Category Archives: Articles

New Article: “Rodrigo’s abstraction: capitalism, inequality, and reform over time and space”

New Article: Steven A. Ramirez, Rodrigo’s abstraction: capitalism, inequality, and reform over time and space, 50 Wake Forest L. Rev. 187 (2015).

New Article: “The New American Debtors’ Prisons”

New Article: Christopher D. Hampson, The New American Debtors’ Prisons, SSRN 2015.  Abstract below:

Debtors’ prisons are back, in the form of imprisonment for nonpayment of criminal fines, fees, and costs. While the new debtors’ prisons are not historically or doctrinally continuous with the old, recent developments in criminal law suggest that some parts of them offend the same functional and moral principles that compelled the abolition of the old debtors’ prisons. Legal actors may therefore plausibly interpret the constitutional and statutory texts that abolished the old debtors’ prisons to constitute checks on the new — or a new abolitionist movement might deploy new constitutional texts. While the criminal law literature is starting to grapple with the question of debtors’ prisons, this piece engages with the metaphor head-on and asks how the old ban on debtors’ prisons should be reinterpreted for a new era of mass incarceration.

New Article: “Stabilizing Low-Wage Work”

New Article: Charlotte Alexander, Anna Haley-Lock & Nantiya Ruan, Stabilizing Low-Wage Work, 50 Harv. C.R.-C.L. L. Rev. 1 (2015).  Abstract below:

Low-wage, hourly-paid service workers are increasingly subject to employers’ “just-in-time” scheduling practices. In a just-in-time model, employers give workers little advance notice of their schedules, call workers in to work during non-scheduled times to meet unexpected customer demand, and send workers home early when business is slow. The federal Fair Labor Standards Act, the main guarantor of workers’ wage and hour rights, provides no remedy for the unpredictable work hours and income instability caused by employers’ last minute call-in and send-home practices. This Article examines two alternative
sources of legal protection that have received little attention in the literature on low-wage work: provisions in unionized workers’ collective bargaining agreements that guarantee a minimum number of hours of pay when workers are
called in to or sent home from work unexpectedly, and state laws that contain similar guaranteed-pay provisions. The Article concludes by assessing these
tools’ effectiveness in stabilizing low-wage work.

New Article: “Wealth, Inequality, and Democracy”

New Article: Jedediah S. Purdy, Wealth, Inequality, and Democracy, Nomos forthcoming, SSRN 2015.  Abstract below:

The renewed debate over inequality has highlighted a set of deficits in much of the last fifty-plus years of thinking on the topic. The late twentieth-century tradition of thinking about distributive justice largely assumed (1) that market dynamics would produce stable and tolerable levels of inequality; and (2) that a relatively powerful, competent, and legitimate state could effectively redistribute to mitigate what inequality did arise. What was largely overlooked in this thought and has since risen to central attention is the prospect that (1) accelerating levels of market-produced inequality will (2) undermine the legitimacy and efficacy of the state and disable the political community from effectively pursuing distributive justice. This paper explains how the earlier assumptions arose, defined the boundaries of distributive justice for decades, and were undermined by developments from both the political left and the political right. At present, the dynamics of inequality appear to be self-perpetuating and self-accelerating, and much of earlier thinking on the topic has been rendered irrelevant by the erosion of its mistaken premises. Only a democratic effort to reconstitute a competent and legitimate state has any prospect of making inequality a tractable problem subject to effective intervention.

Symposium Issue Published: “Education Equality in the Twenty-First Century”

Symposium Issue Published: “Education Equality in the Twenty-First Century” by U. Pa. J. Const. L. (2015).  Articles below, from the website, after break:

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New Article: “Private in Name Only: A Statutory and Constitutional Analysis of Milwaukee’s Private School Voucher Program”

New Article: Julie F. Mead, Private in Name Only: A Statutory and Constitutional Analysis of Milwaukee’s Private School Voucher Program, 21 Wash. & Lee J. Civ. Rts. & Soc. Just. 331 (2015).   

New Article: “Criminal Histories in Public Housing”

New Article: Lahny R. Silva, Criminal Histories in Public Housing, 2015 Wis. L. Rev. 375.

New Article: “Mission-Driven Corporations and Shareholder Profit”

New Article: Kevin V. Tu, Mission-Driven Corporations and Shareholder Profit, forthcoming GW L. Rev., SSRN 2015.  Abstract below:

What is the proper role of the corporation in society? This question, in its many iterations, has inspired decades of debate. The normative question of whether corporations should be viewed as purely private enterprises with the singular objective of maximizing shareholder wealth or alternatively as possessing broader obligations to the public may never be settled. However, the legal question of the extent to which the traditional corporate form permits the pursuit of both shareholder profit and the pursuit of a social missions has taken on new found importance. In light of increased interest and demand for corporations that are also good citizens, the legal uncertainty about the existence of a duty to maximize profits is increasingly problematic for corporate managers and shareholders. The widespread addition of the Benefit Corporation as a new legal entity capable of facilitating dual objectives of profit and social missions only adds to the immediacy of the need to resolve this question. While Benefit Corporation statutes provide added certainty for those that elect to organize in that form, the broader impact on existing business entities may be significant. This Article evaluates several unintended consequences that may adversely impact the existing legal framework for traditional corporations, and concludes that the adoption of Benefit Corporation statutes without further efforts to clarify the fundamental question of the extent to which traditional corporations may pursue social missions will result in a more complex and inefficient environment for corporate decision-making.

New Article: “Fighting for a Place Called Home: Litigation Strategies for Challenging Gentrification”

New Article: Hannah Weinstein, Fighting for a Place Called Home: Litigation Strategies for Challenging Gentrification, 62 UCLA L. Rev. 794 (2015).  Abstract below:

Since the passage of the 1968 Fair Housing Act (FHA), there have been clear legal tools and strategies for combating segregation and promoting diverse cities and towns. While the FHA and zoning laws have been used successfully to ensure that formerly all-white city neighborhoods and towns are accessible to diverse residents, a new problem is emerging for those who value integrated neighborhoods: the reversal of white flight. The 2010 Census showed a strong demographic shift of white residents moving back to the core of cities while black and Hispanic residents are pushed to the cities’ perimeters. This racialized displacement is called gentrification, and there has been little analysis of how legal strategies could be used to challenge it in order to ensure that minority communities receive the benefits of revitalizing city neighborhoods and remain in their homes.

This Comment will explain the role gentrification plays in many cities and the legal strategies available for ensuring that cities remain diverse and affordable. It explores how attorneys can use zoning laws to preserve or create more affordable housing in cities even before the gentrification of a neighborhood is underway, environmental impact statements to fight proposed luxury developments that often are built near the beginning or middle of the gentrification process, and the FHA to preserve affordable housing and to challenge the building of luxury developments in neighborhoods that have undergone significant gentrification.

New Article: ““The Help that We Get”: Racial Differences in Private Safety Nets and the Scarring Effects of Unemployment Following the Great Recession”

New Article: Alix Gould-Werth, “The Help that We Get”: Racial Differences in Private Safety Nets and the Scarring Effects of Unemployment Following the Great Recession, National Poverty Center Working Paper Series #14-01 (2014).