Blog Post: “Poor Lives Matter Too”

Here: Bertrall Ross, “Poor Lives Matter Too,” Prawfsblawg, Aug. 25, 2015,

Wash Post Editorial: Cruel and unusual [Criminalization of homelessness] – The Washington Post

Cruel and unusual – The Washington Post.

New Article: “The New American Debtors’ Prisons”

New Article: Christopher D. Hampson, The New American Debtors’ Prisons, SSRN 2015.  Abstract below:

Debtors’ prisons are back, in the form of imprisonment for nonpayment of criminal fines, fees, and costs. While the new debtors’ prisons are not historically or doctrinally continuous with the old, recent developments in criminal law suggest that some parts of them offend the same functional and moral principles that compelled the abolition of the old debtors’ prisons. Legal actors may therefore plausibly interpret the constitutional and statutory texts that abolished the old debtors’ prisons to constitute checks on the new — or a new abolitionist movement might deploy new constitutional texts. While the criminal law literature is starting to grapple with the question of debtors’ prisons, this piece engages with the metaphor head-on and asks how the old ban on debtors’ prisons should be reinterpreted for a new era of mass incarceration.

New Article: “Stabilizing Low-Wage Work”

New Article: Charlotte Alexander, Anna Haley-Lock & Nantiya Ruan, Stabilizing Low-Wage Work, 50 Harv. C.R.-C.L. L. Rev. 1 (2015).  Abstract below:

Low-wage, hourly-paid service workers are increasingly subject to employers’ “just-in-time” scheduling practices. In a just-in-time model, employers give workers little advance notice of their schedules, call workers in to work during non-scheduled times to meet unexpected customer demand, and send workers home early when business is slow. The federal Fair Labor Standards Act, the main guarantor of workers’ wage and hour rights, provides no remedy for the unpredictable work hours and income instability caused by employers’ last minute call-in and send-home practices. This Article examines two alternative
sources of legal protection that have received little attention in the literature on low-wage work: provisions in unionized workers’ collective bargaining agreements that guarantee a minimum number of hours of pay when workers are
called in to or sent home from work unexpectedly, and state laws that contain similar guaranteed-pay provisions. The Article concludes by assessing these
tools’ effectiveness in stabilizing low-wage work.

New Article: “Wealth, Inequality, and Democracy”

New Article: Jedediah S. Purdy, Wealth, Inequality, and Democracy, Nomos forthcoming, SSRN 2015.  Abstract below:

The renewed debate over inequality has highlighted a set of deficits in much of the last fifty-plus years of thinking on the topic. The late twentieth-century tradition of thinking about distributive justice largely assumed (1) that market dynamics would produce stable and tolerable levels of inequality; and (2) that a relatively powerful, competent, and legitimate state could effectively redistribute to mitigate what inequality did arise. What was largely overlooked in this thought and has since risen to central attention is the prospect that (1) accelerating levels of market-produced inequality will (2) undermine the legitimacy and efficacy of the state and disable the political community from effectively pursuing distributive justice. This paper explains how the earlier assumptions arose, defined the boundaries of distributive justice for decades, and were undermined by developments from both the political left and the political right. At present, the dynamics of inequality appear to be self-perpetuating and self-accelerating, and much of earlier thinking on the topic has been rendered irrelevant by the erosion of its mistaken premises. Only a democratic effort to reconstitute a competent and legitimate state has any prospect of making inequality a tractable problem subject to effective intervention.

Symposium Issue Published: “Education Equality in the Twenty-First Century”

Symposium Issue Published: “Education Equality in the Twenty-First Century” by U. Pa. J. Const. L. (2015).  Articles below, from the website, after break:

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News Coverage: The Bail Trap – The New York Times

The Bail Trap – The New York Times.

News Coverage: An hereditary meritocracy | The Economist

An hereditary meritocracy | The Economist.

Where is Poverty Law Offered?

A comment was recently made on the clinic listserv (for those who police such things, don’t worry, I was not on that listserv, the email was forwarded) asking where poverty law was offered so I thought I should work on such a list.  If your school offers the class, please note that in the comments and I will expand the list.  The list below is not a complete list at all, it is just a start so my apologies if I did not include your class but should have!

  • Alabama
  • American University
  • Arkansas-Fayetteville
  • Berkeley
  • Chapman
  • Depaul
  • Duke
  • Georgetown
  • Illinois
  • Inter American University of Puerto Rico
  • Loyola-New Orleans
  • Minnesota
  • Northern Illinois University
  • Stanford
  • Stetson
  • St. Thomas
  • Temple
  • Tennessee
  • UCLA
  • USC
  • Vanderbilt
  • Widener-Delaware

New Article: “Private in Name Only: A Statutory and Constitutional Analysis of Milwaukee’s Private School Voucher Program”

New Article: Julie F. Mead, Private in Name Only: A Statutory and Constitutional Analysis of Milwaukee’s Private School Voucher Program, 21 Wash. & Lee J. Civ. Rts. & Soc. Just. 331 (2015).