Peace: The Color-blind Society
If there is a higher law background to our Constitution, as I have argued there surely is, there can be no principled distinction among persons on the basis of skin color. Since all persons of whatever race are endowed by their Creator with unalienable rights, nothing could be clearer. Yet, this straightforward proposition has been the source of continued strife in our nation's history.
At first, the expediency of forming a nation left the slavery question unresolved. It may well be that no single sovereign country would have emerged had the slavery question not been set aside, but the price of hiding the moral issue was the deadliest war in our history. As the Civil War subsided, the thirteenth, fourteenth, and fifteenth amendments sought to explicitly rectify the harm of creating two classes of persons. The thirteenth amendment abolished slavery, the fifteenth secured voting rights, and the fourteenth amendment grandly proclaimed that no state "shall deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws." No sooner had the words been written, however, than a new issue arose. To what extent could race be used not to harm, but to help, an individual? Disagreement over this notion of benevolent or benign racial classifications, or what is modernly referred to as affirmative action, continues to this day.
Matters of civil rights are delegated by statute and the Attorney General to the head of the civil rights division, a division staffed by close to two hundred lawyers. In this sense, the Office of Legal Counsel