New Article: Wendy A. Bach, The Hyperregulatory State: Women, Race, Poverty and Support, 25 Yale J. Law & Feminism __ (2014). Abstract below:
Vulnerability and dependency theory offers a rich and promising vision for those who seek to conceptualize and build a more responsive state. In theorizing a road to a supportive state, however, what would it mean to take up the challenge of intersectionality? What would it mean to center the analysis around key aspects of the relationship between legal institutions and the poor, disproportionately women and families of color who have no choice but to avail themselves of what remains of a shredded social safety net? The Hyperregulatory State argues that, for women who have no choice but to avail themselves of the safety net (think welfare or public housing) and who by their sheer geographic exposure to the mechanisms of government systems (think over-policing of poor communities of color, public hospitals and inner city public schools) find themselves subject to government intrusion (think child welfare agencies and the criminalization of poverty) the state does not merely fail to respond to their needs. In fact, crucial interactions between poor women and the state are characterized by a phenomena here termed regulatory intersectionality, defined as the means by which state systems (in the examples herein, social welfare, child welfare and criminal justice systems) interlock to share information and heighten the adverse consequences of unlawful, deviant, or noncompliant conduct. At every juncture these punitive mechanisms are, in effect, targeted by race, class, gender and place to subordinate poor African American women, families and communities. The state is, in this sense, hyperregulatory. This article describes in detail the specific phenomena of regulatory intersectionality and contextualizes it within a larger schema of hyperregulation. Paying careful attention to regulatory intersectionality and hyperregulation would revise the theories of vulnerability and the responsive state in two crucial and related ways. First, it serves as a practical warning. If the current social safety net is so profoundly characterized by mechanisms that interlock to impose escalating punishment, the road to a supportive state that does not function in this way is likely to be long and complicated. Second, in attempting to realize the vision of the supportive or responsive state, a crucial first step is restructuring and building support systems to enhance rather than undermine the autonomy of poor women, poor families and poor communities. If we fail to center and prioritize those realities and those tasks, then this particular and crucial part of political and legal theory is again in danger of leaving behind those who are, by virtue of race, gender, class, and place, among the most vulnerable.
Annie Lowrey, 50 Years Later, War on Poverty is a Mixed Bag, N.Y. Times, Jan. 4, 2014.
Dylan Matthews, Everything You Need to Know About the War on Poverty, Wash. Post Wonkblog, Jan. 8, 2014.
Erika Eichelberger et al., How We Won–And Lost–the War on Poverty, in 6 Charts, Mother Jones, Jan. 8, 2014.
Jeff Shesol, The “P” Word: Why Presidents Stopped Talking About Poverty, The New Yorker, Jan. 9, 2014.
And this: Annie Lowrey & Ashley Parker, Republicans Move to Reclaim Poverty-Fighting Mantle, N.Y. Times, Jan. 8, 2014.
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.