How Poor Are the Poor? – NYTimes.com [which discusses the recent article by Jencks on the War on Poverty].
New Article: “States’ Rights, Welfare Rights, and the ‘Indian Problem': Negotiating Citizenship and Sovereignty, 1935-1954″
New Article: Karen M. Tani, States’ Rights, Welfare Rights, and the ‘Indian Problem': Negotiating Citizenship and Sovereignty, 1935-1954, Law and History Review forthcoming 2015. Abstract below:
Starting in the 1940s, American Indians living on reservations in Arizona and New Mexico used the Social Security Act of 1935 to assert unprecedented claims within the American federal system: as U.S. and state citizens, they claimed federally subsidized state welfare payments, but as members of sovereign nations, they denied states the jurisdiction that historically accompanied such beneficence. This article documents their campaign, and the fierce resistance it provoked, by tracing two legal episodes. In 1948, through savvy use of both agencies and courts, and with aid from former government lawyer Felix Cohen, reservation Indians won welfare benefits and avoided accompanying demands for state jurisdiction; the states, in turn, extracted a price–higher subsidies–from the federal government. Arizona officials re-opened the dispute in 1951, by crafting a new welfare program that excluded reservation Indians and suing the federal government for refusing to support it. The 1954 dismissal of the case was a victory for Indians, but also leant urgency to efforts to terminate their anomalous status. Together these episodes illustrate the disruptive citizenship claims that became possible in the wake of the New Deal and World War Two, as well as the increasingly tense federal-state negotiations that followed.
I have a new article that is about property theory as it relates to inequality and poverty. Frankly, it is probably most of interest to those who teach property as well, but if it does nothing else, I hope it convinces people to read David Super’s A New New Property. It may also go a bit too far in the direction of showing that I can be unreasonable. Here it is:
New Article: Ezra Rosser, Destabilizing Property, forthcoming Connecticut Law Review. Abstract below:
Property theory has entered into uncertain times. Conservative and progressive scholars are fiercely contesting everything it seems, from what is at the core of property to what obligations owners owe society. Fundamentally, the debate is about whether property law works. Conservatives believe that property law works. Progressives believe property could and should work, though it needs to be made more inclusive. While there have been numerous responses to the conservative emphasis on exclusion, this Article begins by addressing a related line of argument, the recent attacks information theorists have made on the bundle of rights conception of property. The Article goes on to make two main contributions to the literature. It gives a new critique of progressive property and, more fundamentally, shows how distribution challenges in property call for a third path forward. Conservative scholarship is scholarship for property, defending traditional views of property against the influence of new realist-inspired deconstruction. Progressive scholarship works with property, showing how doctrine supports expanding property law to reach those who would otherwise be excluded. But missing from this debate is the possibility that, instead of working for or with property, the rise in inequality and the calcification of advantages defined at birth of the current economic and legal environment calls for work against property. Expanding the range of answers to the broad questions being asked of property to include deliberately destabilizing property would add to the academic debate and to the possible policy responses to the emerging threat of oligarchy. Working for, with, and against property are all answers to the question of how to respond to the property crisis of our time, the problem of inequality. This Article seeks to give some content to the neglected against portion of the spectrum.
Op-Ed: A Political Crackdown at University of North Carolina – The New Yorker. [More on UNC from Jed Purdy.]
Conference: “Poverty and Reproductive Justice: When Choice is a Privilege, Not a Right” – Mar. 23, 2015 in DC
Conference: “Poverty and Reproductive Justice: When Choice is a Privilege, Not a Right” – Mar. 23, 2015 at American University Washington College of Law, Washington, DC.
New Article: John Infranca, Housing Resource Bundles: Distributive Justice and Federal Low-Income Housing Policy, Richmond L. Rev. forthcoming 2015. Abstract below:
Only one in four eligible households receives some form of rental assistance from the federal government. Nonetheless, there is no time limit for the receipt of this assistance; individuals can continue to receive benefits as long as they satisfy eligibility requirements. In addition, individuals who do obtain assistance frequently have higher incomes than those denied it. Beyond simply providing housing, federal rental assistance is enlisted to serve a myriad of additional policy goals — including furthering economic integration and providing access to better neighborhoods — that can exacerbate inequities between those who receive benefits and those denied assistance. These broader objectives often increase the cost of housing assistance and reduce the number of households served.
Given increasingly limited resources and the growing demand for rental assistance, difficult decisions must be made regarding how to satisfy a range of conflicting programmatic goals. Although for at least four decades legal scholars, economists, public policy experts, and politicians have denounced the inequities in existing housing policy, no one has provided a detailed analysis of the specific ways in which this policy departs from norms of distributive justice and of how it might be made more equitable. This Article moves the conversation beyond simply decrying existing inequities and instead carefully analyzes federal housing policy in light of specific theories of distributive justice. Drawing on the philosophical literature, it evaluates the specifics of existing policies, and their distributional impacts, in light of five theories of distributive justice. It then proposes a new structure for federal rental assistance, which would allow recipients to choose among a set of “housing resource bundles.” This approach will not only satisfy the most salient understandings of distributive justice, but will also advance the concerns that underpin other distributive justice theories and allow federal housing policy to more effectively embrace a plurality of programmatic goals.
New Conference: “Reframing the Welfare Queen: Feminist and CRT Alternatives to Existing Poverty Discourse”
New Conference: “Reframing the Welfare Queen: Feminist and CRT Alternatives to Existing Poverty Discourse,” USC Gould School of Law, Apr. 23-24, 2015.