From Jim Crow to Civil Rights: The Supreme Court and the Struggle for Racial Equality

From Jim Crow to Civil Rights: The Supreme Court and the Struggle for Racial Equality

Michael J. Klarman

Language: English

Pages: 672

ISBN: 0195310187

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

A monumental investigation of the Supreme Court's rulings on race, From Jim Crow To Civil Rights spells out in compelling detail the political and social context within which the Supreme Court Justices operate and the consequences of their decisions for American race relations. In a highly provocative interpretation of the decision's connection to the civil rights movement, Klarman argues that Brown was more important for mobilizing southern white opposition to racial change than for encouraging direct-action protest. Brown unquestioningly had a significant impact--it brought race issues to public attention and it mobilized supporters of the ruling. It also, however, energized the opposition. In this authoritative account of constitutional law concerning race, Michael Klarman details, in the richest and most thorough discussion to date, how and whether Supreme Court decisions do, in fact, matter.

















decades.20 Finally, Republicans in 1894 won one of the largest congressional victories in history and in 1896 the largest presidential victory in a quarter century. These were transitional elections. Some formerly contested northern states became secure Republican bastions, and a political equilibrium was established that remained largely undisturbed until the presidency of Franklin Roosevelt. Moreover, in the mid-1890s, Republicans proved competitive for the first time in border states such as

segregation, which lay near the top of the white supremacist hierarchy of preferences. Blacks, conversely, were often more interested in voting, ending police brutality, securing decent jobs, and receiving a fair share of public education funds than in desegregating grade schools. These partially inverse hierarchies of preference among whites and blacks opened space for political negotiation—to the extent that blacks had the power to compel whites to bargain. Brown mandated change in an area

litigants who challenged disfranchisement rarely could have met it. The Plessy-era justices never resolved this question regarding disfranchisement, though they shed some light on it in the analogous context of jury discrimination, where the standard they applied proved virtually impossible to satisfy.90 The Court’s failure to resolve the standard-of-proof question was not due to the absence of an appropriate case. In Giles v. Harris (1903), the plaintiff alleged race discrimination in the

Justice,” 395–96. 73. Kousser, Shaping of Southern Politics, 36, 99, 107–8, 153–54, 157; Wynes, Race Relations in Virginia, 41; DeSantis, Republicans Face the Southern Question, 191; Anderson, Race and Politics in North Carolina, 145; Cartwright, Triumph of Jim Crow, 95–97, 199–202, 216, 237; Cresswell, Multi-Party Politics in Mississippi, 215. 74. Crisis 2 (June 1911): 60; Kousser, Shaping of Southern Politics, 3, 39–40, 50, 99, 127, 147, 161–62, 174–75, 189–90, 203, 243, 246; Perman, Struggle

2000): 265–88. _____. “How Great Were the ‘Great’ Marshall Court Decisions?” Virginia Law Review 87 (Oct. 2001): 1111–84. _____. “Bush v. Gore through the Lens of Constitutional History.” California Law Review 89 (Dec. 2001): 1721–65. Knight, Jack, & Lee Epstein. “On the Struggle for Judicial Supremacy.” Law & Society Review 30, no. 1 (1996): 87–120. Korstad, Robert, & Nelson Lichtenstein. “Opportunities Found and Lost: Labor, Radicals, and the Early Civil Rights Movement.” Journal of

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