Marc Stein: Sotomayor v. Roberts: Race, Affirmative Action, and Impatience

When I teach students about the history of constitutional law, I usually focus on the substantive legal arguments in Supreme Court decisions, but sometimes I encourage my students to focus on the tone, the emotion, the affect. I try to show my students that this can help us understand what is really going on in these decisions and it can help us consider the underlying issues and the political stakes.

Marc Stein: Five Myths about Roe v. Wade

On 22 January 1973, the U.S. Supreme Court announced its decision in Roe v. Wade, the abortion rights case that culminated in one of the most controversial legal rulings in the country’s history. Forty years later, numerous myths continue to circulate about the contents and meanings of Roe. Here are five of the most significant.

Deirdre M. Moloney: State and local immigration policies affect U.S. foreign affairs

But there is another historically significant dimension to the decision that has received less media attention: ceding to states greater authority to regulate immigration would have represented a significant devolution in federal power.

Excerpt: National Insecurities, by Deirdre M. Moloney

Historically, race and gender have had the most significant impact on the creation of immigration policy and its outcomes; but those factors have always been intertwined with larger social concerns about foreign policy and national security, the economy, scientific and medical issues, morality, and attitudes about class, religion, and citizenship.

Video: Trailer for ‘Death Row,’ a film by Bruce Jackson and Diane Christian, included in their new book

View the trailer for the documentary film ‘Death Row,’ included in the new book by Bruce Jackson and Diane Christian called ‘In This Timeless Time: Living and Dying on Death Row in America.’

Interview: Bruce Jackson and Diane Christian discuss Death Row in America

What is the difference between life and death? It has nothing to do with the crime or the criminal. It has far more to do with local politics (does the prosecutor think he can get some political advantage going for death rather than life or a term of years?), money (can the accused afford a lawyer and investigators who will do the same kind of work the prosecutor gets done automatically?), the location (most death sentences are handed down and carried out in the south, but not uniformly; in Texas, for example, a preponderance of the death sentences come from just three counties). And, finally, it depends on the composition of the appellate courts the year a particular case comes up: some panels are sticklers for justice; some are sticklers for going by the current rules. Sometimes justice and the rules are incompatible, and in capital cases, lives hang in the balance.

Learn about and learn from Loving v Virginia

As a new documentary film about the Loving v. Virginia case appears, we look back to Fay Botham’s book for some of the religious and legal aspects of the case. Includes an excerpt from the book.

Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, 57 years ago today

Fifty-seven years have passed since the ruling in this monumental Supreme Court case that overturned Plessy v. Ferguson and found laws for “separate but equal” black schools and white schools to be unconstitutional. While this decision was a huge move in the right direction in the Civil Rights movement, it was met with resistance by …

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EPIC SALE TIME!!

It’s EPIC SALE TIME! Over 700 UNC Press books are on sale! Read more about the huge deals here.

Awards, Awards, and More Awards

We have lots of great news to share about many outstanding UNC Press books! Recently our authors have been showered with awards and prizes.

Marc Stein: Justice Kennedy and the Future of Same-Sex Marriage

We welcome a guest post from Marc Stein, author of Sexual Injustice: Supreme Court Decisions from Griswold to Roe.  Beyond examining liberal rulings that deal with birth control, abortion, interracial marriage, and obscenity, Sexual Injustice also offers an in-depth account of the profoundly conservative ruling on homosexuality in Boutilier. In a guest post last month, …

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Gay Rights and the Supreme Court: The Early Years

As the Supreme Court opens its 2010-2011 session today, we welcome a guest post from Marc Stein, author of Sexual Injustice: Supreme Court Decisions from Griswold to Roe. Focusing on six major Supreme Court cases, Sexual Injustice examines the more liberal rulings on birth control, abortion, interracial marriage, and obscenity in Griswold, Fanny Hill, Loving, …

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Highlights from First Amendment Day 2010

UNC celebrated its second annual First Amendment Day yesterday, and as predicted, it was an absolute smasheroo. The day began with the weather exercising its freedom of expression with sheets of rain, but only a few of the events were shifted inside before the drizzling tapered off. The events kicked off with a planting of …

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