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date: 27 September 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter examines race as a contentious issue and a destabilizing influence on the U.S. Constitution. It begins with a review of the evolution of the Constitution from a document that protected racial discrimination to a document that prohibited it. It then considers Supreme Court interpretations of the Constitution that have typically reflected prevailing racial attitudes as well as its increased sensitivity to the civil rights of racial minorities. It also discusses slavery, constitutional amendments during Reconstruction, Jim Crow, minority voting rights, affirmative action, the equal protection clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, the Voting Rights Act, and the inclusion of minority districts in redistricting. Finally, the chapter explores various theories of constitutional interpretation, including originalism, process theories, moral theories, popular theories, and critical race theory.

Keywords: race, Constitution, racial discrimination, Supreme Court, civil rights, racial minorities, voting rights, affirmative action, equal protection, constitutional interpretation

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