Veteran legal affairs reporter Bob Egelko has a piece in the San Francisco Chronicle about the California Supreme Court’s leading role in preserving white supremacy during the state’s early history. He writes that the court’s “rulings and the racial climate from which they arose are the subject of a state task force, the first of its kind in the nation, established to examine the history of slavery in California and consider reparations for African Americans, particularly those whose ancestors were slaves.” (See here and here.)

The article includes an interview with former Chief Justice Ronald George, who is quoted as saying that societal currents reflected in the court’s racist decisions are not just relics of the past: “It’s unfortunate to see much of that (attitude) emerge these days, xenophobia, especially when there’s an economic downturn.”

In addition to his long newspaper career, Egelko is a co-author of the court history, “Constitutional Governance and Judicial Power.”