Thursday, June 30, 2016
Scholarship: Gerber On Justice Thomas And Fisher; Gomez-Velez On Philanthrocapitalism And Education Reform
Clarence Thomas, Fisher v. University of Texas, and the Future of Affirmative Action in Higher Education
Scott D. Gerber (Ohio Northern Univ.) examines Justice Thomas' Fisher I opinion in an recent article (50 Rich. L.R. 4, (2016)). From the abstract posted on ssrn.com: This article originated as a paper for an affirmative action symposium at the University of Chicago Law School sponsored by the Midwest Black Law Students Association. The article places Justice Thomas’s concurring opinion in Fisher v. University of Texas (“Fisher I”) in the larger context of his voluminous writings on race in general and affirmative action in particular. The article also discusses the commentary on Justice Thomas’s Fisher I opinion because the reaction to what he writes, especially on matters of race, is almost as important as the opinions themselves. The article concludes with some brief comments on Schuette v. Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action, a 2014 case about the constitutionality of a 2006 amendment to the Michigan state constitution banning racial preferences in Michigan, and on Fisher v. University of Texas (“Fisher II”), which the Court will be deciding by the end of June 2016. Justice Scalia’s recent death figures prominently in the concluding section.
Common Core State Standards and Philanthrocapitalism: Can Public Law Norms Manage Private Wealth’s Influence on Public Education Policymaking?
Natalie Gomez-Velez (CUNY) examines "the phenomenon of philanthrocapitalism in current education reform, with a focus on the Common Core State Learning Standards initiative" in a forthcoming article in the Michigan State Law Review, posted on ssrn.com. From the abstract: Part I describes the role that a small group of philanthropists played in setting and catalyzing the Standards development and implementation. This description includes private philanthropists’ interactions with federal, state, and local government actors and other stakeholders. It also examines their work in the political process and the public discourse. Part II then considers the Common Core initiative over the last five years, including the role of philanthrocapitalists, nonprofits, and the state and federal governments, and the recent public backlash against and reconsiderations of the Standards. Part III considers the proper scope and limits of private philanthropists’ role in public education policymaking from the perspective of public law norms, governance, and policymaking. Drawing upon structural governance models designed to support robust public engagement in education policymaking, as well as those designed to prevent agency capture, the Article closes by considering methods for placing appropriate boundaries on the influence of philanthrocapitalists. At the same time, it acknowledges the difficulty of imposing meaningful limits in a political environment dominated by the influence of private wealth.