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Northwestern Pritzker School of Law

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Articles 1 - 30 of 52

Full-Text Articles in Law and Race

Mass Solitary And Mass Incarceration: Explaining The Dramatic Rise In Prolonged Solitary In America's Prisons, Jules Lobel Aug 2020

Mass Solitary And Mass Incarceration: Explaining The Dramatic Rise In Prolonged Solitary In America's Prisons, Jules Lobel

Northwestern University Law Review

In the last two decades of the twentieth century, prisons throughout the United States witnessed a dramatic rise in the use of solitary confinement, and the practice continues to be widespread. From the latter part of the nineteenth century until the 1970s and ’80s, prolonged solitary confinement in the United States had fallen into disuse, as numerous observers and the United States Supreme Court recognized that the practice caused profound mental harm to prisoners. The reasons for this dramatic rise in the nationwide use of solitary confinement and the development of new supermax prisons have not been explored in depth ...


How Do We Reach A National Tipping Point In The Campaign To Stop Solitary?, Amy Fettig Aug 2020

How Do We Reach A National Tipping Point In The Campaign To Stop Solitary?, Amy Fettig

Northwestern University Law Review

The use and abuse of solitary confinement in American prisons, jails, and juvenile detention centers is at epidemic levels. On any given day 80,000 to 100,000 people in prisons are subjected to a practice considered inhumane and degrading treatment—even torture under international human rights standards. Despite widespread international condemnation, decades of research demonstrating the harm it inflicts on human beings, and a growing chorus from the medical community raising alarms about its impact on the brain, solitary confinement remains a routine prison-management strategy in correctional institutions nationwide. In the past decade, however, a growing movement has emerged ...


Is Solitary Confinement A Punishment?, John F. Stinneford Aug 2020

Is Solitary Confinement A Punishment?, John F. Stinneford

Northwestern University Law Review

The United States Constitution imposes a variety of constraints on the imposition of punishment, including the requirements that the punishment be authorized by a preexisting penal statute and ordered by a lawful judicial sentence. Today, prison administrators impose solitary confinement on thousands of prisoners despite the fact that neither of these requirements has been met. Is this imposition a “punishment without law,” or is it a mere exercise of administrative discretion? In an 1890 case called In re Medley, the Supreme Court held that solitary confinement is a separate punishment subject to constitutional restraints, but it has ignored this holding ...


Punishment In Prison: Constituting The "Normal" And The "Atypical" In Solitary And Other Forms Of Confinement, Judith Resnik, Hirsa Amin, Sophie Angelis, Megan Hauptman, Laura Kokotailo, Aseem Mehta, Madeline Silva, Tor Tarantola, Meredith Wheeler Aug 2020

Punishment In Prison: Constituting The "Normal" And The "Atypical" In Solitary And Other Forms Of Confinement, Judith Resnik, Hirsa Amin, Sophie Angelis, Megan Hauptman, Laura Kokotailo, Aseem Mehta, Madeline Silva, Tor Tarantola, Meredith Wheeler

Northwestern University Law Review

What aspects of human liberty does incarceration impinge? A remarkable group of Black and white prisoners, most of whom had little formal education and no resources, raised that question in the 1960s and 1970s. Incarcerated individuals asked judges for relief from corporal punishment; radical food deprivations; strip cells; solitary confinement in dark cells; prohibitions on bringing these claims to courts, on religious observance, and on receiving reading materials; and from transfers to long- term isolation and to higher security levels.

Judges concluded that some facets of prison that were once ordinary features of incarceration, such as racial segregation, rampant violence ...


A Wrong Without A Right? Overcoming The Prison Litigation Reform Act's Physical Injury Requirement In Solitary Confinement Cases, Maggie Filler, Daniel Greenfield Aug 2020

A Wrong Without A Right? Overcoming The Prison Litigation Reform Act's Physical Injury Requirement In Solitary Confinement Cases, Maggie Filler, Daniel Greenfield

Northwestern University Law Review

This Essay argues against applying the so-called “physical injury” requirement of the Prison Litigation Reform Act (PLRA) to deny monetary compensation to solitary confinement survivors. The Essay identifies three ways in which misapplication of the PLRA’s physical injury requirement limits the ability of solitary confinement survivors to receive monetary compensation for psychological harm suffered. First, some courts applying the PLRA wrongly dismiss damages claims for alleging “de minimis” physical injury. Second, some courts have been reluctant to find that physical injury caused by psychological trauma satisfies the PLRA’s physical injury requirement. Third, courts do not distinguish between “garden ...


Consensus Statement From The Santa Cruz Summit On Solitary Confinement And Health Aug 2020

Consensus Statement From The Santa Cruz Summit On Solitary Confinement And Health

Northwestern University Law Review

No abstract provided.


Racialized Tax Inequity: Wealth, Racism, And The U.S. System Of Taxation, Palma Joy Strand, Nicholas A. Mirkay Apr 2020

Racialized Tax Inequity: Wealth, Racism, And The U.S. System Of Taxation, Palma Joy Strand, Nicholas A. Mirkay

Northwestern Journal of Law & Social Policy

This Article describes the connection between wealth inequality and the increasing structural racism in the U.S. tax system since the 1980s. A long-term sociological view (the why) reveals the historical racialization of wealth and a shift in the tax system overall beginning around 1980 to protect and exacerbate wealth inequality, which has been fueled by racial animus and anxiety. A critical tax view (the how) highlights a shift over the same time period at both federal and state levels from taxes on wealth, to taxes on income, and then to taxes on consumption—from greater to less progressivity. Both ...


Debt Bondage: How Private Collection Agencies Keep The Formerly Incarcerated Tethered To The Criminal Justice System, Bryan L. Adamson Apr 2020

Debt Bondage: How Private Collection Agencies Keep The Formerly Incarcerated Tethered To The Criminal Justice System, Bryan L. Adamson

Northwestern Journal of Law & Social Policy

This Article examines the constitutionality of statutes which allow courts to transfer outstanding legal financial obligations to private debt collection agencies. In Washington State, the clerk of courts can transfer the legal financial obligation of a formerly incarcerated person if he or she is only thirty days late making a payment. Upon transfer, the debt collection agencies can assess a “collection fee” of up to 50% of the first $100.000 of the unpaid legal financial obligation, and up to 35% of the unpaid debt over $100,000. This fee becomes part of the LFO debt imposed at sentencing, and ...


Environmental Justice In Little Village: A Case For Reforming Chicago’S Zoning Law, Charles Isaacs Apr 2020

Environmental Justice In Little Village: A Case For Reforming Chicago’S Zoning Law, Charles Isaacs

Northwestern Journal of Law & Social Policy

Chicago’s Little Village community bears the heavy burden of environmental injustice and racism. The residents are mostly immigrants and people of color who live with low levels of income, limited access to healthcare, and disproportionate levels of dangerous air pollution. Before its retirement, Little Village’s Crawford coal-burning power plant was the lead source of air pollution, contributing to 41 deaths, 550 emergency room visits, and 2,800 asthma attacks per year. After the plant’s retirement, community members wanted a say on the future use of the lot, only to be closed out when a corporation, Hilco Redevelopment ...


Stepping Into The Shoes Of The Department Of Justice: The Unusual, Necessary, And Hopeful Path The Illinois Attorney General Took To Require Police Reform In Chicago, Lisa Madigan, Cara Hendrickson, Karyn L. Bass Ehler Jan 2020

Stepping Into The Shoes Of The Department Of Justice: The Unusual, Necessary, And Hopeful Path The Illinois Attorney General Took To Require Police Reform In Chicago, Lisa Madigan, Cara Hendrickson, Karyn L. Bass Ehler

Northwestern Journal of Law & Social Policy

No abstract provided.


A Class Action Lawsuit For The Right To A Minimum Education In Detroit, Carter G. Phillips Jan 2020

A Class Action Lawsuit For The Right To A Minimum Education In Detroit, Carter G. Phillips

Northwestern Journal of Law & Social Policy

No abstract provided.


Panel Discussion: The Right To Education: With Liberty, Justice, And Education For All? Jan 2020

Panel Discussion: The Right To Education: With Liberty, Justice, And Education For All?

Northwestern Journal of Law & Social Policy

No abstract provided.


Children Of A Lesser God: Reconceptualizing Race In Immigration Law, Sarah L. Hamilton-Jiang Oct 2019

Children Of A Lesser God: Reconceptualizing Race In Immigration Law, Sarah L. Hamilton-Jiang

Northwestern Journal of Law & Social Policy

The increased public exposure to the experiences of Latinx unaccompanied children seeking entry at the United States southern border has revealed the lived reality of the nation’s pernicious immigration laws. The harrowing experiences of unaccompanied children are amplified by their interaction with a legal system plagued by a legacy of systemic racism and sustained racial caste. While immigration law currently affords minimal legal protections for these children, in application, the law continues to fall egregiously short of providing for the safety of unaccompanied children. Though critics have long attested to the legal system’s neglect of unaccompanied children, subsequent ...


Shelby County And Local Governments: A Case Study Of Local Texas Governments Diluting Minority Votes, Sydnee Fielkow Jun 2019

Shelby County And Local Governments: A Case Study Of Local Texas Governments Diluting Minority Votes, Sydnee Fielkow

Northwestern Journal of Law & Social Policy

No abstract provided.


Banning Solitary For Prisoners With Mental Illness: The Blurred Line Between Physical And Psychological Harm, Rosalind Dillon Mar 2019

Banning Solitary For Prisoners With Mental Illness: The Blurred Line Between Physical And Psychological Harm, Rosalind Dillon

Northwestern Journal of Law & Social Policy

No abstract provided.


Eddie Murphy And The Dangers Of Counterfactual Causal Thinking About Detecting Racial Discrimination, Issa Kohler-Hausmann Mar 2019

Eddie Murphy And The Dangers Of Counterfactual Causal Thinking About Detecting Racial Discrimination, Issa Kohler-Hausmann

Northwestern University Law Review

The model of discrimination animating some of the most common approaches to detecting discrimination in both law and social science—the counterfactual causal model—is wrong. In that model, racial discrimination is detected by measuring the “treatment effect of race,” where the treatment is conceptualized as manipulating the raced status of otherwise identical units (e.g., a person, a neighborhood, a school). Most objections to talking about race as a cause in the counterfactual model have been raised in terms of manipulability. If we cannot manipulate a person’s race at the moment of a police stop, traffic encounter, or ...


42 U.S.C. § 1981’S Equal Benefit Clause: Debating The Application To Private Actor Discrimination, Lauren Pope Nov 2018

42 U.S.C. § 1981’S Equal Benefit Clause: Debating The Application To Private Actor Discrimination, Lauren Pope

Northwestern Journal of Law & Social Policy

No abstract provided.


#Sowhitemale: Federal Civil Rulemaking, Brooke D. Coleman Oct 2018

#Sowhitemale: Federal Civil Rulemaking, Brooke D. Coleman

NULR Online

116 out of 136. That is the number of white men who have served on the eighty-two-year-old committee responsible for creating and maintaining the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. The tiny number of non-white, non-male committee members is disproportionate, even in the context of the white-male-dominated legal profession. If the rules were simply a technical set of instructions made by a neutral set of experts, then perhaps these numbers might not be as disturbing. But that is not the case. The Civil Rules embody normative judgments about the values that have primacy in our civil justice system, and the rule-makers ...


#Sowhitemale: Federal Civil Rulemaking, Brooke D. Coleman Oct 2018

#Sowhitemale: Federal Civil Rulemaking, Brooke D. Coleman

Northwestern University Law Review

116 out of 136. That is the number of white men who have served on the eighty-two-year-old committee responsible for creating and maintaining the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. The tiny number of non-white, non-male committee members is disproportionate, even in the context of the white-male-dominated legal profession. If the rules were simply a technical set of instructions made by a neutral set of experts, then perhaps these numbers might not be as disturbing. But that is not the case. The Civil Rules embody normative judgments about the values that have primacy in our civil justice system, and the rule-makers ...


Section 5'S Forgotten Years: Congressional Power To Enforce The Fourteenth Amendment Before Katzenbach V. Morgan, Christopher W. Schmidt Sep 2018

Section 5'S Forgotten Years: Congressional Power To Enforce The Fourteenth Amendment Before Katzenbach V. Morgan, Christopher W. Schmidt

Northwestern University Law Review

Few decisions in American constitutional law have frustrated, inspired, and puzzled more than Katzenbach v. Morgan. Justice Brennan’s 1966 opinion put forth the seemingly radical claim that Congress—through its power, based in Section 5 of the Fourteenth Amendment, to “enforce, by appropriate legislation,” the rights enumerated in that Amendment—shared responsibility with the Court to define the meaning of Fourteenth Amendment rights. Although it spawned a cottage industry of scholarship, this claim has never been fully embraced by a subsequent Supreme Court majority, and in City of Boerne v. Flores, the Supreme Court rejected the heart of the ...


Equal Protection Under The Carceral State, Aya Gruber Jun 2018

Equal Protection Under The Carceral State, Aya Gruber

Northwestern University Law Review

McCleskey v. Kemp, the case that upheld the death penalty despite undeniable evidence of its racially disparate impact, is indelibly marked by Justice William Brennan’s phrase, “a fear of too much justice.” The popular interpretation of this phrase is that the Supreme Court harbored what I call a “disparity-claim fear,” dreading a future docket of racial discrimination claims and erecting an impossibly high bar for proving an equal protection violation. A related interpretation is that the majority had a “color-consciousness fear” of remedying discrimination through race-remedial policies. In contrast to these conventional views, I argue that the primary anxiety ...


What Can Brown Do For You?: Addressing Mccleskey V. Kemp As A Flawed Standard For Measuring The Constitutionally Significant Risk Of Race Bias, Mario L. Barnes, Erwin Chemerinsky Jun 2018

What Can Brown Do For You?: Addressing Mccleskey V. Kemp As A Flawed Standard For Measuring The Constitutionally Significant Risk Of Race Bias, Mario L. Barnes, Erwin Chemerinsky

Northwestern University Law Review

This Essay asserts that in McCleskey v. Kemp, the Supreme Court created a problematic standard for the evidence of race bias necessary to uphold an equal protection claim under the Fourteenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. First, the Court’s opinion reinforced the cramped understanding that constitutional claims require evidence of not only disparate impact but also discriminatory purpose, producing significant negative consequences for the operation of the U.S. criminal justice system. Second, the Court rejected the Baldus study’s findings of statistically significant correlations between the races of the perpetrators and victims and the imposition of the ...


Diversity Entitlement: Does Diversity-Benefits Ideology Undermine Inclusion?, Kyneshawau Hurd, Victoria C. Plaut Jun 2018

Diversity Entitlement: Does Diversity-Benefits Ideology Undermine Inclusion?, Kyneshawau Hurd, Victoria C. Plaut

Northwestern University Law Review

Ideologies are most successful (or most dangerous) when they become common-sense—when they become widely accepted, taken-for-granted truths—because these truths subsequently provide implicit guidelines and expectations about what is moral, legitimate, and necessary in our society. In Regents of University of California v. Bakke, the Court, without a majority opinion, considered and dismissed all but one of several “common-sense” rationales for affirmative action in admissions. While eschewing rationales that focused on addressing discrimination and underrepresentation, the Court found that allowing all students to obtain the educational benefits that flow from diversity was a compelling rationale—essential, even, for a ...


Blind Justice: Why The Court Refused To Accept Statistical Evidence Of Discriminatory Purpose In Mccleskey V. Kemp—And Some Pathways For Change, Reva B. Siegel Jun 2018

Blind Justice: Why The Court Refused To Accept Statistical Evidence Of Discriminatory Purpose In Mccleskey V. Kemp—And Some Pathways For Change, Reva B. Siegel

Northwestern University Law Review

In McCleskey v. Kemp, the Supreme Court refused to accept statistical evidence of race discrimination in an equal protection challenge to the death penalty. This lecture, on the decision’s thirtieth anniversary, locates McCleskey in cases of the Burger and Rehnquist Courts that restrict proof of discriminatory purpose in terms that make it exceedingly difficult for minority plaintiffs successfully to assert equal protection claims.

The lecture’s aims are both critical and constructive. The historical reading I offer shows that portions of the opinion justify restrictions on evidence to protect prosecutorial discretion, while others limit proof of discrimination in ways ...


Combating Discrimination Against The Formerly Incarcerated In The Labor Market, Ifeoma Ajunwa, Angela Onwuachi-Willig Jun 2018

Combating Discrimination Against The Formerly Incarcerated In The Labor Market, Ifeoma Ajunwa, Angela Onwuachi-Willig

Northwestern University Law Review

Both discrimination by private employers and governmental restrictions in the form of statutes that prohibit professional licensing serve to exclude the formerly incarcerated from much of the labor market. This Essay explores and analyzes potential legislative and contractual means for removing these barriers to labor market participation by the formerly incarcerated. First, as a means of addressing discrimination by the state, Part I of this Essay explores the ways in which the adoption of racial impact statements—which mandate that legislators consider statistical analyses of the potential impact their proposed legislation may have on racial and ethnic groups prior to ...


Mccleskey V. Kemp: Field Notes From 1977-1991, John Charles Boger Jun 2018

Mccleskey V. Kemp: Field Notes From 1977-1991, John Charles Boger

Northwestern University Law Review

The litigation campaign that led to McCleskey v. Kemp did not begin as an anti-death-penalty effort. It grew in soil long washed in the blood of African-Americans, lynched or executed following rude semblances of trials and hasty appeals, which had prompted the NAACP from its very founding to demand “simple justice” in individual criminal cases. When the Warren Court signaled, in the early 1960s, that it might be open to reflection on broader patterns of racial discrimination in capital sentencing, the NAACP Legal Defense & Educational Fund, Inc. (LDF) began to gather empirical evidence and craft appropriate constitutional responses. As that effort built, other deficiencies in state capital states became apparent, and LDF eventually asserted a broader constitutional critique of state capital structures and processes. By 1967, LDF and its allies had developed a nationwide “moratorium” campaign that challenged death sentencing statutes in virtually every state.

Though the campaign appeared poised for partial success in 1969, changes in Court personnel and shifts in the nation’s mood dashed LDF’s initial hopes. Yet unexpectedly, in 1972, five Justices ruled in Furman v. Georgia that all death sentences and all capital statutes nationwide would fall under the Eighth Amendment’s prohibition against cruel and unusual punishments. Each of the nine Furman Justices wrote separately, without a single governing rationale beyond their expressed uneasiness that the death penalty was being imposed infrequently, capriciously, and in an arbitrary manner. Thirty-five states promptly enacted new and revised capital statutes. Four years later, a majority of the Court held that three of those new state statutes met Eighth and Fourteenth Amendment standards. The 1976 Court majority expressed confidence that the states’ newly revised procedures should work to curb the arbitrariness and capriciousness that had earlier troubled the Furman majority.

The McCleskey case emerged from subsequent review of post-Furman sentencing patterns in the State of Georgia. A brilliant and exhaustive study by Professor David Baldus and his colleagues demonstrated that the Court’s assumptions in 1976 were wrong; strong racial disparities in capital sentencing continued to persist statewide in Georgia—especially in cases in ...


Eyes Wide Open: What Social Science Can Tell Us About The Supreme Court's Use Of Social Science, Jonathan P. Feingold, Evelyn R. Carter Jun 2018

Eyes Wide Open: What Social Science Can Tell Us About The Supreme Court's Use Of Social Science, Jonathan P. Feingold, Evelyn R. Carter

Northwestern University Law Review

The Northwestern University Law Review’s 2017 Symposium asked whether McCleskey v. Kemp closed the door on social science’s ability to meaningfully contribute to equal protection deliberations. This inquiry is understandable; McCleskey is widely understood to have rendered statistical racial disparities doctrinally irrelevant in the equal protection context. We suggest, however, that this account overstates McCleskey and its doctrinal impact. Roughly fifteen years after McCleskey, Chief Justice William Rehnquist—himself part of the McCleskey majority—invoked admissions data to support his conclusion that the University of Michigan Law School unconstitutionally discriminated against white applicants.

Chief Justice Rehnquist’s disparate ...


Equal Protection And The Social Sciences Thirty Years After Mccleskey V. Kemp, Destiny Peery, Osagie K. Obasogie Jun 2018

Equal Protection And The Social Sciences Thirty Years After Mccleskey V. Kemp, Destiny Peery, Osagie K. Obasogie

Northwestern University Law Review

No abstract provided.


Equal Protection And White Supremacy, Paul Butler Jun 2018

Equal Protection And White Supremacy, Paul Butler

Northwestern University Law Review

The project of using social science to help win equal protection claims is doomed to fail if its premise is that the Supreme Court post-McCleskey just needs more or better evidence of racial discrimination. Everyone—including the Justices of the Court—already knows that racial discrimination is endemic in the criminal justice system. Social science does help us to understand the role of white supremacy in U.S. police and punishment practices. Social science also can help us understand how to move people to resist, and can inform our imagination of the transformation needed for equal justice under the ...


The Futile Fourth Amendment: Understanding Police Excessive Force Doctrine Through An Empirical Assessment Of Graham V. Connor, Osagie K. Obasogie, Zachary Newman Jun 2018

The Futile Fourth Amendment: Understanding Police Excessive Force Doctrine Through An Empirical Assessment Of Graham V. Connor, Osagie K. Obasogie, Zachary Newman

Northwestern University Law Review

Graham v. Connor established the modern constitutional landscape for police excessive force claims. The Supreme Court not only refined an objective reasonableness test to describe the constitutional standard, but also held that the Fourth Amendment is the sole avenue for courts to adjudicate claims that police violated a person’s constitutional rights in using force. In this Essay, we ask: What impact did this decision have on the nature of police excessive force claims in federal courts? To address this, we engaged in a qualitative examination of 500 federal cases (250 in the twenty-six years before Graham and 250 in ...