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Download Like a Loaded Weapon: The Rehnquist Court, Indian Rights, by Robert A. Williams Jr PDF

By Robert A. Williams Jr

Robert A. Williams Jr. boldly exposes the continuing criminal strength of the racist language directed at Indians in American society. Fueled by means of famous unfavourable racial stereotypes of Indian savagery and cultural inferiority, this language, Williams contends, has functioned “like a loaded weapon” within the very best Court’s Indian legislation decisions. Beginning with leader Justice John Marshall’s foundational evaluations within the early 19th century and carrying on with this day within the judgments of the Rehnquist courtroom, Williams exhibits how undeniably racist language and precedent are nonetheless utilized in Indian legislations to justify the denial of significant rights of estate, self-government, and cultural survival to Indians. development at the insights of Malcolm X, Thurgood Marshall, and Frantz Fanon, Williams argues that racist language has been hired via the courts to legalize a uniquely American kind of racial dictatorship over Indian tribes by means of the U.S. government. Williams concludes with a innovative inspiration for reimagining the rights of yankee Indians in foreign legislations, in addition to recommendations for compelling the present ultimate courtroom to confront the racist origins of Indian legislation and for tough bigoted methods of speaking, pondering, and writing approximately American Indians. Robert A. Williams Jr. is professor of legislation and American Indian reviews on the James E. Rogers collage of legislations, collage of Arizona. A member of the Lumbee Indian Tribe, he's writer of the yankee Indian in Western felony inspiration: The Discourses of Conquest and coauthor of Federal Indian legislation.

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Additional info for Like a Loaded Weapon: The Rehnquist Court, Indian Rights, and the Legal History of Racism in America (Indigenous Americas)

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The history of the civil rights movement for blacks, for example, quite clearly teaches us that one does not successfully advocate for a historically oppressed minority group’s rights by writing legal briefs or legal treatises showing the justices how to get the racist principles and doctrines of the past to work better in protecting minority rights in the present-day United States. I believe that one of the most important lessons taught by Brown and its legacy is that the justices must be continuously confronted with the pernicious, persistent, and continuing effects of a long- established language of racism in America.

59 Removing this form of legal sanction by repudiating the precedents that perpetuate racist language in the Supreme Court’s Indian law opinions INTRODUCTION | is a fi rst critical step that must be taken on the long hard trail of bringing about a major racial paradigm shift in the way the Supreme Court approaches its job of protecting the basic human rights of Indians in America. Any approach that ignores this step, I believe, is ultimately going to be the real waste of time. My focus on the important lessons that can be learned from landmark civil rights cases like Brown concerning the need for a less parochial, more intensively engaged approach to the study of the legal history of racism in America requires me to address what I fear will be another form of mischaracterization of my argument.

Interestingly enough, Taney’s opinion for the Court in Dred Scott gives the impression that Taney himself felt very much the same way at the time he handed down his decision in 1856. The Founders’ anachronistic eighteenth- century views on “the African race,” Taney explained in Dred Scott, made him do it. “It is difficult at this day to realize the state of public opinion in relation to that unfortunate race, which prevailed in the civilized and enlightened portions of the world at the time of the Declaration of Independence, and when the Constitution of the United States was framed and adopted,” Taney wrote.

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