Upcoming Symposium: The Law of Parents and Parenting

Upcoming Symposium: The Law of Parents and Parenting, Fordham Law Review, Friday, November 5, 2021 at
10 a.m. – 5 p.m. online via Zoom. Register here.

This interdisciplinary symposium will bring together scholars, practitioners, and advocates from across the country to discuss fundamental questions about how the law defines and treats parents, and how economic security, race, and class are central to considering these questions.

Keynote Speaker
Fatima Goss Graves, President and CEO, National Women’s Law Center

Aziza Ahmed, Professor of Law, UC Irvine Law School
Meghan Boone, Professor of Law, Wake Forest University Law School
Eleanor Brown, Professor of Law, Penn State Law School
Naomi Cahn, Professor of Law, UVA Law School 
June Carbone, Professor of Law, University of Minnesota Law School
Anne Dailey, Professor of Law, UConn Law School
Maxine Eichner, Professor of Law, UNC Law School
Michele Goodwin, Professor of Law, UC Irvine Law School
Clare Huntington, Professor of Law, Fordham Law
Jason Jackson, Professor of Political Economy and Urban Planning, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Courtney Joslin
, Professor of Law, UC Davis Law School
Elizabeth Kukura, Professor of Law, Drexel Law School
Robin Lenhardt, Professor of Law, Georgetown Law School
Solangel Maldonado, Professor of Law, Seton Hall Law School
Melissa Murray, Professor of Law, NYU Law School
Doug NeJaime, Professor of Law, Yale Law School
Priscilla Ocen, Professor of Law, Loyola Law School
Laura Rosenbury, Dean and Professor of Law, University of Florida Levin College of Law
Elizabeth Scott, Professor of Law, Columbia Law School
Lauren Shapiro, Managing Director, Brooklyn Defender Services, Family Defense Practice
Charisa Kiyô Smith, Professor of Law, CUNY Law School
Gregg Strauss, Professor of Law, UVA Law School
Karla Torres, Senior Human Rights Counsel, Center for Reproductive Rights
Lisa Tucker, Professor of Law, Drexel Law School

Bennett Capers, Professor of Law, Fordham Law
Catherine Powell, Professor of Law, Fordham Law
Julie Suk, Professor of Law, Fordham Law
Anne Williams-Isom, Professor, Fordham University Graduate School of Social Service

New Book: “Freedom to Discriminate: How Realtors Conspired to Segregate Housing and Divide America”

img_20210923_0003New Book: Gene Slater, Freedom to Discriminate: How Realtors Conspired to Segregate Housing and Divide America (2021). Overview below:

A landmark history told with supreme narrative skill, Freedom to Discriminate uncovers realtors’ definitive role in segregating America and shaping modern conservative thought. Gene Slater follows this story from inside the realtor profession, drawing on many industry documents that have remained unexamined until now. His book traces the increasingly aggressive ways realtors justified their practices, how they successfully weaponized the word “freedom” for their cause, and how conservative politicians have drawn directly from realtors’ rhetoric for the past several decades. Much of this story takes place in California, and Slater demonstrates why one of the very first all-white neighborhoods was in Berkeley, and why the state was the perfect place for Ronald Reagan’s political ascension.

The hinge point in this history is Proposition 14, a largely forgotten but monumentally important 1964 ballot initiative. Created and promoted by California realtors, the proposition sought to uphold housing discrimination permanently in the state’s constitution, and a vast majority of Californians voted for it. This vote had explosive consequences—ones that still inform our deepest political divisions today—and a true reckoning with the history of American racism requires a closer look at the events leading up to it. Freedom to Discriminate shatters preconceptions about American segregation, and it connects many seemingly disparate aspects of the nation’s history in a novel and galvanizing way.

Related CityLab coverage here.

Call-for-papers: Reckoning & Reconciliation on the Great Plains: Confronting our Past, Reimagining our Future

Call-for-papers: Reckoning & Reconciliation on the Great Plains: Confronting our Past, Reimagining our Future

UNL’s Center for Great Plains Studies is hosting, April 6-8, 2022, a three-day summit called Reckoning & Reconciliation on the Great Plains: Confronting our Past, Reimagining our Future, which features keynotes by Walter Echo-Hawk, Hannibal Johnson, Tristan Ahtone (of the land-grab universities reporting project!), Tara Houska, Jerilyn DeCoteau, and others; additional academic presentations; and a series of more creative and interactive cultural events.

The open Call for Proposals invites presentations, panels, or other session ideas on a wide range on related themes, with particular attention to land dispossession and return, racial violence and repair, and environmental harm and justice. Proposals due October 25, 2021. Further details about the Call – as well as more event information – here: https://www.unl.edu/plains/2022-symposium

New Book: “A War on Global Poverty: The Lost Promise of Redistribution and the Rise of Microcredit”

9780691206332New Book: Joanne Meyerowitz, A War on Global Poverty: The Lost Promise of Redistribution and the Rise of Microcredit (2021). Overview below:

A War on Global Poverty provides a fresh account of US involvement in campaigns to end global poverty in the 1970s and 1980s. From the decline of modernization programs to the rise of microcredit, Joanne Meyerowitz looks beyond familiar histories of development and explains why antipoverty programs increasingly focused on women as the deserving poor.

When the United States joined the war on global poverty, economists, policymakers, and activists asked how to change a world in which millions lived in need. Moved to the left by socialists, social democrats, and religious humanists, they rejected the notion that economic growth would trickle down to the poor, and they proposed programs to redress inequities between and within nations. In an emerging “women in development” movement, they positioned women as economic actors who could help lift families and nations out of destitution. In the more conservative 1980s, the war on global poverty turned decisively toward market-based projects in the private sector. Development experts and antipoverty advocates recast women as entrepreneurs and imagined microcredit—with its tiny loans—as a grassroots solution. Meyerowitz shows that at the very moment when the overextension of credit left poorer nations bankrupt, loans to impoverished women came to replace more ambitious proposals that aimed at redistribution.

Based on a wealth of sources, A War on Global Poverty looks at a critical transformation in antipoverty efforts in the late twentieth century and points to its legacies today.

New Article: Brains Without Money: Poverty as Disabling

New Article: Emily R. Murphy, Brains Without Money: Poverty as Disabling, forthcoming Conn. L. Rev. Abstract below:

The United States has long treated poverty and disability as separate legal categories, a division grounded in widespread assumptions about the “deserving” and “undeserving” poor. In the case of disability, individuals are generally not thought to be morally responsible for their disadvantage, whereas in the case of poverty, disadvantage is assumed to be the fault of the individual, who is therefore less deserving of aid. This Article argues, however, that recent advances in brain and behavioral science undermine the factual basis for those assumptions. Poverty inhibits brain development during childhood and, later in life, adversely affects cognitive capacities that are key to decision-making and long-term planning. The science of scarcity is complex and ongoing, but its most basic finding is quickly approaching consensus: poverty’s effects in the brain can be disabling.

This Article argues that understanding poverty as disabling has potentially significant implications for policy and doctrine. Viewing poverty as disabling would provide support for poverty programs with less sludge and more money: proposals such as universal basic income, negative income tax, child grants, and greatly simplified benefits determinations. It also reanimates insertion of social welfare concerns into the dominant civil rights framework for disability policy, and could resolve longstanding tensions between disjointed federal disability laws. In addition, brain and behavioral science may support litigation strategies to compel accessibility to existing systems and potentially help promote a new public understanding of the causes of poverty.

The Article concludes by considering the potential (and significant) downsides of using the lens of science in service of policy: backlash, misunderstanding, and the fragility of relying on nascent science to support fundamentally normative policy goals. One necessary mitigation strategy involves the careful translation of science, including its limitations and residual uncertainties, into legal scholarship, an approach this Article attempts to both model and articulate.

New Article: Social Security, Dead Capital and Economic Inequality

New Article: Marshall E. Tracht, Social Security, Dead Capital and Economic Inequality, SSRN, Sept. 2021. Abstract below:

Economic inequality in America continues to grow, taking on ever greater economic and political importance. The reasons for increasing inequality are complex and widely debated, as are potential policies to address it. This paper focuses on a vital but unrecognized part of the story: how the social security retirement program has become a major systemic barrier to the acquisition of wealth by low- and moderate-income families, worsening inequality in general and the racial wealth gap in particular. Most families have no meaningful financial assets other than their social security wealth. Unlike other retirement savings, however, social security wealth is “dead capital,” completely inaccessible to families in need of resources to invest (in homeownership, most importantly) and to cope with unexpected financial shocks. After setting out the nature and magnitude of the problem, this article proposes a straightforward, practical remedy – the creation of Social Security Downpayment and Financial Emergency Loans – that would reduce inequality by helping families build financial security for themselves and wealth for future generations. These loans would counter the adverse effects of social security’s forced-but-inaccessible savings, opening the way to a much broader distribution of wealth.

Series of HUD studies on Moving to Work

The HUD-sponsored Moving to Work (MTW) Retrospective Evaluation Studies. From the HUD website:

A Picture of Moving to Work Agencies’ Housing Assistance (April 2021). This report describes the MTW demonstration over time in terms of its share of all HUD funding and assisted households. With data from 2008-2016, it also compares housing assistance and populations served at MTW and traditional agencies, and finds only a few differences. An online feature associated, hosted by the Urban Institute, provides information about housing assistance at each individual MTW agency in 2008 and 2016 and allows users to download the data underlying this report.

Housing Choice and Self-Sufficiency Outcomes at Moving to Work Agencies (April 2021). This study investigates impacts of MTW on housing choice and self-sufficiency outcomes. It finds some evidence that MTW agencies did better than comparison PHAs in terms of share of new households and share of workable households increasing earnings enough to leave housing assistance; however, it found no differences in the quality of housing choice voucher recipients’ neighborhoods, the quality of public housing, or the share of families with FSS escrow accounts.

The Impact of the Moving to Work Demonstration on the Per Household Costs of Federal Housing Assistance (June 2020). This is the first study to examine MTW agencies’ cost effectiveness using data from before and after public housing agencies (PHAs) joined the MTW demonstration. It shows that joining MTW did not increase the cost per household served, and that MTW agencies added new households to their assistance roles.

Evaluating the Effects of Santa Clara County Housing Authority’s Rent Reform (April 2020). In response to sequestration, in July 2013, Santa Clara County Housing Authority (SCCHA) increased the proportion of tenant income paid toward rent in the housing choice voucher program from 30 percent of adjusted income to 35 percent of gross income, and changed voucher size rules. This study reveals the impacts of the new rent policy on employment, income, and housing subsidy amounts and receipt.

Moving to Work Agencies’ Use of Project-Based Voucher Assistance (April 2021). Too much use of project-based voucher (PBV) assistance might undermine the housing choice voucher program’s promise of allowing families to live in lower poverty neighborhoods, so this study investigated how—and how much—MTW agencies use their expanded opportunities to tie housing choice voucher funding to specific units through long-term contracts. It investigates the relative poverty of neighborhoods in which PBV, tenant-based voucher, and public housing families are located, and the overlap of PBVs with Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) properties and HUD’s Rental Assistance Demonstration (RAD). It also describes how three MTW agencies are using PBVs to preserve affordable housing, facilitate partnerships, and achieve administrative efficiencies.

[Self-promotion post] New Book: “A Nation Within: Navajo Land and Economic Development”

a-nation-within[Self-promotion post] New Book: Ezra Rosser, A Nation Within: Navajo Land and Economic Development (Cambridge University Press, 2021). [The Amazon link is here.] Overview below, then some author notes:

In A Nation Within, Ezra Rosser explores the connection between land-use patterns and development in the Navajo Nation. Roughly the size of Ireland or West Virginia, the Navajo reservation has seen successive waves of natural resource-based development over the last century: grazing and over-grazing, oil and gas, uranium, and coal; yet Navajos continue to suffer from high levels of unemployment and poverty. Rosser shows the connection between the exploitation of these resources and the growth of the tribal government before turning to contemporary land use and development challenges. He argues that, in addition to the political challenges associated with any significant change, external pressures and internal corruption have made it difficult for the tribe to implement land reforms that could help provide space for economic development that would benefit the Navajo Nation and Navajo tribal members.

Some author notes: First, the self-serving but fortunately honest point . . . I think this book does relate to poverty, even though it is not framed as a “poverty law” book. I hope it finds an audience, so please forward info about the book to anyone (librarians, faculty at other schools or departments, students, bookstores, etc) who might be interested. And I am happy to talk more about the book–so if you think of a good way to share the work, please reach out to me. And the cover art, produced by Jared Yazzie of OXDX Clothing Designs, makes this a great book to display on a shelf or coffee table even if you are not going to read it!

Second, I really want to thank the folks that made this book possible, starting with the people at Cambridge University Press. They were a pleasure to work with and I greatly appreciate their belief in this book from the moment I approached them. The librarians at my school were also fabulous, esp. when tracking down hard to obtain items (the best example of which was an internal history of Peabody Coal Company that could only be found in two places). And, of course, a book like this is only possible because of tremendous institutional support, both from main campus and from the law school.

This book took A LOT longer to do than I thought it would, which meant that it benefited from work others have done recently related to Navajo economic development and natural resources. I recently published a thank you in the Navajo Times, so I won’t repeat myself here, but it is great to find others who share the same commitment and love for Diné and the Navajo Nation.

Finally, the book would not have been possible without the support of various people who helped take care of my kids during the writing process. I am not sure whether this is true or not, but I read a book dedication once that said the book was dedicated to the author’s spouse and kids, without whom it would have been completed earlier. It makes for a nice punchline and might be true in some respects, but my greatest privilege over the last eleven years has been the privilege and opportunity to be an involved parent and partner. I used to joke that the fact that my school’s daycare does not start until kids hit 2 1/2 was a sign they did not care if I was productive during those years. And certainly my book took longer than I thought it would, partly or even largely because of parenting obligations; which as most parents know can be brutal in the moment but are beautiful in hindsight (the headaches, oh the headaches from lack of sleep with a newborn). But my wife, kids, and I have also benefited from tremendous help from grandparents, daycare teachers, babysitters, school teachers, coaches, and others who give so much of themselves to our children (and to us). So thank you.

New Article: Setting the Health Justice Agenda: Addressing Health Inequity & Injustice in the Post-Pandemic Clinic

New Article: Emily A. Benfer, James Bhandary-Alexander, Yael Cannon, Medha D. Makhlouf, and Tomar Pierson-Brown, Setting the Health Justice Agenda: Addressing Health Inequity & Injustice in the Post-Pandemic Clinic, Clinical Law Review, Forthcoming, Fall 2021. Abstract below:

Among the tenets of clinical legal pedagogy is the goal of teaching students about the lawyer’s role in both ensuring the quality of and access to justice for historically marginalized populations. The COVID-19 pandemic illustrated how, for far too many, justice is inaccessible, inequity is rapidly increasing, and health justice is out of reach. Historically marginalized groups experienced disproportionate infection and mortality rates from COVID-19, as well as the highest rates of unemployment, barriers to healthcare access, food insecurity, and extreme eviction risk during the pandemic. These disparities stem from the social determinants of health . Social determinants of health “encompass[] the full set of social conditions in which people live and work,” and drive health inequity for people living in poverty, people of color, and other historically marginalized groups. Structural determinants of health, including the political and legal systems in which discrimination can become embedded, influence poor health outcomes. No other profession bears more responsibility for the role of law in lifting or oppressing members of society. It is upon the legal profession to uncover how the law, laden with bias and discrimination, can operate as a vehicle of subordination, creating barriers to opportunity, long-term hardship, and poor health. The pandemic-related increase in the need for legal services highlighted the urgency of not only providing the next generation of lawyers with foundational lawyering skills, but also imbuing them with a sense of legal stewardship. In this way, the pandemic underscored the need for clinical legal education to adopt strategies that both increase lawyering skills and directly address the structural determinants at the root of the justice crisis.

Health justice is the eradication of unjust health disparities caused by discrimination and poverty. The health justice framework provides a model for training students to recognize the structural and intermediary determinants of health at the root of their clients’ hardship, and to actively work with the community to address barriers to health equity and social justice. The authors have used the health justice framework to conceptualize and explain the work of MLPs. The framework is centered on engaging, elevating, and increasing the power of historically marginalized populations to address structural and systemic barriers to health, as well as to compel the adoption of rights, protections, and supports necessary to the achievement of health justice. In the law clinic setting, health justice offers a holistic, interprofessional, and proactive approach to addressing social injustice. It teaches students to investigate the roots of their clients’ legal crises and to identify leverage points to shift the deeply connected health disparities and injustices that plague marginalized communities. A holistic understanding of social injustice and health inequity prepares students to seize those opportunities for leverage and to develop proactive—rather than reactive—legal interventions to address potential health crises.

This Article arose from a discussion of five clinicians who, combined, have over three decades of experience designing and working in medical-legal partnerships (MLPs) to address health-harming legal needs for low-income and historically marginalized patients. The Article provides our reflections on the successes and challenges of the MLP model in achieving health justice during the COVID-19 pandemic. Part I describes the relationship between structural injustice and the health impacts of the pandemic. It also describes individual-level responses to these crises that have largely failed to protect the populations that are widely considered marginalized in U.S. society, and the role of legal interventions in combatting racial health inequity. Part II explains how MLPs employ a health justice framework to address “wicked problems” at the intersection of law, health, race, and poverty. Part III proposes maxims for achieving health justice for law clinics generally, drawn from the authors’ experiences over the past fourteen months.

We believe that the health justice framework and our reflections could be useful to all clinicians because of the relationship between unmet legal needs and poor health: When clinics intervene to help clients address financial or food insecurity, unstable or unsafe housing, employment discrimination, inadequate educational supports, immigration issues, and interpersonal or community violence, among other legal needs, we address SDOH. Because we are, in a sense, all working for health justice, this framework may provide helpful insights to clinicians working across a range of legal issues. In the midst of the global COVID-19 pandemic, the link between health justice and access to justice is clearer and more salient than ever before.

Call-for-papers: Research Roundtable on Capitalism & the Rule of Law

[Posted because people who care about poverty care about or having feelings about capitalism…]

George Mason University Antonin Scalia Law School Law & Economics Center Call for Papers: Research Roundtable on Capitalism & the Rule of Law

02 Mar 2022 – 06 Mar 2022, Destin, Florida

The Henry G. Manne Program in Law & Economics Studies, a division of the Law & Economics Center (LEC) at George Mason University Antonin Scalia Law School, invites applications for a Spring 2022 Research Roundtable on “Capitalism & the Rule of Law” to be held at The Henderson Resort in Destin, Florida, on Wednesday, March 2 – Sunday, March 6, 2022.

TOPICS: We seek authors to develop, write, and present original research papers that focus on the importance and fundamental features of capitalism and of the Rule of Law, both generally and as applied in specific legal and economic contexts. Issues of interest include, but are not limited to:
– The essential meaning and attributes of capitalism, why they matter, and how they are to be preserved
– The essential meaning and attributes of the Rule of Law, why they matter, and how they are to be preserved
– Current threats to the sustainability of capitalism and the Rule of Law
– The Wealth of Nations
– Corporate Governance
– Stakeholder Capitalism
– Corporate Political Activity
– Rent seeking, rent extraction, and crony capitalism
– Woke Capitalism or Woke Policy in general
– The threat of 21st century populism
– International Trade Policy
– Industrial policy
– Nationalism
– Immigration and Open Borders
– Antitrust
– Big tech, market power, and antitrust
– Social justice initiatives
– Racial justice initiatives
– Employment and labor law
– Employee Speech
– Higher education and the marketplace of ideas
– Public health and the pandemic
– Civil Discourse
– And more . . .

SUBMISSIONS/PAYMENTS: Total honorarium payments of $12,000 per paper will be available to those who fulfill all the obligations of the program, which are described in detail below:

1. Submission of Research Proposal – Submission Deadline of October 15, 2021:

– Proposals should include a brief abstract of the proposed paper, which includes the statement the issue to be addressed and how the proposed analysis is novel and contributes to the relevant academic literature and policy debates. Any papers that plan to include empirical project analysis should include a plan for obtaining suitable data, proposed methodology. In addition, the proposal should address the feasibility for completion by June 30, 2022. Proposals should be no longer than three pages. Successful applicants will be notified by October 22, 2021.

2. Completion of First Draft (suitable for limited distribution to Research Roundtable participants) is due by Friday, January 28, 2022. Research Roundtable drafts should represent substantial work beyond the proposal, and suitable for presentation at a faculty workshop.

3. Research Roundtable, Destin, Florida (Wednesday, March 2 – Sunday, March 6, 2022):

– Selected authors will present well-developed drafts of their papers at a private Research Roundtable, which will be held at The Henderson Resort, in Destin, Florida. This Research Roundtable is designed to provide authors with constructive feedback from expert academics and practitioners in the field.

– The Research Roundtable will have 10 authors. All authors are expected to participate in the vetting of other papers. An additional 10 scholars will participate as commentators (every paper will have two primary commentators and each commentator will be assigned as primary commentator for 2 papers). The Research Roundtable is spread over 3.5 days to allow for informal interaction outside of sessions. Participants are expected to attend all sessions.

– Authors chosen to present will be provided an honorarium of $4,000 per paper after presenting their work at the March roundtable, from which we expect participants to cover their own travel and incidental expenses. The LEC will arrange for and cover the cost of lodging.

4. Completion of Final Draft, Posting on SSRN, Submission to an Academic Journal, and Creation of an LEC Explainer Video Podcast (June 30, 2022):

– Authors are expected to revise their paper based on feedback from the Research Roundtable, and to seek publication in a suitable academic journal before June 30, 2022. As appropriate and in consultation with the authors, papers may be marketed as a collection for a book or a law review symposium. The LEC will also host these drafts as part of the Antonin Scalia Law School, Law & Economics Research Papers Series. In addition, authors will record a brief (10 minutes) video explaining their work, which will also be hosted on the LEC website (https://masonlec.org/). Upon completion of these requirements, author(s) will receive a final honorarium of $8,000 per paper.

– In addition to the paper honorarium, incentive payments will be available to authors for writing op-eds, blog posts, and other materials that promote and expand the reach of their research.

In addition to providing honoraria, the LEC will provide lodging and meals at all events. Participants will be responsible for their own transportation arrangements and expenses. To submit a proposal for the Roundtable, please visit our website at https://cvent.me/2Kdn9Z

The LEC’s mission is to serve as a nexus for education and academic research that focuses on the timely and relevant economic analysis of legal and public policy issues. The LEC is committed to developing and assisting the development of original, high-quality law and economics research and educational programs to further enhance economic understanding and impact policy solutions by providing a consistent and rational voice that enhances relevant policy discussions.

FURTHER INFORMATION: For more information regarding this program or other initiatives of the LEC, please visit https://MasonLEC.org