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In this hardhitting work, leading constitutional scholar David Cole argues that, despite a veneer of neutrality, race- and class-based double standards operate in virtually every criminal justice setting, from police behaviour, to jury selection, to sentencing. Cole argues that the American system depends on these double standards to operate: such disparities allow the privileged to enjoy constitutional protections from police power without paying the costs associated with extending those protections across the board to minorities and the poor.;The double standards themselves inflict even greater costs on society, Cole argues, by compromising the legitimacy of the criminal justice system, and by exacerbating the racial divisions nationally. The most potent force in the war against crime is the perceived legitimacy of criminal law, so if large segments of the population do not accept the system as legitimate, the system is bound to fail. Each chapter includes specific suggestions for moving beyond the double standards that have been tolerated, and the book concludes with a strong argument for rebuilding the sense of community that is so essential to a safe and healthy society.