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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 ...


#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 ...


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 ...


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 ...


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 ...


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 ...


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.


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 ...


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 ...


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 ...


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 ...


"Our Taxes Are Too Damn High": Institutional Racism, Property Tax Assessment, And The Fair Housing Act, Bernadette Atuahene Jun 2018

"Our Taxes Are Too Damn High": Institutional Racism, Property Tax Assessment, And The Fair Housing Act, Bernadette Atuahene

Northwestern University Law Review

To prevent inflated property tax bills, the Michigan Constitution prohibits property tax assessments from exceeding 50% of a property’s market value. Between 2009 and 2015, the City of Detroit assessed 55%–85% of its residential properties in violation of the Michigan Constitution, and these unconstitutional assessments have had dire consequences. Between 2011 and 2015, one in four Detroit properties have been foreclosed upon for nonpayment of illegally inflated property taxes. In addition to Detroit, the other two cities in Michigan’s Wayne County where African-Americans comprise 70% or more of the population—Highland Park and Inkster—have similarly experienced ...


"Playing It Safe" With Empirical Evidence: Selective Use Of Social Science In Supreme Court Cases About Racial Justice And Marriage Equality, Russell K. Robinson, David M. Frost Jun 2018

"Playing It Safe" With Empirical Evidence: Selective Use Of Social Science In Supreme Court Cases About Racial Justice And Marriage Equality, Russell K. Robinson, David M. Frost

Northwestern University Law Review

This Essay seeks to draw connections between race, sexual orientation, and social science in Supreme Court litigation. In some respects, advocates for racial minorities and sexual minorities face divergent trajectories. Among those asserting civil rights claims, LGBT rights claimants have been uniquely successful at the Court ever since Romer v. Evans in the mid-1990s. During this period, advocates for racial minorities have fought to preserve earlier victories in cases such as Regents of the University of California v. Bakke and have failed to overturn precedents that strictly limit equal protection possibilities, such as McCleskey v. Kemp. Nonetheless, we argue that ...


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 ...


Lone Wolf Terrorism: Types, Stripes, And Double Standards, Khaled A. Beydoun Mar 2018

Lone Wolf Terrorism: Types, Stripes, And Double Standards, Khaled A. Beydoun

Northwestern University Law Review

The recent spike in mass shootings, topped by the October 1, 2017, Las Vegas massacre, dubbed the “deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history,” has brought newfound urgency and attention to lone wolf violence and terrorism. Although a topic of pressing concern, the phenomenon—which centers on mass violence inflicted by one individual—is underexamined and undertheorized within legal literature. This scholarly neglect facilitates flat understandings of the phenomenon and enables the racial and religious double standards arising from law enforcement investigations and prosecutions of white and Muslim lone wolves.

This Essay contributes a timely reconceptualization of the phenomenon ...


Whitewashing Expression: Using Copyright Law To Protect Racial Identity In Casting, Brandon Johnson Mar 2018

Whitewashing Expression: Using Copyright Law To Protect Racial Identity In Casting, Brandon Johnson

Northwestern University Law Review

Porchlight Music Theatre, a non-equity theatre company in Chicago, decided to capitalize on the popularity of Lin-Manuel Miranda’s smash hit Hamilton by producing one of Miranda’s earlier works, In the Heights. This earlier work tells the story of a predominantly Latinx community in New York’s Washington Heights neighborhood. Porchlight’s production, however, received significant negative attention when it was revealed that the lead character—Usnavi, an immigrant from the Dominican Republic—would be played by a white actor. While casting white actors in nonwhite roles is nothing new and has been a persistent (and persistently criticized) practice ...


The Fallacy Of A Colorblind Consent Search Doctrine, Beau C. Tremitiere Nov 2017

The Fallacy Of A Colorblind Consent Search Doctrine, Beau C. Tremitiere

Northwestern University Law Review

Most searches conducted by police officers are “consensual” and thus beyond the reach of the Fourth Amendment. However, such searches violate the Fourth Amendment when, under the totality of circumstances, consent appears to be a product of coercion—that is, when the consent was involuntary. In 1980, in Mendenhall v. United States, the Supreme Court identified race as a relevant factor courts should consider but failed to explain precisely why race was relevant. After decades of mistreatment and state-sanctioned violence, distrust of law enforcement was rampant in communities of color, and the Mendenhall Court correctly intuited (but failed to describe ...


Racing Abnormality, Normalizing Race: The Origins Of America's Peculiar Carceral State And Its Prospects For Democratic Transformation Today, Jonathan Simon Aug 2017

Racing Abnormality, Normalizing Race: The Origins Of America's Peculiar Carceral State And Its Prospects For Democratic Transformation Today, Jonathan Simon

Northwestern University Law Review

For those struggling with criminal justice reform today, the long history of failed efforts to close the gap between the promise of legal equality and the practice of our police forces and prison systems can seem mysterious and frustrating. Progress has been made in establishing stronger rights for individuals in the investigatory and sanctioning stages of the criminal process; yet, the patterns of over-incarceration and police violence, which are especially concentrated on people of color, have actually gotten worse during the same period. Seen in terms of its deeper history however, the carceral state is no longer puzzling: it has ...


Policing And Procedural Justice: Shaping Citizens' Identities To Increase Democratic Participation, Tracey Meares Aug 2017

Policing And Procedural Justice: Shaping Citizens' Identities To Increase Democratic Participation, Tracey Meares

Northwestern University Law Review

Like the education system, the criminal justice system offers both formal, overt curricula—found in the Bill of Rights, and informal or “hidden” curricula—embodied in how people are treated in interactions with legal authorities in courtrooms and on the streets. The overt policing curriculum identifies police officers as “peace officers” tasked with public safety and concern for individual rights, but the hidden curriculum, fraught with racially targeted stop and frisks and unconstitutional exercises of force, teaches many that they are members of a special, dangerous, and undesirable class. The social psychology of how people understand the fairness of legal ...


From Harm Reduction To Community Engagement: Redefining The Goals Of American Policing In The Twenty-First Century, Tom R. Tyler Aug 2017

From Harm Reduction To Community Engagement: Redefining The Goals Of American Policing In The Twenty-First Century, Tom R. Tyler

Northwestern University Law Review

Society would gain if the police moved away from the goal of harm reduction via crime reduction and toward promoting the economic, social, and political vitality of American communities. Research suggests that the police can contribute to this goal if they design and implement their policies and practices in ways that promote public trust. Such trust develops when the police exercise their authority in ways that people evaluate as being procedurally just.


Revisiting Law School Mismatch: A Comment On Barnes (2007, 2011), Doug Williams, Richard Sander, Marc Luppino, Roger Bolus Jan 2015

Revisiting Law School Mismatch: A Comment On Barnes (2007, 2011), Doug Williams, Richard Sander, Marc Luppino, Roger Bolus

Northwestern University Law Review

No abstract provided.


Is Affirmative Action Responsible For The Achievement Gap Between Black And White Law Students? A Correction, A Lesson, And An Update, Katherine Y. Barnes Jan 2015

Is Affirmative Action Responsible For The Achievement Gap Between Black And White Law Students? A Correction, A Lesson, And An Update, Katherine Y. Barnes

Northwestern University Law Review

No abstract provided.


Diversifying The Federal Bench: Is Universal Legitimacy For The U.S. Justice System Possible?, Nancy Scherer Jan 2015

Diversifying The Federal Bench: Is Universal Legitimacy For The U.S. Justice System Possible?, Nancy Scherer

Northwestern University Law Review

No abstract provided.