New Article: David A. Dana & Deborah Tuerkheimer, After Flint: Environmental Justice as Equal Protection, 111 Nw. U. L. Rev. 879 (2017). Abstract below:
This Essay conceptualizes the Flint water crisis as an archetypical case of underenforcement—that is, a denial of the equal protection of laws guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution. Viewed as such, the inadequacy of environmental regulation can be understood as a failure that extends beyond the confines of Flint; a failure that demands a far more expansive duty to protect vulnerable populations.
Article: Katharine G. Young, Rights and Queues: On Distributive Contests in the Modern State, 55 Colum. J. Transnt’l L. 65 (2016).
Two legal concepts have become fundamental to questions of resource allocation in the modern state: rights and queues. As rights are increasingly recognized in areas such as housing, health care, or immigration law, so too are queues used to administer access to the goods, services, or opportunities that realize such rights, especially in conditions of scarcity. This Article is the first to analyze the concept of queues (or temporal waiting lines or lists) and their ambivalent, interdependent relation with rights. After showing the conceptual tension between rights and queues, the Article argues that queues and “queue talk” present a unique challenge to rights and “rights talk.” In exploring the currency of rights and queues in both political and legal terms, the Article illustrates how participants discuss and contest the right to housing in South Africa, the right to health care in Canada, and the right to asylum in Australia. It argues that, despite its appearance in very different ideological and institutional settings, the political discourse of “queues” and especially “queue jumping” commonly invokes misleading distinctions between corruption and order, markets and bureaucracies, and governments and courts. Moreover, queue talk obscures the first-order questions on which resource allocations in housing, health care, or immigration contexts must rely. By bringing much-needed complexity to the concept of “queues,” the Article explores ways in which general principles of allocative fairness may be both open to contestation and yet supportive of basic claims of rights.
Posted in Articles, Development (and Law), Health, housing, Immigration, Legal Aid, Politics, Socio-Economic Rights, Uncategorized, Urban Issues, Welfare
Yale Law Journal Forum has published three essays on Matthew Desmond’s Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City (2016), an amazing book that just won this year’s non-fiction Pulitzer Prize. Links to the three articles are below:
Article: Deborah M. Weissman, Countering Neoliberalism and Aligning Solidarities: Rethinking Domestic Violence Advocacy, Southwestern University L. Rev. (forthcoming).
This article seeks to situate domestic violence in a larger analytical frame of the political economic, to extend institutional responsibility for violence beyond the criminal justice system, and to form common bonds with other social justice initiatives. It argues that improved remedies for domestic violence victims lie within the reform of the political economy. It examines the efficacy of integrating anti-domestic violence initiatives into realms of work and labor and issues pertaining to the financialization of everyday life, as a way to engage larger questions bearing on economic justice and structural social change. The relationship between domestic violence and political economy is under-theorized and constrained by prevailing neoliberal paradigms. Moreover, deepening wealth inequality in capitalist societies has produced new forms of suffering within families, which underscores the need for diverse constituencies to act in concert and in common political cause. Shifting domestic violence strategies so that they operate within the frame of the political economy may generate greater opportunities for coalition building for and with domestic violence advocates.
The relevance of economic security has loomed large in domestic violence advocacy, to be sure. It has been properly identified as a critical factor that determines whether a victim can escape domestic violence. However, advocacy in this area has been often circumscribed by a narrow focus on individual circumstances, reliance on a residualist welfare state that perceives dependency on public assistance as moral deficiency. Too often economic justice initiatives designed to mitigate domestic violence have been fitted neatly within neoliberal economics that fail to provide meaningful social change. These responses have failed to challenge such policies while discounting the full impact of the neoliberal model on one’s ability to escape domestic violence.
This article relies on the scholarship that considers the impact of neoliberalism on law and social justice claims to provide a contextual examination of the ways in which the constraints of neoliberalism hinder efforts to address laws gender-based violence. It describes and then critiques current economic-related strategies offered by the state and the market designed to improve outcomes for victims of domestic violence and questions the “sources of submission” by domestic violence advocates to a neoliberal pragmatic. It offers proposals to advance economic security in ways that join domestic violence advocacy with other forms of socio-economic advocacy that provide additional progressive promise, but does so cautiously as “[n]eoliberalism is everywhere and nowhere; its custodians are largely invisible.” It suggests that transforming the ways in which attention is paid to economic concerns provides a complementary if not alternative way of understanding and addressing the phenomenon of domestic violence through the broad perspective of socio-economic justice.
Note: Anthony D. Lauriello, Panhandling Regulation After Reed v. Town of Gilbert, 116 Columbia L. Rev. 1105 (2016).
In Reed v. Town of Gilbert the Supreme Court rearticulated the standard for when regulation of speech is content based. This determination has already had a large impact on cases involving panhandling regulations and is likely to result in the invalidation of the majority of this nation’s panhandling laws.
This Note will begin with a discussion of First Amendment doctrine and how panhandling is protected speech. This Note will then demonstrate that it is helpful to think of panhandling regulations categorically and explore how these categories of panhandling laws have fared in lower courts. This Note will then discuss the holding in Reed and how jurisdictions have already begun to invalidate panhandling laws. Finally, this Note proposes using the captive audience doctrine to uphold the validity of some salutary panhandling regulations while invalidating laws that are burdensome and oppressive to free expression.
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.
Article: Gregory R. Day & Salvatore J. Russo, Poverty and the Hidden Effects of Sex Discrimination: An Empirical Study of Inequality, 37 Penn. J. Int’l L. 1183 (2016).
Sexist laws are more prevalent in regions where poverty is endemic. The corollary is true as well: the places where women tend to experience better treatment are typically more highly developed. The legal academy has drawn several inferences from this observation, including the observations that poverty and the development process appear to be detrimental to women’s rights. But despite the strength of this relationship, few legal studies seek to understand precisely why gender inequality seems to be inextricably linked to poverty.
Our research finds the opposite of what is generally assumed: the act of depriving women of fundamental rights is the very cause of underdevelopment. First, using a law and economic approach, sexist laws appear to create perverse behavioral incentives whereby actors rationally engage in inefficient behaviors. This is because sexist laws, in contrast to other forms of discrimination, burden society’s basic economic unit—the family. For instance, regions that prohibit women from earning a wage depress the rate of investment since single-income families must approach the market overcautiously. These deductions are then supported by an original empirical analysis, which indicates that gender inequality and poverty are significantly and powerfully connected. Sexist laws are thus less the result of underdevelopment as much as its very cause.
Posted in Children, deserving/undeserving, Development (and Law), Economic Mobility, Economics, Education, Employment, Family, Gender Issues, Health, housing, Inequality, Jobs, Measuring Poverty, Minimum Wage, News Coverage of Poverty, podcast, Rural Issues, Socio-Economic Rights, Uncategorized, Urban Issues, Welfare
Article: Shakira D. Pleasant, More than Just the Numbers: Fisher v. Texas and the Impact of Texas’s Top Ten Percent Law, 24 Univ. Miami Bis. L. Rev. 111 (2016).
Data — actual facts — demonstrate that Texas’s Top Ten Percent Law (“TTPL”) is insufficient to achieve diversity in the state’s universities and colleges. A significant amount of TTPL students graduated from hyper-segregated schools where African-American and Latino/a students, combined, comprised 80% or more of the total school population. Also, a substantial amount of these hyper-segregated schools had an economically disadvantaged student population exceeding the state average of 60.2%. Even with these numbers, however, Caucasian students were the majority racial group admitted to the University of Texas at Austin (“UT”) via TTPL in 2012, 2013, and 2014. Thus, this essay concludes, as did the brief, that “racial isolation in schools is a perverse and insufficient means to attain diversity in higher education.”
Part one gives background about the TTPL — the underlying law at issue in Fisher v. Texas. Part two contrasts statewide enrollment data and TTPL admissions data. Part three focuses on regional TTPL data, specifically Region 4 (Houston), which produces the highest rate of students that are automatically admitted to UT. The final part analyzes the data and TTPL’s impact on UT’s holistic admissions process — the underlying issue in Fisher v. Texas. From this analysis, part four demonstrates that UT needs TTPL and its holistic process to combat racial and socio-economic isolation which precludes diversity within racial groups.