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Michigan Journal of Race and Law

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Full-Text Articles in Law and Race

Virtual Hatred: How Russia Tried To Start A Race War In The United States, William J. Aceves May 2019

Virtual Hatred: How Russia Tried To Start A Race War In The United States, William J. Aceves

Michigan Journal of Race and Law

During the 2016 U.S. presidential election, the Russian government engaged in a sophisticated strategy to influence the U.S. political system and manipulate American democracy. While most news reports have focused on the cyber-attacks aimed at Democratic Party leaders and possible contacts between Russian officials and the Trump presidential campaign, a more pernicious intervention took place. Throughout the campaign, Russian operatives created hundreds of fake personas on social media platforms and then posted thousands of advertisements and messages that sought to promote racial divisions in the United States. This was a coordinated propaganda effort. Some Facebook and Twitter posts ...


White Caller Crime: Racialized Police Communication And Existing While Black, Chan Tov Mcnamarah Jan 2019

White Caller Crime: Racialized Police Communication And Existing While Black, Chan Tov Mcnamarah

Michigan Journal of Race and Law

Over the past year, reports to the police about Black persons engaged in innocuous behaviors have bombarded the American consciousness. What do we make of them? And, equally important, what are the consequences of such reports?

This Article is the first to argue that the recent spike in calls to the police against Black persons who are simply existing must be understood as a systematic phenomenon which it dubs racialized police communication. The label captures two related practices. First, racially motivated police reporting—calls, complaints, or reports made when Black persons are engaged in behavior that would not have been ...


Whiteness At Work, Lihi Yona Oct 2018

Whiteness At Work, Lihi Yona

Michigan Journal of Race and Law

How do courts understand Whiteness in Title VII litigation? This Article argues that one fruitful site for such examination is same-race discrimination cases between Whites. Such cases offer a peek into what enables regimes of Whiteness and White supremacy in the workplace, and the way in which Whiteness is theorized within Title VII adjudication. Intra-White discrimination cases may range from associational discrimination cases to cases involving discrimination against poor rural Whites, often referred to as “White trash.” While intragroup discrimination is acknowledged in sex-discrimination cases and race-discrimination cases within racial minority groups, same-race discrimination between Whites is currently an under-theorized ...


Urban Decolonization, Norrinda Brown Hayat Oct 2018

Urban Decolonization, Norrinda Brown Hayat

Michigan Journal of Race and Law

National fair housing legislation opened up higher opportunity neighborhoods to multitudes of middle-class African Americans. In actuality, the FHA offered much less to the millions of poor, Black residents in inner cities than it did to the Black middle class. Partly in response to the FHA’s inability to provide quality housing for low-income blacks, Congress has pursued various mobility strategies designed to facilitate the integration of low-income Blacks into high-opportunity neighborhoods as a resolution to the persistent dilemma of the ghetto. These efforts, too, have had limited success. Now, just over fifty years after the passage of the Fair ...


Do You See What I See? Problems With Juror Bias In Viewing Body-Camera Video Evidence, Morgan A. Birck Oct 2018

Do You See What I See? Problems With Juror Bias In Viewing Body-Camera Video Evidence, Morgan A. Birck

Michigan Journal of Race and Law

In the wake of the Michael Brown shooting in Ferguson, Missouri, advocates and activists called for greater oversight and accountability for police. One of the measures called for and adopted in many jurisdictions was the implementation of body cameras in police departments. Many treated this implementation as a sign of change that police officers would be held accountable for the violence they perpetrate. This Note argues that although body-camera footage may be useful as one form of evidence in cases of police violence, lawyers and judges should be extremely careful about how it is presented to the jury. Namely, the ...


The Case Against Police Militarization, Eliav Lieblich, Adam Shinar Jun 2018

The Case Against Police Militarization, Eliav Lieblich, Adam Shinar

Michigan Journal of Race and Law

We usually think there is a difference between the police and the military. Recently, however, the police have become increasingly militarized – a process which is likely to intensify in coming years. Unsurprisingly, many find this process alarming and call for its reversal. However, while most of the objections to police militarization are framed as instrumental arguments, these arguments are unable to capture the core problem with militarization.

This Article remedies this shortcoming by developing a novel and principled argument against police militarization. Contrary to arguments that are preoccupied with the consequences of militarization, the real problem with police militarization is ...


Distant Voices Then And Now: The Impact Of Isolation On The Courtroom Narratives Of Slave Ship Captives And Asylum Seekers, Tara Patel Jun 2018

Distant Voices Then And Now: The Impact Of Isolation On The Courtroom Narratives Of Slave Ship Captives And Asylum Seekers, Tara Patel

Michigan Journal of Race and Law

Part I compares the nineteenth century cases of the Antelope and the Amistad to identify why they resulted in different outcomes despite having similar fact patterns. The Antelope concerned the fate of approximately 280 African captives discovered on a slave trade ship upon its interception by a U.S. revenue cutter. Since the slave trade in the United States was illegal at the time, the captives were transported to Savannah for trial through which their status—free or slave—would be determined. After a lengthy trial and appeals process in which Spain and Portugal laid claim to the captives, the ...


Batson For Judges, Police Officers & Teachers: Lessons In Democracy From The Jury Box, Stacy L. Hawkins Jun 2018

Batson For Judges, Police Officers & Teachers: Lessons In Democracy From The Jury Box, Stacy L. Hawkins

Michigan Journal of Race and Law

In our representative democracy we guarantee equal participation for all, but we fall short of this promise in so many domains of our civic life. From the schoolhouse, to the jailhouse, to the courthouse, racial minorities are underrepresented among key public decision-makers, such as judges, police officers, and teachers. This gap between our aspirations for representative democracy and the reality that our judges, police officers, and teachers are often woefully under-representative of the racially diverse communities they serve leaves many citizens of color wanting for the democratic guarantee of equal participation. This critical failure of our democracy threatens to undermine ...


Vulnerability, Access To Justice, And The Fragmented State, Elizabeth L. Macdowell Jun 2018

Vulnerability, Access To Justice, And The Fragmented State, Elizabeth L. Macdowell

Michigan Journal of Race and Law

This Article builds on theories of the fragmented state and of human and institutional vulnerability to create a new, structural theory of “functional fragmentation” and its role in access to justice work. Expanding on previous concepts of fragmentation in access to justice scholarship, fragmentation is understood in the Article as a complex phenomenon existing within as well as between state institutions like courts. Further, it is examined in terms of its relationship to the state’s coercive power over poor people in legal systems. In this view, fragmentation in state operations creates not only challenges for access, but also opportunities ...


Fairness In The Exceptions: Trusting Juries On Matters Of Race, Virginia Weeks Jun 2018

Fairness In The Exceptions: Trusting Juries On Matters Of Race, Virginia Weeks

Michigan Journal of Race and Law

Implicit bias research indicates that despite our expressly endorsed values, Americans share a pervasive bias disfavoring Black Americans and favoring White Americans. This bias permeates legislative as well as judicial decision-making, leading to the possibility of verdicts against Black defendants that are tainted with racial bias. The Supreme Court’s 2017 decision in Peña-Rodriguez v. Colorado provides an ex post remedy for blatant racism that impacts jury verdicts, while jury nullification provides an ex ante remedy by empowering jurors to reject convicting Black defendants when to do so would reinforce racially biased laws. Both remedies exist alongside a trend limiting ...


"When They Enter, We All Enter": Opening The Door To Intersectional Discrimination Claims Based On Race And Disability, Alice Abrokwa Jan 2018

"When They Enter, We All Enter": Opening The Door To Intersectional Discrimination Claims Based On Race And Disability, Alice Abrokwa

Michigan Journal of Race and Law

This Article explores the intersection of race and disability in the context of employment discrimination, arguing that people of color with disabilities can and should obtain more robust relief for their harms by asserting intersectional discrimination claims. Professor Kimberlé Crenshaw first articulated the intersectionality framework by explaining that Black women can experience a form of discrimination distinct from that experienced by White women or Black men, that is, they may face discrimination as Black women due to the intersection of their race and gender. Likewise, people of color with disabilities can experience discrimination distinct from that felt by people of ...


Legacy In Paradise: Analyzing The Obama Administration’S Efforts Of Reconciliation With Native Hawaiians, Troy J.H. Andrade Mar 2017

Legacy In Paradise: Analyzing The Obama Administration’S Efforts Of Reconciliation With Native Hawaiians, Troy J.H. Andrade

Michigan Journal of Race and Law

This Article analyzes President Barack Obama’s legacy for an indigenous people—nearly 125 years in the making—and how that legacy is now in considerable jeopardy with the election of Donald J. Trump. This Article is the first to specifically critique the hallmark of Obama’s reconciliatory legacy for Native Hawaiians: an administrative rule that establishes a process in which the United States would reestablish a government-to-government relationship with Native Hawaiians, the only indigenous people in America without a path toward federal recognition. In the Article, Obama’s rule—an attempt to provide Native Hawaiians with recognition and greater ...


Executive Disorder: The Muslim Ban, Emergency Advocacy, And The Fires Next Time, Abed Ayoub, Khaled Beydoun Mar 2017

Executive Disorder: The Muslim Ban, Emergency Advocacy, And The Fires Next Time, Abed Ayoub, Khaled Beydoun

Michigan Journal of Race and Law

On January 27, 2017, one week into his presidency, Donald Trump enacted Executive Order No. 13769, popularly known as the “Muslim Ban.” The Order named seven Muslim-majority nations and restricted, effective immediately, the reentry into the United States of visa and green card holders from these states. With the Muslim Ban, President Trump delivered on a central campaign promise, and as a result, injected Islamophobia into American immigration law and policy.

The Muslim Ban had an immediate impact on tens of thousands of Muslims, directly affecting U.S. visa and green card holders currently outside of the country, while exacerbating ...


A Modest Memo, Yxta Maya Murray Mar 2017

A Modest Memo, Yxta Maya Murray

Michigan Journal of Race and Law

A Modest Memo is a satire in the form of a legal memo written for President-Elect Donald Trump circa November 2016. It counsels Mr. Trump to obtain Mexican funding for a United States-Mexico “Wall” via United Nations Security Council sanctions. These sanctions would freeze remittances (that is, “hold them hostage”) until Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto wired the United States sufficient monies for construction. The memo, which is entirely the product of my imagination and legal study, contemplates one of the many possible worst case scenarios threatened by the Trump presidency. Through the arts of law and literature, I aim ...


Concealed Motives: Rethinking Fourteenth Amendment And Voting Rights Challenges To Felon Disenfranchisement, Lauren Latterell Powell Mar 2017

Concealed Motives: Rethinking Fourteenth Amendment And Voting Rights Challenges To Felon Disenfranchisement, Lauren Latterell Powell

Michigan Journal of Race and Law

Felon disenfranchisement provisions are justified by many Americans under the principle that voting is a privilege to be enjoyed only by upstanding citizens. The provisions are intimately tied, however, to the country’s legacy of racism and systemic disenfranchisement and are at odds with the values of American democracy. In virtually every state, felon disenfranchisement provisions affect the poor and communities of color on a grossly disproportionate scale. Yet to date, most challenges to the provisions under the Equal Protection Clause and Voting Rights Act have been unsuccessful, frustrating proponents of re-enfranchisement and the disenfranchised alike.

In light of those ...


Am I My Client? Revisited: The Role Of Race In Intra-Race Legal Representation, Julie D. Lawton Oct 2016

Am I My Client? Revisited: The Role Of Race In Intra-Race Legal Representation, Julie D. Lawton

Michigan Journal of Race and Law

This Article examines the challenges of intra-race legal representation for lawyers of color, law students of color, and those teaching law students of color by analyzing how the dynamics of the lawyer’s and client’s racial sameness impact legal representation. This Article brings together three strands of lawyering theory – the role of race in lawyering, critical race theory, and the role of the lawyer in intra-race legal representation. In doing so, this Article explores a number of provocative questions: Does being the same race as their clients make lawyers better legal representatives? Should lawyers of color embrace or resist ...


Pushing An End To Sanctuary Cities: Will It Happen?, Raina Bhatt Oct 2016

Pushing An End To Sanctuary Cities: Will It Happen?, Raina Bhatt

Michigan Journal of Race and Law

Sanctuary jurisdictions refer to city, town, and state governments (collectively, localities or local governments) that have passed provisions to limit their enforcement of federal immigration laws. Such local governments execute limiting provisions in order to bolster community cooperation, prevent racial discrimination, focus on local priorities for enforcement, or even to a show a local policy that differs from federal policy. The provisions are in the forms of executive orders, municipal ordinances, and state resolutions. Additionally, the scope of the provisions vary by locality: some prohibit law enforcement from asking about immigration status, while others prohibit the use of state resources ...


The Tyranny Of Small Things, Yxta Maya Murray Oct 2016

The Tyranny Of Small Things, Yxta Maya Murray

Michigan Journal of Race and Law

In this legal-literary essay, I recount a day I spent watching criminal sentencings in an Alhambra, California courthouse, highlighting the sometimes mundane, sometimes despairing, imports of those proceedings. I note that my analysis resembles that of other scholars who tackle state over-criminalization and selective law enforcement. My original addition exists in the granular attention I pay to the moment-by-moment effects of a sometimes baffling state power on poor and minority people. In this approach, I align myself with advocates of the law and literature school of thought, who believe that the study (or, in this case, practice) of literature will ...


Black Health Matters: Disparities, Community Health, And Interest Convergence, Mary Crossley Oct 2016

Black Health Matters: Disparities, Community Health, And Interest Convergence, Mary Crossley

Michigan Journal of Race and Law

Health disparities represent a significant strand in the fabric of racial injustice in the United States, one that has proven exceptionally durable. Many millions of dollars have been invested in addressing racial disparities over the past three decades. Researchers have identified disparities, unpacked their causes, and tracked their trajectories, with only limited progress in narrowing the health gap between whites and racial and ethnic minorities. The implementation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and the movement toward value-based payment methods for health care may supply a new avenue for addressing disparities. This Article argues that the ACA’s requirement that ...


Tightening The Ooda Loop: Police Militarization, Race, And Algorithmic Surveillance, Jeffrey L. Vagle Oct 2016

Tightening The Ooda Loop: Police Militarization, Race, And Algorithmic Surveillance, Jeffrey L. Vagle

Michigan Journal of Race and Law

This Article examines how military automated surveillance and intelligence systems and techniques, when used by civilian police departments to enhance predictive policing programs, have reinforced racial bias in policing. I will focus on two facets of this problem. First, I investigate the role played by advanced military technologies and methods within civilian police departments. These approaches have enabled a new focus on deterrence and crime prevention by creating a system of structural surveillance where decision support relies increasingly upon algorithms and automated data analysis tools and automates de facto penalization and containment based on race. Second, I will explore these ...


Making A Buck While Making A Difference, Alphonse A. Gerhardstein May 2016

Making A Buck While Making A Difference, Alphonse A. Gerhardstein

Michigan Journal of Race and Law

It is not right for children to die before their parents. It is not right for peaceful, unarmed citizens to die at the hands of the police. In my civil rights practice, I have met many mothers, fathers, and family members who are struggling to recover after a law enforcement officer caused the death of their loved one. Sure, they want fair compensation. But money does little to reduce their loss or make the grief more bearable. They often want to do something that will ensure that their loved one did not die in vain. They want to prevent other ...


Legal Aid's Once And Future Role For Impacting The Criminalization Of Poverty And The War On The Poor, Aneel L. Chablani May 2016

Legal Aid's Once And Future Role For Impacting The Criminalization Of Poverty And The War On The Poor, Aneel L. Chablani

Michigan Journal of Race and Law

Recent media coverage and advocacy efforts on behalf of individuals subjected to criminal sanctions as a result of their poverty status has resulted in increased attention on this nation’s troubled history of oppression and control of the poor and people of color. At the federal, state, and local levels, a growing number of policies create criminal sanctions for poverty-related circumstances. These, in turn, result in collateral consequences that unfairly affect those who lack the means to afford their criminal justice experience (i.e., processing costs, fees, and fines), or affect their ability to access employment, housing, or other basic ...


Foreword: Innocent Until Proven Poor, Sara Zampierin May 2016

Foreword: Innocent Until Proven Poor, Sara Zampierin

Michigan Journal of Race and Law

One of the core tenets of our criminal justice system is the presumption of innocence until proven guilty. As the title of the Symposium recognizes, we have allowed our justice system to ignore that presumption for people living in poverty in a variety of ways. Instead, it often inflicts additional and harsher punishment on individuals because of their poverty.


Keynote Remarks: How The Criminalization Of Poverty Has Become Normalized In American Culture And Why You Should Care, Sarah Geraghty May 2016

Keynote Remarks: How The Criminalization Of Poverty Has Become Normalized In American Culture And Why You Should Care, Sarah Geraghty

Michigan Journal of Race and Law

The subject of my talk today is how the criminalization of poverty has become normalized in American culture and why you should care.


Online Case Resolution Systems: Enhancing Access, Fairness, Accuracy, And Efficiency, Maximilian A. Bulinski, J.J. Prescott May 2016

Online Case Resolution Systems: Enhancing Access, Fairness, Accuracy, And Efficiency, Maximilian A. Bulinski, J.J. Prescott

Michigan Journal of Race and Law

Online case resolution (OCR) systems have the potential to dramatically increase access to our justice system. Part I introduces the concept of an OCR system, how it might work in practice, and its likely impact on courts and citizens. Part II argues that OCR systems can lower many of the barriers to going to court by reducing the need for face-to-face resolution of disputes; cutting the amount of time needed for hearings; mitigating litigant confusion and fear; allowing asynchronous scheduling that can accommodate work and child-care schedules; and offering a more reliable and easier-to-use means for litigants to voice their ...


The Price Of Carceral Citizenship: Punishment, Surveillance, And Social Welfare Policy In An Age Of Carceral Expansion, Reuben Jonathan Miller, Amanda Alexander May 2016

The Price Of Carceral Citizenship: Punishment, Surveillance, And Social Welfare Policy In An Age Of Carceral Expansion, Reuben Jonathan Miller, Amanda Alexander

Michigan Journal of Race and Law

The unprecedented rise in the number of people held in U.S. jails and prisons has garnered considerable attention from policy makers, activists, and academics alike. Signaled in part by Michelle Alexander’s New York Times bestseller, The New Jim Crow, and the unlikely coalition of activists, policy makers, celebrities, and business leaders on both sides of the political aisle who have pledged to end mass incarceration in our lifetime, the prison system has returned to public policy discourse in a way that was unforeseen less than a decade ago. On any given day in 2014, just over 2.3 ...


Closing The Gap Between What Is Lawful And What Is Right In Police Use Of Force Jurisprudence By Making Police Departments More Democratic Institutions, Jonathan M. Smith May 2016

Closing The Gap Between What Is Lawful And What Is Right In Police Use Of Force Jurisprudence By Making Police Departments More Democratic Institutions, Jonathan M. Smith

Michigan Journal of Race and Law

On August 9, 2014, Michael Brown was shot to death in Ferguson, Missouri, by police officer Darren Wilson. Members of the Ferguson community rose up in response. Protests demanding that police violence against African Americans cease and that accountability for police misconduct be addressed erupted across the country, and they have not subsided since. Incidents in Baltimore, Maryland; Chicago, Illinois; WallerCounty, Texas; and elsewhere have kept the movement alive. The mass media, the political elite, and the White middle class woke up to a reality that had been long known to communities of color – force is used disproportionately against people ...


Pretextual Sanctions, Contempt, And The Practical Limits Of Bearden-Based Debtors' Prison Litigation, Colin Reingold May 2016

Pretextual Sanctions, Contempt, And The Practical Limits Of Bearden-Based Debtors' Prison Litigation, Colin Reingold

Michigan Journal of Race and Law

At the time of this writing, recent events in Ferguson, Baltimore, New York City, and elsewhere have triggered quite justified social outrage at debtors’ prisons. Our country’s state and city courts keep scores of indigent people in jail for the crime of being poor, despite the Supreme Court’s clear prohibition on the practice. Skilled litigators and their journalist allies have seized on the moment to win victories in court and in the public eye, which prevent unconscionable bond and probation practices and try to reduce our burgeoning jail populations. Lost in the uproar, though, are the many ways ...


The Ohio Model For Combatting Debtors' Prisons, Jocelyn Rosnick, Mike Brickner May 2016

The Ohio Model For Combatting Debtors' Prisons, Jocelyn Rosnick, Mike Brickner

Michigan Journal of Race and Law

In 2013, the ACLU of Ohio released a report titled The Outskirts of Hope: How Ohio’s Debtors’ Prisons Are Ruining Lives and Costing Communities. The report exposed the blatantly unconstitutional practice in courts across Ohio of jailing people who were too poor to pay their court fines and fees, and along with our ongoing advocacy efforts, resulted in sweeping change across the state. This Essay looks at the destruction modern debtors’ prisons have on individuals, families, and communities and overviews the research, advocacy, and communications tools the ACLU of Ohio has used to successfully combat debtors’ prisons. The goal ...


Keynote Remarks, Vanita Gupta Jan 2016

Keynote Remarks, Vanita Gupta

Michigan Journal of Race and Law

In communities across America today, from Ferguson, Missouri, to Flint, Michigan, too many people—especially young people and people of color—live trapped by the weight of poverty and injustice. They suffer the disparate impact of policies driven by, at best, benign neglect, and at worst, deliberate indifference. And they see how discrimination stacks the deck against them. So today, as we discuss the inequality that pervades our criminal justice system—a defining civil rights challenge of the 21st century—we must also acknowledge the broader inequalities we face in other segments of society. Because discrimination in so many areas ...