Category Archives: Race

Blog Post: “Poor Lives Matter Too”

Here: Bertrall Ross, “Poor Lives Matter Too,” Prawfsblawg, Aug. 25, 2015,

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:

Continue reading

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).

New Article: “Milliken, Meredith, and Metropolitan Segregation”

New Article: Myron Orfield, Milliken, Meredith, and Metropolitan Segregation, 62 UCLA L. Rev. 364 (2015).  Abstract below:

Over the last sixty years, the courts, Congress, and the President—but mostly the
courts—first increased integration in schools and neighborhoods, and then changed
course, allowing schools to resegregate. The impact of these decisions is illustrated by
the comparative legal histories of Detroit and Louisville, two cities which demonstrate
the many benefits of metropolitan-level cooperation on issues of racial segregation,
and the harms that arise in its absence. Detroit, Michigan, and Louisville, Kentucky,
both emerged from the riots of the 1960s equally segregated in their schools and
neighborhoods with proportionally sized racial ghettoes. In 1974-75, the Supreme
Court overturned a proposed metropolitan school integration plan in Detroit, but
allowed a metropolitan remedy for Louisville-Jefferson schools to stand. Since
that time, Louisville-Jefferson schools and neighborhoods, like all the regions with
metropolitan plans, have become among the most integrated in the nation, while
Detroit’s schools have remained rigidly segregated and its racial ghetto has dramatically
expanded. Detroit’s experience is very common in the highly fragmented metropolitan
areas of the midwestern and northeastern United States. Black students in Louisville-
Jefferson outperform black students in Detroit by substantial margins on standardized
tests. Metropolitan Louisville has also grown healthier economically, while the City of
Detroit went bankrupt and both the city and school district were taken over by state
authorities. The Article concludes with a call to modernize American local government
law by strengthening the legal concepts of metropolitan jurisdictional interdependence
and metropolitan citizenship.

News Coverage: The Continuing Reality of Segregated Schools – The New York Times

The Continuing Reality of Segregated Schools – The New York Times.

New Article: “Setting the Stage for Ferguson: Housing Discrimination and Segregation in St. Louis”

New Article: Rigel Christine Oliveri, Setting the Stage for Ferguson: Housing Discrimination and Segregation in St. Louis, Missouri L. Rev. forthcoming.  SSRN 2015.  Abstract below:

The events of fall 2014 in Ferguson, MO (the shooting death of Michael Brown by a white police officer and the subsequent protests and riots), have been examined from many angles – the policing of minority communities, the militarized police response to peaceful protests, the poor schools and job prospects for young people like Mr. Brown, etc… This paper adds another factor to the analysis: housing discrimination.

St. Louis is one of the most segregated places in the country and this is not an accident. The history of St. Louis is replete with discriminatory housing laws, policies, and practices. While these were common throughout the United States, they were particularly egregious, widespread, and pervasive in industrial mid-western cities like St. Louis. St. Louis, in fact, was where three of fair housing law’s most foundational fair housing cases emerged from: Shelly v. Kraemer, which held that racially restrictive covenants could not be enforced by courts; Jones v. Mayer, which held that private acts of race discrimination in housing were prohibited by the Civil Rights Act; and United States v. City of Black Jack, which recognized the use of disparate impact theory in fair housing cases. When we look closely at these cases – not just the legal principles that they established but the physical, racial geography of the homes, neighborhoods, and cities that were contested – we can see how they reflected the racist forces that shaped the reality of modern metropolitan St. Louis.

This paper traces the history of housing discrimination in the St. Louis metro area using these cases as a framework, concluding with a discussion of how these historical forces resonate in contemporary Ferguson. The paper concludes with suggestions for reforms that might help undo what a century’s worth of officially sanctioned discrimination and segregation have wrought.

New Article: “Credit Reporting’s Vicious Cycles”

New Article: Luke Herrine, Credit Reporting’s Vicious Cycles, NYU Rev. L. & Soc. Change forthcoming, SSRN 2015.  Abstract below:

This article argues that consumer credit reports can create two sorts of vicious cycles, which can contribute to to cycles of poverty and deepen race-based disenfranchisement. The first takes place in credit markets themselves. Even on a neoclassical model of credit reporting, credit reports can amplify past problems with debt, most of which are brought on by systemic inequality. Loosening the neoclassical model reveals the possibility of even more drastic inequality amplification. The second cycle arises when credit reports are used on extra-lending contexts. In non-lending contexts such as employment credit checks, credit reports do not seem to provide any useful information to employers, but they do reinforce the first vicious cycle and the disadvantage it amplifies. In quasi-lending contexts like insurance pricing, credit reports may provide predictive information, but the information they reveal seems only to be economic instability and by forcing economically unstable individuals to pay more for insurance, they deepen their economic instability. The article concludes with several policy implications.

News Coverage: “Obama administration to unveil major new rules targeting segregation across U.S.”

News Coverage: Emily Badger, Obama administration to unveil major new rules targeting segregation across U.S., Wash Post Wonkblog, July 8, 2015.

News Coverage: What Happened to Lincoln Heights, One of America’s First Black Suburbs – The Atlantic

What Happened to Lincoln Heights, One of America’s First Black Suburbs – The Atlantic.