During the past 20 years, the American politics of race has been characterized by fundamental disagreements over the legitimacy of racial preferences. I trace the development of these disagreements within the Supreme Court's jurisprudence of affirmative action. I argue that the content and endurance of the Court's ambiguous jurisprudence stems from the particular politics of constitutional adjudication. More specifically, I argue that the overarching task of the modern Court is to justify its actions against a baseline of interest-group politics. The uncertain logic of affirmative action creates a position for the Court within the group process, meeting the judicial challenge of self-justification even as it leaves the ultimate validity of racial preferences open to question.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Sociology and Political Science