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The Fear of Too Much Justice: Race, Poverty, and the Persistence of Inequality in the Criminal Courts 

On Thursday, July 27 at 7pm ET, join former SCHR President and Senior Attorney Stephen Bright with co-author and SCHR Board member and former chair James Kwak at the Jimmy Carter Presidential Library for a conversation about their new book The Fear of Too Much Justice, a “timely and trenchant look at how the criminal legal system fails to live up to the ideals of equality and justice,” moderated by longtime AJC Legal Affairs Reporter and Breakdown podcast host Bill Rankin. More information here

The Fear of Too Much Justice is a “virtual roadmap of the mistakes we continue to make, and the remedies that are obvious once you see them on the page.” The title comes from Justice William Brennan’s legendary dissent in the 1987 US Supreme Court ruling in McCleskey v Kemp, in which “the majority declined to deal with the blatant racial biases that exist in capital punishment on grounds that they would then have to face up to similar disparities in all other areas of the legal system.” 

At our June 28 event, held at the offices of Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton LLP, moderator and former SCHR attorney Tamara Serwer read a passage from the book: “A just criminal legal system takes into account the many factors that make a person more likely to commit a crime: poverty, racism, neglect, abuse, witnessing violence, post-traumatic stress disorder, serious mental disorders… and the inability of prosecutors, judges, or juries to predict who that person will be in the future.” 

Steve Bright, Tamara Serwer Caldas and James Kwak pose after their panel discussion June 28.

Introducing the panel of longtime SCHR family, Executive Director Terrica Ganzy remarked that it was “so special for us… to have Stephen Bright, former President & Senior Counsel at SCHR, imploring us to lean into love and commitment as we fight injustice as beneficiaries of his greatness.” 

We look forward to seeing friends and supporters at the Carter Center July 27, and to continuing the conversation about why we must overcome The Fear of Too Much Justice

Steve Bright and James Kwak sign copies of The Fear of Too Much Justice at our June 28 event.