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Full-Text Articles in Law

Racial Disparity In Federal Criminal Sentences, Sonja B. Starr, M. Marit Rehavi Dec 2014

Racial Disparity In Federal Criminal Sentences, Sonja B. Starr, M. Marit Rehavi

Articles

Using rich data linking federal cases from arrest through to sentencing, we find that initial case and defendant characteristics, including arrest offense and criminal history, can explain most of the large raw racial disparity in federal sentences, but significant gaps remain. Across the distribution, blacks receive sentences that are almost 10 percent longer than those of comparable whites arrested for the same crimes. Most of this disparity can be explained by prosecutors’ initial charging decisions, particularly the filing of charges carrying mandatory minimum sentences. Ceteris paribus, the odds of black arrestees facing such a charge are 1.75 times higher ...


Coercive Assimilationism: The Perils Of Muslim Women's Identity Performance In The Workplace, Sahar F. Aziz Oct 2014

Coercive Assimilationism: The Perils Of Muslim Women's Identity Performance In The Workplace, Sahar F. Aziz

Michigan Journal of Race and Law

Should employees have the legal right to “be themselves” at work? Most Americans would answer in the negative because work is a privilege, not an entitlement. But what if being oneself entails behaviors, mannerisms, and values integrally linked to the employee’s gender, race, or religion? And what if the basis for the employer’s workplace rules and professionalism standards rely on negative racial, ethnic or gender stereotypes that disparately impact some employees over others? Currently, Title VII fails to take into account such forms of second-generation discrimination, thereby limiting statutory protections to phenotypical or morphological bases. Drawing on social ...


Title Ix And Social Media: Going Beyond The Law, Emily Suran Oct 2014

Title Ix And Social Media: Going Beyond The Law, Emily Suran

Michigan Journal of Gender & Law

The U.S. Department of Education is currently investigating over eighty colleges and universities for civil rights violations under Title IX. From a punitive standpoint, these investigations likely will have minimal impact. Indeed, since the Alexander v. Yale plaintiffs first conceived of Title IX in a sexual harassment context, the nondiscriminatory principles of Title IX have proven disappointingly difficult to enforce. However, in today’s world of grassroots social activism, Title IX has taken on a new, extralegal import. Title IX has become a rallying cry for college activists and survivors. Despite (or perhaps because of) its limitations as a ...


The Fourth Trimester, Saru M. Matambanadzo Sep 2014

The Fourth Trimester, Saru M. Matambanadzo

University of Michigan Journal of Law Reform

This Article introduces a new conceptual framework to the legal literature on pregnancy and pregnancy discrimination: the fourth trimester. The concept of a fourth trimester, drawn from maternal nursing and midwifery, refers to the crucial three to six month period after birth when many of the physical, psychological, emotional, and social effects of pregnancy continue. Giving this concept legal relevance extends the scope of pregnancy beyond the narrow period defined by conception, gestation, and birth and acknowledges that pregnancy is a relational process, not an individual event. In the United States, however, antidiscrimination law has failed to acknowledge the demands ...


Judicial Diversity After Shelby County V. Holder, William Roth Sep 2014

Judicial Diversity After Shelby County V. Holder, William Roth

Michigan Law Review First Impressions

In 2014, voters in ten of the fifteen states previously covered by the Voting Rights Act ("VRA") preclearance formula-including six of the nine states covered in their entirety-will go to the polls to elect or retain state supreme court justices. Yet despite the endemic underrepresentation of minorities on state benches and the judiciary's traditional role in fighting discrimination, scholars have seemingly paid little attention to how Shelby County v. Holder's suspension of the coverage formula in section 4(b) has left racial minorities vulnerable to retrogressive changes to judicial-election laws. The first election year following Shelby County thus ...


The Quixtoic Search For Race-Neutral Alternatives, Michael E. Rosman Jul 2014

The Quixtoic Search For Race-Neutral Alternatives, Michael E. Rosman

University of Michigan Journal of Law Reform

The Supreme Court has stated that the narrow-tailoring inquiry of the Equal Protection Clause’s strict scrutiny analysis of racially disparate treatment by state actors requires courts to consider whether the defendant seriously considered race-neutral alternatives before adopting the race-conscious program at issue. This article briefly examines what that means in the context of race-conscious admissions programs at colleges and universities. Part I sets forth the basic concepts that the Supreme Court uses to analyze race-conscious decision-making by governmental actors and describes the role of “race-neutral alternatives” in that scheme. Part II examines the nature of “race-neutral alternatives” and identifies ...


Thinking Hard About 'Race-Neutral' Admissions, Aaron Danielson, Richard H. Sander Jul 2014

Thinking Hard About 'Race-Neutral' Admissions, Aaron Danielson, Richard H. Sander

University of Michigan Journal of Law Reform

Our exploration is organized as follows. In Part I, we sympathetically consider the very difficult dilemmas facing higher education leaders. Understanding the often irreconcilable pressures that constrain university administrators is essential if we are to envision the plausible policies they might undertake. In Part II, we draw on a range of data to illustrate some of the “properties” of admissions systems and, in particular, the ways in which race, SES, and academic preparation interact dynamically both within individual schools and across the educational spectrum. Partly because the questions we examine here have been so little studied, ideal data does not ...


Fisher V. Texas: The Limits Of Exhaustion And The Future Of Race-Conscious University Admissions, John A. Powell, Stephen Menendian Jul 2014

Fisher V. Texas: The Limits Of Exhaustion And The Future Of Race-Conscious University Admissions, John A. Powell, Stephen Menendian

University of Michigan Journal of Law Reform

This Article investigates the potential ramifications of Fisher v. Texas and the future of race-conscious university admissions. Although one cannot predict the ultimate significance of the Fisher decision, its brief and pregnant statements of law portends an increasingly perilous course for traditional affirmative action programs. Part I explores the opinions filed in Fisher, with a particular emphasis on Justice Kennedy’s opinion on behalf of the Court. We focus on the ways in which the Fisher decision departs from precedent, proscribes new limits on the use of race in university admissions, and tightens requirements for narrow tailoring. Part II investigates ...


Bottlenecks And Antidiscrimination Theory, Samuel R. Bagenstos Jun 2014

Bottlenecks And Antidiscrimination Theory, Samuel R. Bagenstos

Reviews

In American antidiscrimination theory, two positions have competed for primacy. One, anticlassification, sees the proper goal of antidiscrimination law as being essentially individualistic. The problem with discrimination, in this view, is that it classifies individuals on the basis of an irrelevant or arbitrary characteristic—and that it, as a result, denies them opportunities for which they are otherwise individually qualified. The other position, antisubordination, sees the proper goal of antidiscrimination law as being more group oriented. The problem with discrimination, in this view, is that it helps constitute a social system in which particular groups are systematically subject to disadvantage ...


The Ninth Circuit's Treatment Of Sexual Orientation: Defining “Rational Basis Review With Bite”, Ian Bartrum Jun 2014

The Ninth Circuit's Treatment Of Sexual Orientation: Defining “Rational Basis Review With Bite”, Ian Bartrum

Michigan Law Review First Impressions

On February 10, Nevada's Democratic attorney general decided to stop defending the state's constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage, which is currently under review in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. Perhaps even more surprising, Nevada's Republican governor agreed with that decision, concluding that the "case is no longer defensible in court." Ironically, all of this came after the plaintiffs had lost their case in the district court. But the federal constitutional landscape surrounding same-sex marriage is rapidly shifting, and in the nation's largest circuit change is coming quickly indeed. The latest upheaval ...


Dismissing Deterrence, Ellen D. Katz Apr 2014

Dismissing Deterrence, Ellen D. Katz

Articles

The proposed Voting Rights Amendment Act of 20144 (VRAA)[...]’s new criteria defining when jurisdictions become subject to preclearance are acutely responsive to the concerns articulated in Shelby County[ v. Holder]. The result is a preclearance regime that, if enacted, would operate in fewer places and demand less from those it regulates. This new regime, however, would not only be more targeted and less powerful, but, curiously, more vulnerable to challenge. In fact, the regime would be more vulnerable precisely because it is so responsive to Shelby County. Some background will help us see why.


Globally Speaking—Honoring The Victims' Stories: Matsuda's Human Rights Praxis, Berta Esperanza Hernández-Truyol Apr 2014

Globally Speaking—Honoring The Victims' Stories: Matsuda's Human Rights Praxis, Berta Esperanza Hernández-Truyol

Michigan Law Review First Impressions

Globally speaking, international law and the vast majority of domestic legal systems strive to protect the right to freedom of expression. The United States' First Amendment provides an early historical protection of speech-a safeguard now embraced around the world. The extent of this protection, however, varies among states. The United States stands alone in excluding countervailing considerations of equality, dignitary, or privacy interests that would favor restrictions on speech. The gravamen of the argument supporting such American exceptionalism is that free expression is necessary in a democracy. Totalitarianism, the libertarian narrative goes, thrives on government control of information to the ...


Designing A Flexible World For The Many: "Essential Functions" And Title I Of The Americans With Disabilities Act, Michael J. Powers Jan 2014

Designing A Flexible World For The Many: "Essential Functions" And Title I Of The Americans With Disabilities Act, Michael J. Powers

University of Michigan Journal of Law Reform

This Note explores how courts interpret the meaning of “essential functions” under Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act. To be protected under the ADA, a plaintiff must be able to perform the “essential functions” of her job with or without a reasonable accommodation. In general, courts follow one of two approaches when interpreting this phrase. The first approach narrowly focuses on the employer’s judgment regarding which functions are essential. The second approach considers the employer’s judgment, but looks beyond to consider the broader employment relationship. This Note argues that these different approaches have led to varying ...


An Evaluation Of The Prospects For Successful Implementation Of The Convention On The Rights Of Persons With Disabilities In The Islamic World, Brenton Kinker Jan 2014

An Evaluation Of The Prospects For Successful Implementation Of The Convention On The Rights Of Persons With Disabilities In The Islamic World, Brenton Kinker

Michigan Journal of International Law

This note will examine the CRPD’s aspirations in light of Islamic law, comparing whether the two are—or can be—consistent. Part I will provide background on the CRPD, including the intent of the treaty, the negotiations leading to the final wording, and the solid obligations it contains for state parties. Part II examines the background of Shari’a and its provisions regarding disability. Part III compares the treatment of the disabled under Islamic law with that required by the CRPD in order to gage consistency. Where tensions exist, alternative interpretations of both Islamic law and the CPRD are ...


Towards A Universal Framework For Insurance Anti-Discrimination Laws, Ronen Avraham, Kyle D. Logue, Daniel Schwarcz Jan 2014

Towards A Universal Framework For Insurance Anti-Discrimination Laws, Ronen Avraham, Kyle D. Logue, Daniel Schwarcz

Articles

Discrimination in insurance is principally regulated at the state level. Surprisingly, there is a great deal of variation across coverage lines and policyholder characteristics in how and the extent to which risk classification by insurers is limited. Some statutes expressly permit insurers to consider certain characteristics, while other characteristics are forbidden or limited in various ways. What explains this variation across coverage lines and policyholder characteristics? Drawing on a unique, hand-collected data-set consisting of the laws regulating insurer risk classification in fifty-one U.S. jurisdictions, this Article argues that much of the variation in state-level regulation of risk classification can ...


Formalism And Employer Liability Under Title Vii, Samuel R. Bagenstos Jan 2014

Formalism And Employer Liability Under Title Vii, Samuel R. Bagenstos

Articles

Most lawyers, law professors, and judges are familiar with two standard critiques of formalism in legal reasoning. One is the unacknowledged-policymaking critique. This critique argues that formalist reasoning purports to be above judicial policymaking but instead simply hides the policy decisions offstage. The other is the false-determinacy critique. This critique observes that formalist reasoning purports to reduce decision costs in the run of cases by sorting cases into defined categories, but argues that instead of going away the difficult questions of application migrate to the choice of the category in which to place a particular case.


Universalism And Civil Rights (With Notes On Voting Rights After Shelby), Samuel R. Bagenstos Jan 2014

Universalism And Civil Rights (With Notes On Voting Rights After Shelby), Samuel R. Bagenstos

Articles

After the Supreme Court’s decision in Shelby County v. Holder, voting rights activists proposed a variety of legislative responses. Some proposals sought to move beyond measures that targeted voting discrimination based on race or ethnicity. They instead sought to eliminate certain problematic practices that place too great a burden on voting generally. Responses like these are universalist, because rather than seeking to protect any particular group against discrimination, they formally provide uniform protections to everyone. As Bruce Ackerman shows, voting rights activists confronted a similar set of questions—and at least some of them opted for a universalist approach ...


The Unrelenting Libertarian Challenge To Public Accommodations Law, Samuel R. Bagenstos Jan 2014

The Unrelenting Libertarian Challenge To Public Accommodations Law, Samuel R. Bagenstos

Articles

There seems to be a broad consensus that Title II of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits race discrimination in “place[s] of public accommodation,” was a remarkable success. But the consensus is illusory. Laws prohibiting discrimination by public accommodations currently exist under a significant legal threat. And this threat is merely the latest iteration in the controversy over public accommodations laws that began as early as Reconstruction. This Article begins by discussing the controversy in the Reconstruction and Civil Rights Eras over the penetration of antidiscrimination principles into the realm of private businesses’ choice of customers. Although ...


Evidence-Based Sentencing And The Scientific Rationalization Of Discrimination, Sonja B. Starr Jan 2014

Evidence-Based Sentencing And The Scientific Rationalization Of Discrimination, Sonja B. Starr

Articles

This Article critiques, on legal and empirical grounds, the growing trend of basing criminal sentences on actuarial recidivism risk prediction instruments that include demographic and socioeconomic variables. I argue that this practice violates the Equal Protection Clause and is bad policy: an explicit embrace of otherwise- condemned discrimination, sanitized by scientific language. To demonstrate that this practice raises serious constitutional concerns, I comprehensively review the relevant case law, much of which has been ignored by existing literature. To demonstrate that the policy is not justified by countervailing state interests, I review the empirical evidence underlying the instruments. I show that ...


Understanding Insurance Anti-Discrimination Laws, Ronen Avraham, Kyle D. Logue, Daniel Schwarcz Jan 2014

Understanding Insurance Anti-Discrimination Laws, Ronen Avraham, Kyle D. Logue, Daniel Schwarcz

Articles

Insurance companies are in the business of discrimination. Insurers attempt to segregate insureds into separate risk pools based on the differences in their risk profiles, first, so that different premiums can be charged to the different groups based on their differing risks and, second, to incentivize risk reduction by insureds. This is why we let insurers discriminate. There are limits, however, to the types of discrimination that are permissible for insurers. But what exactly are those limits and how are they justified? To answer these questions, this Article (a) articulates the leading fairness and efficiency arguments for and against limiting ...