22 Harv. C.R.-C.L. L. Rev. 323 (1987)
Looking to the Bottom: Critical Legal Studies and Reparations

handle is hein.journals/hcrcl22 and id is 329 raw text is: LOOKING TO THE BOTTOM: CRITICAL LEGAL
STUDIES AND REPARATIONS
Mari J. Matsuda*
Introduction
When you are on trial for conspiracy to overthrow the
government for teaching the deconstruction of law,1 your lawyer
will want black people on your jury.2 Why? Because black jurors
are more likely to understand what your lawyer will argue: that
people in power sometimes abuse law to achieve their own ends,
and that the prosecution's claim to neutral application of legal
principles is false.3 This article discusses the similar perspec-
tives and goals of people of color and critical legal scholars. It
also suggests that the failure of the two groups to develop an
alliance is tied to weaknesses of the Critical Legal Studies (CLS)
movement,
* Assistant Professor of Law, University of Hawaii, The William S. Richardson
School of Law. B.A. 1975, Arizona State University; J.D. 1980, University of Hawaii;
LL.M. 1983, Harvard University. The author thanks Williamson Chang, Richard Del-
gado, Amy Kastely, Maivan Lam, Martha Minow, Delfini Mondragon, Haunani Kay
Trask, John Van Dyke, Patricia Williams and Eric Yamamoto for reading and critiquing
drafts of this article, and the organizers and participants in the 1987 Critical Legal
Studies Conference at Los Angeles for their support.
Cf. Schiegel, Notes Toward an bitimate, Opinionated, and Affectionate History
of the Conference on Critical Legal Studies, 36 Stan. L. Rev. 391, 403 (1984) (quoting
Mark Tushnet, who said, when they find out what we are doing they will come after
us with guns); E. Schrecker, No Ivory Tower: McCarthyism and the Universities
(1986) (describing persecution of left academics during the McCarthy era). See, Frug,
McCarthyism and Critical Legal Studies, 22 Harv. C.R.-C.L. L. Rev. 665 (1986) (re-
viewing E. Schrecker, supra, and comparing McCarthyism to current attacks against
critical legal scholars).
2 See J. Van Dyke, Jury Selection Procedures: Our Uncertain Commitment to
Representative Panels 32-35, 171-91, 225-51, 375-81 (1977) (discussing the sensibilities
of black jurors). The prosecution in the political trial of scholar-activist Angela Davis
used its peremptory challenge to remove black jurors. B. Aptheker, The Morning
Breaks: The Trial of Angela Davis 173-84 (1975).
3 For example, the prosecution in Angela Davis' trial alleged that she had partici-
pated in a bizarre prison escape/murder conspiracy. Defending against the felony
charges, she and her attorneys educated the jury about the reality of government
oppression of blacks, and in particular blacks who are Communists. In her extended
two-hour opening statement to the jury, Davis spoke about her political activities in
the struggle for Black liberation and for the right of all working people-Chicano,
Puerto Rican, Indian, Asian and white. She also spoke of her anti-war and prison
rights activities, and the government spy campaign directed against her, contrasting her
highly visible political activities with the lack of evidence of criminal acts. The jury
acquitted her. B. Aptheker, supra note 2; A. Davis, Angela Davis, An Autobiography
(1974).

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