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Blind Law and Powerless Science: The American Jewish Congress, the NAACP, and the Scientific Case against Discrimination, 1945-1950

Jackson, John (2000) Blind Law and Powerless Science: The American Jewish Congress, the NAACP, and the Scientific Case against Discrimination, 1945-1950. Isis 91:pp. 89-116.

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Abstract

This paper examines how the American Jewish Congress (AJC) designed a legal attack on discrimination based on social science. This campaign led to the creation in 1945 of two new AJC commissions, the Commission on Community Interrelations (CCI) and the Commission on Law and Social Action (CLSA). The AJC’s attack on discrimination highlights the difficulties and potentialities of using social science research in the law. On the one hand, the relationship between the two communities of law and social science was inherently unstable with constant conflicts over their mission, work styles, timetables, audiences, and standards for success. On the other hand, the AJC’s commissions generated new types of arguments and new types of evidence that were powerful tools against racial discrimination and eventually the key to toppling legal segregation. The paper concludes that while the processes by which lawyers and scientists produce their arguments are very different, the products of science can be very useful in the courtroom.

EPrint Type:Journal (Paginated)
Keywords:Racism, Kurt Lewin, Segregation, Antisemitism
Subjects:Chronology > 20th Century
Psychology > Race
History > Institutions
ID Code:216
Deposited By:Jackson, John
Deposited On:08 July 2004