Category Archives: Welfare

Op-Ed: “Twenty Years Since Welfare ‘Reform'”

Op-Ed: Kathryn Edin & Luke Shaefer, Twenty Years Since Welfare ‘Reform’, The Atlantic, Aug. 22, 2016.

New Article: “Separate and Unequal: The Dimensions and Consequences of Safety Net Decentralization in the U.S. 1994 – 2014”

New Article: Sarah K. Bruch, Separate and Unequal: The Dimensions and Consequences of Safety Net Decentralization in the U.S. 1994 – 2014, IRP Discussion Paper No. 1432-16 (Aug. 2016) [Includes a good bibliography].

-Thanks to Susan Bennett for the heads up!

New Report: “The Safety Net’s Impact: A State-by-State Look”

New Report/Fact Sheets: Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, The Safety Net’s Impact: A State-by-State Look (2016).

-Thanks to Francine Lipman for the heads up!

New Book: “The Poverty Law Canon: Exploring the Major Cases”

Poverty Canon CoverI am excited to announce that The Poverty Law Canon: Exploring the Major Cases (Marie Failinger & Ezra Rosser eds., Univ. of Michigan Press, 2016) is now published and available through both the Michigan Press website and Amazon, etc (the library edition is $95 and the paperback is $39.95).

I have a bit more to say about this book, below, but first I want to highlight the contents of the book.  The book came out of a 2013 conference and features a great group of contributors as can be seen from the chapter list:


Introduction – Ezra Rosser

Part I: Victories

When Paupers Became People: Edwards v. California (1941) – Clare Pastore

Remaking the “Law of the Poor”: Williams v. Walker-Thomas Furniture Co. (1965)  – Anne Fleming

Sylvester Smith, Unlikely Heroine: King v. Smith (1968) – Henry Freedman

Legal Services Attorneys and Migrant Advocates Join Forces: Shapiro v. Thompson (1969)  – Elisa Alvarez Minoff

Dignity and Passion: Goldberg v. Kelly (1970) – Melanie B. Abbott

Litigating in the Zeitgeist: Rosado v. Wyman (1970) – Wendy A. Bach

Part II: Losses

A Sweeping Refusal of Equal Protection: Dandridge v. Williams (1970) – Julie A. Nice

Privacy as a Luxury Not for the Poor: Wyman v. James (1971) – Michele Estrin Gilman

A Tragedy of Two Americas: Jefferson v. Hackney (1972) – Marie A. Failinger

Denying the Poor Access to Court: United States v. Kras (1973) – Henry Rose

“The Poor People Have Lost Again”: San Antonio Independent School District v. Rodriguez (1973) – Camille Walsh

Part III: The Modern Era

Reflecting and Foreshadowing: Mathews v. Eldridge (1976) – John J. Capowski

Chronicle of a Debt Foretold: Zablocki v. Red Hail (1978) – Tonya L. Brito, R. Kirk Anderson, and Monica Wedgewood

The Movement for a Right to Counsel in Civil Cases: Turner v. Rogers (2011) – Kelly Terry

Public Housing as Housing of Last Resort: Department of Housing and Urban Development v. Rucker (2002) – Nestor M. Davidson


As with any effort to put together a list of important cases, there are cases that arguably should have been included and/or excluded; the chapters represent a combination of the importance of the cases and the interests of the contributors.  But I hope this book will be of interest to those interested in poverty or poverty law in the United States.

“The contributors include some of the best academics who write and teach about poverty. The back stories of these cases are multidimensionally interesting—the clients, the legal strategies, the lawyers themselves, the historical and political context, the effect on the law, the backstage of the Supreme Court and the role of the law clerks.” – Peter Edelman

As one of the editors, I want to thank Michigan Press for taking a chance on this book, Marie Failinger for being such a great co-editor, and all the contributors for their patience as this book made its slow way from idea to something that can be picked up.

I want to end on a personal note.  I see The Poverty Law Canon as being closely related to the Juliet Brodie, Clare Pastore, Ezra Rosser & Jeff Selbin, Poverty Law, Policy, and Practice (2014) in that both are efforts to think through and share the connection between poverty and law in a manner that hopefully will appeal to scholars and students.  The books are linked in my mind, and not only because of the work involved.  I dedicated my role on the textbook to my late father-in-law, Mario Castro, and my part of the dedication page of The Poverty Law Canon reads:

To my students and to my colleagues and mentors at American University Washington College of Law, especially Susan Bennett, Claudio Grossman, and Ira Robbins. It is a privilege to get to teach and write in your company.

Thanks for putting up with this long aside, now buy your copy and tell your librarian to do the same!  =)

New Report: “Lessons Learned From 40 Years of Subsidized Employment Programs”

New Report: Center on Poverty and Inequality at Georgetown Law, Lessons Learned From 40 Years of Subsidized Employment Programs (2016).

New Short Video: “Welfare and the Politics of Poverty”

New Short Video: “Welfare and the Politics of Poverty” – Retro Report, New York Times.  Note, could be good for poverty law classes, either in class or as an assignment to watch.

New Book: “The Poverty Industry” (forthcoming 2016)

poverty industryNew Book: Daniel L. Hatcher, The Poverty Industry: The Exploitation of America’s Most Vulnerable Citizens (forthcoming 2016).

[Editor’s Note: I recently saw Prof. Hatcher present just a small part of the work related to this book at the poverty law conference and I think it is safe to say that this is a very promising book, to be published soon, covering matters that are not yet part of the standard refrains about poverty programs.]

New Article: “Why America Should Save SNAP”

New Article: Representative Rosa L. DeLauro, Why America Should Save SNAP, 52 Harv. J. on Leg. 267 (2015).

Op-Ed: “Welfare Benefits: The Contributory Myth: What You Pay In Isn’t What You Get Out”

Op-Ed: “Welfare Benefits: The Contributory Myth: What You Pay In Isn’t What You Get Out” – The Economist

News Coverage: “Uber For Welfare”

News Coverage: Cesar Conda and Derek Khanna, “Uber For Welfare” – Politico