June 8, 2011
Romero on Race and Place from Berman & Brown to Kelo & Parents Involved
Tom Romero (Denver) has posted Kelo, Parents and the Spatialization of Color (Blindness) in the Berman-Brown Metropolitan Heterotopia, 2008 Utah L. Rev 947 (2008). Here's the abstract:
The article uses the 1954 eminent domain and school integration decisions in Berman v. Parker and Brown v. Board of Education and the more recent Kelo v. New London and Parents Involved in Community Schools v. Seattle School District cases to examine the rise of the multiracial metropolis in the United States. By linking and concomitantly exploring the United States Supreme Court’s eminent domain and school desegregation decisions, the article offers a fundamentally new approach to understanding the consequence and import of these decisions in managing property and race relations in the contemporary United States.
Analytical emphasis on the period extending from Berman-Brown through the Kelo-Parents decisions is especially important for two reasons. First, this era dramatically perfected the ability of the state to define as well as manage property and race relations. A coherent vision of well-ordered and sufficiently contained metropolitan space - represented through eminent domain and other municipal land use powers as well as through school desegregation jurisprudence - both propelled and sustained this order. Second, and intricately related is the paradox of color-consciousness and color-blindness during this period. Particularly as the nation’s racial anxieties played themselves out on a global and increasingly multiracial scale through school integration battles, land use law and takings jurisprudence obscured the multicolor segregation taking place in many of the fastest growing metropolitan areas. Together, the novel effect of each of these landmark decisions put into question the viability of a de jure-de facto distinction that became sacrosanct in American constitutional law.
This article utilizes interdisciplinary methodology and resources to describe the manner by which legally enforced color lines on a local scale became paradoxically proscribed, yet essential to what I call the multi-racial heterotopia. As a consequence of scholars largely having failed to make the link between eminent domain and school integration jurisprudence in the construction of the modern metropolitan United States, the article makes a timely and important intervention to the combined analysis of these most recent Supreme Court cases.
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