Randall Kennedy

Randall Kennedy is the Michael R. Klein Professor of Law at Harvard Law School. His books include Nigger: The Strange Career of a Troublesome Word, The Persistence of the Colour Line: Racial Politics and the Obama Presidency and Say It Loud! On Race, Law, History and Culture.

Browbeating: Congress v. Harvard

Randall Kennedy, 25 January 2024

Theforced resignation of Harvard University’s president, Claudine Gay, on 2 January capped a ferocious and extremely effective campaign of intimidation and misrepresentation.

On 15 December 2022, Harvard announced that Gay would become its thirtieth president, the first black person to occupy the top post in the university’s nearly 400-year history. At the end of September...

The Race-Neutral Delusion

Randall Kennedy, 10 August 2023

On​ 29 June, in Students for Fair Admissions v. President and Fellows of Harvard College and the companion case Students for Fair Admissions v. University of North Carolina, the Supreme Court of the United States outlawed racial ‘affirmative action’ as it has been practised at institutions of higher education in America since the 1970s.

Affirmative action gives a boost to...

Cynical Realism: Supreme Court Biases

Randall Kennedy, 21 January 2021

TheSupreme Court of the United States settles disputes between the Congress, the presidency and the judiciary, determines the meaning of federal statutes, allocates authority between states and the federal government, and decides whether governments, state and federal, have encroached on rights in violation of the federal constitution, the supreme law of the land. It is the court which...

InMay 1987, as part of the festivities marking the 200th anniversary of the United States constitution, Thurgood Marshall, the first African American to sit on the US Supreme Court, delivered a hugely controversial speech. Noting the quasi-religious reverence in which the framers of the constitution are held in America, Marshall expressed some scepticism about routine proclamations of...

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