Category Archives: Race
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: 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: 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
New Article: Andrea Freeman, “First Food” Justice: Racial Disparities in Infant Feeding As Food Oppression, 83 Fordham L. Rev. 3053 (2015).
New Article: “The Impact of Race and Socioeconomic Status on Access to Accommodations in Postsecondary Education”
New Article: Ashley Yull, The Impact of Race and Socioeconomic Status on Access to Accommodations in Postsecondary Education, 23 Am. U. J. Gender, Soc. Pol’y & L. 353 (2015).
New Article: Patience A. Crowder, Interest Convergence as Transaction?, 75 U. Pitt. L. Rev. 693 (2014).