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Second Redemption, Third Reconstruction, Richard A. Primus Jan 2019

Second Redemption, Third Reconstruction, Richard A. Primus

Articles

In The Accumulation of Advantages, the picture that Professor Owen Fiss paints about equality during and since the Second Reconstruction is largely a picture in black and white. That makes some sense. The black/white experience is probably the most important throughline in the story of equal protection. It was the central theme of both the First and Second Reconstructions. In keeping with that orientation, the picture of disadvantage described by Fiss’s theory of cumulative responsibility is largely drawn from the black/white experience. Important as it is, however, the black/white experience does not exhaust the subject of ...


Implicit Bias's Failure, Samuel Bagenstos Jun 2018

Implicit Bias's Failure, Samuel Bagenstos

Articles

The 2016 presidential election was a coming-out party of sorts for the concept of implicit bias-and not necessarily in a good way. In answering a question about race relations and the police during the vice-presidential debate, Mike Pence introduced the topic. Offering his explanation for why the Fraternal Order of Police had endorsed the Trump-Pence ticket, Pence said:


Section 2 After Section 5: Voting Rights And The Race To The Bottom, Ellen D. Katz Apr 2018

Section 2 After Section 5: Voting Rights And The Race To The Bottom, Ellen D. Katz

Articles

Five years ago, Shelby County v. Holder released nine states and fifty-five smaller jurisdictions from the preclearance obligation set forth in section 5 of the Voting Rights Act (VRA). This obligation mandated that places with a history of discrimination in voting obtain federal approval—known as preclearance—before changing any electoral rule or procedure. Within hours of the Shelby County decision, jurisdictions began moving to reenact measures section 5 had specifically blocked. Others pressed forward with new rules that the VRA would have barred prior to Shelby County.


The Effect Of Criminal Records On Access To Employment, Amanda Agan, Sonja B. Starr May 2017

The Effect Of Criminal Records On Access To Employment, Amanda Agan, Sonja B. Starr

Articles

This paper adds to the empirical evidence that criminal records are a barrier to employment. Using data from 2,655 online applications sent on behalf of fictitious male applicants, we show that employers are 60 percent more likely to call applicants that do not have a felony conviction. We further investigate whether this effect varies based on applicant race (black versus white), crime type (drug versus property crime), industry (restaurants versus retail), jurisdiction (New Jersey versus New York City), local crime rate, and local racial composition. Although magnitudes vary somewhat, in every subsample the conviction effect is large, significant, and ...


What We Think, What We Know And What We Think We Know About False Convictions, Samuel Gross Jan 2017

What We Think, What We Know And What We Think We Know About False Convictions, Samuel Gross

Articles

False convictions are notoriously difficult to study because they can neither be observed when they occur nor identified after the fact by any plausible research strategy. Our best shot is to collect data on those that come to light in legal proceedings that result in the exoneration of the convicted defendants. In May 2012, the National Registry of Exonerations released its first report, covering 873 exonerations from January 1989 through February 2012. By October 15, 2016, we had added 1,027 cases: 599 exonerations since March 1, 2012, and 428 that had already happened when we issued our initial report ...


Social Facts, Legal Fictions, And The Attribution Of Slave Status: The Puzzle Of Prescription, Rebecca J. Scott Dec 2016

Social Facts, Legal Fictions, And The Attribution Of Slave Status: The Puzzle Of Prescription, Rebecca J. Scott

Articles

In case after case, prosecutors, judges and juries therefore still struggle to come up with a definition of slavery, looking for some set of criteria or indicia that will enable them to discern whether the phenomenon they are observing constitutes enslavement. In this definitional effort, contemporary jurists may imagine that in the past, surely the question was simpler: someone either was or was not a slave. However, the existence of a set of laws declaring that persons could be owned as property did not, even in the nineteenth century, answer by itself the question of whether a given person was ...


Disparate Impact And The Role Of Classification And Motivation In Equal Protection Law After Inclusive Communities, Samuel Bagenstos Jan 2016

Disparate Impact And The Role Of Classification And Motivation In Equal Protection Law After Inclusive Communities, Samuel Bagenstos

Articles

At least since the Supreme Court’s 2009 decision in Ricci v. DeStefano, disparate-impact liability has faced a direct constitutional threat. This Article argues that the Court’s decision last Term in Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs v. Inclusive Communities Project, Inc., which held that disparate-impact liability is available under the Fair Housing Act, has resolved that threat, at least for the time being. In particular, this Article argues, Inclusive Communities is best read to adopt the understanding of equal protection that Justice Kennedy previously articulated in his pivotal concurrence in the 2007 Parents Involved case—which argued ...


Testing Racial Profiling: Empirical Assessment Of Disparate Treatment By Police, Sonja B. Starr Jan 2016

Testing Racial Profiling: Empirical Assessment Of Disparate Treatment By Police, Sonja B. Starr

Articles

In this Article, I explore why measuring disparate-treatment discrimination by police is so difficult, and consider the ways that researchers' existing tools can make headway on these challenges and the ways they fall short. Lab experiments have provided useful information about implicit racial bias, but they cannot directly tell us how these biases actually affect real-world behavior. Meanwhile, for observational researchers, there are various hurdles, but the hardest one to overcome is generally the absence of data on the citizen conduct that at least partially shapes policing decisions. Most crime, and certainly most noncriminal "suspicious" or probable-cause-generating behavior, goes unreported ...


What The Marriage Equality Cases Tell Us About Voter Id, Ellen D. Katz Nov 2015

What The Marriage Equality Cases Tell Us About Voter Id, Ellen D. Katz

Articles

Two years ago, United States u. Windsor tossed out the Defense of Marriage Act ("DOMA"). Thereafter, proponents of marriage equality secured dozens of notable victories in the lower courts, a smattering of setbacks, and last June, the victory they sought in Obergefell v. Hodges. During this same period, opponents of electoral restrictions such as voter identification have seen far less sustained success. Decided the day before Windsor, Shelby County v. Holder scrapped a key provision of the Voting Rights Act ("VRA") while making clear that plaintiffs might still challenge disputed voting regulations under Section 2 of the VRA and the ...


Racial Disparity In Federal Criminal Sentences, M. Marit Rehavi, Sonja B. Starr Dec 2014

Racial Disparity In Federal Criminal Sentences, M. Marit Rehavi, Sonja B. Starr

Articles

Using rich data linking federal cases from arrest through to sentencing, we find that initial case and defendant characteristics, including arrest offense and criminal history, can explain most of the large raw racial disparity in federal sentences, but significant gaps remain. Across the distribution, blacks receive sentences that are almost 10 percent longer than those of comparable whites arrested for the same crimes. Most of this disparity can be explained by prosecutors’ initial charging decisions, particularly the filing of charges carrying mandatory minimum sentences. Ceteris paribus, the odds of black arrestees facing such a charge are 1.75 times higher ...


Dismissing Deterrence, Ellen D. Katz Apr 2014

Dismissing Deterrence, Ellen D. Katz

Articles

The proposed Voting Rights Amendment Act of 20144 (VRAA)[...]’s new criteria defining when jurisdictions become subject to preclearance are acutely responsive to the concerns articulated in Shelby County[ v. Holder]. The result is a preclearance regime that, if enacted, would operate in fewer places and demand less from those it regulates. This new regime, however, would not only be more targeted and less powerful, but, curiously, more vulnerable to challenge. In fact, the regime would be more vulnerable precisely because it is so responsive to Shelby County. Some background will help us see why.


Universalism And Civil Rights (With Notes On Voting Rights After Shelby), Samuel R. Bagenstos Jan 2014

Universalism And Civil Rights (With Notes On Voting Rights After Shelby), Samuel R. Bagenstos

Articles

After the Supreme Court’s decision in Shelby County v. Holder, voting rights activists proposed a variety of legislative responses. Some proposals sought to move beyond measures that targeted voting discrimination based on race or ethnicity. They instead sought to eliminate certain problematic practices that place too great a burden on voting generally. Responses like these are universalist, because rather than seeking to protect any particular group against discrimination, they formally provide uniform protections to everyone. As Bruce Ackerman shows, voting rights activists confronted a similar set of questions—and at least some of them opted for a universalist approach ...


The Unrelenting Libertarian Challenge To Public Accommodations Law, Samuel R. Bagenstos Jan 2014

The Unrelenting Libertarian Challenge To Public Accommodations Law, Samuel R. Bagenstos

Articles

There seems to be a broad consensus that Title II of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits race discrimination in “place[s] of public accommodation,” was a remarkable success. But the consensus is illusory. Laws prohibiting discrimination by public accommodations currently exist under a significant legal threat. And this threat is merely the latest iteration in the controversy over public accommodations laws that began as early as Reconstruction. This Article begins by discussing the controversy in the Reconstruction and Civil Rights Eras over the penetration of antidiscrimination principles into the realm of private businesses’ choice of customers. Although ...


Prison Segregation: Symposium Introduction And Preliminary Data On Racial Disparities, Margo Schlanger Jan 2013

Prison Segregation: Symposium Introduction And Preliminary Data On Racial Disparities, Margo Schlanger

Articles

For this Introduction, I undertake to look a bit more broadly at recent data. The best sources of demographic information about prisoners are the various surveys and censuses conducted by the U.S. Department of Justice Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS). While no BJS publication directly addresses the issue, and no BJS dataset allows its full analysis, it is possible to glean something from the most recent BJS prison census, the 2005 Census of State and Federal Adult Correctional Facilities.


South Carolina's 'Evolutionary Process', Ellen D. Katz Jan 2013

South Carolina's 'Evolutionary Process', Ellen D. Katz

Articles

When Congress first enacted the Voting Rights Act (VRA) in 1965, public officials in South Carolina led the charge to scrap the new statute. Their brief to the Supreme Court of the United States described the VRA as an “unjustified” and “arbitrary” affront to the “Equality of Statehood” principle, and a “usurp[ation]” of the State’s legislative and executive functions. Not surprisingly, the Warren Court was unpersuaded and opted instead to endorse broad congressional power to craft “inventive” remedies to address systematic racial discrimination and to “shift the advantage of time and inertia from the perpetrators of evil to ...


Shelby County V. Holder: Why Section 2 Matters, Ellen D. Katz Jan 2013

Shelby County V. Holder: Why Section 2 Matters, Ellen D. Katz

Articles

Editor’s Note: Professor Ellen D. Katz writes and teaches about election law, civil rights and remedies, and equal protection. She and the Voting Rights Initiative at Michigan Law filed a brief as amicus curiae in Shelby County v. Holder, on which the U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments February 27. Here, she examines why Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act bears consideration in the case, which involves a challenge to Section 5 of the act.


What Was Wrong With The Record?, Ellen D. Katz Jan 2013

What Was Wrong With The Record?, Ellen D. Katz

Articles

Shelby County v. Holder offers three reasons for why the record Congress amassed to support the 2006 reauthorization of the Voting Rights Act (VRA) was legally insufficient to justify the statute's continued regional application: (1) the problems Congress documented in 2006 were not as severe as those that prompted it to craft the regime in 1965; (2) these problems did not lead Congress to alter the statute's pre-existing coverage formula; and (3) these problems did not exclusively involve voter registration and the casting of ballots.


Grutter's Denouement: Three Templates From The Roberts Court, Ellen D. Katz Jan 2013

Grutter's Denouement: Three Templates From The Roberts Court, Ellen D. Katz

Articles

Precedent from the Roberts Court shows the Justices taking three distinct approaches to precedent they dislike. Each provides a template for the Court to criticize race-based affirmative action in higher education, as Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin is widely expected to do. Most narrowly, the Court might use Fisher to issue a warning, much like it did in 2009 when it sidestepped a constitutional challenge to the Voting Rights Act; under this approach, the opinion would spell out why the Justices think the diversity celebrated in Grutter v. Bollinger no longer provides sufficient justification for the use of ...


A Cure Worse Than The Disease?, Ellen D. Katz Jan 2013

A Cure Worse Than The Disease?, Ellen D. Katz

Articles

The pending challenge to section 5 of the Voting Rights Act insists the statute is no longer necessary. Should the Supreme Court agree, its ruling is likely to reflect the belief that section 5 is not only obsolete but that its requirements do more harm today than the condition it was crafted to address. In this Essay, Professor Ellen D. Katz examines why the Court might liken section 5 to a destructive treatment and why reliance on that analogy in the pending case threatens to leave the underlying condition unaddressed and Congress without the power to address it.


On Estimating Disparity And Inferring Causation: Sur-Reply To The U.S. Sentencing Commission Staff, Sonja B. Starr, M. Marit Rehavi Jan 2013

On Estimating Disparity And Inferring Causation: Sur-Reply To The U.S. Sentencing Commission Staff, Sonja B. Starr, M. Marit Rehavi

Articles

In this Essay, Professors Starr and Rehavi respond to the U.S. Sentencing Commission’s empirical staff’s criticisms of their recent article, which found, contrary to the Commission’s prior work, no evidence that racial disparity in sentences increased in response to United States v. Booker. As Starr and Rehavi suggest, their differences with the Commission perhaps relate to differing objectives. The Commission staff’s reply expresses a lack of interest in identifying Booker’s causal effects; in contrast, that is Starr and Rehavi’s central objective. In addition, Starr and Rehavi’s approach also accounts for disparities arising ...


Mandatory Sentencing And Racial Disparity, Assessing The Role Of Prosecutors And The Effects Of Booker, Sonja B. Starr, M. Marit Rehavi Jan 2013

Mandatory Sentencing And Racial Disparity, Assessing The Role Of Prosecutors And The Effects Of Booker, Sonja B. Starr, M. Marit Rehavi

Articles

This Article presents new empirical evidence concerning the effects of United States v. Booker, which loosened the formerly mandatory U.S. Sentencing Guidelines, on racial disparities in federal criminal cases. Two serious limitations pervade existing empirical literature on sentencing disparities. First, studies focus on sentencing in isolation, controlling for the “presumptive sentence” or similar measures that themselves result from discretionary charging, plea-bargaining, and fact-finding processes. Any disparities in these earlier processes are excluded from the resulting sentence-disparity estimates. Our research has shown that this exclusion matters: pre-sentencing decision-making can have substantial sentence-disparity consequences. Second, existing studies have used loose causal ...


Did Booker Increase Sentencing Disparity? Why The Evidence Is Unpersuasive, Sonja B. Starr Jan 2013

Did Booker Increase Sentencing Disparity? Why The Evidence Is Unpersuasive, Sonja B. Starr

Articles

The Sentencing Commission’s recent report on the effects of United States v.Booker makes a number of very worri- some claims.The most alarming is that the gap in sen- tences between otherwise similar Black and White men has nearly quadrupled: from 4.5 percent before Booker, to 15 percent after it, to 19.5 percent after United States v. Kimbrough and United States v.Gall. 1 The Commission further claims that interjudge disparity has increased in two-thirds of the federal districts, and that interdistrict variation has also increased.2 If its findings were accurate, and if these changes ...


Democrats At Doj: Why Partisan Use Of The Voting Rights Act Might Not Be So Bad After All, Ellen D. Katz Jan 2012

Democrats At Doj: Why Partisan Use Of The Voting Rights Act Might Not Be So Bad After All, Ellen D. Katz

Articles

In notable ways, the ongoing dispute over redistricting in Texas offers a mirror image to one of the major redistricting battles of the last decade, only with Democratic and Republican roles reversed. In both Texas v. United States and Georgia v. Ashcroft, a state attorney general (AG) decided he would not ask the United States Department of Justice (DOJ) to approve new redistricting plans enacted in his state. In both cases, the state AGs were well aware that the Voting Rights Act (VRA) required them to obtain federal approval, known as preclearance, before changing any aspect of their state's ...


On Overreaching, Or Why Rick Perry May Save The Voting Rights Act But Destroy Affirmative Action, Ellen D. Katz Jan 2012

On Overreaching, Or Why Rick Perry May Save The Voting Rights Act But Destroy Affirmative Action, Ellen D. Katz

Articles

The State of Texas is presently staking out two positions that are not typically pursued by a single litigant. On the one hand, Texas is seeking the invalidation of the Voting Rights Act, and, on the other, the State is now defending the validity of the expansive race-based affirmative action policy it uses at its flagship university. This Essay presses the claim that Texas has increased the chance it will lose in bothTexas v. Holder andFisher v. University of Texas because it has opted to stake out markedly extreme positions in each. I argue that Texas would be more likely ...


L3cs: An Innovative Choice For Urban Entrepreneurs And Urban Revitalization, Dana Thompson Jan 2012

L3cs: An Innovative Choice For Urban Entrepreneurs And Urban Revitalization, Dana Thompson

Articles

Social enterprises offer fresh ways of addressing seemingly intractable social problems, such as high levels of unemployment and poverty in economically distressed urban areas in the United States. Indeed, although social enterprises have deep and longstanding roots, the recent iteration of the social enterprise movement is gaining momentum in the United States and globally. Though there is not a singularly accepted legal definition of social enterprises, they are popularly known as businesses that use forprofit business practices, principles, and discipline to accomplish socially beneficial goals. Social entrepreneurs, those who operate social enterprises, eschew a traditional notion of charity, which primarily ...


Ask And What Shall Ye Receive? A Guide For Using And Interpreting What Jurors Tell Us, Barbara O'Brien, Samuel R. Sommers, Phoebe C. Ellsworth Jan 2011

Ask And What Shall Ye Receive? A Guide For Using And Interpreting What Jurors Tell Us, Barbara O'Brien, Samuel R. Sommers, Phoebe C. Ellsworth

Articles

We review the extensive body of studies relying on jurors' self-reports in interviews or questionnaires, with a focus on potential threats to validity for researchers seeking to answer particularly provocative questions such as the influence of race in jury decision-making. We then offer a more focused case study comparison of interview and questionnaire data with behavioral data in the domain of race and juror decision-making. Our review suggests that the utility of data obtained from juror interviews and questionnaire responses varies considerably depending on the question under investigation. We close with an evaluation of the types of empirical questions most ...


Slavery And The Law In Atlantic Perspective: Jurisdiction, Jurisprudence, And Justice, Rebecca J. Scott Jan 2011

Slavery And The Law In Atlantic Perspective: Jurisdiction, Jurisprudence, And Justice, Rebecca J. Scott

Articles

The four articles in this special issue experiment with an innovative set of questions and a variety of methods in order to push the analysis of slavery and the law into new territory. Their scope is broadly Atlantic, encompassing Suriname and Saint-Domingue/Haiti, New York and New Orleans, port cities and coffee plantations. Each essay deals with named individuals in complex circumstances, conveying their predicaments as fine-grained microhistories rather than as shocking anecdotes. Each author, moreover, demonstrates that the moments when law engaged slavery not only reflected but also influenced larger dynamics of sovereignty and jurisprudence.


Paper Thin: Freedom And Re-Enslavement In The Diaspora Of The Haitian Revolution, Rebecca J. Scott Jan 2011

Paper Thin: Freedom And Re-Enslavement In The Diaspora Of The Haitian Revolution, Rebecca J. Scott

Articles

In the summer of 1809 a flotilla of boats arrived in New Orleans carrying more than 9,000 Saint-Domingue refugees recently expelled from the Spanish colony of Cuba. These migrants nearly doubled the population of New Orleans, renewing its Francophone character and populating the neighborhoods of the Vieux Carre and Faubourg Marigny. At the heart of the story of their disembarkation, however, is a legal puzzle. Historians generally tell us that the arriving refugees numbered 2,731 whites, 3,102 free people of color, and 3,226 slaves. But slavery had been abolished in Saint-Domingue by decree in 1793, and ...


The Future Of Disparate Impact, Richard A. Primus Jan 2010

The Future Of Disparate Impact, Richard A. Primus

Articles

The Supreme Court's decision in Ricci v. DeStefano foregrounded the question of whether Title VIl's disparate impact standard conflicts with equal protection. This Article shows that there are three ways to read Ricci, one of which is likely fatal to disparate impact doctrine but the other two of which are not.


'Race Salience' In Juror Decision-Making: Misconceptions, Clarifications, And Unanswered Questions, Samuel R. Sommers, Phoebe C. Ellsworth Jan 2009

'Race Salience' In Juror Decision-Making: Misconceptions, Clarifications, And Unanswered Questions, Samuel R. Sommers, Phoebe C. Ellsworth

Articles

In two frequently cited articles, Sommers and Ellsworth (2000, 2001) concluded that the influence of a defendant’s race on White mock jurors is more pronounced in interracial trials in which race remains a silent background issue than in trials involving racially charged incidents. Referring to this variable more generally as "race salience," we predicted that any aspect of a trial that leads White mock jurors to be concerned about racial bias should render the race of a defendant less influential. Though subsequent researchers have further explored this idea of "race salience," they have manipulated it in the same way ...