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University of Michigan Law School

Race and law

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Race Belongs In Week One Of Lrw, Beth H. Wilensky Jan 2022

Race Belongs In Week One Of Lrw, Beth H. Wilensky

Articles

I talk to my 1Ls about race and the law in their first week of law school. In doing so, I have discovered that discussing race helps me introduce foundational concepts about legal writing and law school that we will return to throughout the year. That is partly because race is relevant to nearly every topic law school touches on. But it is also because race is present in—and often conspicuous in its absence from—court opinions in ways that provide rich fodder for discussing how to approach law school. That topic interests all students—even those who might be skeptical about …


Territorial Exceptionalism And The Americanwelfare State, Andrew Hammond Jun 2021

Territorial Exceptionalism And The Americanwelfare State, Andrew Hammond

Michigan Law Review

Federal law excludes millions of American citizens from crucial public benefits simply because they live in the United States territories. If the Social Security Administration determines a low-income individual has a disability, that person can move to another state and continue to receive benefits. But if that person moves to, say, Guam or the U.S. Virgin Islands, that person loses their right to federal aid. Similarly with SNAP (food stamps), federal spending rises with increased demand—whether because of a recession, a pandemic, or a climate disaster. But unlike the rest of the United States, Puerto Rico, the Northern Mariana Islands, …


Fee Simple Failures: Rural Landscapes And Race, Jessica A. Shoemaker Jun 2021

Fee Simple Failures: Rural Landscapes And Race, Jessica A. Shoemaker

Michigan Law Review

Property law’s roots are rural. America pursued an early agrarian vision that understood real property rights as instrumental to achieving a country of free, engaged citizens who cared for their communities and stewarded their physical place in it. But we have drifted far from this ideal. Today, American agriculture is industrialized, and rural communities are in decline. The fee simple ownership form has failed every agrarian objective but one: the maintenance of white landownership. For it was also embedded in the original American experiment that land ownership would be racialized for the benefit of its white citizens, through acts of …


Remediating Racism For Rent: A Landlord’S Obligation Under The Fha, Mollie Krent Jun 2021

Remediating Racism For Rent: A Landlord’S Obligation Under The Fha, Mollie Krent

Michigan Law Review

The Fair Housing Act (FHA) is an expansive and powerful piece of legislation that furthers equal housing in the United States by ferreting out discrimination in the housing market. While the power of the Act is well recognized by courts, the full contours of the FHA are still to be refined. In particular, it remains unsettled whether and when a landlord can be liable for tenant-on-tenant harassment. This Note argues, first, that the FHA does recognize liability in such a circumstance and, second, that a landlord should be subject to liability for her negligence in such a circumstance. Part I …


How The Supreme Court Can Improve Educational Opportunities For African American And Hispanic Students By Ruling Against Harvard College’S Use Of Race Data, Genevieve Kelly Apr 2021

How The Supreme Court Can Improve Educational Opportunities For African American And Hispanic Students By Ruling Against Harvard College’S Use Of Race Data, Genevieve Kelly

University of Michigan Journal of Law Reform Caveat

Students for Fair Admissions v. Harvard has not only exposed ways in which Harvard College’s admissions office unfairly assesses Asian American applicants, but it has also revealed that Harvard’s fixation on race per se can disadvantage the very African American and Hispanic students best positioned to bring instructive and underrepresented perspectives to the college. The facts show that Harvard’s “tips” and “one-pager” system values African American and Hispanic students for their ability to boost Harvard’s racial profile more than for their actual experiences confronting racial discrimination. This Comment explains how, by ruling against Harvard (and without overruling Grutter or Fisher …


A Perfectly Empty Gift, Christina D. Ponsa-Kraus Apr 2021

A Perfectly Empty Gift, Christina D. Ponsa-Kraus

Michigan Law Review

A Review of Almost Citizens: Puerto Rico, the U.S. Constitution, and Empire. by Sam Erman.


A Different Type Of Property: White Women And The Human Property They Kept, Michele Goodwin Apr 2021

A Different Type Of Property: White Women And The Human Property They Kept, Michele Goodwin

Michigan Law Review

A Review of Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl. by Harriet A. Jacobs, and They Were Her Property: White Women as Slave Owners in the American South. by Stephanie E. Jones-Rogers.


The "Innocence" Of Bias, Osamudia James Apr 2021

The "Innocence" Of Bias, Osamudia James

Michigan Law Review

A Review of Biased: Uncovering the Hidden Prejudices that Shapes What We See, Think, and Do. by Jennifer L. Eberhardt.


Affirmative Inaction: A Quantitative Analysis Of Progress Toward “Critical Mass” In U.S. Legal Education, Loren M. Lee Mar 2021

Affirmative Inaction: A Quantitative Analysis Of Progress Toward “Critical Mass” In U.S. Legal Education, Loren M. Lee

Michigan Law Review

Since 1978, the Supreme Court has recognized diversity as a compelling government interest to uphold the use of affirmative action in higher education. Yet the constitutionality of the practice has been challenged many times. In Grutter v. Bollinger, for example, the Court denied its use in perpetuity and suggested a twenty-five-year time limit for its application in law school admissions. Almost two decades have passed, so where do we stand? This Note’s quantitative analysis of the matriculation of and degrees awarded to Black and Latinx students at twenty-nine accredited law schools across the United States illuminates a stark lack of …


The Soul Savers: A 21st Century Homage To Derrick Bell’S Space Traders Or Should Black People Leave America?, Katheryn Russell-Brown Feb 2021

The Soul Savers: A 21st Century Homage To Derrick Bell’S Space Traders Or Should Black People Leave America?, Katheryn Russell-Brown

Michigan Journal of Race and Law

Note: Narrative storytelling is a staple of legal jurisprudence. The Case of the Speluncean Explorers by Lon Fuller and The Space Traders by Derrick Bell are two of the most well-known and celebrated legal stories. The Soul Savers parable that follows pays tribute to Professor Bell’s prescient, apocalyptic racial tale. Professor Bell, a founding member of Critical Race Theory, wrote The Space Traders to instigate discussions about America’s deeply rooted entanglements with race and racism. The Soul Savers is offered as an attempt to follow in Professor Bell’s narrative footsteps by raising and pondering new and old frameworks about the …


“We Are Asking Why You Treat Us This Way. Is It Because We Are Negroes?” A Reparations-Based Approach To Remedying The Trump Administration’S Cancellation Of Tps Protections For Haitians, Sarah E. Baranik De Alarcón, David H. Secor, Norma Fuentes-Mayorga Feb 2021

“We Are Asking Why You Treat Us This Way. Is It Because We Are Negroes?” A Reparations-Based Approach To Remedying The Trump Administration’S Cancellation Of Tps Protections For Haitians, Sarah E. Baranik De Alarcón, David H. Secor, Norma Fuentes-Mayorga

Michigan Journal of Race and Law

This Article places the Trump Administration’s decision to cancel TPS for Haitians within the longer history of U.S. racism and exclusion against Haiti and Haitians, observes the legal challenges against this decision and their limitations, and imagines a future that repairs the harms caused by past and current racist policies. First, this Article briefly outlines the history of exclusionary, race-based immigration laws in the United States, and specifically how this legal framework, coupled with existing anti-Black ideologies in the United States, directly impacted Haitians and Haitian immigrants arriving in the United States. Next, the Article provides an overview of the …


How To Sue An Asue? Closing The Racial Wealth Gap Through The Transplantation Of A Cultural Institution, Cyril A.L. Heron Feb 2021

How To Sue An Asue? Closing The Racial Wealth Gap Through The Transplantation Of A Cultural Institution, Cyril A.L. Heron

Michigan Journal of Race and Law

Asues, academically known as Rotating Savings and Credit Associations (or ROSCAs for short), are informal cultural institutions that are prominent in developing countries across the globe. Their utilization in those countries provide rural and ostracized communities with a means to save money and invest in the community simultaneously. Adoption of the asue into the United States could serve as the foundation by which to close the racial wealth gap. Notwithstanding the benefits, wholesale adoption of any asue model runs the risk of cultural rejection because the institution is foreign to the African American community.

Drawing upon principles of cultural and …


The Scales Of Reproductive Justice: Casey’S Failure To Rebalance Liberty Interests In The Racially Disparate State Of Maternal Medicine, Mallori D. Thompson Feb 2021

The Scales Of Reproductive Justice: Casey’S Failure To Rebalance Liberty Interests In The Racially Disparate State Of Maternal Medicine, Mallori D. Thompson

Michigan Journal of Race and Law

Despite the maternal medicine crisis in the U.S., especially for Black women, legislatures are challenging constitutional abortion doctrine and forcing women to interact with a system that may cost them their lives. This Article proposes that because of abysmal maternal mortality rates and the arbitrary nature of most abortion restrictions, the right to choose an abortion is embedded in our Fourteenth Amendment right to not be arbitrarily deprived of life by the State. This Article is a call to abortion advocates to begin submitting state maternal mortality data when challenging abortion restrictions. The call for attention to life was central …


Lawyers As Social Engineers: How Lawyers Should Use Their Social Capital To Achieve Economic Justice, Dana Thompson Jan 2021

Lawyers As Social Engineers: How Lawyers Should Use Their Social Capital To Achieve Economic Justice, Dana Thompson

Michigan Journal of Race and Law

The Michigan Business & Entrepreneurial Law Review (MBELR) has always strived to provide a platform for legal scholars, professionals, and students to publish business-related legal scholarship. Yet, little legal business scholarship focusing on the Black business community exists, despite the extraordinary impact that Black communities have in the U.S. business landscape. In a year of revolutionary social change, we are excited to feature in this special issue the work of Professor Dana Thompson, a Michigan Law alumna, in an effort to remedy this gap. Professor Thompson’s career, professional values, and day-to-day work demonstrate genuine, commanding, and inspiring commitment to social …


Looking Toward Restorative Justice For Redlined Communities Displaced By Eco-Gentrification, Helen H. Kang Jan 2021

Looking Toward Restorative Justice For Redlined Communities Displaced By Eco-Gentrification, Helen H. Kang

Michigan Journal of Race and Law

MJEAL chose to publish Helen Kang’s piece, Looking Toward Restorative Justice for Redlined Communities Displaced by Eco-Gentrification, because it offers a unique analytic approach for analyzing the roots of environmental racism and the appropriate tools to help rectify it. She offers an argument for why restorative justice needs to be the framework and explains how we can accomplish this in the context of a whole government solution. MJEAL is excited to offer what will be an influential approach for environmental restorative justice to the broader activist and academic community.


Excerpt Of Law And Anti-Blackness, Michele Goodwin Jan 2021

Excerpt Of Law And Anti-Blackness, Michele Goodwin

Michigan Journal of Race and Law

Professor Michele Goodwin’s essay here (and the article from which it came, to be published in full in our Winter issue) explicitly identifies the development of American law as a project of cementing racial caste. This piece is a call for conversation and asks us all to consider: “How has the failure to acknowledge and address the carnage and prurience of America’s racial origin story impacted life today?” For 26 volumes, we have attempted to answer that question. In publishing this story in this issue, we are excited to be joined by our peers in that effort.


Medical Violence, Obstetric Racism, And The Limits Of Informed Consent For Black Women, Colleen Campbell Jan 2021

Medical Violence, Obstetric Racism, And The Limits Of Informed Consent For Black Women, Colleen Campbell

Michigan Journal of Race and Law

This Essay critically examines how medicine actively engages in the reproductive subordination of Black women. In obstetrics, particularly, Black women must contend with both gender and race subordination. Early American gynecology treated Black women as expendable clinical material for its institutional needs. This medical violence was animated by biological racism and the legal and economic exigencies of the antebellum era. Medical racism continues to animate Black women’s navigation of and their dehumanization within obstetrics. Today, the racial disparities in cesarean sections illustrate that Black women are simultaneously overmedicalized and medically neglected—an extension of historical medical practices rooted in the logic …


Toward A Race-Conscious Critique Of Mental Health-Related Exclusionary Immigration Laws, Monika Batra Kashyap Jan 2021

Toward A Race-Conscious Critique Of Mental Health-Related Exclusionary Immigration Laws, Monika Batra Kashyap

Michigan Journal of Race and Law

This Article employs the emergent analytical framework of Dis/ability Critical Race Theory (DisCrit) to offer a race-conscious critique of a set of immigration laws that have been left out of the story of race-based immigrant exclusion in the United States—namely, the laws that exclude immigrants based on mental health-related grounds. By centering the influence of the white supremacist, racist,and ableist ideologies of the eugenics movement in shaping mental health-related exclusionary immigration laws, this Article locates the roots of these restrictive laws in the desire to protect the purity and homogeneity of the white Anglo- Saxon race against the threat of …


A Podcast Of One’S Own, Leah M. Litman, Melissa Murray, Katherine Shaw Jan 2021

A Podcast Of One’S Own, Leah M. Litman, Melissa Murray, Katherine Shaw

Michigan Journal of Gender & Law

In this short Essay, we discuss the lack of racial and gender diversity on and around the Supreme Court. As we note, the ranks of the Court’s Justices and its clerks historically have been dominated by white men. But this homogeneity is not limited to the Court’s members or its clerks. As we explain, much of the Court’s broader ecosystem suffers from this same lack of diversity. The advocates who argue before the Court are primarily white men; the experts cited in the Court’s opinions, as well as the experts on whom Court commentators rely in interpreting those opinions, are …


Politics, Identity, And Class Certification On The U.S. Courts Of Appeals, Stephen B. Burbank, Sean Farhang Nov 2020

Politics, Identity, And Class Certification On The U.S. Courts Of Appeals, Stephen B. Burbank, Sean Farhang

Michigan Law Review

This Article draws on novel data and presents the results of the first empirical analysis of how potentially salient characteristics of Court of Appeals judges influence class certification under Rule 23 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. We find that the ideological composition of the panel (measured by the party of the appointing president) has a very strong association with certification outcomes, with all-Democratic panels having dramatically higher rates of procertification outcomes than all-Republican panels—nearly triple in about the past twenty years. We also find that the presence of one African American on a panel, and the presence of …


Equal Protection Under Algorithms: A New Statistical And Legal Framework, Crystal S. Yang, Will Dobbie Nov 2020

Equal Protection Under Algorithms: A New Statistical And Legal Framework, Crystal S. Yang, Will Dobbie

Michigan Law Review

In this Article, we provide a new statistical and legal framework to understand the legality and fairness of predictive algorithms under the Equal Protection Clause. We begin by reviewing the main legal concerns regarding the use of protected characteristics such as race and the correlates of protected characteristics such as criminal history. The use of race and nonrace correlates in predictive algorithms generates direct and proxy effects of race, respectively, that can lead to racial disparities that many view as unwarranted and discriminatory. These effects have led to the mainstream legal consensus that the use of race and nonrace correlates …


Eight Months Later, Ellen D. Katz Oct 2020

Eight Months Later, Ellen D. Katz

Reviews

Rick Hasen’s Election Meltdown provides a concise and scathing analysis of what ails the American electoral process. Rick identifies four “principal dangers”—namely, voter suppression, “pockets of incompetence” in election administration, “dirty tricks,” and “incendiary rhetoric” about stolen or rigged elections. He argues that these dangers have contributed to past dysfunctional elections and are sure to infect future ones. Election Meltdown closes with some proposals to temper the identified dangers so as to make voting less difficult and restore confidence in the electoral process.


Man’S Best Friend? How Dogs Have Been Used To Oppress African Americans, Shontel Stewart Sep 2020

Man’S Best Friend? How Dogs Have Been Used To Oppress African Americans, Shontel Stewart

Michigan Journal of Race and Law

The use of dogs as tools of oppression against African Americans has its roots in slavery and persists today in everyday life and police interactions. Due to such harmful practices, African Americans are not only disproportionately terrorized by officers with dogs, but they are also subject to instances of misplaced sympathy, illsuited laws, and social exclusion in their communities. Whether extreme and violent or subtle and pervasive, the use of dogs in oppressive acts is a critical layer of racial bias in the United States that has consistently built injustices that impede social and legal progress. By recognizing this pattern …


Discerning A Dignitary Offense: The Concept Of Equal 'Public Rights' During Reconstruction, Rebecca J. Scott Aug 2020

Discerning A Dignitary Offense: The Concept Of Equal 'Public Rights' During Reconstruction, Rebecca J. Scott

Articles

The mountain of modern interpretation to which the language of the Fourteenth Amendment of the United States Constitution has been subjected tends to overshadow the multiple concepts of antidiscrimination that were actually circulating at the time of its drafting. Moreover, as authors on race and law have pointed out, Congress itself lacked any African American representatives during the 1866–68 moment of transitional justice. The subsequent development of a “state action doctrine” limiting the reach of federal civil rights enforcement, in turn, eclipsed important contemporary understandings of the harms that Reconstruction-era initiatives sought to combat. In contrast to the oblique language …


Reassessing Aspects Of The Contribution Of African States To The Development Of International Law Through African Regional Multilateral Treaties, Tiyanjana Maluwa Jun 2020

Reassessing Aspects Of The Contribution Of African States To The Development Of International Law Through African Regional Multilateral Treaties, Tiyanjana Maluwa

Michigan Journal of International Law

For decades, debates about Africa’s contribution to the development of international law have been dominated by two opposing schools of thought. First, that European colonial powers deliberately erased Africa and Africans from the history of the creation and use of international law. Second, that, on the contrary, over the last six decades (since the emergence of the newly independent African states in the late 1950s and early 1960s), Africa has contributed to the making of international law and has not been merely a passive recipient of a Eurocentric international law.

This article underscores the role of the postcolonial periphery in …


Dignity Transacted: Emotional Labor And The Racialized Workplace, Lu-In Wang, Zachary W. Brewster May 2020

Dignity Transacted: Emotional Labor And The Racialized Workplace, Lu-In Wang, Zachary W. Brewster

University of Michigan Journal of Law Reform

In interactive customer service encounters, the dignity of the parties becomes the currency of a commercial transaction. Service firms that profit from customer satisfaction place great emphasis on emotional labor, the work that service providers do to make customers feel cared for and esteemed. But performing emotional labor can deny dignity to workers by highlighting their subservience and requiring them to suppress their own emotions in an effort to elevate the status and experiences of their customers. Paradoxically, the burden of performing emotional labor may also impose transactional costs on some customers by facilitating discrimination in service delivery. Drawing on …


What Is Remembered, Alice Ristroph May 2020

What Is Remembered, Alice Ristroph

Michigan Law Review

Review of Sarah A. Seo's Policing the Open Road: How Cars Transformed American Freedom.


Dismantling The Master’S House: Toward A Justice-Based Theory Of Community Economic Development, Etienne C. Toussaint Apr 2020

Dismantling The Master’S House: Toward A Justice-Based Theory Of Community Economic Development, Etienne C. Toussaint

University of Michigan Journal of Law Reform

Since the end of the American Civil War, scholars have debated the efficacy of various models of community economic development, or CED. Historically, this debate has tracked one of two approaches: place-based models of CED, seeking to stimulate community development through market-driven economic growth programs, and people-based models of CED, focused on the removal of structural barriers to social and economic mobility that prevent human flourishing. More recently, scholars and policymakers have turned to a third model from the impact investing community—the social impact bond, or SIB. The SIB model of CED ostensibly finds a middle ground by leveraging funding …


For Cause: Rethinking Racial Exclusion And The American Jury, Thomas Ward Frampton Apr 2020

For Cause: Rethinking Racial Exclusion And The American Jury, Thomas Ward Frampton

Michigan Law Review

Peremptory strikes, and criticism of the permissive constitutional framework regulating them, have dominated the scholarship on race and the jury for the past several decades. But we have overlooked another important way in which the American jury reflects and reproduces racial hierarchies: massive racial disparities also pervade the use of challenges for cause. This Article examines challenges for cause and race in nearly 400 trials and, based on original archival research, presents a revisionist account of the Supreme Court’s three most recent Batson cases. It establishes that challenges for cause, no less than peremptory strikes, are an important—and unrecognized—vehicle of …


Segregation In The Galleries: A Reconsideration, Richard Primus Feb 2020

Segregation In The Galleries: A Reconsideration, Richard Primus

Michigan Law Review Online

When constitutional lawyers talk about the original meaning of the Fourteenth Amendment as applied to questions of race, they often men-tion that the spectators’ galleries in Congress were racially segregated when Congress debated the Amendment.1 If the Thirty-Ninth Congress practiced racial segregation, the thinking goes, then it probably did not mean to prohibit racial segregation.2 As an argument about constitutional interpretation, this line of thinking has both strengths and weaknesses. But this brief Essay is not about the interpretive consequences, if any, of segregation in the congressional galleries during the 1860s. It is about the factual claim that the galleries …