Brown, Black and the Persistence of Profiling

The 9/11 attack ended any hope of passing a bill to prevent racial profiling or an immigration law like Arizona's.

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Challenges to the Arizona law have already been filed and are likely to make their way up to the Supreme Court in the next year or two. Given the precarious balance of conservatives and centrists on the court--a balance unlikely to be changed in the short run by the addition of Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan--it's anybody's guess what will happen. The Arizona legislature's hasty adoption of modified language designed to blunt public reaction to the most egregious aspects of the bill, may also make it harder to make the case that the law is on its face unconstitutional.  But the unfinished business of Brown v. City of Oneonta will continue to come before the Supreme Court until the justices once and for all address the unconstitutionality of racial profiling, and uphold the right of people of color to walk boldly down the streets of New York, Oneonta and Phoenix.

Sherrilyn Ifill writes about the law for The Root. She teaches at the University of Maryland School of Law.

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