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"Constructing Reality: Social Science and Race Cases" was the keynote address for the 2004 Northern Illinois University Law Review Symposium on the future of affirmative action after the Michigan affirmative action case known as Grutter v. Bollinger. The essay looks at the use of social science in the amicus briefs before the Supreme Court in that case. The author points out that social sciences were used in almost all the amicus briefs to either attack or defend affirmative action. This insight leads the author to argue that, because judges bring their understandings of the world into their decision making, lawyers for social justice must understand how to shape public opinion outside the courtroom. A perspective that first appears in a brief will not influence a judge whose world view is not already open to the information presented. Accordingly, lawyers for social justice must understand collective memory and how it is shaped as much as any other social science technique if they are to construct the arguments that change history to the extent that they are deserving of a law review symposium.

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Northern Illinois University Law Review

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Beverly I. Moran, Constructing Reality: Social Science and Race Cases, 25 N. Ill. U. L. Rev. 243 (2005).

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