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Section 2 After Section 5: Voting Rights And The Race To The Bottom, Ellen D. Katz Apr 2018

Section 2 After Section 5: Voting Rights And The Race To The Bottom, Ellen D. Katz

Articles

Five years ago, Shelby County v. Holder released nine states and fifty-five smaller jurisdictions from the preclearance obligation set forth in section 5 of the Voting Rights Act (VRA). This obligation mandated that places with a history of discrimination in voting obtain federal approval—known as preclearance—before changing any electoral rule or procedure. Within hours of the Shelby County decision, jurisdictions began moving to reenact measures section 5 had specifically blocked. Others pressed forward with new rules that the VRA would have barred prior to Shelby County.


Defense Counsel And Public Defence, Eve Brensike Primus Nov 2017

Defense Counsel And Public Defence, Eve Brensike Primus

Book Chapters

Public-defense delivery systems nationwide are grossly inadequate. Public defenders are forced to handle caseloads that no one could effectively manage. They often have no funding for investigation or expert assistance. They aren’t adequately trained, and there is little to no oversight of their work. In many jurisdictions, the public-defense function is not sufficiently independent of the judiciary or the elected branches to allow for zealous representation. The result is an assembly line into prison, mostly for poor people of color, with little check on the reliability or fairness of the process. Innocent people are convicted, precious resources are wasted ...


The Effect Of Criminal Records On Access To Employment, Amanda Agan, Sonja B. Starr May 2017

The Effect Of Criminal Records On Access To Employment, Amanda Agan, Sonja B. Starr

Articles

This paper adds to the empirical evidence that criminal records are a barrier to employment. Using data from 2,655 online applications sent on behalf of fictitious male applicants, we show that employers are 60 percent more likely to call applicants that do not have a felony conviction. We further investigate whether this effect varies based on applicant race (black versus white), crime type (drug versus property crime), industry (restaurants versus retail), jurisdiction (New Jersey versus New York City), local crime rate, and local racial composition. Although magnitudes vary somewhat, in every subsample the conviction effect is large, significant, and ...


Justice Ginsburg's Umbrella, Ellen D. Katz Jan 2015

Justice Ginsburg's Umbrella, Ellen D. Katz

Book Chapters

Near the end of her dissent in Shelby County v. Holder, Justice Ginsburg suggested a simple analogy to illustrate why the regional protections of the Voting Rights Act (VRA) were still necessary. She wrote that “[t]hrowing out preclearance when it has worked and is continuing to work to stop discriminatory changes is like throwing away your umbrella in a rainstorm because you are not getting wet.”


On Class-Not-Race, Samuel R. Bagenstos Jan 2015

On Class-Not-Race, Samuel R. Bagenstos

Book Chapters

Throughout the civil rights era, strong voices have argued that policy interventions should focus on class or socioeconomic status, not race. At times, this position-taking has seemed merely tactical, opportunistic, or in bad faith. Many who have opposed race-based civil rights interventions on this basis have not turned around to support robust efforts to reduce class-based or socioeconomic inequality. That sort of opportunism is interesting and important for understanding policy debates in civil rights, but it is not my focus here. I am more interested here in the people who clearly mean it. For example, President Lyndon Baines Johnson—who ...


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 ...


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 ...


Dignité/Dignidade: Organizing Against Treats To Dignity In Societies After Slavery, Rebecca J. Scott Jan 2013

Dignité/Dignidade: Organizing Against Treats To Dignity In Societies After Slavery, Rebecca J. Scott

Book Chapters

This chapter is not an attempt to join the fractious debate over philosophical first principles or juridical first usages of the term 'dignity'. Instead, it explores the tight connection between the institution of slavery and the giving of specific meanings to the concept of dignity, in particular times and particular places. To explore the dynamics of the intertwined process of creating and drawing upon meaning for the terms 'dignity' and 'slavery', I examine two historical movements that emerged after formal abolition.


Prison Segregation: Symposium Introduction And Preliminary Data On Racial Disparities, Margo Schlanger Jan 2013

Prison Segregation: Symposium Introduction And Preliminary Data On Racial Disparities, Margo Schlanger

Articles

For this Introduction, I undertake to look a bit more broadly at recent data. The best sources of demographic information about prisoners are the various surveys and censuses conducted by the U.S. Department of Justice Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS). While no BJS publication directly addresses the issue, and no BJS dataset allows its full analysis, it is possible to glean something from the most recent BJS prison census, the 2005 Census of State and Federal Adult Correctional Facilities.


The Future Of Disparate Impact, Richard A. Primus Jan 2010

The Future Of Disparate Impact, Richard A. Primus

Articles

The Supreme Court's decision in Ricci v. DeStefano foregrounded the question of whether Title VIl's disparate impact standard conflicts with equal protection. This Article shows that there are three ways to read Ricci, one of which is likely fatal to disparate impact doctrine but the other two of which are not.


Microhistory Set In Motion: A Nineteenth-Century Atlantic Creole Itinerary, Rebecca J. Scott Jan 2009

Microhistory Set In Motion: A Nineteenth-Century Atlantic Creole Itinerary, Rebecca J. Scott

Book Chapters

Sidney Mintz’s Worker in the Cane is a model life history, uncovering the subtlest of dynamics within plantation society by tracing the experiences of a single individual and his family. By contrast, Mintz’s Sweetness and Power gains its force from taking the entire Atlantic world as its scope, examining the marketing, meanings, and consumption of sugar as they changed over time. This essay borrows from each of these two strategies, looking at the history of a single peripatetic family across three long-lived generations, from enslavement in West Africa in the eighteenth century through emancipation during the Haitian Revolution ...


Not Like The South? Regional Variation And Political Participation Through The Lens Of Section 2, Ellen D. Katz Jan 2007

Not Like The South? Regional Variation And Political Participation Through The Lens Of Section 2, Ellen D. Katz

Book Chapters

Congress voted last summer to reauthorize the expiring provisions of the Voting Rights Act. Among the reauthorized provisions is the Section 5 preclearance process, which requires "covered" jurisdictions to obtain federal approval before implementing changes to their voting laws. It is widely assumed that the reauthorization of Section 5 will survive constitutional scrutiny only if the record Congress amassed to support the statute documents pervasive unconstitutional conduct in covered jurisdictions for which preclearance offers a remedy. This paper takes issue with that assumption, arguing that precedent requiring such a record for new congressional legislation enforcing civil rights ought not apply ...


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.


Reviving The Right To Vote, Ellen D. Katz Jan 2007

Reviving The Right To Vote, Ellen D. Katz

Articles

Losers in partisan districting battles have long challenged the resulting districting plans under seemingly unrelated legal doctrines. They have filed lawsuits alleging malapportionment, racial gerrymandering, and racial vote dilution, and they periodically prevail. Many election law scholars worry about these lawsuits, claiming that they needlessly "racialize" fundamentally political disputes, distort important legal doctrines designed for other purposes, and provide an inadequate remedy for a fundamentally distinct electoral problem. I am not convinced. This Article argues that the application of distinct doctrines to invalidate or diminish what are indisputably partisan gerrymanders is not necessarily problematic, and that the practice may well ...


Documenting Discrimination In Voting: Judicial Findings Under Section 2 Of The Voting Rights Act Since 1982, Ellen D. Katz, Margaret Aisenbrey, Anna Baldwin, Emma Cheuse, Anna Weisbrodt Jan 2006

Documenting Discrimination In Voting: Judicial Findings Under Section 2 Of The Voting Rights Act Since 1982, Ellen D. Katz, Margaret Aisenbrey, Anna Baldwin, Emma Cheuse, Anna Weisbrodt

Other Publications

The Voting Rights Initiative ("VRI") at the University of Michigan Law School was created during the winter of 2005 to help inform [...] the debates that led to this latest congressional reauthorization and the legal challenge to it that is certain to follow. A cooperative research venture involving 100 students working under faculty direction set out to produce a detailed portrait of litigation brought since 1982 under Section 2. This Report evaluates the results of that survey. The comprehensive data set may be found in a searchable form at http://www.votingreport.org or http://www.sitemaker.umich.edu/votingrights. The ...


From Laredo To Fort Worth: Race, Politics And The Texas Redistricting Case, Ellen D. Katz Jan 2006

From Laredo To Fort Worth: Race, Politics And The Texas Redistricting Case, Ellen D. Katz

Articles

LULAC v. Perry held that Texas violated Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act when it displaced nearly 100,000 Latino residents from a congressional district in Laredo to protect the Republican incumbent they refused to support. At the same time, the Justices let stand the dismantling of a so-called “coalition” district in Fort Worth where African-American voters comprising a minority of the district’s population allegedly enjoyed effective control in deciding the district’s representative. Only Justice Kennedy supported the outcome in both Laredo and Fort Worth. His opinion marks the first time that he, or indeed a majority ...


Documenting Discrimination In Voting: Judicial Findings Under Section 2 Of The Voting Rights Act Since 1982, Ellen D. Katz, Margaret Aisenbrey, Anna Baldwin, Emma Cheuse, Anna Weisbrodt Dec 2005

Documenting Discrimination In Voting: Judicial Findings Under Section 2 Of The Voting Rights Act Since 1982, Ellen D. Katz, Margaret Aisenbrey, Anna Baldwin, Emma Cheuse, Anna Weisbrodt

Other Publications

This year marks the fortieth anniversary of one of the most remarkable and consequential pieces of congressional legislation ever enacted. The Voting Rights Act of 1965 ("the VRA") targeted massive disfranchisement of African-American citizens in numerous Southern states. It imposed measures drastic in scope and extraordinary in effect. The VRA eliminated the use of literacy tests and other "devices" that Southern jurisdictions had long employed to prevent black residents from registering and voting. The VRA imposed on these jurisdictions onerous obligations to prove to federal officials that proposed changes to their electoral system would not discriminate against minority voters. Resistance ...


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 ...


Bolling Alone, Richard A. Primus Jan 2004

Bolling Alone, Richard A. Primus

Articles

Under the doctrine of reverse incorporation, generally identified with the Supreme Court's decision in Bolling v. Sharpe, equal protection binds the federal government even though the Equal Protection Clause by its terms is addressed only to states. Since Bolling, however, the courts have almost never granted relief to litigants claiming unconstitutional racial discrimination by the federal government. Courts have periodically found unconstitutional federal discrimination on nonracial grounds such as sex and alienage, and reverse incorporation has also limited the scope of affirmative action. But in the presumed core area of preventing federal discrimination against racial minorities, Boiling has virtually ...


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 ...


Racial Profiling Under Attack, Samuel R. Gross, D. Livingston Jan 2002

Racial Profiling Under Attack, Samuel R. Gross, D. Livingston

Articles

The events of September 11, 2001, have sparked a fierce debate over racial profiling. Many who readily condemned the practice a year ago have had second thoughts. In the wake of September 11, the Department ofJustice initiated a program of interviewing thousands of men who arrived in this country in the past two years from countries with an al Qaeda presence-a program that some attack as racial profiling, and others defend as proper law enforcement. In this Essay, Professors Gross and Livingston use that program as the focus of a discussion of the meaning of racial profiling, its use in ...


Road Work: Racial Profiling And Drug Interdiction On The Highway, Samuel R. Gross, Katherine Y. Bames Jan 2002

Road Work: Racial Profiling And Drug Interdiction On The Highway, Samuel R. Gross, Katherine Y. Bames

Articles

Hypocrisy about race is hardly new in America, but the content changes. Recently the spotlight has been on racial profiling. The story of Colonel Carl Williams of the New Jersey State Police is a wellknown example. On Sunday, February 28, 1999, the Newark Star Ledger published a lengthy interview with Williams in which he talked about race and drugs: "Today... the drug problem is cocaine or marijuana. It is most likely a minority group that's involved with that."4 Williams condemned racial profiling - "As far as racial profiling is concerned, that is absolutely not right. It never has been ...


Federalism, Preclearance, And The Rehnquist Court, Ellen D. Katz Jan 2001

Federalism, Preclearance, And The Rehnquist Court, Ellen D. Katz

Articles

Lopez v. Monterey County is an odd decision. Justice O'Connor's majority opinion easily upholds the constitutionality of a broad construction of section 5 of the Voting Rights Act (VRA) in language reminiscent of the Warren Court. Acknowledging the "substantial 'federalism costs" resulting from the VRA's "federal intrusion into sensitive areas of state and local policymaking," Lopez recognizes that the Reconstruction Amendments "contemplate" this encroachment into realms "traditionally reserved to the States." Justice O'Connor affirms as constitutionally permissible the infringement that the section 5 preclearance process "by its nature" effects on state sovereignty, and applies section 5 ...


Minority Preferences Reconsidered, Terrance Sandalow Jan 1999

Minority Preferences Reconsidered, Terrance Sandalow

Reviews

During the academic year 1965-66, at the height of the civil rights movement, the University of Michigan Law School faculty looked around and saw not a single African-American student. The absence of any black students was not, it should hardly need saying, attributable to a policy of purposeful exclusion. A black student graduated from the Law School as early as 1870, and in the intervening years a continuous flow of African-American students, though not a large number, had been admitted and graduated. Some went on to distinguished careers in the law.


Rejoinder (Response To Article By William G. Bowen And Derek Bok), Terrance Sandalow Jan 1999

Rejoinder (Response To Article By William G. Bowen And Derek Bok), Terrance Sandalow

Articles

In The Shape of the River, presidents Bowen and Bok pronounce the race-sensitive admission policies adopted by selective undergraduate schools a resounding success. The evidence they adduce in support of that conclusion primarily concerns the performance of African-American students in and after college. But not all African-American students in those institutions were admitted in consequence of minority preference policies. Some, perhaps many, would have been admitted under race-neutral policies. I argued at several points in my review that since these students might be expected to be academically more successful than those admitted because of their race, the evidence on which ...


State Responses To Task Force Reports On Race And Ethnic Bias In The Courts, Suellyn Scarnecchia Jan 1993

State Responses To Task Force Reports On Race And Ethnic Bias In The Courts, Suellyn Scarnecchia

Articles

While several states have embarked on studies of race and ethnic bias in their courts, Minnesota is only the sixth to publish its report to date. As Minnesota joins the ranks of states with published reports, it is worthwhile to assess the impact of the five earlier published reports from other states. Final reports have been published in Michigan (1989), Washington (1990), New York (1991), Florida (1991) and New Jersey (1992). The published reports make findings and provide several specific recommendations for change. This article will review the published findings and recommendations of the task forces and will discuss the ...


Scholars' Reply To Professor Fried, Yale Kamisar, Lee C. Bollinger, Judith C. Areen, Barbara A. Black Jan 1989

Scholars' Reply To Professor Fried, Yale Kamisar, Lee C. Bollinger, Judith C. Areen, Barbara A. Black

Articles

As Solicitor General of the United States, Charles Fried, like any good advocate, was often in the position of attempting to generate broad holdings from relatively narrow and particularistic Supreme Court decisions. This was especially true in affirmative action cases. There, the Department of Justice argued that cautious precedents actually stood for the broad proposition that measures designed to put members of disadvantaged groups on a plane of equality should, for constitutional purposes, be treated the same as measures intended to stigmatize or subordinate them. The Supreme Court, however, has consistently rejected this reading of its precedents and the broad ...


Minority Preferences In Law School Admissions, Terrance Sandalow Jan 1980

Minority Preferences In Law School Admissions, Terrance Sandalow

Book Chapters

In addressing the subject of "reverse discrimination," I want to caution at the outset against permitting the use of the word "discrimination" to prejudice consideration of the subject. "Discrimination" has, in recent years, become a bad word. It tends to be used as a shorthand for "unjustifiably unequal treatment." In its original and still proper meaning, however, the word is quite neutral. Discrimination merely means differentiation. It comes from a Latin word that means "to distinguish." Accordingly, when we discriminate-i.e., when we differentiate or distinguish-among people, the propriety of our action depends upon the reasons that we have acted ...


Judicial Protection Of Minorities, Terrance Sandalow May 1977

Judicial Protection Of Minorities, Terrance Sandalow

Articles

In United States v. Carolene Products Co., Justice Stone suggested by indirection that there "may be narrower scope for operation of the presumption of constitutionality" when courts are called upon to determine the validity "of statutes directed at particular religious . . . or national . . . or racial minorities."' In such cases, he explained, "prejudice against discrete and insular minorities may be a special condition, which tends seriously to curtail the operation of those political processes ordinarily to be relied upon to protect minorities, and which may call for a correspondingly more searching judicial inquiry."' Forty years later, that cautious suggestion has ripened into ...


Bakke: A Compelling Need To Discriminate, Theodore J. St. Antoine Jan 1977

Bakke: A Compelling Need To Discriminate, Theodore J. St. Antoine

Articles

Two of America's most cherished values collided head-on a few months ago, when the U.S. Supreme Court began to come to grips with the most significant civil rights suit since the school desegregation cases of 1954. Arrayed on one side is the principle of governmental "color-blindness," the appealing notion that the color of a person's skin should have nothing to do with the distribution of benefits or burdens by the state. Set against it is the goal of a truly integrated society, and the tragic realization that this objective cannot be achieved within the foreseeable future unless ...