Call for Papers: “Inequality and Human Rights” – Austin, TX

Call for Papers: “Inequality and Human Rights” –  The University of Texas at Austin School of Law invites submissions for an interdisciplinary conference on the theme “Inequality and Human Rights,” to be held April 7-8, 2016.  More details here.

News Coverage: Your Brain on Poverty: Why Poor People Seem to Make Bad Decisions – The Atlantic

News Coverage: Your Brain on Poverty: Why Poor People Seem to Make Bad Decisions – The Atlantic

New Article: “The Enforcers & the Great Recession”

New Article: Mark Totten, The Enforcers & the Great Recession, 36 Cardozo L. Rev. 1611 (2015).  Abstract below:

No one played a more vital role responding to the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression than a small band of state attorneys general (AGs). Yet this story has never been told nor its implications considered. For more than a decade these AGs brought enforcement actions across the residential mortgage lending industry, reaching the origination, servicing, and securitization processes. From roughly 2000 to 2008, they targeted several of the largest subprime lenders for predatory and discriminatory lending. And they moved in the face of federal inaction — at times, even opposition. With the economic crisis everywhere visible by early 2009, they turned toward abuses in mortgage servicing and securitization. While they often collaborated with their federal counterparts during this time period, these AGs continued to lead and shape the enforcement agenda.

This narrative demonstrates that states are integral to the task of consumer financial protection. Congress was right to empower states in the Dodd-Frank Act of 2010 by scaling back preemption and giving the AGs concurrent enforcement powers. The AGs not only serve as a stopgap when federal regulators fail to act, but they also alter the quality of enforcement in positive ways not replicated by even engaged federal regulators. The marks of AG enforcement include information advantages, agility, a remedial focus, resistance to capture, and entrepreneurialism. Moreover, these events also suggest a new enforcement model in the area of consumer protection that may sometimes prove more efficient than earlier approaches: the multigovernment, multiagency action. And while these observations concern consumer financial protection in the first instance, they also have implications for ongoing conversations about federalism and enforcement.

New Article: “The Real Marriage Penalty: How Welfare Law Discourages Marriage Despite Public Policy Statements to the Contrary – and What Can Be Done About it”

DSC_0022New Article: Spencer Rand, The Real Marriage Penalty: How Welfare Law Discourages Marriage Despite Public Policy Statements to the Contrary – and What Can Be Done About it, 18 UDC/DCSL L Rev.  93 (2015).  Abstract below:

On marriage, people lose welfare benefits abruptly. It is devastating to them, diminishing and in some cases overwhelming any economic benefits of marriage. It makes marriage unattainable and a status for the rich alone. It is also a surprising and unintended outcome of policymakers, who since at least Reconstruction and with much fanfare in the 1996 welfare reform touted marriage for the poor as a self-help measure and poverty cure. It is these same government policy makers, however, who make marriage impossible. Low-income people tend to marry each other. Both incomes need to be brought into the home to raise people out of poverty. When people lose welfare on marrying, the family’s combined income is often lower than if they had stayed separated or chose to live together without marrying. They cannot survive. Unable to marry, they are statistically less likely to remain together as long. They lose out on statistically more long-term relationships, long-term spousal government and employee benefits, and legal protections on the dissolution of their relationships from divorce and estate laws.

This article situates marriage promotion laws among poverty programs in the United States and looks at some of the policy reasons people have argued for the marriage as a poverty cure, such as economic, legal, and social gains, and policy reasons against marriage promotion programs, including those who think such policies are racist and disrespectful. Suggesting that marriage promotion may or may not be wrong but that marriage may be helpful to the poor whether encouraging it is appropriate, it catalogues some of the welfare programs that are much harder for married people to obtain. These include many public assistance programs, like SSI and TANF. It also includes some social insurance programs, like some Social Security and Medicare. It describes how many people are financially better off at least in the short-term by living with their partner outside of wedlock, perhaps forfeiting long-term benefits. Most commonly, the penalties stem from deeming income of spouses to each other right away and from expecting a spouse with relatively limited resources to spend those before either spouse gets help, depleting the resources that keep people out of poverty. The paper suggest delaying attributing income and resources to spouses until the family can develop the pragmatic benefits of marriage, raising the amount of income or resources married couples can have before being penalized, and creating tax credits to make marriage economically beneficial.

News Coverage: Giving housing to the homeless is three times cheaper than leaving them on the streets – Vox

News Coverage: Giving housing to the homeless is three times cheaper than leaving them on the streets – Vox

News Coverage: How to Decimate A City – The Atlantic

Syracuse thought that by building a giant highway in the middle of town it could become an economic powerhouse. Instead, it got a bad bout of white flight and the worst slum problem in America.

Source: How to Decimate A City – The Atlantic

News Coverage: Economists tested 7 welfare programs to see if they made people lazy. They didn’t. – Vox

News Coverage: Economists tested 7 welfare programs to see if they made people lazy. They didn’t. – Vox

Symposium Published: “[Re]Integrating Spaces”

Savannah Law Review has just published a symposium issue on “[Re]Integrating Spaces” that is full of great articles.  Al Brophy’s article is particularly timely and interesting given the demands students are making across the country regarding the naming of buildings on university campuses.  And for those interested in property and dispossession, Kali Murray’s article is great!  But the whole issue is loaded with good stuff, so congrats to Savannah Law Review and to Marc Roark.

Volume 2, Number 1 | 1 SAVANNAH L. REV. 1 (2015)


[Re]Integrating Spaces: The Possibilities of Common Law Property

Alfred L. Brophy


The Federal Right to Recover Fugitive Slaves: An Absolute but Self-Defeating Property Right

Jeffrey M. Schmitt


Slavery, Property, and Marshall in the Positivist Legal Tradition

Marc L. Roark


The Road to, and Through, Heart of Atlanta Motel

Alberto B. Lopez


Remedies, Race & Civil Rights in the Old South

Caprice L. Roberts


[Re]Integrating Psychic Space: Law, Ontology, and the Ghosts of Old Savannah

Anthony V. Baker


Rated Progress: Robert F. Kennedy and the Desegregation of the 1951 Ralph J. Bunche Lecture

Andrew McCanse Wright


[Re]Integrating Spaces: The Color of Farming

Angela P. Harris


Dispossession at the Center in Property Law

Kali Murray


Using Historic Preservation Laws to Halt the Destruction of “Porch Culture” in the Lower Ninth Ward of New Orleans

Jamila Jefferson-Jones


Boundary Work in Black Middle-Class Communities

Stephen Clowney


[Re]Integrating Community Space: The Legal and Social Meanings of Reclaiming Abandoned Space in New York’s Lower East Side

Andrea McArdle


Place, Meaning, and the Visual Argument of the Roadside Cross

Amanda Reid

Conference Announcement: Socio-Economics Annual Meeting Program,

The annual Socio-Economics program, organized by Robert Ashford, takes place in connection with (immediately following) the AALS program in NYC and the program, which always includes panels related in some way to poverty issues, can be found here: Socio-Economics Newsletter Nov. 19. 2015.

Blog Entries: ACSBLOG symposium on labor and economic inequality

Here, featuring contributions by Ruben Garcia, Brishen Rogers, Mike Selmi, and Noah Zatz.