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Boston University School of Law




Our barely functioning Congress seems to embody the issues that this conference on constitutional dysfunction is meant to address. At this moment, however, congressional disarray may result less from institutional design than from our lasting heritage of white supremacy. Republican control of the House owes much to the party's Southern Strategy, which has exploited widespread dissatisfaction with the Democrats' official renunciation of racial stratification. That challenge to the American Way is exacerbated by the idea, outrageous to some, of a black President. That context has some bearing on this Symposium's topic of federalism. For, as Professor Larry Yackle reminds us, "states' rights" have most significantly been invoked in order to defend the Old South's brutally oppressive and exploitative system of racial subordination. I return to this topic.

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