Randall Kennedy

Randall Kennedy has been a contributing editor of the Prospect since 1995. He is the Michael R. Klein Professor of Law at Harvard University and is completing a book on race relations and the Obama presidency.

Recent Articles

Contempt of Court

The U.S. Supreme Court's intervention into the presidential election was and is a scandal. Five right-wing justices used the flimsiest of pretexts to block the Florida vote recount. Chief Justice William Rehnquist and Company are typically unmoved by alleged Equal Protection Clause violations (except when the plaintiffs are whites charging so-called reverse discrimination). In George W. Bush et al. Petitioners v. Albert Gore, Jr., et al., however, they created a new right to uniform treatment in ballot counting.

Confirmation of Dishonesty:

The Senate confirmation hearings on the proposed appointment of John Ashcroft as attorney general offered little respite from a season of political bad news.

Is He a Soul Man?

On Black Support for Clinton

A large percentage of black Americans have supported President Bill Clinton with remarkable intensity in his darkest moment of political and legal peril. It is as if, in his vulnerability, he had become more attractive. "We are going to the wall for this President," Henry Louis (Skip) Gates, Jr., declared in August 1998 on Martha's Vineyard, at a ceremony mainly organized by luminaries of the black Establishment: folks such as Charles Ogletree, Christopher Edley, and Leon Higginbotham. In the months since then, black politicians—especially Democratic members of the House of Representatives like John Conyers, Maxine Waters, and Charles Rangel—have been among the most aggressively outspoken defenders of the President.

Orphans of Separatism: The Painful Politics of Transracial Adoption

Liberals' misguided efforts to respect race may harm children -- and deepen racial intolerance.

No issue more highlights feelings of ambivalence over the proper place of racial distinctions in American life than the delicate matter of transracial adoptions. Opponents of such adoptions insist that allowing white adults to raise black children is at worst tantamount to cultural genocide and at best a naive experiment doomed to failure. In most states, custom reflects and reinforces these beliefs; public policy, formally or informally, discourages cross-racial adoptions or foster placements, to the point where thousands of children are denied placement in loving homes.

The Political Court

After a decade of court-packing, now is not ime to pretend the courts are apolitical.