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Race, Racism, and American Law: Leading Cases and Materials, 2023

  • Derrick A. Bell
  • Cheryl I. Harris
  • Justin Hansford
  • Amna A. Akbar
  • Atiba Ellis
  • Audrey G. McFarlane
Series / Supplements
Teaching Materials

Intended for use with the authors’ forthcoming casebook, Race, Racism, and American Law, Seventh Edition (forthcoming 2024), Race, Racism, and American Law: Leading Cases and Materials includes significant historical and contemporary cases and materials edited with an aim to foreground the most relevant sections and passages to illustrate the crucial role of race in the formation of US law. This new edition of Derrick Bell’s groundbreaking textbook Race, Racism, and American Law, like prior versions, eschews a traditional casebook format. The locus of analysis in this text is the struggle for racial justice, and its underlying history and political context as reflected in the ongoing contestation over law, legal reform, and transformation. As such the supplement includes but is not limited to Supreme Court cases. We follow Bell’s model of locating all edited cases and materials in the supplement, reserving the book’s text to provide historical and political context for significant cases or legislative actions, along with hypothetical questions, comments, and other tools of analysis.

Professors and students will benefit from:

  • Both legal and non-legal primary source material.Leading Cases and Materials includes selected historical and contemporary cases, legislation, and other legal materials that foreground the crucial role of race and racism, and the struggle for racial justice, within and through US law.
  • A carefully selected compilation of United States Supreme Court Cases. Each case is chosen to guide readers through elements of US jurisprudence which reflect both reform and retrenchment of societal inequity as it relates to the question of race. Cases range from significant 18th century cases such as Johnson v. McIntosh (1823) (indigenous people cannot transfer full title to land) to contemporary civil rights decisions such as Brnovich v. Democratic National Committee (2021) (further limiting the reach of the Voting Rights Act) and Comcast v. National Association of African American Owned Media (2020) (limiting protections against racial discrimination in contracting).
  • Doctrinally and theoretically significant cases from lower federal courts and state courts. Cases from lower courts are selected to provide critical race insights into how judicial institutions outside the US Supreme Court shape doctrine and debates over race and racial inequality. Cases range from Acre v. Douglass (9th Cir. 2015) (ban on teaching of Mexican American studies found unconstitutional) to Lobato v. Taylor (Colo. 2003) (speculator attempts to divest Mexican American landowners with defective title derived from Mexico).
  • Significant legislative and executive legal documents. This supplement includes materials going beyond traditional edited cases, reflecting the insight that a critical race analysis necessitates a grasp of law beyond the courts. Additional materials range from the United States Department of Justice Investigation of the Ferguson Police Department (2015) to the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act of 2020.

Benefits for instructors and students:

  • Provokes discussion on contemporary and historical legal controversies cases and materials edited to address issues the lens of critical race theory’s conceptual framework
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Civil Rights / Race and the Law , Race and the Law
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