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. His several books include The Persistence of the Color Line: Racial Politics and the Obama Presidency.

Recent Articles

The Political Court

After a decade of court-packing, now is no time to pretend the courts are apolitical.

P resident Clinton will likely have the opportunity to fill several vacancies on the Supreme court. How should he go about doing it? Although the president should look to a variety of considerations, by far the most important is a prospect's substantive political commitments. By substantive political commitments, I mean a prospect's stance towards the central, inescapable, politically significant controversies of our time. In the 1850s, a presidnet should definitely have wanted to know where a prospect stood on the slavery question; in the 1930s, where a prospect stood on the New Deal; in the 1960s, where a prospect stood with respect to the civil rights revolution. Today President Clinton should aquire knowledge that will let him know in detail and with confidence where a prospective nominee stands on all of the most vexing issues that trouble our society including reproductive freedom, race relations, freedom of expression, and the status of religion in a secular society. To acquire...

Race, Liberalism, and Affirmative Action

In our Winter issue, Paul Starr argued that because the Supreme Court, with its changed membership, is now likely to overturn earlier decisions upholding affirmative action, liberals need to find "a new road to equal opportunity in America." He urged a two-pronged approach: policies to expand opportunity and security for low- to middle-income Americans of all races; and a program of institution-building in minority communities, including a new National Endowment for Black America, initially to be financed with private funds. Since views on this subject are so diverse and deeply held, we have invited responses from a number of writers representing different viewpoints. We asked them to address any or all of the following questions: (1) What do you see as the political future of affirmative action? (2) Are there other policies or approaches that you regard as feasible and as preferrable, acceptable, or necessary? (3) Does the United States owe black Americans distinctive obligations...