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University of Michigan Law School

Race and law

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How Does The Law Put A Historical Analogy To Work?: Defining The Imposition Of "A Condition Analogous To That Of A Slave" In Modern Brazil, Rebecca J. Scott, Leonardo Augusto De Andrade Barbosa, Carlos Henrique Borlido Haddad Dec 2017

How Does The Law Put A Historical Analogy To Work?: Defining The Imposition Of "A Condition Analogous To That Of A Slave" In Modern Brazil, Rebecca J. Scott, Leonardo Augusto De Andrade Barbosa, Carlos Henrique Borlido Haddad

Articles

Over the last decades, the Brazilian state has engaged in concerted legal efforts to identify and prosecute cases of what officials refer to as “slave labor” (trabalho escravo). At a conceptual level, the campaign has paired the constitutional protection of human dignity and the “social value of labor” with an expansive interpretation of the offense described in Article 149 of the Criminal Code as “the reduction of a person to a condition analogous to that of a slave.” At the operational level, mobile teams of inspectors and prosecutors have intervened in thousands of work sites, and labor prosecutors have obtained ...


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.


South Carolina's 'Evolutionary Process', Ellen D. Katz Jan 2013

South Carolina's 'Evolutionary Process', Ellen D. Katz

Articles

When Congress first enacted the Voting Rights Act (VRA) in 1965, public officials in South Carolina led the charge to scrap the new statute. Their brief to the Supreme Court of the United States described the VRA as an “unjustified” and “arbitrary” affront to the “Equality of Statehood” principle, and a “usurp[ation]” of the State’s legislative and executive functions. Not surprisingly, the Warren Court was unpersuaded and opted instead to endorse broad congressional power to craft “inventive” remedies to address systematic racial discrimination and to “shift the advantage of time and inertia from the perpetrators of evil to ...


Shelby County V. Holder: Why Section 2 Matters, Ellen D. Katz Jan 2013

Shelby County V. Holder: Why Section 2 Matters, Ellen D. Katz

Articles

Editor’s Note: Professor Ellen D. Katz writes and teaches about election law, civil rights and remedies, and equal protection. She and the Voting Rights Initiative at Michigan Law filed a brief as amicus curiae in Shelby County v. Holder, on which the U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments February 27. Here, she examines why Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act bears consideration in the case, which involves a challenge to Section 5 of the act.


What Was Wrong With The Record?, Ellen D. Katz Jan 2013

What Was Wrong With The Record?, Ellen D. Katz

Articles

Shelby County v. Holder offers three reasons for why the record Congress amassed to support the 2006 reauthorization of the Voting Rights Act (VRA) was legally insufficient to justify the statute's continued regional application: (1) the problems Congress documented in 2006 were not as severe as those that prompted it to craft the regime in 1965; (2) these problems did not lead Congress to alter the statute's pre-existing coverage formula; and (3) these problems did not exclusively involve voter registration and the casting of ballots.


A Cure Worse Than The Disease?, Ellen D. Katz Jan 2013

A Cure Worse Than The Disease?, Ellen D. Katz

Articles

The pending challenge to section 5 of the Voting Rights Act insists the statute is no longer necessary. Should the Supreme Court agree, its ruling is likely to reflect the belief that section 5 is not only obsolete but that its requirements do more harm today than the condition it was crafted to address. In this Essay, Professor Ellen D. Katz examines why the Court might liken section 5 to a destructive treatment and why reliance on that analogy in the pending case threatens to leave the underlying condition unaddressed and Congress without the power to address it.


Democrats At Doj: Why Partisan Use Of The Voting Rights Act Might Not Be So Bad After All, Ellen D. Katz Jan 2012

Democrats At Doj: Why Partisan Use Of The Voting Rights Act Might Not Be So Bad After All, Ellen D. Katz

Articles

In notable ways, the ongoing dispute over redistricting in Texas offers a mirror image to one of the major redistricting battles of the last decade, only with Democratic and Republican roles reversed. In both Texas v. United States and Georgia v. Ashcroft, a state attorney general (AG) decided he would not ask the United States Department of Justice (DOJ) to approve new redistricting plans enacted in his state. In both cases, the state AGs were well aware that the Voting Rights Act (VRA) required them to obtain federal approval, known as preclearance, before changing any aspect of their state's ...


Mission Accomplished?, Ellen D. Katz Jan 2007

Mission Accomplished?, Ellen D. Katz

Articles

My study of voting rights violations nationwide suggests that voting problems are more prevalent in places “covered” by the Act than elsewhere. Professor Persily’s careful and measured defense of the renewed statute posits that this evidence is the best available to support reauthorization. The evidence matters because if, as critics charge, the regional provisions of the Voting Rights Act (VRA) are no longer needed, minority voters should confront fewer obstacles to political participation in places where additional federal safeguards protect minority interests than in places where these safeguards do not operate. In fact, minority voters confront more.


Congressional Power To Extend Preclearance: A Response To Professor Karlan, Ellen D. Katz Jan 2007

Congressional Power To Extend Preclearance: A Response To Professor Karlan, Ellen D. Katz

Articles

Is the core provision of the Voting Rights Act unconstitutional? Many people now think that the Act's preclearance requirement is invalid, but Professor Karlan is not among them. In part, that is because she is not convinced the problems that originally motivated Congress to impose preclearance have been fully remedied. Professor Karlan points out the many ways section 5 of the Voting Rights Act (VRA) shapes behavior in the jurisdictions subject to the statute--not just by blocking discriminatory electoral changes, but also by influencing less transparent conduct by various political actors operating in these regions. Do not be so ...


Credit Where It Counts: The Community Reinvestment Act And Its Critics, Michael S. Barr Jan 2005

Credit Where It Counts: The Community Reinvestment Act And Its Critics, Michael S. Barr

Articles

Despite the depth and breadth of U.S. credit markets, low- and moderate-income communities and minority borrowers have not historically enjoyed full access to credit. The Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) was enacted in 1977 to help overcome barriers to credit that these groups faced. Scholars have long leveled numerous critiques against CRA as unnecessary, ineffectual, costly, and lawless. Many have argued that CRA should be eliminated. By contrast, I contend that market failures and discrimination justify governmental intervention and that CRA is a reasonable policy response to these problems. Using recent empirical evidence, I demonstrate that over the last decade ...


Reinforcing Representation: Enforcing The Fourteenth And Fifteenth Amendments In The Rehnquist And Waite Courts, Ellen D. Katz Jan 2003

Reinforcing Representation: Enforcing The Fourteenth And Fifteenth Amendments In The Rehnquist And Waite Courts, Ellen D. Katz

Articles

A large body of academic scholarship accuses the Rehnquist Court of "undoing the Second Reconstruction," just as the Waite Court has long been blamed for facilitating the end of the First. This critique captures much of what is meant by those generally charging the Rehnquist Court with "conservative judicial activism." It posits that the present Court wants to dismantle decades' worth of federal antidiscrimination measures that are aimed at the "reconstruction" of public and private relationships at the local level. It sees the Waite Court as having similarly nullified the civil-rights initiatives enacted by Congress following the Civil War to ...


Equal Protection And Disparate Impact: Round Three, Richard A. Primus Jan 2003

Equal Protection And Disparate Impact: Round Three, Richard A. Primus

Articles

Prior inquiries into the relationship between equal protection and disparate impact have focused on whether equal protection entails a disparate impact standard and whether laws prohibiting disparate impacts can qualify as legislation enforcing equal rotection. In this Article, Professor Primus focuses on a third question: whether equal protection affirmatively forbids the use of statutory disparate impact standards. Like affirmative action, a statute restricting racially disparate impacts is a race-conscious mechanism designed to reallocate opportunities from some racial groups to others. Accordingly, the same individualist view of equal protection that has constrained the operation of affirmative action might also raise questions ...


Affirmative Action: Hypocritical Euphemism Or Noble Mandate?, Theodore J. St. Antoine Jan 1976

Affirmative Action: Hypocritical Euphemism Or Noble Mandate?, Theodore J. St. Antoine

Articles

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was adopted in an atmosphere of monumental naivete. Congress apparently believed that equal employment opportunity could be achieved simply by forbidding employers or unions to "discriminate" on the basis of "race, color, religion, sex, or national origin," and expressly disavowed any intention to require "preferential treatment." Perhaps animated by the Supreme Court's stirring desegregation decisions of the 1950's, the proponents of civil rights legislation made "color-blindness" the rallying cry of the hour. Today we know better. The dreary statistics, so familiar to anyone who works in this field, tell ...


Racial Preferences In Higher Education: Political Responsibility And The Judicial Role, Terrance Sandalow Jan 1975

Racial Preferences In Higher Education: Political Responsibility And The Judicial Role, Terrance Sandalow

Articles

Controversy continues unabated over the question left unresolved by DeFunis v. Odegaard: whether in its admissions process a state law school may accord preferential treatment to certain racial and ethnic minorities. In the pages of two journals published by the University of Chicago, Professors John Hart Ely and Richard Posner have established diametrically opposed positions in the debate. Their contributions are of special interest because each undertakes to answer the question within the framework of a theory concerning the proper distribution of authority between the judiciary and the other institutions of government. Neither position, in my judgment, adequately confronts the ...