New Article: Deborah N. Archer, The New Housing Segregation: The Jim Crow Effects of Crime-Free Housing Ordinances, forthcoming Mich. L. Rev. Abstract below:
America is profoundly segregated along racial lines. We attend separate schools, live in separate neighborhoods, attend different churches, and shop at different stores. This rigid racial segregation results in social, economic, and resource inequality, with White communities of opportunity on the one hand, and many communities of color without access to quality schools, jobs, transportation, or health care on the other. Many people view this as an unfortunate fact of life, or as a relic of legal systems long-since overturned, and beyond the reach of current legal process. But this is not true. On the contrary, the law continues to play a profound role in creating and legitimizing patterns of racial segregation all across America. Crime-free housing ordinances are one of the most salient examples of the role law plays in producing and sustaining racial segregation today. They are, in this respect, a critical mechanism for effectuating the new housing segregation.
Crime-free housing ordinances are local laws that either encourage or require private landlords to evict or exclude tenants who have had varying levels of contact with the criminal legal system. Though formally race neutral, these laws facilitate racial segregation in a number of significant ways. This is the first law review article to explain precisely how they do so. The Article contends that crime-free housing ordinances enable racial segregation by importing the racial biases, racial logics, and racial disparities of the criminal legal system into private housing markets. While scholars have examined the important role local laws played in effectuating racial inequality, they have not paid attention to crime-free housing ordinances. In addition to foregrounding how crime-free housing ordinances reinforce and perpetuate racially segregated communities, this Article proposes an intervention: a “segregative effects” claim, an underutilized cause of action under the Fair Housing Act of 1968, to challenge this segregative impact. While this intervention would not end the pervasive nature of housing segregation across the United States, it could eliminate at least one of the causes of this persistent problem: a body of law whose formal race neutrality has obscured its racially segregative effects.
News Coverage: Dan Kaufman, The End of the Line, N.Y. Times Magazine, May 1, 2019. [Great, long, article about the closing of a car factory, with good photos, and great worker profiles–my favorite being a worker discussing the air traffic controller strike.]
New Article: Christine Chambers Goodman, Class in the Classroom: Poverty, Policies, and Practices Impeding Education, 27 Journal of Gender, Social Policy and the Law 95 (2019). Abstract below:
Part I of this Article begins with social science evidence to justify the combination approach of “equally adequate” education. It describes the data on the impact of SES on brain development. Part I also addresses the impacts of one’s physical environment, including the levels of poverty, crime, educational opportunity, housing, upward mobility, and stress in neighborhoods on educational outcomes. It then considers some potential counterarguments and poses questions that can guide social scientists in further research. Part II describes the constitutional protections for education and the state court litigation around those issues, concurring with the conclusion of others who believe that the key point of the constitutional right is to provide an education sufficient to participate in democratic processes of the nation. This section addresses the constitutional arguments around education and adequacy versus equality, recent cases putting forth these arguments, and their status. Part III briefly addresses the federal legislation, namely the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB), which has subsequently been revised and renamed the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). To the extent data is available, this Article will examine how ESSA is working (relative to NCLB), as well as whether it is making progress for students in states who promote either equal or adequate education. Thus far, there is little data about application because the states only recently submitted their plans, and so this part focuses on the ESSA’s goals and shortfalls, and then looks at the plans put into place by several states. Part III will then highlight the adequacy and equality litigation currently and recently pending in selected states. The Article concludes with several proposals for future consideration by courts, policymakers, and legislatures.
News Coverage: Ceylan Yeginsu, ‘This Is All We Can Afford’: Shrinking Lives in the English Countryside, N.Y. Times, May 13, 2019 [Includes good photos.]
New Book: Kristin O’Brassill-Kulfan, Vagrants and Vagabonds Poverty and Mobility in the Early American Republic (2019). Overview below:
The riveting story of control over the mobility of poor migrants, and how their movements shaped current perceptions of class and status in the United States
Vagrants. Vagabonds. Hoboes. Identified by myriad names, the homeless and geographically mobile have been with us since the earliest periods of recorded history. In the early days of the United States, these poor migrants – consisting of everyone from work-seekers to runaway slaves – populated the roads and streets of major cities and towns. These individuals were a part of a social class whose geographical movements broke settlement laws, penal codes, and welfare policies. This book documents their travels and experiences across the Atlantic world, excavating their life stories from the records of criminal justice systems and relief organizations.
Vagrants and Vagabonds examines the subsistence activities of the mobile poor, from migration to wage labor to petty theft, and how local and state municipal authorities criminalized these activities, prompting extensive punishment. Kristin O’Brassill-Kulfan examines the intertwined legal constructions, experiences, and responses to these so-called “vagrants,” arguing that we can glean important insights about poverty and class in this period by paying careful attention to mobility. This book charts why and how the itinerant poor were subject to imprisonment and forced migration, and considers the relationship between race and the right to movement and residence in the antebellum US. Ultimately, Vagrants and Vagabonds argues that poor migrants, the laws designed to curtail their movements, and the people charged with managing them, were central to shaping everything from the role of the state to contemporary conceptions of community to class and labor status, the spread of disease, and punishment in the early American republic.
New Article: Lauren Sudeall & Ruth Richardson, Unfamiliar Justice: Indigent Criminal Defendants’ Experiences With Civil Legal Needs, 52 UC Davis Law Review 2105 (2019). Abstract below:
Our legal system — and much of the research conducted on that system — often separates people and issues into civil and criminal silos. However, those two worlds intersect and influence one another in important ways. The qualitative empirical study that forms the basis of this Article bridges the civil-criminal divide by exploring the life circumstances and events of public defender clients to determine how they experience and respond to civil legal problems.
To date, studies addressing civil legal needs more generally have not focused on those individuals enmeshed with the criminal justice system, even though that group offers a rich source of valuable information. Researchers interested in civil aspects of criminal defense have focused primarily on the collateral consequences of conviction and the effectiveness of holistic defense programs. This exploratory study is the first of its kind — focused on civil legal problems unrelated to clients’ criminal cases, but instead those that arise in the course of their everyday lives.
The study reveals that for public defender clients, civil justice is unfamiliar territory. While not strangers to the legal system or to lawyers, the clients we interviewed had very little experience with — or awareness of — available civil legal resources. In addition, they face a number of cognitive, procedural, and structural obstacles that make it difficult to navigate the legal system, including a lack of access to information and tools that enable them to use the civil legal system to address relevant needs. Yet, their life circumstances and the situations they encounter suggest many opportunities for possible civil legal intervention, whether through an attorney or other self-help mechanism.
By providing a better understanding of how indigent criminal defendants understand, experience, and respond to civil legal problems, the barriers that prevent them from addressing those needs, and opportunities for intervention, this Article forces the access-to-justice conversation out of its siloed confines. In doing so, it aims to engage civil and criminal scholars, practitioners, and policymakers in a discussion of how to make the civil justice system more accessible to all.
New Article: Jeremy Pilaar, Reforming Unemployment Insurance in the Age of Non-Standard Work, 13 Harv. L. & Pol’y Rev. 327 (2018). Abstract below:
Unemployment Insurance (UI) is one the nation’s most effective anti-poverty and economic stabilization measures. Unfortunately, the number of workers receiving benefits has substantially declined in recent decades. This Note probes one likely cause of this phenomenon that scholars have mostly ignored: the rise of non-standard employment, including part-time, temporary, contract, on-call, and independent contract work. Like many New Deal programs, UI was designed to aid individuals with long-term, full-time jobs. It is therefore poorly adapted to a non-standard workforce characterized by low wages, uncertain schedules, and short-lived assignments. Indeed, the analysis shows that UI’s monetary eligibility criteria, non-monetary eligibility requirements, outreach mechanisms, and exclusions all disadvantage non-standard workers. The Note proposes reforms in each of these areas to combat this imbalance.
Posted in Children, Economic Mobility, Economics, Employment, Family, Human Rights, Inequality, Jobs, Measuring Poverty, Minimum Wage, News Coverage of Poverty, Socio-Economic Rights