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Law Legal History

Reckoning with Racism

Police, Judges, and the RDS Case

by (author) Constance Backhouse

Publisher
UBC Press
Initial publish date
Oct 2022
Category
Legal History, Criminal Procedure, Discrimination & Race Relations
  • Paperback / softback

    ISBN
    9780774868273
    Publish Date
    Oct 2022
    List Price
    $27.95
  • eBook

    ISBN
    9780774868297
    Publish Date
    Oct 2022
    List Price
    $27.99
  • Hardback

    ISBN
    9780774868228
    Publish Date
    Oct 2022
    List Price
    $75.00

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Description

In 1994, a white police officer arrested a Black teenager, placed him in a choke hold, and charged him with assault and obstructing arrest. In acquitting the teen, Judge Corrine Sparks – Canada’s first Black female judge – remarked that police sometimes overreacted when dealing with non-white youth. The acquittal was appealed and ultimately upheld, but most of the white judges who reviewed the decision critiqued Sparks’s comments. Reckoning with Racism considers the RDS case, in which the Supreme Court of Canada fumbled over its first complaint of judicial racial bias. This is an enthralling account of the country’s most momentous race case.

About the author

Constance Backhouse is a professor of law, distinguished university professor, and university research chair at the University of Ottawa. She obtained her B.A. from the University of Manitoba (1972), her LL.B. from Osgoode Hall (1975), and her LL.M. from Harvard Law School (1979). She was called to the Ontario Bar in 1978. She teaches feminist law, criminal law, human rights, and labour law. She is the author of many award-winning legal history books, including Petticoats & Prejudice: Women and Law in Nineteenth-Century Canada (1991), Colour-Coded: A Legal History of Racism in Canadian Law, 1900–1950 (1999) and The Heiress vs. the Establishment: Mrs. Campbell's Campaign for Legal Justice (2004). She received the Law Society Medal in 1998 and an Honorary Doctorate from the Law Society of Upper Canada in 2002. She has served as an elected bencher of the Law Society from 2002. She became a fellow of the Royal Society of Canada in 2004.

Constance Backhouse's profile page

Other titles by Constance Backhouse