Category Archives: Socio-Economic Rights

News Coverage: Take the Quiz: Could You Manage as a Poor American?

News Coverage: Emily Badger et al., Take the Quiz: Could You Manage as a Poor American?, N.Y. Times, Jan. 1, 2020 [Infograpic blocked out the second author for me]

Could be a good classroom assignment or homework assignment and includes explanations on what is asked.

New Article: Working 9 to 5? Equal Protection and States’ Efforts to Impose Work Requirements for Medicaid Eligibility

New Article: David Wasserstein, Working 9 to 5? Equal Protection and States’ Efforts to Impose Work Requirements for Medicaid Eligibility, 69 Am. U. L. Rev. 703 (2019). Abstract below:

Since the election of Donald Trump, states’ efforts to reform and ultimately curtail the welfare state have flourished. Following the lead of the federal government, many states are actively attempting to reshape the mechanisms by which low-income Americans apply for and receive services. One such program under threat is Medicaid, a jointly funded federal-state effort to provide access to healthcare for needy individuals. Many states are trying to impose a monthly work requirement for beneficiaries to remain eligible within the program. The imposition of work requirements threatens to disenroll thousands of previously eligible individuals across the country. While these efforts are currently tied up in federal court, the implications for those in poverty and for the welfare state writ large are momentous.

Using efforts to institute a work requirement for Medicaid, this Comment argues that those experiencing poverty ought to be afforded greater protections from the courts and deserve some level of heightened scrutiny under the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. By tracing the Court’s jurisprudence around wealth as a protected class, this Comment finds an opening by which the Court should extend protections to those experiencing poverty. Specifically, within the context of Medicaid, this Comment argues that requiring Medicaid enrollees to work to remain covered via section 1115 waivers impermissibly discriminates based on economic status and violates the intent and purpose of Medicaid. These requirements impermissibly discriminate based on economic status because policies affecting those experiencing poverty demand heightened scrutiny, or at least a “rational basis plus bite” analysis, and do not further a legitimate government objective, thus making them unconstitutional. Even if such work requirements withstand a Fourteenth Amendment challenge, promoting better health outcomes, saving the state money, and encouraging self-sufficiency at the risk of disenrolling innumerable, otherwise qualified people, contravenes the intent and purpose of Medicaid. Extending any variant of Fourteenth Amendment protections to those in poverty presents profound implications for the American welfare state and would fundamentally alter the social safety net. This Comment argues that now more than ever is the time to do so.

-Congrats David!

News Coverage: I Was a Low-Income College Student. Classes Weren’t the Hard Part.

News Coverage: Anthony Abraham Jack, I Was a Low-Income College Student. Classes Weren’t the Hard Part., The New York Times Magazine, September 10, 2019. Schools must learn that when you come from poverty, you need more than financial aid to succeed.

News Coverage: Sorry, Being Born Rich Still Leads to Success More Than Working Hard in School

News Coverage: Alexis Chemblette, Sorry, Being Born Rich Still Leads to Success More Than Working Hard in School, Vice, October 18, 2017. But economic justice groups in the UK are campaigning hard to fix a broken system.

Conference: Movement Lawyering Conference: Building Power in Communities of Color

Conference: Movement Lawyering Conference: Building Power in Communities of Color, Howard University School of Law, Oct. 16, 2019.

About this Event:

In celebration of our 20th anniversary, Advancement Project National Office along with cosponsors Law for Black Lives and the Thurgood Marshall Civil Rights Center, will host a conference uplifting the racial justice movement lawyering model that is used by Advancement Project National Office, Law For Black Lives and others. Our strategic goal is not just civil rights litigation, but rather holistic strategies that center and support the genius of ordinary people to attack systems and build long-term power.

This conference is meant for lawyers, law students, organizers, communicators and those interested in supporting grassroots organizations and communities of color in building power to dismantle structural racism.

Speakers include:

Judith Browne Dianis, Executive Director, Advancement Project National Office

Justin Hansford, Associate Professor of Law at Howard University and Executive Director of the Thurgood Marshall Civil Rights Center

Marbre Stahly-Butts, Executive Director, Law for Black Lives

Vince Warren, Executive Director, Center for Constitutional Rights

Mary Hooks, Co-Director, Southerners on New Ground (invited)

Azadeh Shahshahani, Legal and Advocacy Director, Project South

Ashley Sawyer, Director of Policy and Government Relations, Girls for Gender Equity

Kayla Reed, Co-Director, Action St. Louis

Blake Strode, Executive Director, Arch City Defenders

Jovana Renteria, Puente Human Rights Movement

Alana Greer, Co-Director, Community Justice Project

Amanda Alexander, Executive Director, Detroit Justice Center (invited)

Thomas Mariadason, Deputy Director, Asian Law Caucus (invited)

Montague Simmons, Local Justice Director, Movement Voter Project

Phil Agnew, Co-Founder, Dream Defenders

Scott Roberts, Senior Director of Criminal Justice Campaigns, Color of Change

New Book: Vagrants and Vagabonds Poverty and Mobility in the Early American Republic

9781479845255New Book: Kristin O’Brassill-Kulfan, Vagrants and Vagabonds Poverty and Mobility in the Early American Republic (2019). Overview below:

The riveting story of control over the mobility of poor migrants, and how their movements shaped current perceptions of class and status in the United States

Vagrants. Vagabonds. Hoboes. Identified by myriad names, the homeless and geographically mobile have been with us since the earliest periods of recorded history. In the early days of the United States, these poor migrants – consisting of everyone from work-seekers to runaway slaves – populated the roads and streets of major cities and towns. These individuals were a part of a social class whose geographical movements broke settlement laws, penal codes, and welfare policies. This book documents their travels and experiences across the Atlantic world, excavating their life stories from the records of criminal justice systems and relief organizations.

Vagrants and Vagabonds examines the subsistence activities of the mobile poor, from migration to wage labor to petty theft, and how local and state municipal authorities criminalized these activities, prompting extensive punishment. Kristin O’Brassill-Kulfan examines the intertwined legal constructions, experiences, and responses to these so-called “vagrants,” arguing that we can glean important insights about poverty and class in this period by paying careful attention to mobility. This book charts why and how the itinerant poor were subject to imprisonment and forced migration, and considers the relationship between race and the right to movement and residence in the antebellum US.  Ultimately, Vagrants and Vagabonds argues that poor migrants, the laws designed to curtail their movements, and the people charged with managing them, were central to shaping everything from the role of the state to contemporary conceptions of community to class and labor status, the spread of disease, and punishment in the early American republic.

News Coverage of Poverty: About 13m US children are living below the poverty line, rights group reveals

News Coverage of Poverty: Chris McGreal, About 13m US children are living below the poverty line, rights group reveals, The Guardian, Apr. 30, 2019.

News Coverage of Poverty: ‘You can’t win’: the parents working full-time – and struggling to survive

poverty youthNews Coverage of Poverty: Chris McGreal, ‘You can’t win’: the parents working full-time – and struggling to survive, The Guardian, Apr. 30, 2019.

News Coverage of Poverty: What the Supreme Court Said About the 2020 Census Citizenship Question

News Coverage of Poverty: Kriston Capps, What the Supreme Court Said About the 2020 Census Citizenship Question, CityLab.com, Apr. 23, 2019.

New Article: Returns to Community Lending

New Article: Indraneel Chakraborty, et. al, Returns to Community Lending, available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3353786.  Abstract below:

For forty years, at a large scale, the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) has encouraged U.S. banks to lend to lower income neighborhoods. We estimate costs and benefits of providing incentives to privately-owned banks to reduce poverty. Regarding costs, to comply with CRA, rather than lend more overall, banks perfectly substitute away from small business lending to other income groups. Regarding benefits, 0.5% of the population is lifted out of poverty per year through the CRA small-business lending channel. The incidence of the act is on smaller banks who lend more and face higher loan losses. Large banks show no effects.