Brown and Lawrence
Bruce Craig, December 2003
To the Editor:
Paul Moreno contends that the use of history in the Brown v. Board of Education bears no similarity to the Court's use of history in the Lawrence case. I beg to disagree. Read the court decision.
Certainly neither the Brown nor Lawrence cases were "decided" on the evidence presented by historians, but both cases resembled each other insofar as they made use of contextual background information provided by historians that helped frame the court's decision.
Moreno may hold the opinion that the Lawrence case is an example of "law office history" constituting "prostitution of scholarship for political ends" by "hack" historians, but I see nothing in the historians' brief that violates the canons of ethics as found in the AHA Statement of Standards of Professional Conduct. And I gather neither does he.
National Coalition for History