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.
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:
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@example.com
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. firstname.lastname@example.org
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.
*CALL FOR PROPOSALS
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,
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@example.com <mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org>.
Questions should be directed to Sameer Ashar, Chair of the Poverty Law
Section, at 718-340-4180 or email@example.com
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.
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.
New York Times Op-Ed on Poor Children
Bob Herbert, "Children in Peril," New York Times, Apr. 20, 2009.
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!
April 18, 2009
Richard Posner on Executive Compensation
A new article of interest:
- Richard A. Posner, Are American CEOs Overpaid, And, If So, What If Anything Should Be Done About It?, 58 Duke L.J. 1013 (2009).
April 17, 2009
Conference: Third Annual Indian Law Clinical Conference on Communities of Color, Economic Justice and Poverty Law
From Christine Zuni Cruz:
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:
- What does the economic crisis mean for social justice in indigenous communities and communities of color?
- What is the 2009 picture of “poverty” in Indian Communities?
- What does poverty for Indigenous Peoples in the 21st Century look like?
- What are the impacts of economic hard times for different areas of (Indian) law: criminal, family, civil rights, public benefits?
- What can Indian law and other clinics teach to be responsive, and how?
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.
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!
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.
April 15, 2009
Symposium Publication: The School Desegregation Cases and the Uncertain Future of Racial Equality
The Ohio State Law Journal has published -E.R. firstname.lastname@example.org
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 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@example.com
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:
April 9, 2009
Jeffrey Sachs on Shape of U.S. International Aid
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.
April 7, 2009
Op-Ed on Sources of Popular Anger
The Los Angles Times has an op-ed of interest:
- Tim Rutten, "Unemployment, and CEO pay, on the rise," Los Angeles Times, Apr. 4, 2009.
Maine Law Review Call for Papers: Accessing Justice in Hard Times
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.
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. =)