.
‘Juxtaposing a comprehensive survey of the Supreme Court’s cases dealing with racial minorities – African Americans, Indians, Asian Americans, and Hispanic Americans – to an overview of how Congress and the President dealt with those minorities, Leslie Goldstein asks the right question: Compared to the other branches, how protective has the Court been? This is an important work for scholars and others interested in the Supreme Court and the history of race in the United States.’
– Mark Tushnet, Harvard Law School, US

‘This is a remarkable book, and essential reading for anyone who cares about how civil rights are defined and protected in America. It carefully situates the Supreme Court in its political and historical environment, and in doing so serves as an important reminder of the significance of politics in keeping our constitutional system functioning.’
– Keith E. Whittington, Princeton University, US
Contents: 1. Minority Rights Up Through the Marshall Court, 1789-1835 2. Minority Rights in the Taney Years (1836-64) 3. Civil War and Reconstruction 4. After Reconstruction 5. The White and Taft Courts, 1911-30 6. A New “Racial” Minority: Hispanics, 1800-1992 7. Branch Variation in Rights Leadership, 1930 to Late Twentieth Century 8. Overview and Conclusions Index