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Cambridge University Press
Online publication date:
October 2022
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Book description

Post-Racial Constitutionalism and the Roberts Court: Rhetorical Neutrality and the Perpetuation of Inequality provides the first comprehensive Critical Race Theory critique of the United States Supreme Court under Chief Justice John Roberts. Since being named to the Court in 2005, Chief Justice Roberts has maintained a position of neutrality in his opinions on race. By dissecting neutrality and how it functions as a unifying feature in all the Court's race jurisprudence, this book illustrates the consequences of this ostensible impartiality. By examining the Court's racial jurisprudence dating back to the Reconstruction, the book shows how the Court has actively rationalized systemic oppression through neutral rhetoric and the elevation of process-based decisional values, which are rooted in democratic myths of inclusivity and openness. Timely and trenchant, the book illustrates the permanence of racism and how neutrality must be rejected to achieve true empowerment and substantive equality.


‘Professor Cedric Powell has synthesized the Court’s race cases into a wonderfully lucid theory that explains how we have arrived at an age where a Chief Justice can blithely declare, without irony, that the ‘way to stop discrimination on the basis of race is to stop discriminating on the basis of race.’ Powell’s brilliant book provides insight about where we likely will go in the next decades, teaching us that we are naive to believe that the Court will be an ally in the struggle for racial justice.’

Khiara M. Bridges - Professor of Law, UC Berkeley School of Law

‘Professor Powell’s Post-Racial Constitutionalism is a uniquely valuable resource for anyone seeking to understand Critical Race Theory and its application to both constitutional history and doctrine. As Professor Powell puts it, ‘When it comes to acknowledging the salience of race as an organizing principle of subordination in American society the Court has always been post-racial.’’

Ross E. Davies - Professor of Law, George Mason University Antonin Scalia Law School

'Powell's work is powerful for laying a historical foundation and using examples to show how that foundation has impacted jurisprudential thought. Post-Racial Constitutionalism and the Roberts Court is recommended for all readers interested in criminology, law, sociology, criminal justice, and history. Researchers can quickly see that there simply is not another book quite like this, making Powell’s work groundbreaking. … Highly recommended.'

A. R. S. Lorenz Source: Choice

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