CrimProf Blog

Editor: Kevin Cole
Univ. of San Diego School of Law

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Perlin on Mental Disability Law

Michael_Perlin_07 Michael L. Perlin (New York Law School) has posted 'They Keep it All Hid': The Ghettoization of Mental Disability Law and its Implications for Legal Education (St. Louis University Law Journal, Symposium Issue, Vol. 54, No. 3, 2010) on SSRN. Here is the abstract:

Mental disability law has been “ghettoized” in the same way that criminal procedure has been ghettoized. It is a ghettoization that in some ways is far more troubling than the criminal procedure ghettoization, since every all law schools offer courses in basic criminal procedure, and these courses are regularly well-subscribed. On the other hand, there are courses in “mental disability law” offered only at about half of all American law schools, and, at many schools, those courses are offered infrequently and only by adjuncts (who often have no legal training).

This ghettoization reflects a hard truth that has passed under the radar of most civil rights teachers and civil rights students. Mental disability law is simply not a topic taken seriously as a civil rights topic (or as a constitutional law topic or as a federal courts topic). And this failure of inclusion goes directly to the heart of the challenge of teaching mental disability law. It is hidden (nearly, totally hidden) from the traditional law school curriculum. It is not in the curriculum at many law schools. It is largely invisible to students and professors alike.

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