Reflections and Legal Responses to Racial Subordination and Structural Marginalization

2020 was an unprecedented year. The United States was plagued by not only a pandemic but also the killing of George Floyd, Breonna Tayler, Daniel Prude, and others. These are just some of the names that are known. Recent acts of police brutality have sparked important conversations about structural inequality and exploitation of marginalized communities stemming from state-sanctioned violence. These issues have been at the center of attention for the media, citizens, and legal academia. Dean Kevin R. Johnson, Professor H. Timothy Lovelace, Jr., and Professor Bijal Shah contribute to this continuing dialogue.

Northwestern University Law Review Online is thrilled and honored to highlight these scholars and their contributions to this important topic as part of a collaborative symposium with other prominent journals around the country.


Kevin R. Johnson

Bringing Racial Justice to Immigration Law

Dean Kevin Johnson writes about the role of U.S. immigration law in exasperating the racial discrimination against immigrants, particularly immigrants of color. Drawing an analogy between discrimination against Chinese immigrants in the 1800s and Mexican and Latinx communities nearly 200 years later, Dean Johnson calls for more thoughtful and powerful actions from activists, courts, and legislatures.

Kevin R. Johnson is Dean of University of California, Davis, School of Law and Mabie-Apallas Professor of Public Interest Law and Chicanx Studies.

H. Timothy Lovelace, Jr.

Of Protest and Property: An Essay in Pursuit of Justice for Breonna Taylor

Professor Timothy Lovelace draws an analogy between the use of escalation tactics in the sit-in movement of the 1960s and in the contemporary Black Lives Matter Movement. He concludes by encouraging demonstrators to continue to use peaceful escalation tactics and calling for genuine, meaningful justice to ultimately reshape the concept of public safety.

H. Timothy Lovelace, Jr. is a Professor of Law and John Hope Franklin Scholar, Duke University School of Law.

Bijal Shah

Deploying the Internal Separation of Powers Against Racial Tyranny

Professor Bijal Shah first grounds the federal separation of powers in tyranny that is perpetuated by racialized hierarchy, violence, and injustice. She argues that recognizing the primacy of race-based tyranny reveals the way an unconstrained Executive has exacerbated the United States’ racialized power structure. Professor Shah suggests how each branch of government can empower agencies to reduce and prevent the Executive’s perpetuation of race-based tyranny.

Bijal Shah is an Associate Professor of Law, Arizona State University, Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law.