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Michigan Journal of Race and Law

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Revising The Indian Plenary Power Doctrine, M. Henry Ishtani, Alexandra Fay Apr 2024

Revising The Indian Plenary Power Doctrine, M. Henry Ishtani, Alexandra Fay

Michigan Journal of Race and Law

The federal Indian law doctrine of Congressional plenary power is long overdue for an overhaul. Since its troubling nineteenth-century origins in Kagama v. United States (1886), plenary power has justified invasive Congressional interventions and undermined Tribal sovereignty. The doctrine's legal basis remains a constitutional conundrum. This Article considers the Court's recent engagement with plenary power in Haaland v. Brackeen (2023). It argues that the Brackeen opinions may signal judicial readiness to reevaluate the doctrine. The Article takes ahold of Justice Gorsuch's critical assessment and runs with it, ultimately proposing a method for cleaning up this destructive and constitutionally dubious line …


A Framework For Managing Disputes Over Intellectual Property Rights In Traditional Knowledge, Stephen R. Munzer Apr 2024

A Framework For Managing Disputes Over Intellectual Property Rights In Traditional Knowledge, Stephen R. Munzer

Michigan Journal of Race and Law

Major controversies in moral and political theory concern the rights, if any, Indigenous peoples should have over their traditional knowledge. Many scholars, including me, have tackled these controversies. This Article addresses a highly important practical issue: Can we come up with a solid framework for resolving disputes over actual or proposed intellectual property rights in traditional knowledge?

Yes, we can. The framework suggested here starts with a preliminary distinction between control rights and income rights. It then moves to four categories that help to understand disputes: nature of the traditional knowledge under dispute; dynamics between named parties to disputes; unnamed …


Abolition Economics, Jessica Wolpaw Reyes, René Reyes Apr 2024

Abolition Economics, Jessica Wolpaw Reyes, René Reyes

Michigan Journal of Race and Law

Over the past several decades, Law & Economics has established itself as one of the most well-known branches of interdisciplinary legal scholarship. The tools of L&E have been applied to a wide range of legal issues and have even been brought to bear on Critical Race Theory in an attempt to address some of CRT’s perceived shortcomings. This Article seeks to reverse this dynamic of influence by applying CRT and related critical perspectives to the field of economics. We call our approach Abolition Economics. By embracing the abolitionist ethos of “dismantle, change, and build,” we seek to break strict …


Reviving Indian Country: Expanding Alaska Native Villages’ Tribal Land Bases Through Fee-To-Trust Acquisitions, Alexis Studler Apr 2024

Reviving Indian Country: Expanding Alaska Native Villages’ Tribal Land Bases Through Fee-To-Trust Acquisitions, Alexis Studler

Michigan Journal of Race and Law

For the last fifty years, the possibility of fee-to-trust acquisitions in Alaska has been precarious at best. This is largely due to the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act of 1971 (ANCSA), which eschewed the traditional reservation system in favor of corporate land ownership and management. Despite its silence on trust acquisitions, ANCSA was and still is cited as the primary prohibition to trust acquisitions in Alaska. Essentially, ANCSA both reduced Indian Country in Alaska and prohibited any opportunities to create it, leaving Alaska Native Villages without the significant territorial jurisdiction afforded to Lower 48 tribes. However, recent policy changes from …


A Theory Of Racialized Judicial Decision-Making, Raquel Muñiz Sep 2023

A Theory Of Racialized Judicial Decision-Making, Raquel Muñiz

Michigan Journal of Race and Law

In this Article, I introduce a theory of racialized judicial decision-making as a framework to explain how judicial decision-making as a system contributes to creating and maintaining the racial hierarchy in the United States. Judicial decision-making, I argue, is itself a racialized systemic process in which judges transpose racially-bounded cognitive schemas as they make decisions. In the process, they assign legal burdens differentially across ethnoracial groups, to the disproportionate detriment of ethnoracial minorities. After presenting this argument, I turn to three mechanisms at play in racialized judicial decision-making: (1) whiteness as capital that increases epistemic advantages in the judicial process, …


Racism Pays: How Racial Exploitation Gets Innovation Off The Ground, Daria Roithmayr Apr 2023

Racism Pays: How Racial Exploitation Gets Innovation Off The Ground, Daria Roithmayr

Michigan Journal of Race and Law

Recent work on the history of capitalism documents the key role that racial exploitation played in the launch of the global cotton economy and the construction of the transcontinental railroad. But racial exploitation is not a thing of the past. Drawing on three case studies, this Paper argues that some of our most celebrated innovations in the digital economy have gotten off the ground by racially exploiting workers of color, paying them less than the marginal revenue product of their labor for their essential contributions. Innovators like Apple and Uber have been able to racially exploit workers of color because …


Teaching Slavery In Commercial Law, Carliss N. Chatman Apr 2023

Teaching Slavery In Commercial Law, Carliss N. Chatman

Michigan Journal of Race and Law

Public status shapes private ordering. Personhood status, conferred or acknowledged by the state, determines whether one is a party to or the object of a contract. For much of our nation’s history, the law deemed all persons of African descent to have a limited status, if given personhood at all. The property and partial personhood status of African-Americans, combined with standards developed to facilitate the growth of the international commodities market for products including cotton, contributed to the current beliefs of business investors and even how communities of color are still governed and supported. The impact of that shift in …


Carceral Socialization As Voter Suppression, Danieli Evans Apr 2023

Carceral Socialization As Voter Suppression, Danieli Evans

Michigan Journal of Race and Law

In an era of mass incarceration, many people are socialized through interactions with the carceral state. These interactions are powerful learning experiences, and by design, they are contrary to democratic citizenship. Citizenship is about belonging to a community of equals, being entitled to mutual respect and concern. Criminal punishment deliberately harms, subordinates, and stigmatizes. Encounters with the carceral system are powerful experiences of anti-democratic socialization, and they impact peoples’ sense of citizenship and trust in government. Accordingly, a large body of social science research shows that eligible voters who have carceral contact are significantly less likely to vote or to …


Bankruptcy In Black And White: The Effect Of Race And Bankruptcy Code Exemptions On Wealth, Matthew Bruckner, Raphaël Charron-Chénier, Jevay Grooms Jan 2023

Bankruptcy In Black And White: The Effect Of Race And Bankruptcy Code Exemptions On Wealth, Matthew Bruckner, Raphaël Charron-Chénier, Jevay Grooms

Michigan Journal of Race and Law

Bankruptcy law in the United States is race-neutral on its face but, in practice, race matters in bankruptcy outcomes. Our original research provides an empirical look at how the facially neutral laws that allow debtors to retain assets in bankruptcy cases result in disparate outcomes for Black and white debtors. Racial differences in asset retention in bankruptcy cases play a role in perpetuating wealth inequality between Black and white debtors.

Existing bankruptcy data lacks individual-level characteristics such as race, which inhibits researchers’ ability to adequately assess biases or unintended consequences of laws and policies on subsets of the population. Thus, …


Unraveling The International Law Of Colonialism: Lessons From Australia And The United States, Robert J. Miller, Harry Hobbs Jan 2023

Unraveling The International Law Of Colonialism: Lessons From Australia And The United States, Robert J. Miller, Harry Hobbs

Michigan Journal of Race and Law

In the 1823 decision of Johnson v. M’Intosh, Chief Justice John Marshall formulated the international law of colonialism. Known as the Doctrine of Discovery, Marshall’s opinion drew on the practices of European nations during the Age of Exploration to legitimize European acquisition of territory owned and occupied by Indigenous peoples. Two centuries later, Johnson—and the international law of colonialism—remains good law throughout the world. In this Article we examine how the Doctrine of Discovery was adapted and applied in Australia and the United States. As Indigenous peoples continue to press for a re-examination of their relationships with governments, …


Toward Self-Determination In The U.S. Territories: The Restorative Justice Implications Of Rejecting The Insular Cases, Sarah M. Kelly Jan 2023

Toward Self-Determination In The U.S. Territories: The Restorative Justice Implications Of Rejecting The Insular Cases, Sarah M. Kelly

Michigan Journal of Race and Law

Conservatives and liberals alike are increasingly calling for condemnation of the Insular Cases—a series of U.S. Supreme Court cases from the early 1900s, in which the Court developed the doctrine of territorial incorporation to license the United States’ indefinite holding of overseas colonial possessions. In March 2021, members of the U.S. House of Representatives introduced House Resolution 279, which declares that the Insular Cases should be rejected as having no place in U.S. constitutional law. Moreover, in 2022, Justice Gorsuch called for the Supreme Court to squarely overrule the cases.

For many, rejecting the Insular Cases is a long-overdue reckoning …


Africana Legal Studies: A New Theoretical Approach To Law & Protocol, Angi Porter Dec 2022

Africana Legal Studies: A New Theoretical Approach To Law & Protocol, Angi Porter

Michigan Journal of Race and Law

“African people have produced the same general types of institutions for understanding and ordering their worlds as every other group of human beings. Though this should be obvious, the fact that we must go to great lengths to recognize and then demonstrate it speaks to the potent and invisible effect of the enslavement and colonization of African people over the last 500 years.” – Greg Carr


Carceral Intent, Danielle C. Jefferis Dec 2022

Carceral Intent, Danielle C. Jefferis

Michigan Journal of Race and Law

For decades, scholars across disciplines have examined the stark injustice of American carceralism. Among that body of work are analyses of the various intent requirements embedded in the constitutional doctrine that governs the state’s power to incarcerate. These intent requirements include the “deliberate indifference” standard of the Eighth Amendment, which regulates prison conditions, and the “punitive intent” standard of due process jurisprudence, which regulates the scope of confinement.

This Article coins the term “carceral intent” to refer collectively to those legal intent requirements and examines critically the role of carceral intent in shaping and maintaining the deep-rooted structural racism and …


Abusing Discretion: The Battle For Childhood In Schools, Hannah Dodson Dec 2022

Abusing Discretion: The Battle For Childhood In Schools, Hannah Dodson

Michigan Journal of Race and Law

For too many children the schoolhouse doors become a point of entry into the criminal justice system. Children of color are the most likely to suffer from this phenomenon. The presence of policing in schools is a key contributor to this “school-to-prison pipeline.” This Note argues that broad, discretionary mandates for school resource officers (SROs) promote biased law enforcement that impacts Black girls in different and specific ways. I contend that SRO mandates can be effectively limited by strategically bolstering community organizing efforts with impact litigation.


Keeping Counsel: Challenging Immigration Detention Transfers As A Violation Of The Right To Retained Counsel, Natasha Phillips Dec 2022

Keeping Counsel: Challenging Immigration Detention Transfers As A Violation Of The Right To Retained Counsel, Natasha Phillips

Michigan Journal of Race and Law

In 2019 U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (“ICE”) incarcerated nearly 500,000 individuals. More than half of the individuals detained by ICE were transferred between detention facilities, and roughly thirty percent of those transferred were moved between federal circuit court jurisdictions. Detention transfers are isolating, bewildering, and scary for the detained noncitizen and their family. They can devastate the noncitizen’s legal defense by destroying an existing attorney-client relationship or the noncitizen’s ability to obtain representation. Transfers also obstruct the noncitizen’s ability to gather evidence and may prejudicially change governing case law. This Note describes the legal framework for transfers and their …


The Ban And Its Enduring Bandwidth, Khaled Ali Beydoun Sep 2021

The Ban And Its Enduring Bandwidth, Khaled Ali Beydoun

Michigan Journal of Race and Law

This Essay is a contribution the Michigan Journal of Race & Law’s special issue marking the 20th anniversary of September 11, 2001 and the ensuing War on Terror. It reflects on Executive Order 13769, widely known as the “Muslim Ban,” years after it was signed into law, as an extra-legal catalyst of state-sponsored and private Islamophobia that unfolded outside of the United States.


The Enemy Is The Knife: Native Americans, Medical Genocide, And The Prohibition Of Nonconsensual Sterilizations, Sophia Shepherd Sep 2021

The Enemy Is The Knife: Native Americans, Medical Genocide, And The Prohibition Of Nonconsensual Sterilizations, Sophia Shepherd

Michigan Journal of Race and Law

This Article describes the legal history of how, twenty years after the sterilizations began, the U.S. Department of Health, Education, and Welfare, in 1978, finally created regulations that prohibited the sterilizations. It tells the heroic story of Connie Redbird Uri, a Native American physician and lawyer, who discovered the secret program of government sterilizations, and created a movement that pressured the government to codify provisions that ended the program. It discusses the shocking revelation by several Tribal Nations that doctors at the IHS hospitals had sterilized at least 25 percent of Native American women of childbearing age around the country. …


Law In The Shadows Of Confederate Monuments, Deborah R. Gerhardt Sep 2021

Law In The Shadows Of Confederate Monuments, Deborah R. Gerhardt

Michigan Journal of Race and Law

Hundreds of Confederate monuments stand across the United States. In recent years, leading historians have come forward to clarify that these statues were erected not just as memorials but to express white supremacist intimidation in times of racially oppressive conduct. As public support for antiracist action grows, many communities are inclined to remove public symbols that cause emotional harm, create constant security risks and dishonor the values of equality and unity. Finding a lawful path to removal is not always clear and easy. The political power brokers who choose whether monuments will stay or go often do not walk daily …


State Sponsored Radicalization, Sahar F. Aziz Sep 2021

State Sponsored Radicalization, Sahar F. Aziz

Michigan Journal of Race and Law

Where was the FBI in the months leading up to the violent siege on the U.S. Capitol in 2021? Among the many questions surrounding that historic day, this one reveals the extent to which double standards in law enforcement threaten our nation’s security. For weeks, Donald Trump’s far right-wing supporters had been publicly calling for and planning a protest in Washington, D.C. on January 6, the day Congress was to certify the 2021 presidential election results. Had they been following credible threats to domestic security, officials would have attempted to stop the Proud Boys and QAnon from breaching the Capitol …


American Informant, Ramzi Kassem Sep 2021

American Informant, Ramzi Kassem

Michigan Journal of Race and Law

Part of my childhood was spent in Baghdad, Iraq, during the rule of Saddam Hussein. At that time, the regime offered free and universal education and healthcare. Literacy rates in the country surpassed much of the Arabic-speaking world and, indeed, the Global South. As the celebrated Egyptian intellectual, Taha Hussein, famously put it: “Cairo writes; Beirut prints; and Baghdad reads.” Booksellers were everywhere in Baghdad. Its people read voraciously and passionately debated literature, poetry, and a range of other subjects.

But what struck me, even as a child, was the absence of sustained talk about politics in bookshops, markets, and …


A Religious Double Standard: Post-9/11 Challenges To Muslims’ Religious Land Usage, Asma T. Uddin Sep 2021

A Religious Double Standard: Post-9/11 Challenges To Muslims’ Religious Land Usage, Asma T. Uddin

Michigan Journal of Race and Law

Muslims in the United States face real limits on their religious freedom. Numerous influential individuals and organizations even posit that Islam is not a religion and that, therefore, Muslims do not have rights to religious freedom. The claim is that Islam is a political ideology that is intent on taking over the country and subverting Americans’ constitutional rights. This narrative has gained momentum since the attacks of September 11, 2001 and continues to be amplified and disseminated by a well-funded cadre of anti-Muslim agitators. One area where its effects can be seen clearly is in religious land use, where a …


9/11 Impacts On Muslims In Prison, Spearit Sep 2021

9/11 Impacts On Muslims In Prison, Spearit

Michigan Journal of Race and Law

It is no understatement to say that September 11, 2001, is the most important date in the history of American Islam. From this day forth, Muslims would become a target for social wrath and become vilified like at no other time in American history. In one fell swoop, Muslims became the most feared and hated religious group in the country. While analysis of the impacts on Muslims tends to focus on Muslims outside of prison, it is critical to recognize that Muslims in prison were no exception to the post- 9/11 hostilities directed at Muslims. They experienced similarly heightened levels …


Material Support Prosecutions And Their Inherent Selectivity, Wadie E. Said Sep 2021

Material Support Prosecutions And Their Inherent Selectivity, Wadie E. Said

Michigan Journal of Race and Law

The government’s maintenance of a list of designated foreign terrorist groups and criminalization of any meaningful interaction or transactions – whether peaceful or violent - with such groups are no longer novel concepts. Inherent in both listing these groups and prosecuting individuals for assisting them, even in trivial ways, is the government’s essentially unreviewable discretion to classify groups and proceed with any subsequent prosecutions. A summary review of the past quarter-century reveals the government’s predilection for pushing the boundaries of what it deems “material support” to terrorist groups, all the while making greater and greater use of a criminal statutory …


The World Of Private Terrorism Litigation, Maryam Jamshidi Sep 2021

The World Of Private Terrorism Litigation, Maryam Jamshidi

Michigan Journal of Race and Law

Since 9/11, private litigants have been important players in the “fight” against terrorism. Using several federal tort statutes, these plaintiffs have sued foreign states as well as other parties, like non-governmental charities, financial institutions, and social media companies, for terrorism-related activities. While these private suits are meant to address injuries suffered by plaintiffs or their loved ones, they often reinforce and reflect the U.S. government’s terrorism-related policies, including the racial and religious discrimination endemic to them. Indeed, much like the U.S. government’s criminal prosecutions for terrorism-related activities, private terrorism suits disproportionately implicate Muslim and/or Arab individuals and entities while reinforcing …


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 …


Thirteenth Amendment Litigation In The Immigration Detention Context, Jennifer Safstrom Feb 2021

Thirteenth Amendment Litigation In The Immigration Detention Context, Jennifer Safstrom

Michigan Journal of Race and Law

This Article analyzes how the Thirteenth Amendment has been used to prevent forced labor practices in immigration detention. The Article assesses the effectiveness of Thirteenth Amendment litigation by dissecting cases where detainees have challenged the legality of labor requirements under the Trafficking Victims Protection Act. Given the expansion in immigration detention, the increasing privatization of detention, and the significant human rights implications of this issue, the arguments advanced in this Article are not only currently relevant but have the potential to shape ongoing dialogue on this subject.


“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 …


Predicting Supreme Court Behavior In Indian Law Cases, Grant Christensen Feb 2021

Predicting Supreme Court Behavior In Indian Law Cases, Grant Christensen

Michigan Journal of Race and Law

This piece builds upon Matthew Fletcher’s call for additional empirical work in Indian law by creating a new dataset of Indian law opinions. The piece takes every Indian law case decided by the Supreme Court from the beginning of the Warren Court until the end of the 2019-2020 term. The scholarship first produces an Indian law scorecard that measures how often each Justice voted for the “pro- Indian” outcome. It then compares those results to the Justice’s political ideology to suggest that while there is a general trend that a more “liberal” Justice is more likely to favor the pro-Indian …


#Fortheculture: Generation Z And The Future Of Legal Education, Tiffany D. Atkins Feb 2021

#Fortheculture: Generation Z And The Future Of Legal Education, Tiffany D. Atkins

Michigan Journal of Race and Law

Generation Z, with a birth year between 1995 and 2010, is the most diverse generational cohort in U.S. history and is the largest segment of our population. Gen Zers hold progressive views on social issues and expect diversity and minority representation where they live, work, and learn. American law schools, however, are not known for their diversity, or for being inclusive environments representative of the world around us. This culture of exclusion has led to an unequal legal profession and academy, where less than 10 percent of the population is non-white. As Gen Zers bring their demands for inclusion, and …


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 …