Immediately after the end of the Civil War, Congress drafted and pushed to ratify the 14th and 15th amendments to the Constitution, which were intended to guarantee African-Americans full equality under the law. But despite these amendments, Jim Crow laws quickly took hold of much of the nation, stripping African-Americans of such basic rights as serving on juries and voting without the penalty of a poll tax. What went wrong?
Legal historian Lawrence Goldstone has a theory. As he sees it, the very individuals believed to have been looking out for the Civil Rights of all — the sitting justices of the Supreme Court – were instrumental in stripping African Americans of equal rights.
Lawrence is the author of a new book called “Inherently Unequal: The Betrayal of Equal Rights by the Supreme Court, 1865-1903.” He joins us from Connecticut.