The Supreme Court under Chief Justice John Roberts has overturned government efforts to remedy America’s history of race discrimination and foster diversity. Among its most significant moves, the Court rejected public-school integration efforts in a 2007 case and curtailed protections of the Voting Rights Act in a 2013 dispute. Roberts took the lead in these cases, following a pattern set early in his professional life. His writings dating to the 1980s, in the Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush administrations, attest to his long-held views that the 1965 Voting Rights Act encroaches on state and local prerogatives; that affirmative action helps “inadequately prepared candidates”; and that government should only in limited fashion address housing bias. Roberts’ philosophy boils down to an adage he expressed in 2007: “The way to stop discrimination on the basis of race is to stop discriminating on the basis of race.” While the conservative chief justice has been flexible in other areas of the law, notably joining with liberals to uphold the Affordable Care Act, he is unyielding on race. Roberts has not wavered even as racial tensions in America have intensified and as fellow conservative Justice Anthony Kennedy has altered his views, for example, on college affirmative action and the anti-discrimination law in housing. Roberts’ consistency arises from his personal background and early experiences with conservative mentors in law and politics.
Talk: The Roberts Court and Race
Featuring Joan Biskupic
2016-2017 UCI Visiting Professor
Monday, February 6, 2017
12:30 - 2 p.m.
Social Ecology II, Room 2372
Please RSVP online by Wednesday, February 1, 2017.
For more information, please click here.