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"I Dissent!"


"I Dissent!"

The Dissenting Opinions of Justice Thurgood Marshall

by Wendy B. Scott, Linda S. Greene

Forthcoming 2014 ISBN: 978-1-59460-468-3

2014 Teacher's Manual forthcoming

Tags: Legal History

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When Associate Justice Thurgood Marshall retired from the United States Supreme Court in 1991, praise flowed for his distinctive judicial voice. Although the books and articles written about Justice Marshall acknowledge his willingness to dissent, there is no comprehensive study of Justice Marshall's dissenting opinions. This book fills that void by providing a systematic review of his dissents as well as critical commentary on their content.

In "I Dissent!", the authors explore the Marshall's "jurisprudence of dissent." He pursued dissent to advocate fair and just treatment of subordinated groups, to posit the connection between substantive rights and governmental rights and governmental power, and to write a counter narrative of the experience and oppression of minorities, the poor, and women. This book captures the essence of Marshall's jurisprudence, contrasts his positions with those of other justices, and persuasively argues that Marshall’s work presaged the development of Critical Race Theory.

Part I addresses Marshall's approach to the structural issues of separation of power and federalism. Part II delves into Marshall's dissents on issues of affirmative action, voting and education under the Fourteenth Amendment. Part III focuses on Marshall's fundamental rights jurisprudence. Part IV chronicles Marshall's criminal law and death penalty opinions. In the Epilogue, the authors explore Marshall's current influence on constitutional law and envision the content of constitutional democracy had Marshall's jurisprudence become the law of the land.


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