Lyle Denniston, the longest serving and most experienced journalist covering the United States Supreme Court, takes his theme of an inclusive and open society from the constitutional and cultural vision of the late Justice Lewis F. Powell, Jr. and then offers a detailed argument that America is forfeiting—or at least compromising—that vision in favor of a safer, more secure and more cramped society, at home and abroad. The Article, taken from a memorial lecture in Justice Powell’s honor at Washington and Lee University in April 2012, draws upon a variety of very different societal and legal developments that are found to have in common the movement of people and ideas to the margins or even out of sight. The analysis ranges from the treatment of individuals captured by the American military during the perceived “war on terrorism,” to the new xenophobic reaction to undocumented immigrants, to the expanded militarization of the American intelligence apparatus, to the narrowing of the supposedly open digital culture, to the new cultural ghettoization of the white-dominated American suburb, to the still rampant exclusion and discrimination against people of color and people of different sexual identities. Against the possible perception that Denniston has extolled only liberal or progressive values, he argues that people of all ideologies have much to lose if American society becomes further afraid of diversity, change, and openness.
Recommended CitationLyle Dennison, From Plyler v. Doe to Trayvon Martin: Toward Closing the Open Society, 69 Wash. & Lee L. Rev. 1799 (2012).
Available at: https://scholarlycommons.law.wlu.edu/wlulr/vol69/iss4/2