This course examines Congressional and Supreme Court responses during the 19th and 20th centuries to the interrelated social, economic and legal issues posed by America’s multi-racial society, focusing especially on African Americans and public education. The course examines the post-Civil War constitutional and statutory regime of Reconstruction, looks briefly at the treatment of Native American, Latino and Asian immigrants, turns to the legal campaign that led to Brown v. Board of Education in 1954, and then traces successes and failures of the post-Brown constitutional litigation effort in the field of public education. Next, it briefly reviews the Supreme Court's approach to property rights in the latter 19th and early 20th centuries. It then examines the federal executive, legislative and judicial responses to the widespread poverty at the turn of the 20th century and during the Great Depression of the 1930s. It then turns to the organized "law reform" effort to create constitutional protections for poor people in the late 1960s. In the latter days of the course, race and poverty themes are conjoined in an examination of the plight of the minority poor from the perspective of several academic disciplines beyond law. Finally, the course poses question whether constitutional doctrine will or should influence future public policy on issues of race and poverty.
Recommended: Constitutional Law