« March 2009 | Main | May 2009 »

April 30, 2009

Poverty Conference at Harvard Law this weekend

Sorry for the late notice, I just came across this!

The Charles Hamilton Houston Institute and the Advanced Leadership Initiative, both at Harvard, are sponsoring a workshop on "Poverty, Justice, and Jobs," today through May 2nd.  The agenda includes an impressive group of people, many from Harvard but also a range of social entrepreneurs. 

-E.R. [email protected]

April 30, 2009 in Conferences and Calls for Papers | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

April 27, 2009

Ray Brescia on The Community Reinvestment Act and The Financial Crisis

Ray Brescia has posted "Part of the Disease or Part of the Cure: The Financial Crisis and the Community Reinvestment Act," 60 S. Car. L. Rev. 617 (2009) to SSRN.  The abstract is below:

Some commentators charge that the federal Community Reinvestment Act of 1977 (CRA) spurred the mortgage crisis and the financial fallout that has followed. Born out of the Civil Rights Movement, Congress adopted the CRA at a time when many low- and moderate-income communities, often communities of color, were denied basic banking services such as home lending and small business investment. Advocates argued that when the federal government guaranteed bank deposits through federal deposit insurance, it created a social compact that served as a justification for expecting that institutions accepting such insurance should have to meet the needs of the communities making those deposits. Federal deposit insurance made bank customers confident in their bank’s holdings, which in turn made the business of banking -lending - possible and became a justification for the adoption of the CRA.

In the thirty years since the CRA’s adoption, the banking industry has been transformed. Banks are global in their reach and their outlook. Banks, in all of their forms, are no longer brick-and-mortar institutions on Main Street that take deposits from the grocer and lend to the baker. The CRA, which Congress designed to ensure that banks would meet the credit needs of the low- and moderate-income communities from which those banks take their deposits proved a weak bulwark against the subprime mortgage crisis; unsafe and unsound lending practices carried out by mortgage companies (i.e., entities not covered by the CRA because they are not depository institutions) have decimated the same communities that the CRA was supposed to protect.
The argument that the CRA is to blame for the financial crisis is hard to reconcile under any reading of the statute’s terms and after any assessment of the CRA’s true reach. As this article explains, the CRA was not too strong, but rather too weak. Designed to fight the last war, the CRA became the financial equivalent of the Maginot Line: easily circumvented, lightly defended, and quickly overrun.

An appreciation for the true causes of the financial crisis, together with the fact that the federal government has expended billions to bail out the financial industry, offer strong justifications for expanding the reach of the CRA to cover all financial institutions, not just those that take deposits. This Article begins with a brief overview of the subprime mortgage crisis and its impacts. Following this overview, it outlines the legislative history and structure of the CRA as well as the enforcement mechanisms Congress adopted to carry out the CRA’s core purpose. Next is an assessment of whether the manner in which the Act was enforced may have contributed to the subprime mortgage crisis followed by an examination of the failure of the courts to serve as a check on weak regulatory enforcement of the CRA. It concludes with the development of a series of principles to inform efforts to modernize the CRA to bring it in line with the nature of banking in the twenty-first century. While such CRA modernization might not correct the worst abuses of the subprime mortgage market from the past, it might help to avoid similar crises in the future.

-Considering how common these CRA accusations are in the press, definitely a valuable contribution.  E.R. [email protected]

April 27, 2009 in Books/Articles/Reports of Interest | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Poverty/Wealth Krugman Op-Ed on Wall Street salaries

Another Op-Ed of note: Paul Krugman, "Money for Nothing," New York Times, Apr. 26, 2009.

- Hopefully anger at the wealthy will become something more; a generalized recognition of the role of structure (and not simply or even primarily merit) in determining economic place.  E.R. [email protected]

April 27, 2009 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Reminder of upcoming deadlines! Poverty Law Section AALS & LatCrit

Though I have already posted info, this is a final reminder that deadlines are fast approaching for submissions for both the AALS Poverty Law Section's panel (due May 1) and LatCrit 2009 (due Today, Apr. 27).  The Poverty Section info can be found below and the LatCrit info can be found here.


The New Anti-Poverty Advocacy: Constructs, Strategies, and Tactics

AALS Section on Poverty Law

AALS Annual Meeting Program, January 2010

New Orleans, Louisiana*


*Statements of Interest Due May 1, 2009*


The recent pronounced shifts in American politics and economics

intensify the need for sustained reflection, as we consider how to shape

legal activism, scholarship, and policy-making against poverty. The

re-emergence of the Democratic Party in national politics and the

renewed support for government action simultaneously create openings for

activists and advocates and invite caution. Similarly, the failures of

the American banking system, massive government deficits, and the

continued restructuring and globalization of the U.S. economy cause

great misery for those at the bottom and present opportunities to press

for fundamental and progressive reform. It remains unclear whether this

period is one in which power will be redistributed downward and outward

to poor and working people or whether the defining values and

hierarchies of the political economy in the last thirty years -

variously labeled neo-liberalism, neo-conservatism, or free market

fundamentalism - will be reinforced.


The Section on Poverty Law seeks participants who might approach this

complex and contradictory moment from differing vantage points and using

diverse methods of analysis but with a shared sense of purpose and

opportunity. Proposals may focus on new developments in the areas of

access to justice, legal advocacy, and law reform and policy-making.

Proposals may integrate intersecting legal frames, such as corporate

law, criminal law, critical race theory, environmental law, family law,

feminist theory, immigrants' rights, international human rights, and

labor and employment law. The Section will give special attention to

proposals that include consideration of the post-Katrina experience in

New Orleans. Above all, we seek presenters excited to share useful and

provocative ideas that can be integrated into our teaching, practice,

and scholarship.


The statements of interest should be no longer than 1 page. We will

remove all references to the name and affiliation of those who submit

proposals prior to review. Presenters will be selected on or before July

31, 2009. The Section will seek a venue for publication of papers

stemming from the panel on the basis of the interest of selected



Please send statements of interest as an email attachment to Bernice

Cohn at [email protected] <mailto:[email protected]>.

Questions should be directed to Sameer Ashar, Chair of the Poverty Law

Section, at 718-340-4180 or [email protected]

<mailto:[email protected]>.

-E.R. [email protected]

April 27, 2009 in Conferences and Calls for Papers | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

April 24, 2009

Deliberate Shrinkage of Flint

Flint, Michigan, and its long-standing efforts to deal with decline is once again (see Roger & Me) in the news: David Streitfeld, "An Effort to Save Flint, Mich, by Shrinking It," New York Times, Apr. 21, 2009.  The plan - demolishing neighborhoods that are no longer viable and that have too limited a population - is somewhat similar to ideas floated just after Hurricane Katrina.   The story also has a linked audio segment.

-E.R. [email protected]

April 24, 2009 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

April 21, 2009

Interactive Map on Rising Unemployment

The Center for American Progress has put together an interactive state-by-state map of the rise in unemployment rates and on job losses.  The timeline on the page works well. 

April 21, 2009 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

New York Times Op-Ed on Poor Children

Bob Herbert, "Children in Peril," New York Times, Apr. 20, 2009. 

April 21, 2009 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

April 19, 2009

Buffalo Law Review's ClassCrits Issue UPDATE

The most recent Buffalo Law Review issue (vol. 56, no. 4) focuses on class related issues, both from a theory angle and from a case-based approach.  UPDATE: The articles are available here!

-E.R. [email protected]  

April 19, 2009 in Books/Articles/Reports of Interest | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

April 18, 2009

Richard Posner on Executive Compensation

A new article of interest:

-E.R. [email protected]

April 18, 2009 in Books/Articles/Reports of Interest | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

April 17, 2009

Conference: Third Annual Indian Law Clinical Conference on Communities of Color, Economic Justice and Poverty Law

From Christine Zuni Cruz:

We invite everyone to join us at our 3rd Annual Indian Law Clinical Conference.  This year we will be focusing on Poverty and Economic Justice issues and lawyering for  Indigenous Peoples and other Communities. 

Interconnections of Law and Poverty and Impacts on Indigenous Peoples and Other Communities of Color
Sunday, June 7 to Tuesday, June 9, 2009; Isleta Resort & Casino

The Goal of this symposium is to provide a forum where Indian law clinicians, and Indian legal scholars can gather together with community lawyers and poverty lawyers, working with indigenous peoples or other distinct populations, to present and discuss the interconnections of law and poverty for indigenous peoples at the international, National, regional, and Tribal levels – Some questions we have:

From the War on Poverty to Globalization and Affluenza to the crash of ’08-09:

The Symposium is designed to promote solidarity and sharing among Clinics and clinicians working with Native Americans, minority populations, and those working in the areas of poverty law and community lawyering. It is our hope that through sharing we will strengthen existing programs and help emerging programs to succeed; find new solutions to old problems and support creativity in clinics and legal practice.

The Symposium is organized by the University of New Mexico Southwest Indian Law Clinic, Washburn University School of Law, University of Denver Sturm College of Law and Arizona State University Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law in cooperation with the University of New Mexico Tribal law Journal.

The Download 2009 Conf Description Indian Clinics and the Download 2009 Conf Registration Form.

-E.R. [email protected]

April 17, 2009 in Conferences and Calls for Papers | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Bill Quigley to be the new Legal Director of The Center for Constitutional Rights

Bill Quigley is changing jobs from teaching at Loyola University New Orleans School of Law, where he ran the Gillis Long Poverty Law Center, to being the new Legal Director of The Center for Constitutional Rights.  The CCR press release is here.  Congratulations! 

-E.R. [email protected]

April 17, 2009 in Legal Academy Info | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

April 16, 2009

Downloadable Video of (older) Symposium on The Low-Wage Worker

Videos of the panels 2007 Minnesota Law Review Symposium on The Low-Wage Worker: Legal Rights--Legal Realities from Nov. 7, 2007 are available on their website.  The panels focus on minimum wage legislation, organizing strategies, immigrant workers, and big box stores. 

-E.R. [email protected]

April 16, 2009 in Links and Web Resources | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

April 15, 2009

Symposium Publication: The School Desegregation Cases and the Uncertain Future of Racial Equality

The Ohio State Law Journal has published Symposium: The School Desegregation Cases and the Uncertain Future of Racial Equality. The articles are:

Ruth Colker, Reflections on Race: The Limits of Formal Equality, 69 Ohio St. L.J. 1089 (2009).

Angela N. Ancheta, Science and Constitutional Fact Finding in Equal Protection Analysis, 69 Ohio St. L.J. 1115 (2009).

Roslyn Arlin Mickelson, Twenty-First Century Social Science on School Racial Diversity and Educational Outcomes, 69 Ohio St. L.J. 1173 (2009).

Kevin Brown and Jeannine Bell, Demise of the Talented Tenth: Affirmative Action and the Increasing Underrepresentation of Ascendant Blacks at Selective Higher Educational Institutions, 69 Ohio St. L.J. 1229 (2009).

Barbara J. Flagg, In Defense of Race Proportionality, 69 Ohio St. L.J. 1285 (2009).

Rachel F. Moran, Rethinking Race, Equality and Liberty: The Unfulfilled Promise of Parents Involved, 69 Ohio St. L.J. 1321 (2009).

-E.R. [email protected]

April 15, 2009 in Books/Articles/Reports of Interest | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

April 14, 2009

Unions Come Together on Immigration

New York Times article of interest: Julia Preston & Steven Greenhouse, "Immigration Accord by Labor Boosts Obama Effort," New York Times, Apr. 13, 2009. 

April 14, 2009 in News Coverage of Poverty | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

April 12, 2009

Wash. Post on Poverty, Stress, and Brain Impairment in Children

A recent newspaper article of interest: Rob Stein, "Research Links Poor Kids' Stress, Brain Impairment," Washington Post, Apr. 6, 2009.  The second paragraph of the article: "Now, research is providing what could be crucial clues to explain how childhood poverty translates into dimmer chances of success: Chronic stress from growing up poor appears to have a direct impact on the brain, leaving children with impairment in at least one key area -- working memory."

-Thanks to Wilson Castellanos for the heads up!  E.R. [email protected] 

April 12, 2009 in News Coverage of Poverty | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Article of Interest: A. Mechele Dickerson on the Myth of Home Ownership

The Indian Law Journal just published: A. Mechele Dickerson, The Myth of Home Ownership and Why Home Ownership Is Not Always a Good Thing, 84 Ind. L.J. 189 (2009).  The abstract is below:

Home ownership is viewed as key to achieving the “American Dream” and is now an essential element of the American cultural norm of what it means to be a success. The metastasizing mortgage crisis suggests, however, that our home ownership policies are out-dated, misguided, and largely ignore the actual market realities many potential homeowners now face. After briefly describing the current home ownership crisis, this Article argues that the United States should radically revise and restrict home ownership subsidies. Rather than encouraging universal home ownership, the Article argues that the government should replace existing home ownership subsidies with targeted subsidies that will help buyers make housing choices that are based on economics, not emotions.

-E.R. [email protected]

April 12, 2009 in Books/Articles/Reports of Interest | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

April 9, 2009

Jeffrey Sachs on Shape of U.S. International Aid

CSC_0114 Jeffrey Sachs just published an Op-Ed on improving Obama's international aid for agriculture through local participation in shaping the program.  Jeffrey Sachs, "Homegrown Aid," New York Times, Apr. 8, 2009. 

-E.R. [email protected]

April 9, 2009 in Global Poverty | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

April 7, 2009

Op-Ed on Sources of Popular Anger

The Los Angles Times has an op-ed of interest:

-E.R. [email protected] 

April 7, 2009 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Maine Law Review Call for Papers: Accessing Justice in Hard Times

The Maine Law Review plans to publish a symposium issue in the Spring of 2010 entitled Accessing Justice in Hard Times: Lessons from the Field, Looking to the Future. The purpose of this symposium is to gather together, in one place, the perspectives, experiences, and insights of Maine’s top legal scholars, jurists, and practitioners in order to explore the problems created or exacerbated by the state’s, and the nation’s, worsening economic climate. What is happening? Whom is it affecting? How do we begin to address the problems of increasing barriers to justice and provide solutions? The Law Review is committed firmly to the idea that this symposium issue will be relevant, practical, and useful to all segments of the legal population here in Maine and abroad. The Maine Law Review is in the process of soliciting submissions for this important symposium topic. The topic is construed broadly in order to provide an opportunity for a wide variety of viewpoints on a nearly limitless range of sub-topics. This symposium will not be a "traditional" law review publication, as such. The issue will present an interdisciplinary perspective on the subject and include theoretical, empirical, and practical pieces by authors with a variety of backgrounds.

We also are welcoming unsolicited submissions for the symposium for our consideration. The deadline for expressions of interest for submitting to this symposium is June 1, 2009. The deadline for submissions for this symposium is October 1, 2009. Please see the Submissions page for complete details on how to submit an article or email Tina H. Nadeau, Editor-In-Chief, at  [email protected] for more information.

April 7, 2009 in Conferences and Calls for Papers | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

April 3, 2009

Movie of Note: Crossing Over

The new movie, Crossing Over (trailer here), starring among others Harrison Ford, does a great job of showing the hardships involved in U.S. deportation policies, particularly as how they split apart often poor families.  It didn't get a good review from the Washington Post, probably with reason, but if you want to be depressed by watching movie about many forms of immigration hardship, perhaps check it out.


April 3, 2009 in Film | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Picturing the Recession - New York Times

The New York Times has a new webpage of photos submitted by readers related to the recession.  It is interesting in and of itself, but their selection of a photo I took of my dad, available here, gave me another reason to add a post about it.  =)


April 3, 2009 in News Coverage of Poverty | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack