Document Type


Publication Date



Charles L. Black Jr. has been one of the most important constitutional scholars in the United States for more than four decades. Professor Black's writings have helped shape the debate in a wide variety of constitutional areas, from racial equality and welfare rights to constitutional amendment, impeachment, and the death penalty. In this essay, Levine briefly surveys a number of Professor Black's articles, focusing on two areas of his scholarship: unnamed human rights and racial justice. By analyzing these two topics, which represent, respectively, Black's most recent scholarship and his most significant early work, Levine attempts to show certain principles and themes that have permeated Black's writings throughout his academic career. Levine concludes this essay by stating that Black has dedicated his scholarship to realizing concretely the goals of the Constitution. To that end, Black has consistently rejected any logic based on abstract models that ignore reality and thereby foster hypocrisy and dishonesty. Black's method of constitutional analysis requires an independence of thought based on a firm commitment to the ideals embodied by the Constitution, coupled with careful observation of the actual society in which the Constitution must function.

Source Publication

28 Seton Hall L. Rev. 142