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University of Colorado Law School

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Full-Text Articles in Law and Race

Environmental Justice And The Possibilities For Environmental Law, Sarah Krakoff Jan 2019

Environmental Justice And The Possibilities For Environmental Law, Sarah Krakoff

Articles

Climate change and extreme inequality combine to cause disproportionate harms to poor communities throughout the world. Further, unequal resource allocation is shot through with the structures of racism and other forms of discrimination. This Essay explores these phenomena in two different places in the United States, and traces law’s role in constructing environmental and economic vulnerability. The Essay then proposes that solutions, if there are any to be had, lie in expanding our notions of what kinds of laws are relevant to achieving environmental justice, and in seeing law as a possible tactic for instigating broader social change but ...


Human Rights Racism, Anna Spain Bradley Jan 2019

Human Rights Racism, Anna Spain Bradley

Articles

International human rights law seeks to eliminate racial discrimination in the world through treaties that bind and norms that transform. Yet law’s impact on eradicating racism has not matched its intent. Racism, in all of its forms, remains a massive cause of discrimination, indignity, and lack of equality for millions of people in the world today. This Article investigates why. Applying a critical race theory analysis of the legal history and doctrinal development of race and racism in international law, Professor Spain Bradley identifies law’s historical preference for framing legal protections around the concept of racial discrimination. She ...


Mens Rea Reform And Its Discontents, Benjamin Levin Jan 2019

Mens Rea Reform And Its Discontents, Benjamin Levin

Articles

This Article examines the debates over recent proposals for “mens rea reform.” The substantive criminal law has expanded dramatically, and legislators have criminalized a great deal of common conduct. Often, new criminal laws do not require that defendants know they are acting unlawfully. Mens rea reform proposals seek to address the problems of overcriminalization and unintentional offending by increasing the burden on prosecutors to prove a defendant’s culpable mental state. These proposals have been a staple of conservative-backed bills on criminal justice reform. Many on the left remain skeptical of mens rea reform and view it as a deregulatory ...


The Consensus Myth In Criminal Justice Reform, Benjamin Levin Jan 2018

The Consensus Myth In Criminal Justice Reform, Benjamin Levin

Articles

It has become popular to identify a “consensus” on criminal justice reform, but how deep is that consensus, actually? This Article argues that the purported consensus is much more limited than it initially appears. Despite shared reformist vocabulary, the consensus rests on distinct critiques that identify different flaws and justify distinct policy solutions. The underlying disagreements transcend traditional left/right political divides and speak to deeper disputes about the state and the role of criminal law in society.

The Article maps two prevailing, but fundamentally distinct, critiques of criminal law: (1) the quantitative approach (what I call the “over” frame ...


Rethinking The Boundaries Of "Criminal Justice", Benjamin Levin Jan 2018

Rethinking The Boundaries Of "Criminal Justice", Benjamin Levin

Articles

This review of The New Criminal Justice Thinking (Sharon Dolovich & Alexandra Natapoff, eds.) tracks the shifting and uncertain contours of “criminal justice” as an object of study and critique.

Specifically, I trace two themes in the book:

(1) the uncertain boundaries of the “criminal justice system” as a web of laws, actors, and institutions; and

(2) the uncertain boundaries of “criminal justice thinking” as a universe of interdisciplinary scholarship, policy discourse, and public engagement.

I argue that these two themes speak to critically important questions about the nature of criminal justice scholarship and reform efforts. Without a firm understanding of what constitutes the “criminal justice system,” it is difficult to agree on the proper targets of critique or to determine what legal, social, and political problems are properly the province of “criminal justice thinking.” And, deciding which voices to accept and privilege in these ...


Criminal Employment Law, Benjamin Levin Jan 2018

Criminal Employment Law, Benjamin Levin

Articles

This Article diagnoses a phenomenon, “criminal employment law,” which exists at the nexus of employment law and the criminal justice system. Courts and legislatures discourage employers from hiring workers with criminal records and encourage employers to discipline workers for non-work-related criminal misconduct. In analyzing this phenomenon, my goals are threefold: (1) to examine how criminal employment law works; (2) to hypothesize why criminal employment law has proliferated; and (3) to assess what is wrong with criminal employment law. This Article examines the ways in which the laws that govern the workplace create incentives for employers not to hire individuals with ...


Equal Protection Under The Carceral State, Aya Gruber Jan 2018

Equal Protection Under The Carceral State, Aya Gruber

Articles

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 ...


Leveraging Social Science Expertise In Immigration Policymaking, Ming H. Chen Jan 2018

Leveraging Social Science Expertise In Immigration Policymaking, Ming H. Chen

Articles

The longstanding uncertainty about how policymakers should grapple with social science demonstrating racism persists in the modern administrative state. This Essay examines the uses and misuses of social science and expertise in immigration policymaking. More specifically, it highlights three immigration policies that dismiss social scientific findings and expertise as part of presidential and agency decision-making: border control, crime control, and extreme vetting of refugees to prevent terrorism. The Essay claims that these rejections of expertise undermine both substantive and procedural protections for immigrants and undermine important functions of the administrative state as a curb on irrationality in policymaking. It concludes ...


Public Lands, Conservation, And The Possibility Of Justice, Sarah Krakoff Jan 2018

Public Lands, Conservation, And The Possibility Of Justice, Sarah Krakoff

Articles

On December 28, 2016, President Obama issued a proclamation designating the Bears Ears National Monument pursuant to his authority under the Antiquities Act of 1906, which allows the President to create monuments on federal public lands. Bears Ears, which is located in the heart of Utah’s dramatic red rock country, contains a surfeit of ancient Puebloan cliff-dwellings, petroglyphs, pictographs, and archeological artifacts. The area is also famous for its paleontological finds and its desert biodiversity. Like other national monuments, Bears Ears therefore readily meets the statutory objective of preserving “historic and prehistoric structures, and other objects of historic or ...


Firearms In The Family, Carolyn B. Ramsey Jan 2017

Firearms In The Family, Carolyn B. Ramsey

Articles

This Article considers firearms prohibitions for domestic violence offenders, in light of recent Supreme Court decisions and the larger, national debate about gun control. Unlike other scholarship in the area, it confronts the costs of ratcheting up the scope and enforcement of such firearms bans and argues that the politicization of safety has come at the expense of a sound approach to gun control in the context of intimate-partner abuse. In doing so, it expands scholarly arguments against mandatory, one-size-fits-all criminal justice responses to domestic violence in a direction that other critics have been reluctant to go, perhaps because of ...


Performative Privacy, Scott Skinner-Thompson Jan 2017

Performative Privacy, Scott Skinner-Thompson

Articles

Broadly speaking, privacy doctrine suggests that the right to privacy is non-existent once one enters the public realm. Although some scholars contend that privacy ought to exist in public, “public privacy” has been defended largely with reference to other, ancillary values privacy may serve. For instance, public privacy may be necessary to make the freedom of association meaningful in practice.

This Article identifies a new dimension of public privacy, supplementing extant justifications for the right, by arguing that many efforts to maintain privacy while in “public” are properly conceptualized as forms of performative, expressive resistance against an ever-pervasive surveillance society ...


They Were Here First: American Indian Tribes, Race, And The Constitutional Minimum, Sarah Krakoff Jan 2017

They Were Here First: American Indian Tribes, Race, And The Constitutional Minimum, Sarah Krakoff

Articles

In American law, Native nations (denominated in the Constitution and elsewhere as “tribes”) are sovereigns with a direct relationship with the federal government. Tribes’ governmental status situates them differently from other minority groups for many legal purposes, including equal protection analysis. Under current equal protection doctrine, classifications that further the federal government’s unique relationship with tribes and their members are subject to rationality review. Yet this deferential approach has recently been subject to criticism and is currently being challenged in the courts. Swept up in the larger drift toward colorblind or race-neutral understandings of the Constitution, advocates and commentators ...


The Stereotyped Offender: Domestic Violence And The Failure Of Intervention [Batterer Intervention Program (Bip) Standards Data, As Of 2015], Carolyn B. Ramsey Jun 2016

The Stereotyped Offender: Domestic Violence And The Failure Of Intervention [Batterer Intervention Program (Bip) Standards Data, As Of 2015], Carolyn B. Ramsey

Research Data

These 19 comparative data tables relating to state and local certification standards for batterer intervention programs (BIPs), as of 2015, are electronic Appendices B-T to Carolyn B. Ramsey, The Stereotyped Offender: Domestic Violence and the Failure of Intervention, 120 Penn. St. L. Rev. 337 (2015), available at http://scholar.law.colorado.edu/articles/56/. Appendix A is not reproduced here because it simply contains citations to the state and local standards, but it is published with the journal article.


Agenda: A Celebration Of The Work Of Charles Wilkinson: Served With Tasty Stories And Some Slices Of Roast, University Of Colorado Boulder. Getches-Wilkinson Center For Natural Resources, Energy, And The Environment Mar 2016

Agenda: A Celebration Of The Work Of Charles Wilkinson: Served With Tasty Stories And Some Slices Of Roast, University Of Colorado Boulder. Getches-Wilkinson Center For Natural Resources, Energy, And The Environment

A Celebration of the Work of Charles Wilkinson (Martz Winter Symposium, March 10-11)

Conference held at the University of Colorado, Wolf Law Building, Wittemyer Courtroom, Thursday, March 10th and Friday, March 11th, 2016.

Conference moderators, panelists and speakers included University of Colorado Law School professors Phil Weiser, Sarah Krakoff, William Boyd, Kristen Carpenter, Britt Banks, Harold Bruff, Richard Collins, Carla Fredericks, Mark Squillace, and Charles Wilkinson

"We celebrate the work of Distinguished Professor Charles Wilkinson, a prolific and passionate writer, teacher, and advocate for the people and places of the West. Charles's influence extends beyond place, yet his work has always originated in a deep love of and commitment to particular places ...


Response, Values And Assumptions In Criminal Adjudication, Benjamin Levin Jan 2016

Response, Values And Assumptions In Criminal Adjudication, Benjamin Levin

Articles

This Response to Andrew Manuel Crespo's Systemic Facts: Toward Institutional Awareness in Criminal Courts proceeds in two Parts. In Part I, I argue that Crespo presents a compelling case for the importance of systemic factfinding to the task of criminal court judges. If, as a range of scholars has argued, criminal courts are increasingly serving a quasi-administrative function, then shouldn’t they at least be administrating accurately? Systemic Facts provides a novel account of how — with comparatively little institutional reform — courts might begin to serve as more effective administrators. However, in Part II, I also argue that Crespo’s ...


Recovering Forgotten Struggles Over The Constitutional Meaning Of Equality, Helen Norton Jan 2016

Recovering Forgotten Struggles Over The Constitutional Meaning Of Equality, Helen Norton

Articles

No abstract provided.


Guns And Drugs, Benjamin Levin Jan 2016

Guns And Drugs, Benjamin Levin

Articles

This Article argues that the increasingly prevalent critiques of the War on Drugs apply to other areas of criminal law. To highlight the broader relevance of these critiques, this Article uses as its test case the criminal regulation of gun possession. This Article identifies and distills three lines of drug war criticism and argues that they apply to possessory gun crimes in much the same way that they apply to drug crimes. Specifically, this Article focuses on: (1) race- and class-based critiques; (2) concerns about police and prosecutorial power; and (3) worries about the social and economic costs of mass ...


Owning Red: A Theory Of Indian (Cultural) Appropriation, Angela R. Riley, Kristen A. Carpenter Jan 2016

Owning Red: A Theory Of Indian (Cultural) Appropriation, Angela R. Riley, Kristen A. Carpenter

Articles

In a number of recent controversies, from sports teams’ use of Indian mascots to the federal government’s desecration of sacred sites, American Indians have lodged charges of “cultural appropriation” or the unauthorized use by members of one group of the cultural expressions and resources of another. While these and other incidents make contemporary headlines, American Indians often experience these claims within a historical and continuing experience of dispossession. For hundreds of years, the U.S. legal system has sanctioned the taking and destruction of Indian lands, artifacts, bodies, religions, identities, and beliefs, all toward the project of conquest and ...


The More Things Change . . . : Exploring Solutions To Persisting Discrimination In Legal Academia, Melissa Hart Jan 2015

The More Things Change . . . : Exploring Solutions To Persisting Discrimination In Legal Academia, Melissa Hart

Articles

No abstract provided.


Revoking Rights, Craig J. Konnoth Jan 2015

Revoking Rights, Craig J. Konnoth

Articles

In important areas of law, such as the vested rights doctrine, and in several important cases--including those involving the continued validity of same-sex marriages and the Affordable Care Act--courts have scrutinized the revocation of rights once granted more closely than the failure to provide the rights in the first place. This project claims that in so doing, courts seek to preserve important constitutional interests. On the one hand, based on our understanding of rights possession, rights revocation implicates autonomy interests of the rights holder to a greater degree than a failure to afford rights at the outset. On the other ...


When Theory Met Practice: Distributional Analysis In Critical Criminal Law Theorizing, Aya Gruber Jan 2015

When Theory Met Practice: Distributional Analysis In Critical Criminal Law Theorizing, Aya Gruber

Articles

Progressive (critical race and feminist) theorizing on criminal law exists within an overarching American criminal law culture in which the U.S penal system has become a "peculiar institution" and a defining governance structure. Much of criminal law discourse is subject to a type of ideological capture in which it is natural to assume that criminalization is a valid, if not preferred, solution to social dysfunction. Accordingly, progressives’ primary concerns about harms to minority victims takes place in a political-legal context in which criminalization is the technique of addressing harm. In turn, progressive criminal law theorizing manifests some deep internal ...


From Access To Success: Affirmative Action Outcomes In A Class-Based System, Matthew N. Gaertner, Melissa Hart Jan 2015

From Access To Success: Affirmative Action Outcomes In A Class-Based System, Matthew N. Gaertner, Melissa Hart

Articles

Scholarly discussion about affirmative action policy has been dominated in the past ten years by debates over "mismatch theory'"--the claim that race-conscious affirmative action harms those it is intended to help by placing students who receive preferences among academically superior peers in environments where they will be overmatched and unable to compete. Despite serious empirical and theoretical challenges to this claim in academic circles, mismatch has become widely accepted outside those circles, so much so that the theory played prominently in Justice Clarence Thomas's concurring opinion in Fisher v. University of Texas. This Article explores whether mismatch occurs ...


Toward A Structural Theory Of Implicit Racial And Ethnic Bias In Health Care, Dayna Bowen Matthew Jan 2015

Toward A Structural Theory Of Implicit Racial And Ethnic Bias In Health Care, Dayna Bowen Matthew

Articles

No abstract provided.


Report Of The Special Rapporteur On The Rights Of Indigenous Peoples On The Situation Of Indigenous Peoples In The United States Of America, S. James Anaya Jan 2015

Report Of The Special Rapporteur On The Rights Of Indigenous Peoples On The Situation Of Indigenous Peoples In The United States Of America, S. James Anaya

Articles

No abstract provided.


The Stereotyped Offender: Domestic Violence And The Failure Of Intervention, Carolyn B. Ramsey Jan 2015

The Stereotyped Offender: Domestic Violence And The Failure Of Intervention, Carolyn B. Ramsey

Articles

Scholars and battered women's advocates now recognize that many facets of the legal response to intimate-partner abuse stereotype victims and harm abuse survivors who do not fit commonly accepted paradigms. However, it is less often acknowledged that the feminist analysis of domestic violence also tends to stereotype offenders and that state action, including court-mandated batterer intervention, is premised on these offender stereotypes. The feminist approach can be faulted for minimizing or denying the role of substance abuse, mental illness, childhood trauma, race, culture, and poverty in intimate-partner abuse. Moreover, those arrested for domestic violence crimes now include heterosexual women ...


Race To Incarcerate: Punitive Impulse And The Bid To Repeal Stand Your Ground, Aya Gruber Jan 2014

Race To Incarcerate: Punitive Impulse And The Bid To Repeal Stand Your Ground, Aya Gruber

Articles

Stand-your-ground laws have come to symbolize, especially for many in the center-to-left, the intense racial injustice of the modern American criminal system. The idea now ingrained in the minds of many racial justice-seekers is that only by narrowing the definition of self-defense (and thereby generally strengthening murder law) can we ensure Trayvon Martin's death was not in vain. However, when the story of Martin's killing first appeared on the national stage, the conversation was not primarily about the overly lenient nature of Florida's self-defense law. It was a multi-faceted dialogue about neighborhood warriors, criminal racial profiling, and ...


Health Care, Title Vi, And Racism's New Normal, Dayna Bowen Matthew Jan 2014

Health Care, Title Vi, And Racism's New Normal, Dayna Bowen Matthew

Articles

No abstract provided.


Murder, Minority Victims, And Mercy, Aya Gruber Jan 2014

Murder, Minority Victims, And Mercy, Aya Gruber

Articles

Should the jury have acquitted George Zimmerman of Trayvon Martin's murder? Should enraged husbands receive a pass for killing their cheating wives? Should the law treat a homosexual advance as adequate provocation for killing? Criminal law scholars generally answer these questions with a resounding "no." Theorists argue that criminal laws should not reflect bigoted perceptions of African Americans, women, and gays by permitting judges and jurors to treat those who kill racial and gender minorities with undue mercy. According to this view, murder defenses like provocation should be restricted to ensure that those who kill minority victims receive the ...


Constitutional Concern, Membership, And Race, Sarah Krakoff Jan 2014

Constitutional Concern, Membership, And Race, Sarah Krakoff

Articles

American Indian Tribes in the United States have a unique legal and political status shaped by fluctuating federal policies and the over-arching history of this country’s brand of settler-colonialism. One of the several legacies of this history is that federally recognized tribes have membership rules that diverge significantly from typical state or national citizenship criteria. These rules and their history are poorly understood by judges and members of the public, leading to misunderstandings about the “racial” status of tribes and Indian people, and on occasion to incoherent and damaging decisions on a range of Indian law issues. This article ...


Governing By Guidance: Civil Rights Agencies And The Emergence Of Language Rights, Ming Hsu Chen Jan 2014

Governing By Guidance: Civil Rights Agencies And The Emergence Of Language Rights, Ming Hsu Chen

Articles

On the fiftieth anniversary of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, this Article asks how federal civil rights laws evolved to incorporate the needs of non-English speakers following landmark immigration reform (the 1965 Hart-Cellar Act) that led to unprecedented migration from Asia and Latin America. Based on a comparative study of the emergence of language rights in schools and workplaces from 1965 to 1980, the Article demonstrates that regulatory agencies used nonbinding guidances to interpret the undefined statutory term "national origin discrimination" during their implementation of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Their efforts facilitated the creation of language rights ...