Fordham Law

Professor Randall Kennedy Delivers Lecture on Colorblind Constitutionalism

February 13, 2013

On February 5, Fordham Law hosted author and Harvard Law Professor Randall Kennedy as part of the Robert L. Levine Distinguished Lecture Series. In a speech entitled "Colorblind Constitutionalism," Professor Kennedy discussed the origins and implications of a neutral, deracialized interpretation of the Constitution.

The standing-room-only event was moderated by Professor Benjamin Zipursky. Professor Kennedy's lecture was followed by questions from the audience.

Kennedy began by introducing the concept of colorblind constitutionalism, which originated in Supreme Court Justice John Marshall Harlan’s famous Plessy v. Ferguson dissent. Kennedy went on to describe colorblind constitutionalism’s various attractions, before explaining why it should ultimately be rejected.

The lecture touched upon a broad range of themes, such as originalism, equal protection, civil rights, and affirmative action. Kennedy’s remarks highlighted topics from his forthcoming book, Fair Discrimination: Race, Law, and the Affirmative Action.

This event marks Kennedy’s second appearance as a speaker at the Levine Lecture. He was first invited to speak in 1999, and delivered a lecture on race relations law.

A transcript of the Levine Lecture will be published in Volume 82 of the Fordham Law Review in fall 2013.