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April 25, 2008

Articles of Interest on Big Box Stores and Wages

I just came across an article of interest, though it is only available through Lexis or Westlaw: Christine Niemczyk, Comment: Boxing Out Big Box Retailers: The Legal and Social Impact of Big Box Living Wage Legislation, 40 J. Marshall L. Rev. 1339 (2007).  Another related but more dated article is David Neumark,
Junfu Zhang, and Stephen Ciccarella, The Effect of Wal-Mart on Local Labor Markets (Draft Oct. 2005). 

-E.R. erosser@wcl.american.edu

April 25, 2008 in Books/Articles/Reports of Interest | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

April 22, 2008

Congressional Research Services on Child Welfare Issues in the 110th Congress

For those who don't know... Congressional Research Service is the public think tank of the nation, providing reports to members of Congress on current political issues.  For more on CRS, click hereOpen CRS provides access to CRS reports that are in the public domain... Anyway, there is a new report of interest:

-E.R. erosser@wcl.american.edu

April 22, 2008 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Land Assembly Districts

For those interested in the relationship between vulnerable communities and state use of eminent domain, a new article perhaps is of interest:

Eminent domain for economic development is both attractive and appalling.
States need the power to condemn because so much land in America
is inefficiently fragmented. But public land assembly provokes hostility
because vulnerable communities get bulldozed. Courts offer no help. The
academic literature is a muddle. Is it possible to assemble land without
harming the poor and powerless? Yes. This Article proposes the creation
of Land Assembly Districts, or “LADs.” This new property form solves the
age-old tensions in eminent domain and shows, more generally, how careful
redesign of property rights can enhance both welfare and fairness. The
economic and moral intuition underlying LADs is simple: when the only
justification for assembly is over-fragmentation of land, neighbors should
be able to decide collectively whether their land will be assembled. Our legal
theory solution is equally simple: use property law to retrofit communities
with a condominium-like structure tailored to land assembly. Let’s try
giving those burdened by condemnation a way to share in its benefits and
to veto projects they decide are not worth their while.

NOTE: this article provides a great opportunity, particularly for jr. faculty, for individuals to comment on the article in the Harvard Law Review Forum, the Review's online companion.

UPDATE: Another article on topic that I just ran across is Amanda W. Goodin, Rejecting the Return to Blight in Post-Kelo State Legislation, 82 N.Y.U. L. Rev. 177 (2007).


Another article, slightly older, that takes on some of the same issues is  Ilya Somin, Is Post-Kelo Eminent Domain Reform Bad for the Poor?, 101 Nw. U. L. Rev. 1931 (2007). Abstract:

Since the Supreme Court decided Kelo v. City of New London in June 2005, some 35 states have enacted eminent domain reforms laws. In his recent Northwestern University Law Review Colloquy article, which I have been asked to comment on, Professor David Dana argues that most post-Kelo reform efforts are seriously flawed because they tend to forbid the condemnation of the property of the wealthy and the middle class for economic development, but allow the condemnation of land on which poor people live under the guise of alleviating blight. This, he claims, ensures that the reforms enacted in numerous states "privilege . . . the stability of middle-class households relative to the stability of poor households" and "express . . . the view that the interests and needs of poor households are relatively unimportant." I agree with Professor Dana that the problem of blight condemnations and its impact on the poor deserve greater attention, but take issue with his argument that post-Kelo reform efforts have systematically treated the poor worse than middle and upper class homeowners.

Most of the states that have enacted post-Kelo reform laws have either banned both blight and economic development takings or defined blight so broadly that virtually any property can be declared blighted and taken. Several others have enacted reforms that provide no real protection to any property owners because of other types of shortcomings. Only nine states are actually guilty of allowing only the condemnation of blighted areas, narrowly defined. Even these nine flawed reforms are probably better for the poor than no reform at all. Such a law might benefit many poor people who live in non-blighted areas and are potentially vulnerable to economic development takings. Survey data suggests that the poor themselves overwhelmingly oppose economic development condemnations, suggesting that they are not much concerned about the expressive harms that worry Professor Dana. Finally, the exclusion of blighted property from the ban on economic development condemnations in some states is not necessarily explained by indifference to or contempt for the interests of the poor. It could also be the result of other factors, such as voter ignorance about the actual effects of blight condemnations.

-E.R. erosser@wcl.american.edu

April 22, 2008 in Books/Articles/Reports of Interest | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

April 20, 2008

From the Editors of the Georgetown Journal on Poverty Law and Policy

Dear Professor or Practitioner,

On behalf of the Editorial Board, I would like to invite you to submit an article to be considered for publication in Volume 16 of the Georgetown Journal on Poverty Law & Policy (GJPLP).  The GJPLP is the nation's premier law journal on poverty and it publishes articles from distinguished law professors and practitioners in poverty-related disciplines. Highly-regarded and widely-distributed among attorneys, policy-makers, academics, students and public interest groups, the GJPLP plays a key role in forging the national debate on poverty issues by raising awareness, offering analysis, and crafting solutions.
For the 2008-2009 academic year, the GJPLP will continue its commitment to publishing high-quality articles related to poverty.

In addition, our third issue, 16.3, will correspond with a symposium on the intersection of juvenile justice and poverty, to be held in Spring 2009. Those interested in participating in this symposium should contact the Symposium Editor, Kate Rhudy, at kar79@law.georgetown.edu.

The GJPLP considers traditional law review articles, as well as case studies, case comments, and narrative submissions for publication.  Additionally, the GJPLP welcomes all methodologies and seeks innovative approaches to poverty law and policy.

Please share this information with colleagues, practitioners, students, or others who may be interested in publishing in the GJPLP.  The deadlines for article submission are as follows:

There are no deadlines for abstracts.  Please note that the GJPLP reserves the right to accept or reject any article, outright or conditionally.

For your reference, attached are the GJPLP's submission guidelines.  If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me directly by e-mail at


or by phone at 512.796.9195.  Additional information about the GJPLP, including titles and abstracts of past articles, can be found on our web site at  http://www.law.georgetown.edu/journals/poverty/

Thank you for your time and consideration.

April 20, 2008 in Conferences and Calls for Papers | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Judge Robert C. Coates on Homelessness and the Judiciary

The University of San Francisco Law Review recently published an article by Robert C. Coates, a San Diego Superior Court Judge, of interest.  Robert C. Coates, Ending Chronic Homelessness in America's Major Cities--The Justice Systems' Duty, 42 U. S.F. L. Rev. 427 (2007). 

-E.R. erosser@wcl.american.edu

April 20, 2008 in Books/Articles/Reports of Interest | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

April 18, 2008

Northeast People of Color Conference Call for Papers

This year's Northeast People of Color Conference will be held September 12-14, 2008 at Boston University School of Law, and there's still time to sign up either to present a work in progress or to comment on a work in progress.

These sessions provide the opportunity to present a scholarly work in progress and receive feedback, both from an assigned commentator and from the audience. This is an excellent way to develop and refine a scholarly project in a supportive environment.  Work in progress submissions from junior faculty and faculty of color are particularly welcome.  A project can address any subject matter and need not be
limited to the conference themes (this year: Education & the Economy: The Real Lives of People of Color).

Those interested in applying to present a project should submit a working title and brief (200 word) abstract by May 15, 2008.  If you are a professor willing to comment on a work in progress, please contact us with a list of appropriate subject matters.  All correspondence should be sent to either Professor Fabio Arcila, Jr., at farcila@tourolaw.edu or Professor Alafair Burke at lawasb@hofstra.edu.

-Thanks to Fabio Arcila for emailing about this opportunity.  E.R. erosser@wcl.american.edu

April 18, 2008 in Conferences and Calls for Papers | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Action on the state level to reduce poverty - CLASP report

The Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP), as well as the foundation-led initiative, Spotlight on Poverty and Opportunity, have a new report that focuses on important, and under-recognized efforts a dozen states have made to reduce poverty and lift more Americans into the economic mainstream.  The report is: Jodie Levin-Epstein & Kristen Michelle Gorzelany, Seizing the Moment: State governments and the New Commitment to Reduce Poverty in America (Apr. 2008).  The press release is here

-Thanks to Josh Nelson of The Hatcher Group for the heads up.  E.R. erosser@wcl.american.edu

April 18, 2008 in Books/Articles/Reports of Interest | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

April 17, 2008

Economic Growth and Subjective Well-Being (Happiness)

In a recent paper two UPenn scholars challenge the idea that above a level that meets basic needs relative income determines happiness much more than absolute income, a theory originally put forward by Richard Easterlin in 1974.  The paper is: Betsey Stevenson & Justin Wolfers, Economic Growth and Subjective Well-Being: Reassessing the Easterlin Paradox (Draft 4/16/2008).  The New York Times coverage, as well as their country by country / income map of happiness provides a good summary, though the paper itself includes many other charts of interest. 

-E.R. erosser@wcl.american.edu

April 17, 2008 in Books/Articles/Reports of Interest | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

April 16, 2008

Aboriginal Economic Development Summit at University of Toronto May 1, 2008

Aboriginal The University of Toronto Faculty of Law is hosting "A Summit on Aboriginal Economic Development: Developing Aboriginal Economies" on May 1, 2008.  The Summit features among many others Paul Martin (former Prime Minister of Canada) and Stephen Cornell (co-director of the Harvard Project on American Indian Economic Development).  The program is available here

-Thanks to Kerry Rittich for the heads up.  E.R. erosser@wcl.american.edu

April 16, 2008 in Conferences and Calls for Papers | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

April 15, 2008

Conference: Poverty alleviation & environmental protection Nov. 10-15, 2008 Mexico City

From the Legal Scholarship Blog

The Sixth Annual Colloquium of the IUCN Academy of Environmental Law will focus on Poverty Alleviation and Environmental Protection. It will be hosted by the Metropolitan Autonomous University–Azcapotzalco, Mexico City, Nov. 10-15, 2008. The call for papers deadline is June 30, 2008.

-E.R. erosser@wcl.american.edu

April 15, 2008 in Conferences and Calls for Papers | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Paper to check out on Absentee Landlords and Encouragement of Homeownership for Blighted Areas

Jorge Elorza has posted Absentee Landlords, Rent Control, and Healthy Gentrification: A Policy Proposal to De-Concentrate the Poor in Urban America , 17 Cornell J. L. & Pub. Pol'y 1 (2007), to SSRN.  The abstract is below: 

Empirical data overwhelmingly suggests that the presence of middle- and working-class homeowners is beneficial for inner-city communities. Yet, absentee landlords have a systematic financial advantage over resident landlords when it comes to purchasing homes in blighted neighborhoods. This advantage has disastrous effects for inner cities, as the communities with the greatest need for the stabilizing presence of middle- and working-class homeowners are the ones least likely to attract them. The lack of in-moving homeowners and the resulting increase in poverty cause declining neighborhoods to fall deeper into downward spirals.

In this Article, I propose a rent control plan designed to attract middle- and working- class homeowners to blighted neighborhoods, and I argue that many positive outcomes will result. By designing this plan, I hope to challenge the conventional wisdom that rent control has only one legitimate purpose, reducing tenants' rents, and call attention to the externalities caused by the absentee landlord industry. Second, I provide a legal and economic model for inner cities to deconcentrate poverty and to better integrate the poor into mainstream society. Third, I develop a model for healthy gentrification whereby vicious cycles of poverty are transformed into virtuous cycles of stability.

-E.R. erosser@wcl.american.edu


April 15, 2008 in Books/Articles/Reports of Interest | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

April 13, 2008

New York Times on Cellphones and Poverty

The New York Times has an interesting article focusing on human-centered design and cellphones/poverty worth checking out: Sara Corbett, "Can The Cellphone Help End Global Poverty?" (Apr. 13, 2008).

Another article perhaps worth reading is Christine Haughney & Eric Konigsberg, "Despite Tough Times, Ultrarich Keep Spending," NYTimes, Apr. 13, 2008. 

-E.R. erosser@wcl.american.edu

April 13, 2008 in News Coverage of Poverty | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

April 12, 2008

Hastings Race and Poverty Law Journal's 2008 Symposium: Confronting Hidden Borders: Immigration and Uniting Communities of Color

Thursday April 17, 2008 UC Hastings College of Law's Race & Poverty Law Journal hosts its 2008 Symposium: Confronting Hidden Borders: Immigration and Uniting Communities of Color.  It features Eva Paterson (President and Founder of the Equal Justice Society), Lucas Guttentag (ACLU Immigrant Rights Project Founder), Bill Hing (Immigrant Legal Resource Center Founder), and Jennifer Chacon (Professor UC Davis). 

-E.R. erosser@wcl.american.edu

April 12, 2008 in Conferences and Calls for Papers | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

TANF Work Requirements

An Op-Ed by Noah Zatz in today's (Apr. 12, 2008) Washington Post, "A War on Community Service," criticizes limitations on TANF eligible community service imposed recently by the Bush Administration.  Zatz looks critically at HHS' recently issued final regulations defining TANF work activities and otherwise implementing the Deficit Reduction Act of 2005.  It draws on research and ideas developed in his “Welfare to What?” and “What Welfare Requires from Work” articles.  If you haven't yet checked out those articles, do so... (they also make good material for Poverty class discussions).  =)

-E.R. erosser@wcl.american.edu


April 12, 2008 in News Coverage of Poverty | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

April 8, 2008

Conferences around the world perhaps of Interest

As you think about travel plans for the summer/fall, here are some conferences related to poverty taking place...

(1) The University of Glasgow is hosting "Critical Legal Strategies" (one of the major themes is "the Class Problematic in Legal Studies") on Sep. 5-7, 2008, with a call for papers deadline of May 31, 2008. 

(2) "Poverty Reduction and Social Protection Conference 2008" will take place in Bangkok, Thailand, June 19-21, 2008, with Abstracts due May 15, 2008. 

(3) The "Human Development and Capability Association Annual Conference" will take place Sep. 10-13, 2008 in New Delhi, India.  The proposal deadline has already passed. 

-E.R. erosser@wcl.american.edu

April 8, 2008 in Conferences and Calls for Papers | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

April 7, 2008

Clinton Proposes "Poverty Czar"

Hillary Clinton announced that as President she would create a "Poverty Czar."  The story is covered by a  N.Y. Times article, a Boston.com post, and the full speech can be found here from the Clinton website. 

-E.R. erosser@wcl.american.edu

April 7, 2008 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

April 3, 2008

Grading Members of Congress on their votes related to Poverty

Scorecard The Shriver Center has published a report that grades U.S. Representatives and Senators for their votes in 2007 connected to policies related to poverty.  The report is: 2007 Poverty Scorecard: Rating Members of Congress.  According to the press release, "Members of Congress from states with high rates of poverty are less likely to support anti-poverty measures than other members of Congress."  You can also listen to a discussion of the report featuring Sen. John Edwards. 

-E.R. erosser@wcl.american.edu

April 3, 2008 in Books/Articles/Reports of Interest | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack