New Report: “The Economic and Fiscal Consequences of Immigration” – National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine

New Report: National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, The Economic and Fiscal Consequences of Immigration, (Sept. 2016).

News Article: “How to View a Richer Year for the Poor and Middle Class”

News Article: How to View a Richer Year for the Poor and Middle Class,” New York Times, Sept. 14, 2016. [with tables and charts]

Note: “No Room for the Poor—The Blight of Eminent Domain on America’s Lowest Economic Classes”

Note: Emma Westbrook Perry, No Room for the Poor—The Blight of Eminent Domain on America’s Lowest Economic Classes, 94 Tex. L. Rev. See Also 155 (2016).

Article: “Zoning Barriers to Manufactured Housing”

Article: Daniel R. Mandelker, “Zoning Barriers to Manufactured Housing,” 43 The Urban Lawyer 233 (2016).

Manufactured housing is a major affordable housing resource for millions of people. Restrictive zoning barriers limit its availability, even though studies have discredited myths, such as objections to its safety and quality. A national statute, the National Manufactured Housing Construction and Safety Standards Act, authorizes building code standards that address all aspects of safety, durability and quality, and that preempt state and local codes that deal with this problem. The Act does not preempt restrictive zoning, and Congress should amend the law to cover zoning restrictions. Judicial control of zoning barriers to manufactured housing is unsatisfactory and requires statutory change. Courts accept unequal treatment that applies restrictive zoning only to manufactured housing, though some statutes prohibit discrimination. The cases uphold exclusions from residential districts if manufactured housing is allowed elsewhere. Some statutes prohibit exclusion by requiring manufactured housing as a permitted use in all residential districts, or allow a community to decide what residential districts must accept manufactured housing. Courts uphold aesthetic standards, such as roofing and siding requirements, and some statutes authorize them, though limitations are needed to protect manufactured housing from exclusionary treatment. Communities often require approval of manufactured housing as a conditional use, and approval as a conditional use is often denied. Courts have upheld conditional use denials, and statutory protective standards are needed that will prevent abuse of the conditional use requirement.


Call-for-Papers: MAPOC 2017, “Legal and Political Change During the Obama Era”

Upcoming Conference: 22nd Mid-Atlantic People Of Color Legal Scholarship Conference: “Legal and Political Change During the Obama Era” – Friday and Saturday, January 27-28, 2017, George Washington University Law School.  Call for papers below:

On January 20, 2017, the first President of Color, Barack Obama, will conclude his second term.  One week later, scholars, policy-makers, lawyers, activists and law students will convene to reflect upon this historic period in American history.  In particular, on Friday and Saturday, January 27 and 28, 2017, the Mid-Atlantic People of Color Legal Scholarship Conference (MAPOC) will hold a conference, entitled “Legal and Political Change During the Obama Era,” at the George Washington University Law School.  Our goal is to examine and assess shifts in law and policy, at all levels of government, over the past eight years as well as to determine where there has been stasis.  Panels will likely address such topics as Black Lives Matter and other civil rights issues, such as criminal and economic justice, access to voting, and LGBTQ rights, as well as such topics as health insurance and health care, education, housing, immigration and globalization, and the financial implications of the Great Recession.

MAPOC 2017 welcomes Work-In-Progress submissions.  MAPOC’s long-standing work-in-progress (WIP) program is widely known for providing a comfortable and constructive environment in which authors can workshop scholarship at any stage of development to a dedicated discussant and supportive audience.  Please email your WIP abstract (and any questions) to Professor Ezra Rosser at by November 30, 2016, to be included in the WIP program.

Article: “En-Gendering Economic Inequality”

Article: Michele E. Gilman, “En-Gendering Economic Inequality,” Colum. J. Gender & L. (forthcoming).

We live in an era of growing economic inequality. Luminaries ranging from the President to the Pope to economist Thomas Piketty in his bestselling book Capital in the Twenty- First Century have raised alarms about the disparity between the haves and the have-nots. Overlooked, however, in these important discussions is the reality that economic inequality is not a uniform experience; rather, its effects fall more harshly on women and minorities. With regard to gender, American women have higher rates of poverty and get paid less than comparable men, and their workplace participation rates are falling. Yet economic inequality is neither inevitable nor intractable. Given that the government creates the rules of the market, it is essential to analyze the government’s role in perpetuating economic inequality.

This Article specifically examines the role of the Supreme Court in contributing to gender based economic inequality. The thesis is that the Supreme Court applies oversimplified economic assumptions about the market in its decision-making, thereby perpetuating economic inequality on the basis of gender. Applying insights of feminist economic theory, the Article analyzes recent Supreme Court jurisprudence about women workers, including Wal-Mart v. Dukes (denying class certification to female employees who were paid and promoted less than men), Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc. (granting business owners the right to deny contraception coverage to female employees on religious grounds), and Harris v. Quinn (limiting the ability of home health care workers to unionize and thereby improve their working conditions). In these cases, the Court elevates its narrow view of efficiency over more comprehensive understandings, devalues care work, upholds harmful power imbalances, and ignores the intersectional reality of the lives of low-wage women workers. The Article concludes that the Court is eroding collective efforts by women to improve their working conditions and economic standing. It suggests advocacy strategies for reforming law to obtain economic justice for women and their families.

New Article: “Wealth Inequality and Family Businesses”

New Article: Benjamin Means, Wealth Inequality and Family Businesses, 65 Emory L.J. 937 (2016).  Abstract below:

Wealth inequality endangers democratic values and calls for a public response. This Article contends that family businesses merit special scrutiny because they control vast amounts of private wealth and combine two of society’s most important economic institutions: family and business. Accordingly, family businesses implicate concerns regarding both inherited wealth and the concentration of economic power made possible by the corporate form.

Despite their economic significance, little has been done to investigate whether family businesses contribute to wealth inequality. This Article offers the first legal, and one of the only academic, treatments of the topic and shows that family businesses play a double role. On the one hand, family businesses reinforce existing disparities in wealth and opportunity. Heirs, after all, stand to benefit from the hard work of previous generations. On the other hand, family businesses can be a powerful antidote to inequality, disrupting entrenched class hierarchies and creating opportunities for individuals, families, and ethnic communities.

This Article concludes that whether family businesses produce net social costs or benefits depends crucially on two principal factors. First, to the extent there is a lack of public investment in social mobility, family businesses can increase the distribution of wealth by providing needed investments in human capital. Second, to the extent the rewards of capitalism are not widely shared, family businesses can offer a source of opportunity for family members, employees, and the communities in which family businesses operate. Thus, family businesses should not be viewed in isolation; a comprehensive response to the problem of wealth inequality must involve the state, the family, and the market.

New Jotwell Lex: Poverty Section & first Review

Jotwell, the Journal Of Things We Like Lots, has a new section, technically a “Lex” subsection, on Poverty.  What this basically means is that Jotwell is going to publish reviews by the editors of that section, Wendy Anne Bach (Tennessee), Tonya Brito (Wisconsin), Marc-Tizoc Gonzalez (St. Thomas), and myself, Ezra Rosser (American), of recently published articles or books in the field.  It should be a good way to highlight quality work and Jotwell has now published the first such review:

Wendy Anne Bach, Looking Intersectionally and Seeing Structural Bias, JOTWELL (September 27, 2016) (reviewing Priscilla Ocen, (E)Racing Childhood: Examining the Racialized Construction of Childhood and Innocence in the Treatment of Sexually Exploited Minors, 62 UCLA L. Rev. 1586 (2015)), 

News Article: “Red-State Blues”

News Article: Jedidiah Purdy, “Red-State Blues,” New Republic, Sept. 14, 2016 [an attempt to characterize the Trump Voter].

News Article: “How Zoning Restrictions Make Segregation Worse”

News Article: Richard Florida, “How Zoning Restrictions Make Segregation Worse,” Citylab, Jan. 4, 2016.