Boston University Law Review published an issue on the topic “The End of Men” and quite a few of the articles relate to poverty law. For example:
The End of Men or the Rebirth of Class?
June Carbone & Naomi Cahn
Daniel L. Hatcher
TANF and the End (Maybe?) of Poor Men
Khiara M. Bridges
(and others, all at the first link)
News Article: Sheryl Gay Stolberg, On the Edge of Poverty, at the Center of a Debate on Food Stamps, New York Times, Sept. 4, 2013.
New Article: Ilan Wurman, Note, Drug Testing Welfare Recipients as a Constitutional Condition, 65 Stan. L. Rev. 1153 (2013). Abstract below:
This Note challenges the prior and current scholarship on suspicionless drug testing of welfare recipients, and the Supreme Court’s special needs doctrine more broadly, by applying the doctrine of unconstitutional conditions to the cases. It contends that the Fourth Amendment’s special needs doctrine is insufficient, because conditioning welfare benefits on drug testing may fail the special needs test but still be a constitutional condition. This Note argues that, where the unconstitutional conditions doctrine could otherwise apply, the doctrine is in fact necessary to apply; that doing so resolves certain contradictions and fictions that currently exist in the Fourth Amendment doctrine, while better explaining some of the Fourth Amendment cases; and that conditioning welfare on drug testing is more likely to be constitutional under the unconstitutional conditions doctrine than under the current Fourth Amendment approach, which would instead stop the inquiry with the special needs doctrine.
New Article: Mark N. Aaronson, Representing the Poor: Legal Advocacy and Welfare Reform During Reagan’s Gubernatorial Years, 64 Hastings Law Journal 933 (2013). Abstract below:
The empirical focus of this book-length work is the contentious political and legal battle over California welfare reform in the early 1970s. It is an extended, multifaceted case study of a kind not much found in the literature on social cause lawyering. The narrative highlights the forceful presence of Ronald Reagan and the pivotal role in representing the welfare poor carried out by Ralph Santiago Abascal, a government-funded legal aid attorney. To counter Reagan’s welfare policy ambitions, Abascal with other legal services lawyers, and in joint cause with recipient-led welfare rights organizations, relied on court litigation not in isolation but as part of an overall strategy that also involved legislative and administrative actions. Within the context of American pluralism and constitutionalism and from an analytical perspective, this study examines the professional and institutional character of group legal representation for the poor as a strategy for political empowerment and social change. While grounded in political and legal history, the study’s conceptual approaches primarily draw on ideas from political science and political theory about representation and from writings in legal ethics and legal education on professional role responsibilities. The principal thematic points are: (1) Social cause lawyering is a systemic necessity for the democratic and equitable functioning of our governing institutions; (2) the client constraints on the role of lawyers for groups or causes have more to do conceptually with understandings about the nature of representation than the applicability of ethical or procedural rules; and (3) the political consequences of such legal advocacy are variable and potentially contradictory.
New Article: Kaaryn Gustafson, Degradation Ceremonies and the Criminalization of Low-Income Women, 3 U.C. Irvine Law Review __ (forthcoming 2013). Abstract below:
This article, a call for both empirical social scientists and critical race theorists to engage with each other in careful interpretive analysis, applies sociologist Harold Garfinkel’s concept of ceremonial degradation to policies, practices, and proposals targeting low-income women of color in the United States. This article offers several examples of degradation ceremonies, including: excessive penalties and extrajudicial public shaming for women convicted of welfare fraud; mandatory drug testing of welfare recipients; high-publicity criminal prosecutions of mothers who violate school district residency requirements to enroll their children in more affluent schools; and tough criminal penalties for those who possess stolen infant formula or other necessities low-income Americans have difficulty obtaining. This article also describes some of the functions served by degradation ceremonies, including: the legitimation of material inequality, the perpetuation of social and economic myths, the policing of status quo distributions of property, and the satisfaction of the public’s emotional desire for sadomasochistic ritual. The article’s final section calls upon policy makers and scholars to acknowledge the degradation of low-income women that now occurs through policy and practice and offers broader suggestions for subverting the ceremonial degradation of the poor.
(Bad) Op-Ed of note: Nicholas D. Kristof, Profiting From a Child’s Illiteracy, N.Y. Times, Dec. 7, 2012. And here is a response from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. The nicest thing that can be said about the op-ed is that it covers a lot of ground . . .
Posted in Articles, Welfare
New Article: Udaya R Wagle, “Promoting Economic Security among Low Income Families in the United States: The Effects of Food Stamps on Labor Supply, Income, and Poverty,” National Poverty Center Working Paper (2012). Abstract below:
Using a combination of family level micro data and state level macro indicators, this analysis examines roles of the Food Stamps Program (FSP) in promoting economic security during 2004 and 2007 in the United States. To account for endogeneity and self-selection bias likely in models of labor supply, income, and poverty using survey data, panel data models are estimated by instrumenting FSP receipts with TANF receipts at the family level and FSP participation rate at a broader geographic level as instruments. While substantiating the widely recognized work disincentive effects of FSP, results support its income-enhancing effects on one hand and poverty-increasing effects on the other. These seemingly contradictory results affirm that FSP supports are typically inadequate to make a significant dent on economic insecurity of ‘poor’ families even though they help promote economic security among low income but ‘non-poor’ families.
New Article: Bridgette Baldwin, Shadow Works and Shadow Markets: How Privatization of Welfare Services Produces an Alternative Market, 34 Western New England L. Rev. 445 (2012). Abstract below:
The Author attempts to fuse Ivan Illich’s misplaced ideas of gender roles with how privatization of welfare services has legitimized a shadow economy and work through mandated community service jobs. The Article provides a historical perspective of how social services were handled, leading to the current cost/benefit legacy of welfare privatization utilized by the Wisconsin Works program (W-2). Wisconsin’s program requires women recipients to engage in volunteer work, creating a subsidized labor force for private agencies based on the presumption that work, even meaningless and menial tasks, establishes job-readiness for women on welfare. The Author suggests that we need to begin thinking about how to recreate the framework for providing public services. The community service component of W2 and its actual function powerfully demonstrates how W-2 mothers have become a reserve labor force. But at the same time the contours of W-2 make reserve labor status profitable, not for the mothers, but for the sub-contracted agencies. The relationship between W-2 mothers, the status of community service, and the position of sub-contracted agencies have generated a shadow market as a consequence of welfare privatization. The ways in which these women are held captive to a world without work, a world without skill building, and limited ways out become the grounds upon which sub-contracting agencies generate profit. Under the shroud of “cost effectiveness,” private agencies are reaping the financial windfall of “pimping” the state based on their ability to market their skills at converting welfare mothers into low-wage workers.
Op-Ed: Robert Rector [of the Heritage Foundation], Obama’s End Run on Welfare, National Review, Sep. 19, 2012.