Category Archives: Economic Mobility

News Article: Trump Budget Proposal Reflects Working-Class Resentment of the Poor

News Article: Eduardo Porter, Trump Budget Proposal Reflects Working-Class Resentment of the Poor, N.Y. Times (Mar. 7, 2017).

Article: Between Indigence, Islamophobia, and Erasure: Poor and Muslim in “War on Terror” America

Article: Khaled H. Beydoun, Between Indigence, Islamophobia, and Erasure: Poor and Muslim in “War on Terror” America, 104 Cal. L. Rev. 1463 (2016).

Nearly half of the Muslim American population is interlocked between indigence and “Islamophobia,” or anti-Muslim animus. Of the estimated eight million Muslim Americans, 45 percent of this population earns a household income less than $30,000 per year. While this statistic clashes with pervasive stereotyping of Muslim Americans as middle class, economically upwardly mobile, or opulently wealthy, it does correspond with the legal poverty line in the United States.

Since the September 11th terrorist attacks (9/11), the legal literature analyzing national security, anti-terror policies, and Muslim American civil liberties has been prolific. The emergence of “counterradicalization” policing within Muslim American communities drives this scholarly interest forward. However, since 9/11, Muslim Americans have been framed as similarly situated victims within legal literature. As a result, this body of scholarship fails to closely examine vulnerable indigent and working-class spaces where public and private Islamophobia is disproportionately unleashed. This failure compounds the injuries Muslim Americans already suffer.

This Essay intervenes to examine these liminal and overlooked spaces where indigence and Islamophobia collide. In turn, it highlights how the convergence of poverty, religious profiling and prosecution, and mounting counter radicalization policing disparately impact Muslim America’s most vulnerable demographic amid the still-escalating War on Terror.

News Article: Federal Anti-Poverty Programs Primarily Help the GOP’s Base

News Article: Ronald Brownstein, Federal Anti-Poverty Programs Primarily Help the GOP’s Base, The Atlantic (Feb. 16, 2017).


Article: ‘Equal Right to the Poor’

Article: Richard M. Re, ‘Equal Right to the Poor,’ U. Chicago L. Rev. (forthcoming 2017).

By law, federal judges must swear or affirm that they will “do equal right to the poor and to the rich.” This frequently overlooked oath, which I call the “equal right principle,” has historical roots dating back to the Bible and entered U.S. law in a statute passed by the First Congress. Today, the equal right principle is often understood to require only that judges faithfully apply other laws. But that reading, like the idea that the rich and poor are equally barred from sleeping under bridges, is questionable in light of the equal right principle’s text, context, and history.

This Article argues that the equal right principle supplies at least a plausible basis for federal judges to promote substantive economic equality when implementing underdetermined sources of law. There are many implications. For example, the equal right principle suggests that federal courts may legitimately limit the poor’s disadvantages in the adjudicative and legislative processes by expanding counsel rights and interpreting statutes with an eye toward economically vulnerable groups. The equal right principle should also inform what qualifies as a compelling or legitimate governmental interest within campaign finance jurisprudence, as well as whether to implement “under-enforced” equal protection principles.

More broadly, the equal right principle should play a more central role in constitutional culture. The United States is unusual in that its fundamental law is relatively silent on issues of economic equality. The equal right principle can fill that void by providing a platform for legal and public deliberation over issues of wealth inequality. Through judicial confirmation hearings and other forms of public contestation, the equal right principle can help to specify federal judges’ legal and moral commitments toward the poor.

News Article: NYT’s Kristof Blames Poverty on Too Many TVs, Not Too Little Money

News Article: Neil DeMause, NYT’s Kristof Blames Poverty on Too Many TVs, Not Too Little Money, FAIR (Oct. 31, 2016).

News Article: We Can Make Housing More Affordable

News Article: A. Barton Hinkle, We Can Make Housing More Affordable, (Oct. 31, 2016).

New Report: “Law School Scholarship Policies: Engines Of Inequity”

New Report: LSSSE, Law School Scholarship Policies: Engines Of Inequity (2017).  News coverage here.



Podcast: Busted: America’s Poverty Myths

Podcast: Busted: America’s Poverty Myths, from On the Media

#1: The Poverty Tour

#2: Who Deserves to Be Poor?

#3: Rags to Riches

#4: When the Safety Net Doesn’t Catch You

#5: Breaking News Consumer’s Handbook: Poverty in American Edition



News Article: America’s Great Divergence

News Article: Alana Semeuls, America’s Great Divergence, The Atlantic (Jan. 30, 2017).

News Article: “After a year of strong jobs growth, D.C.’s unemployment rate drops to its lowest since 2008”

News Article: Aaron Gregg, “After a year of strong jobs growth, D.C.’s unemployment rate drops to its lowest since 2008,” Washington Post (Jan. 24, 2017).