MAJORITY VERSUS MINORITY: How the Supreme Court Reasons

 Tue, Apr 3 2018    7:00 pm – 9:00 pm    Central Library

“MAJORITY VERSUS MINORITY” is a free eight-week class offered as part of BPL’s Library School series taught by Norman Finkelstein.

The decisions of the U.S. Supreme Court have had a fateful impact on the lives of all Americans. The purpose of this course is to analyze how the Court reasons its various opinions. Is the decision based on facts and logic, judgment, or prejudice? We will examine not only the majority opinion but also the dissenting opinion(s). Among the cases we’ll consider are:

Plessy v. Ferguson, 1896 (upholding “separate but equal” segregation laws)

Korematsu v. United States, 1944 (upholding the internment of Japanese-Americans during World War II)

Brown v. Board of Education, 1954 (declaring segregation in public schools unconstitutional)

Miranda v. Arizona, 1966 (declaring that prisoners must be advised of their rights before police question them)

Loving v. Virginia, 1967 (declaring state laws that prohibit interracial marriage unconstitutional)

Roe v. Wade, 1973 (declaring women have a constitutional right to an abortion)

Regents of the University of California v. Bakke, 1978 (upholding the use of race as a factor in college admissions)

Bowers v. Hardwick (upholding laws that prohibit “homosexual sodomy”)

Texas v. Johnson, 1989 (upholding the right to burn the American flag)

Lawrence v. Texas, 2003 (declaring laws that prohibit sodomy unconstitutional)

Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, 2010 (declaring that corporations can spend unlimited amounts in elections)

Obergefell v. Hodges, 2015 (upholding same-sex marriage)

*Space will be limited to 20 students.

Norman Finkelstein received his doctorate in political theory in 1988 from the Princeton University Politics Department. He taught for two decades in the CUNY system, NYU and DePaul University (in Chicago). He has lectured on a broad range of subjects, and has written ten books that have been translated into more than 50 foreign editions. Finkelstein’s main fields of research and teaching are political theory, international law, and the Israel-Palestine conflict.