This chapter examines and explores the formal structure of judicial review in U.S. Supreme Court cases establishing the negative right prohibiting state-enforced racial discrimination codified in the Fourteenth Amendment Equal Protection clause. The fantasy of colorblindness in this doctrinal context is an admission of the limits of the justificatory logic of universal legal reason. Expanding on the abyssal form this limit takes, this chapter argues that colorblind judgment, like classic topographical conceptions of blindness in philosophic knowledge and aesthetic experience, both guards against and contains the excesses of desire, specifically “racial animus”, in law. The chapter further explores how the materiality of desire in legal judgment is also where a poetics of the plea takes the form of an enduring echo in constitutional law.
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