New Article: Marc L. Roark, Homelessness at the Cathedral, SSRN 2014. Abstract below:
This Article argues that legal restraints against homeless persons are resolved by applying certain nuisance-like approaches. By drawing on nuisance restraints that adopt property-based and social-identity information, courts and decision-makers choose approaches that create conflict between homeless identities and adopted social identities. These approaches tend to relegate the social choice of whether to tolerate homeless persons to one of established social order (property) or broadly conceived notions of liberty (constitutional rights or due process rights). This Article argues for a broader conception of social identity, which may force parties to internalize certain costs of action, tolerate certain uses, or abate the full range of property rights that the law would otherwise allow in different social settings. Considering the question of “undesirable” uses of space — both on private and public land — helps articulate a narrative of property that moves beyond the rhetoric of economics-bound entitlements and affords a broader, more honest characterization. Conceived in this way, property entitlements represent information about how society defines, refines, enforces, and rejects its collective identity through the legal recognition of property entitlements.
The articles are here:
Sara Rankin, A Homeless Bill of Rights (Revolution), working paper 2014. Abstract below:
This Article examines an emerging movement so far unexplored by legal scholarship: the proposal, and in some states, the enactment of a Homeless Bill of Rights. This Article presents these new laws as a lens to re-examine storied debates over positive and social welfare rights. Homeless bills of rights also present a compelling opportunity to re-examine rights-based theories in the context of social movement scholarship. Specifically, could these laws be understood as part of a new “rights revolution”? What conditions might influence the impact of these new laws on the individual rights of the homeless or the domiciled? On American rights culture and consciousness?
The Article surveys current efforts to advance homeless bills of rights across eight states and the U.S. territory of Puerto Rico and evaluates these case studies from a social movement perspective. Ultimately, the Article predicts that these new laws are more likely to have an incremental social and normative impact than an immediate legal impact. Even so, homeless bills of rights are a critical, if slight, step to advance the rights of one of the most vulnerable segments of contemporary society. Perhaps as significantly, these new laws present an opportunity for domiciled Americans to confront our collective, deeply-rooted biases against the homeless.
Sara Rankin, Invidious Deliberation: The Problem of Congressional Bias in Federal Hate Crime Legislation, Rutgers L. Rev. forthcoming. Abstract below:
The intersection of power and prejudice can control the shape of statutory law, and yet a dearth of legal scholarship investigates it. Invidious Deliberation addresses that deficit. It tackles the problem of prejudice in Congressional deliberations at a particularly critical point: when Congress decides which groups to protect under federal hate crime legislation. The Article contends that Congress’s own bias may exclude the most vulnerable groups from hate crime protection.
To illustrate the point, this Article systematically reviews over two decades of Congressional decisions with respect to expansions of the Hate Crime Statistics Act, a “gateway” for groups seeking protection under federal hate crime legislation. The review concludes that Congress exhibited greater resistance to constructing animus against gays, lesbians, and the homeless as morally or legally wrong, especially in comparison to the other covered groups. Invidious Deliberation argues this Congressional resistance is not attributable to an equitable, principled deliberation process; instead, it is an expression of “unrecognized” bias against unpopular groups. To mitigate the impact of Congressional bias, this Article proposes that Congress explicitly and consistently use a set of principled criteria — such as suspect classification factors — to assess candidate groups.
I have been resisting posting this for a while because I wanted to finish reading it, and with 5 long articles, it is a long series. But it is worth reading! I plan on using it in my housing law class and suggesting it in my poverty law class.
Andrea Elliot, Invisible Child, New York Times, Dec. 2013, http://nytimes.com/invisiblechild.
(As an aside, Bloomburg’s response is here.)
N.Y. Times Article: Susan Saulny, Young, Unemployed and Living on the Street, New York Times, Dec. 18 2012.
New Report: National Low Income Housing Coalition, Out of Reach 2012: America’s Forgotten Housing Crisis (2012). Related media coverage: Andrew Rosenthal, Paying Rent on Minimum Wage, New York Times, May 30, 2012.
Blog Entry: Ms. Smith, “The Only Thing My Kids Need to Be Safe is a Home,” With Housing and Justice For All, Blog of the Washington Legal Clinic for the Homeless, Apr. 27, 2012 (first person account of being homeless with children and the lack of social protections).
Op-Ed: Chuck Bean & Glen O’Gilvie, Think Twice Before You Slice, Huffington Post, May 2, 2012.
New Article: Ruth Szanto, Note: ‘Excuse Me! Can You Spare Some Change … In This Economy?’: A Socio-Economic History of Anti-Panhandling Laws, 4 Phoenix L. Rev. 515 (2010). Note, the linked PDF is to the entire issue, scroll to p.515.