Ferguson: Economic, Political Conditions Fuel Protest Fury – Businessweek

Ferguson: Economic, Political Conditions Fuel Protest Fury – Businessweek.

New Article: “‘Pennies on the Dollar': Reallocating Risk and Deficiency Judgment Liability”

New Article: Kristen Barnes, ‘Pennies on the Dollar': Reallocating Risk and Deficiency Judgment Liability, forthcoming S.C. L. Rev. 2014.  Abstract below:

Many homeowners are unaware that they face the prospect of crushing personal financial liability if they default on their mortgage loans. While owners may appreciate that they can lose their homes to the lender if they fail to make payments in accordance with their loan terms, many do not fully comprehend that the exposure they have under such circumstances does not end with relinquishing the financed property. In what are known as recourse states, if the lender forecloses and the foreclosure sale does not yield an amount sufficient to cover the borrower’s outstanding debt balance, the lender may file for a deficiency judgment against the borrower to make-up the difference. Whereas in the past, in many jurisdictions, lenders have resorted to this remedy, sparingly, there are signs that this lax approach is being abandoned. First and second mortgagees and private insurance companies are increasingly opting to aggressively pursue foreclosed homeowners for fear of leaving money on the table. To make matters worse, even in those situations where lenders determine that it is not economical for them to follow-up on collecting the debt from mortgagors where a deficiency exists, they are selling the deficiency judgment or the claim to debt collectors for pennies on the dollar. Looking at a representative sample of mortgage laws and practices in California, Illinois, and Florida, this paper argues for the prohibition of deficiency judgments in the residential mortgage loan context. The article also offers a proposal for anti-deficiency legislation. Homebuyers and lenders are not equal players in the mortgage loan transaction. The disadvantages of homeowners are particularly apparent in times of severe economic crisis, like the current great recession. Excising the option of deficiency judgments from the loan negotiation will help to address the glaring inequities between parties.


Extension of the deadline for AALS Poverty Section Call for Papers, new deadline Sept. 1

The AALS Section on Poverty Law will sponsor a session at the 2015 AALS Annual Meeting on January 4, 2015. The title of the program is Working But Poor: Understanding and Confronting the Working Poor Phenomenon. In collaboration with the Loyola Journal of Public Interest Law, the Section seeks papers for publication and presentation.  The deadline for submissions has been extended until September 1. Click here for the original call for papers

Thoughts on Transferring for Law Students

This blog post is aimed largely at law students, not at law professors.  But I have felt I should say something about the topic of law student transfers for some time, if for no other reason than so that I can point them somewhere.  My students almost inevitably discover I was a transfer student myself (Georgetown to Harvard) so I get inundated with emails that run something like this:

                Student: “Can we meet sometime to talk about something not related to Property Law?”

                Ezra: “Yes.”

Then they come to my office and immediately want to close the door to talk about a “sensitive topic.”  If this weren’t my first time, my nervousness would shoot way up, but having heard the spiel before, I know the next line is, “I’m thinking about transferring.” 

Continue reading

New Report: “Understanding Central American Migration: The Crisis of Central American Child Migrants in Context”

New Report: Manuel Orozco & Julia Yansura, Understanding Central American Migration: The Crisis of Central American Child Migrants in Context (Aug. 2014).  Abstract below:

There has been a sharp increase in the number of unaccompanied migrant children from Central America attempting to enter the United States in the past few years. This increase is also seen among adults, though to a lesser degree. As the United States, Mexico, and Central American countries struggle to address this crisis, debates have raged surrounding the humanitarian, legal, and political implications of any possible solution to this complex and troubling issue. This memo aims to inform the current debate by integrating data on issues triggering this outflow while also introducing the perspectives of the people and communities they affect. Specifically, it draws on data from 900 municipalities to analyze migrant hometowns in relation to human development,violence, and education.In addition, it presents the results of a nationwide survey in El Salvador and a survey of Central American migrants residing in the Washington, DC metropolitan area.

NOTE: for those who work on migration issues, I can’t recommend Manuel Orozco’s studies high enough — he is the guru of immigrant remittances and does lots of other work as well.  

CUNY Law Review Call for Submissions on Inequality and Economic Injustice

CUNY Law Review has posted a Call for Submissions on Inequality and Economic Injustice here.  Overview below and details at the above link:

For our Winter 2015 issue, we are seeking submissions that recognize the role that income inequality and economic injustice play within the context of social justice legal issues. While poverty itself is not the only cause of social injustice, it is the mechanism by which other forces are able to be perpetuated. We seek to publish works that are both critical of existing social and economic systems and offer solutions for advancing the rights of those who are stigmatized and systemically oppressed.

-thanks to the legalscholarshipblog for the heads up!

New Issue of Stanford’s Pathways Magazine on “Jobs, Joblessness, and the New American Poverty”

New Issue of Stanford Center on Poverty and Inequality’s Pathways Magazine on “Jobs, Joblessness, and the New American Poverty” (Summer 2014).  Contents below:

Table of Contents – Summer 2014

Editors’ Note by David Grusky, Charles Varner, and Michelle Poulin


  •  Do Millionaires Migrate When Tax Rates Are Raised?
    Cristobal Young and Charles Varner
    The millionaire tax is all the rage. But New Jersey Governor Chris Christie warns us, “Ladies and gentlemen, if you tax them, they will leave.” Is he right?

Research in Brief

  • Research in Brief
    Michelle Poulin and Marybeth Mattingly
    The effects of the carework revolution on job polarization; new results on the mobility of the super-rich; and the best research to date on the Hispanic Health Paradox

Jobs, Joblessness, and the New American Poverty



Honduran children seek safe haven in United States | New Orleans | The Advocate — Baton Rouge, LA

Honduran children seek safe haven in United States | New Orleans | The Advocate — Baton Rouge, LA.

Paul Krugman, Inequality Is a Drag – NYTimes.com

Inequality Is a Drag – NYTimes.com.

New Article: “Progressive Property Moving Forward”

NOTE: this is a bit self-serving because it is a response to my earlier article, but Tim Mulvaney’s article is good and should interest property/poverty folks.

New Article: Timothy M. Mulvaney, Progressive Property Moving Forward, Cal. L. Rev. Cir. (forthcoming 2014).  Abstract below:

In his thought-provoking recent article, “The Ambition and Transformative Potential of Progressive Property,” Ezra Rosser contends that, in the course of laying the foundations of a theory grounded in property’s social nature, scholars who participated in the renowned 2009 Cornell symposium on progressive property have “glossed over” property law’s continuing conquest of American Indian lands and the inheritance of privileges that stem from property-based discrimination against African Americans. I fully share Rosser’s concerns regarding past and continuing racialized acquisition and distribution, if not always his characterization of the select progressive works he critiques. Where I focus in this essay, though, is on the fact that, in the course of articulating his claim that these select progressive works have failed to attend sufficiently to matters of acquisition and distribution, Rosser wavers on whether a system of private property has the very capacity to play even a small part in fostering meaningful progressive change.

After setting forth my understanding of Rosser’s contribution in the first part of the essay, I use the remaining pages to express slightly more confidence than does Rosser in property’s potential to serve a role in furthering a progressive society. If property is to serve in this role, however, I suggest that it seems important to redesign and reinterpret it in accord with three themes — transparency about property rules’ value-dependence, humility about the reach of human knowledge and the mutability of our normative positions, and a concern for the socioeconomic identities of those affected by resource disputes — themes that underlie a broader set of writings than Rosser considers within the contours of “progressive property scholarship” and on which I offer some very preliminary impressions.