New Article: Martha M. Ertman, Reparations for Racial Wealth Disparity as Remedy for Social Contract Breach, Law and Contemporary Problems, Forthcoming. Abstract below:
Acute crises such as the COVID-19 pandemic and the 2008 financial meltdown exposed and exacerbated chronic racial wealth disparities. Those disparities accumulated over time as government and private actions—often involving contracts—systemically benefitted White Americans and institutions at the expense of African-Americans. This essay focuses on a private law mechanism—loan contracts—as one important contributor to systemic racial wealth disparities, labels particular lending contracts and related government action as breaches of the social contract, and proposes a restitution-based form of reparations as a remedy for that breach.