(Er)race-Ing an Ethic of Justice

By Alfieri, Anthony V. | Stanford Law Review, April 1999 | Go to article overview

(Er)race-Ing an Ethic of Justice


Alfieri, Anthony V., Stanford Law Review


INTRODUCTION

For several years, I have pursued a project devoted to the study of race, lawyers, and ethics in the American criminal justice system. Building on the evolving jurisprudence of Critical Race Theory,(1) the project spans a series of case studies investigating the rhetoric of race, or race-talk, in the prosecution and defense of racially motivated violence. The first work of the series examines the rhetoric of race in cases of black-on-white racially motivated violence, highlighting the self-subordinating, racialized defense of Damian Williams and Henry Watson on charges of beating Reginald Denny and others during the 1992 South Central Los Angeles riots.(2) The next work inspects racial rhetoric in cases of white-on-black racially incited violence, extrapolating other-subordinating, racialized defense strategies from the criminal and civil trials of the United Klans of America and several Ku Klux Klan members in the 1981 lynching of Michael Donald in Mobile, Alabama.(3) A third work analyzes the discursive and symbolic meaning of race in double trials involving successive state criminal and federal civil rights prosecutions, citing the trials of Lemrick Nelson and Charles Price arising out of four days of interracial violence in the Crown Heights section of' Brooklyn, New York in 1991.(4) A forthcoming work explores the federal criminal prosecution of five white New York City police officers on charges of physically and sexually assaulting Abner Louima, a young Haitian immigrant, at a Brooklyn station house in 1997.(5)

The purpose of this ongoing project is to understand the meaning of racial identity, racialized narrative, and race-neutral representation in law, lawyering, and ethics. To that end, the case studies serve as a means to develop working hypotheses regarding the sociolegal experience of subordination: specifically, the subordinating discourse and imagery of race trials, the nature of client and community harm caused by such subordination, the color-coded partisanship of purportedly race-neutral ethics regimes that countenance such subordination, and the legitimacy of alternative race-conscious ethical regulation. The process of reworking these hypotheses, one hopes, will not only reveal the sociolegal structures of racial violence in American history, but also reconstruct dominant visions of racial dignity and community in American law.

The reconstructive nature of this project derives in part from the teachings of Critical Race Theory and the emerging voices of color in Asian-Pacific(6) and LatCrit scholarship.(7) Unlike traditional canons of colorblind or color-coded representation, the vision of practice underlying this growing jurisprudential movement implies an ethic of good lawyering based on a color-conscious, contextual approach to civil and criminal advocacy.(8) Still formative, the approach strives to accommodate the identity interests of client dignity and community integrity and, at the same time, to heed the injunction of effective representation.(9)

The centrality of context to this approach lends added significance to the celebrated publication of William Simon's The Practice of Justice: A Theory of Lawyers' Ethics. Together with the new wave quartet of Robert Gordon,(10) David Luban,(11) Deborah Rhode,(12) and David Wilkins,(13) Simon stands among the preeminent scholars in legal ethics, singular in his deft integration of critical theory into the study of the legal profession. Simon's trenchant critique of the profession and its jurisprudential underpinnings gives direction to second wave projects like the one at hand. Indeed, The Practice of Justice provides a normative framework for designing race-conscious, community-regarding duties of legal representation. Instead of simply rehearsing Simon's critique and casting objections against it, this essay endeavors to put Simon's book to work in the service of fashioning an ethic of representation in race cases. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

(Er)race-Ing an Ethic of Justice
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.