Monday, March 20, 2023

Urgent Appeal and Call to Action Sent to U.N. Explaining how U.S. Anti-Abortion Legislation Violates International Law

A coalition of groups, including Human Rights Watch, Pregnancy Justice, the National Birth Equity Collaborative, Physicians for Human Rights, Amnesty International, and the Global Justice Center, have authored a letter to United Nations mandate holders. The letter issues an urgent appeal and call to action: 

By overturning the established constitutional protection for access to abortion and through the passage of state laws, the US is in violation of its obligations under international human rights law, codified in a number of human rights treaties to which it is a party or a signatory. These human rights obligations include, but are not limited to, the rights to: life; health; privacy; liberty and security of person; to be free from torture and other cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment; freedom of thought, conscience, and religion or belief; equality and non-discrimination; and to seek, receive, and impart information.

 

The signatories call on the UN mandate holders to take up their calls to action, which include communicating with the US regarding the human rights violations, requesting a visit to the US, convening a virtual stakeholder meeting with US civil society, calls for the US to comply with its obligations under international law, and calls for private companies to take a number of actions to protect reproductive rights.

The full 53-page appeal is available here. It outlines all of the ways that women's health and lives are threatened by the Dobbs decision. The letter is signed by dozens of organizations and individuals. It is a great, comprehensive resource for advocates. 

March 20, 2023 in Abortion, Healthcare, International, Pregnancy, Race, Reproductive Rights | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, March 13, 2023

Etienne C. Toussaint on "The Purpose of Legal Education"

Etienne C. Toussaint has posted forthcoming work on SSRN titled The Purpose of Legal Education. This article is to be published in Volume 111 of the California Law Review (2023). The abstract previews:  

 

When President Donald Trump launched an assault on diversity training, critical race theory, and The 1619 Project in September 2020 as “divisive, un-American propaganda,” many law students were presumably confused. After all, law school has historically been doctrinally neutral, racially homogenous, and socially hierarchical. In most core law school courses, colorblindness and objectivity trump critical legal discourse on issues of race, gender, or sexuality. Yet, such disorientation reflects a longstanding debate over the fundamental purpose of law school. As U.S. law schools develop antiracist curricula and expand their experiential learning programs to produce so-called practice-ready lawyers for the crises exposed by the COVID-19 pandemic, scholars continue to question whether and how, if at all, the purpose of law school converges with so

 

This Article argues that the anti-racist, democratic, and movement lawyering principles advocated by progressive legal scholars should not be viewed merely as aspirational ideals for social justice law courses. Rather, querying whether legal systems and political institutions further racism, economic oppression, or social injustice must be viewed as endemic to the fundamental purpose of legal education. In so doing, this Article makes three important contributions to the literature on legal education and philosophical legal ethics. First, it clarifies how two ideologies—functionalism and neoliberalism—have threatened to drift law school’s historic public purpose away from the democratic norms of public citizenship, inflicting law students, law faculty, and the legal academy with an existential identity crisis. Second, it explores historical mechanisms of institutional change within law schools that reveal diverse notions of law school’s purpose as historically contingent. Such perspectives are shaped by the behaviors, cultural attitudes, and ideological beliefs of law faculty operating within particular social, political, and economic contexts. Third, and finally, it demonstrates the urgency of moving beyond liberal legalism in legal education by integrating critical legal theories and movement law principles throughout the entire law school curriculum.

 

 

March 13, 2023 in Education, Law schools, Legal History, Race, Theory | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, February 28, 2023

Study Shows Hierarchy, Race and Gender Impact Scholarly Networks and Who is Helped on Their Legal Academic Path

Keerthana Nunna, W. Nicholson Price II & Jonathan Tietz, Hierarchy Race and Gender in Legal Scholarly Networks, 75 Stanford Law Review 71 (Feb. 2023)

A potent myth of legal academic scholarship is that it is mostly meritocratic and mostly solitary. Reality is more complicated. In this Article, we plumb the networks of knowledge co-production in legal academia by analyzing the star footnotes that appear at the beginning of most law review articles. Acknowledgments paint a rich picture of both the currency of scholarly credit and the relationships among scholars. Building on others’ prior work characterizing the potent impact of hierarchy, race, and gender in legal academia more generally, we examine the patterns of scholarly networks and probe the effects of those factors. The landscape we illustrate is depressingly unsurprising in basic contours but awash in details. Hierarchy, race, and gender all have substantial effects on who gets acknowledged and how, what networks of knowledge co-production get formed, and who is helped on their path through the legal academic world.

February 28, 2023 in Gender, Law schools, Race, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, February 13, 2023

Thalia González and Rebecca Epstein on "Critical Race Feminism, Health, and Restorative Practice in Schools: Centering the Experiences of Black and Latina Girls"

Thalia González and Rebecca Epstein have posted their article on SSRN: Critical Race Feminism, Health, and Restorative Practice in Schools: Centering the Experiences of Black and Latina Girls, 29 Michigan J. of Gender & Law (2022). The abstract provides: 

 

Restorative practices (RP) in K-12 schools in the United States have grown exponentially since the early 1990s. Developing against a backdrop of systemic racism, RP has become embedded in education practice and policy to counteract the harmful and persistent patterns of disparities in school discipline experienced by students of color. Within this legal, social, and political context, the empirical evidence that has been gathered on school-based restorative justice has framed and named RP as a behavioral intervention aimed at reducing discipline incidents—that is, an “alternative” to punitive and exclusionary practices. While this view of RP is central to dismantling discriminatory systems, we argue it reflects an unnecessarily limited understanding of its potential and has generated unintended consequences in the field of RP research. First, the reactive RP model of analysis focuses more exclusively on behavioral change, rather than systemic improvement, to address discipline disparities. Second, RP research has insufficiently examined the potential role of RP in achieving health justice. Third, RP research too rarely engages in intersectional analyses that critically examine gendered racism. This study is intended as a course correction. Building on the work of legal scholars, public health researchers, sociologists, restorative justice practitioners, and our own prior work, this original study is the first to examine non-disciplinary RP through a critical race feminist lens, and—just as importantly—a public health praxis. Our findings reveal that the interplay between RP and adolescent health, race, and gender can no longer be overlooked. Proactive non-disciplinary RP was found to promote supportive school environments that enhance five key protective health factors for Black and Latina girls. Additionally, results indicate that RP improved the mental health and wellbeing of Black and Latina girls, building fundamental resilience skills that can help overcome the complex array of social structures that serve to disempower and disenfranchise girls and harm their educational and health outcomes.

February 13, 2023 in Education, Race | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, January 23, 2023

Injustice Watch Investigation of U Visa Denials in Chicago

Injustice Watch reported on Chicago police denied scores of undocumented crime victims a path to citizenship

 

An Injustice Watch investigation found that the department has denied hundreds of U visa certification requests from undocumented crime victims this year, many of them at odds with federal certification standards and some that appeared to violate state law.

Two Chicago police sergeants, Brandon Ternand and John Poulos, issued most of the denials reviewed by Injustice Watch. Both sergeants have fatally shot civilians and had serious questions raised by investigators about their credibility. Both also faced termination, but in 2018 the Chicago Police Board allowed them to keep their jobs. The city has paid out more than $3 million in settlements and judgments relating to the two sergeants.

Police watchdogs said the decision to designate Ternand and Poulos as U visa certifiers raises questions about CPD’s selection process for the job.

* * *  

[A]fter Injustice Watch started reporting this story and following weeks of complaints from immigration attorneys to officials in Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s office, sources said that CPD said it would revise its policies on U visa certifications. The most significant change will require the department’s Office of Legal Affairs to review all denials as well as handle appeals of previously denied requests.

The City Council is also considering calling for hearings on this issue seeking more transparency.  

January 23, 2023 in Race, Violence Against Women | Permalink | Comments (0)

New Study on "The Impact of Legal Abortion on Maternal Mortality"

A new study analyzing The Impact of Legal Abortion on Maternal Mortality was posted to SSRN by scholars Sherajum Farin, Lauren Hoehn-Velasco, and Michael Pesko. The conclusion describes the results of their study: 

In this study, we consider whether the 1960s and 1970s legalization of abortion in the United States led to improvements in maternal health. Our findings suggest that legal abortion reduced non-white abortion-related mortality by 30-60% and non-white maternal mortality by 30-40%. In the first year after the passage of legal abortion, this percentage decline translates into 41 non-white maternal deaths averted in early-legal states and 113 non-white maternal deaths averted nationally. To ground the magnitude of the deaths averted in present-day maternal deaths, a total of 299 non-white women died from maternal causes of death in 2019, despite a broader classification of maternal deaths today. * * * [T]he estimated decline in maternal mortality represents the "tip of the iceberg" in terms of the health effects of legal abortion * * *.

 

In an era where Roe v. Wade no longer determines abortion laws in the United States, we conclude with two facts worth considering for policy today. First, during the period of our study, legal abortion acts primarily through lower abortion-related deaths, rather than a change in pregnancy-related risk factors. The importance of abortion-related maternal mortality indicates that eliminating unsafe and illegal abortion was likely the main driver of mortality declines discovered in this study. Second, legal abortion appears most important for non-white women, and also has the largest impact in counties with lower levels of income, educational attainment, and healthcare resources. Put together, the impact of legal abortion shows marked heterogeneous impacts by race and socioeconomic status, where legal abortion appears most important for less advantaged groups.

 

Still, based on these observed facts, the maternal mortality impacts of a post-Roe v. Wade legal landscape are unclear. A number of factors are different today than in the 1970s. Most notably, the availability of medical abortion, which can be prescribed through telemedicine appointments, sent through the mail, and safely administered at home * * * Instead, we conclude by emphasizing the importance of legal abortion for non-white maternal health during the period of initial legalization. Today, in the U.S., non-Hispanic black women already suffer three times the maternal mortality of white women * * * , and if there is a health impact of legal abortion restrictions, it will likely be for this group.

January 23, 2023 in Abortion, Healthcare, Race, Reproductive Rights | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, January 16, 2023

NALP Publishes its Annual Report on Diversity in U.S. Law Firms

The National Association of Law Placement has published its 2022 data on Diversity in U.S. Law Firms.

The introduction outlines the findings and conclusions of this important annual report: 

Overall, women and people of color continued to make measured progress in representation at major U.S. law firms in 2022 as compared with 2021, according to the latest demographic findings from the analyses of the 2022 NALP Directory of Legal Employers (NDLE) — the annual compendium of legal employer data published by NALP. At the associate level, women now make up almost half of all associates — and will soon likely become the majority based on the summer associate demographics — where women have surpassed the 50% threshold for the past 5 years.

 

By race/ethnicity, Black associates saw the biggest year-over-year increase in representation, up by more than half of a percentage point to 5.77% of all associates. Likewise, Black summer associates saw large gains this year, increasing by 0.7 percentage points to 11.85% of all summer associates. The share of summer associates who are women and/or people of color continues to exceed that of associates by 6-15 percentage points, suggesting that the associate ranks will persist in their diversification over the next few years.

 

Progress at the partnership level has moved at a more sluggish pace, particularly for women of color. Black and Latinx women each continued to account for less than 1% of all partners in 2022. The percentage of Black partners overall increased by just 0.1 percentage points, from 2.22% of all partners in 2021 to 2.32%. Latinx partners experienced a similar increase, growing from 2.86% of all partners in 2021 to 2.97% in 2022. 

January 16, 2023 in Law schools, Race, Women lawyers, Workplace | Permalink | Comments (0)

Interview with Author of New Shirley Chisholm Biography

The 19th features an interview of historian Anastasia Curwood on her new biography of Shirley Chisholm, the first Black woman elected to Congress.  The article explains why a "cradle to grave" biography about Chisholm is so important: 

Shirley Chisholm was a trailblazer: the first Black woman elected to Congress and the first Black candidate and the first woman candidate for a major-party nomination for president of the United States. Still, despite her tremendous influence on American politics, biographies of Chisholm have been immensely hard to come across. 

With her recently released book, “Shirley Chisholm: Champion of Black Feminist Power Politics,” Anastasia C. Curwood, a professor and interim chair of the Department of History at the University of Kentucky, hopes to alleviate this gap. A cradle-to-grave biography as Curwood calls it, the book gives insight into who Chisholm was as a person and how Chisolm’s many lived experiences and multiple identities shaped who she was. In the book, Curwood coins the term “Black Feminist Power Politics” to describe how Chisholm’s identity as a Black woman born to immigrant parents in a working-class family allowed her to empathize with the lived experiences of marginalized individuals and informed her politics. 

The 19th article features an interview with the author describing many themes of the book. The book was published on January 10, 2023. 

January 16, 2023 in Legal History, Legislation, Race | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, January 4, 2023

Book Author Interview, Civil Rights Queen: Constance Baker Motley and the Struggle for Equality

Strict Scrutiny, Author Interview, Civil Rights Queen: Constance Baker Motley and the Struggle for Equality

Tomiko Brown-Nagin joins Melissa and Kate to discuss her book Civil Rights Queen: Constance Baker Motley and the Struggle for Equality. You may recognize the name Constance Baker Motley from Ketanji Brown Jackson’s speech upon receiving her nomination to SCOTUS. Motley was the first black woman to be appointed to the federal bench– and she and Justice Jackson share a birthday. Judge Motley’s story illustrates the fights for equality, across race and gender lines, in the mid-20th century.

Civil Rights Queen: Constance Baker Motley and the Struggle for Equality - Brown-Nagin, Tomiko

January 4, 2023 in Books, Judges, Race | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, December 19, 2022

Expansions in California's Abundant Birth Project

The United States' first program giving cash to pregnant Black women in San Francisco has expanded to four additional counties. California's Abundant Birth Project is described as: 

The Abundant Birth Project is a simple, yet novel, approach to achieving better maternal health and birthing outcomes: provide pregnant Black and Pacific Islander women a monthly income supplement for the duration of their pregnancy and during the postpartum period as an economic and reproductive health intervention. Prematurity is a leading cause of infant mortality and has been linked to lifelong conditions, such as behavioral development issues, learning difficulties, and chronic disease. In San Francisco, Black infants are almost twice as likely to be born prematurely compared with White infants (13.8% versus 7.3%, from 2012-2016) and Pacific Islander infants have the second-highest preterm birth rate (10.4%). Furthermore, Black families account for half of the maternal deaths and over 15% of infant deaths, despite representing only 4% of all births. Pacific Islander families face similar disparities.

San Francisco Mayor, London N. Breed, celebrated the launch of the program stating:  

“Providing guaranteed income support to mothers during pregnancy is an innovative and equitable approach that will ease some of the financial stress that all too often keeps women from being able to put their health first. The Abundant Birth Project is rooted in racial justice and recognizes that Black and Pacific Islander mothers suffer disparate health impacts, in part because of the persistent wealth and income gap. Thanks to the work of the many partners involved, we are taking real action to end these disparities and are empowering mothers with the resources they need to have healthy pregnancies and births.”

Daisy Nguyen, reporter with KQED.org, reported on the expansion of the program.  

Since June 2021, the Abundant Birth Project has given $1,000 per month to nearly 150 Black residents during a portion of their pregnancies and the first six months of their children’s lives. With the extra funding from the California Department of Social Services and another $1.5 million in city funds, the program aims to reach another 525 people in San Francisco, Alameda, Contra Costa, Los Angeles and Riverside counties.

Learn more about the Abundant Birth Project here.  

December 19, 2022 in Healthcare, Poverty, Pregnancy, Race, Reproductive Rights | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, December 14, 2022

The Black-White Paradigm and the Continuing Erasure of Latinas as Law Deans

Laura Padilla, The Black-White Paradigm's Continuing Erasure of Latinas: See Women Law Deans of Color, 99 Denver L. Rev. 683 (2022)

The Black-white paradigm persists with unintended consequences. For example, there have been only six Latina law deans to date with only four presently serving. This Article provides data about women law deans of color, the dearth of Latina law deans, and explanations for the data. It focuses on the enduring Black-white paradigm, as well as other external and internal forces. This Article suggests how to increase the number of Latina law deans and emphasizes why it matters.

December 14, 2022 in Education, Law schools, Race | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, December 12, 2022

Artist Michelle Browder Honoring the "Mothers of Gynecology" with a New Museum and Clinic

Daja E. Henry with the 19th News has written about how A new museum and clinic will honor the enslaved "Mothers of Gynecology." This site is expected to break ground on Mother's Day 2023. It sits less than a mile away from Alabama's state capitol. The project will convert James Marion Sims' makeshift hospital into a $5.5MM museum that will include a clinic and training facilities for midwives, doulas, and medical students. The site will honor the enslaved women and girls who "shed blood for the creation of American gynecology, despite their inability to consent." The artist is Michelle Browder. Author, Daja Henry, writes the following about the project: 

December 12, 2022 in Healthcare, Pregnancy, Race, Science | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, December 8, 2022

Conference and CFP, Equal Justice Under Law?

American University, Annual Symposium, Equal Justice Under Law

CFP Deadline Jan. 3, 2023

2023 Annual Symposium: Equal Justice Under Law?

On February 3, 2023, the American University Law Review's 2023 Annual Symposium—Equal Justice Under Law?—will explore what is left of the Constitution after the 2021-2022 U.S. Supreme Court term. The Law Review is thrilled to announce that Dean Erwin Chemerinsky will be this year's Keynote Speaker. Dean Chemerinsky is a distinguished scholar and has authored fourteen books, including leading casebooks and treatises about constitutional law, criminal procedure, and federal jurisdiction. Additionally, the Law Review will host multiple Supreme Court practitioners as panelists this year to weigh in on the Court's recent term and the questions it raises moving forward.

Call for Papers: American University Law Review’s 2023 Annual Symposium

Download PDF Here!

The American University Law Review is placing a call for submissions of original legal articles and scholarly commentaries for its forthcoming Annual Symposium issue, this year dedicated to a review and response to the 2021 through 2022 Supreme Court term and the upcoming term. Specifically, the Law Review seeks submissions analyzing the rapidly evolving response to the Supreme Court’s decisions in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health OrganizationKennedy v. Bremerton School DistrictCarson v. MakinShurtleff v. City of Boston, and pending cases before the Supreme Court in the next term on affirmative action, the Indian Child Welfare Act, and free speech. Approximately four to six submissions will be selected, with a publication date slated for the spring of 2023.

December 8, 2022 in Call for Papers, Conferences, Constitutional, Race, Religion, Reproductive Rights, SCOTUS | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, December 6, 2022

Gendered and Racialized Emotional Labor in Public Organizations

Cynthia Barboza-Wilkes, REPRODUCING INEQUITY IN ORGANIZATIONS: GENDERED AND RACIALIZED EMOTIONAL LABOR IN PUBLIC ORGANIZATIONS, PhD Thesis (USC School of Public Policy) 

Emotional labor research in public administration lags behind other fields, is often omitted from discussions of representative bureaucracy, and rarely looks at its gendered and racialized dimensions. The existing scholarship fails to consider the dynamic nature of emotions and that different emotions (e.g., happiness versus anger) might warrant different emotional labor techniques for different groups. Meanwhile, scholars from sociology, applied psychology, and organizational behavior widely recognize the importance of emotional labor, but few have used an intersectional lens to study the well-recognized phenomenon.

This dissertation uses an intersectional approach to codify the difficult-to-measure and often unobserved emotional labor that can institutionalize inequity within public organizations. An intersectional approach is essential to make visible the experiences of those at the intersection of multiple marginalized identities, and this dissertation describes in detail how the antecedents, experiences, and consequences of emotional labor differ based on the employee’s combination of gender and racial identity. Using a mixed-methods research design that combines daily diary entries and semi-structured interviews, this work (1) describes and measures the emotional labor embedded in both service encounters with the public and internal interactions among colleagues, (2) looks at subgroup differences in the emotional effort at the intersection of race and gender, and (3) assesses the relationship between emotional labor and burnout to inform our understanding of the well-being of a diverse public sector workforce.

I find meaningful differences within and between individuals in the emotions needed to effectively engage the public and navigate public institutions. The results reveal that, compared to their peers, women of color engage in more taxing forms of emotional labor, feel more emotionally constrained by organizational rules, are more cognizant of managing gendered and racialized stereotypes, and are more sensitive to whether the climate allows for authentic expression. I also show that public employees experienced heightened burnout during the pandemic, and the suppression of emotion contributed to that burnout, but in different ways for different groups. In particular, women of color who suppressed negative emotions were more likely to experience a reduced sense of personal accomplishment, increased cynicism, disengagement from their work, and more emotional exhaustion.

This project reveals important distinctions in the type of emotional labor demanded of public employees and how those emotional demands differ across gender and racial identities. The results make visible the experiences of those at the margins of multiple lived experiences of oppression, allowing women of color to articulate their own emotional experiences in ways that center their voices. Importantly, this work highlights the importance of factoring emotional labor into the experience of burnout at work while emphasizing that the relationship between the two varies for individuals of different backgrounds. I provide concrete proof that there is an uneven distribution of emotional labor in public organizations, and it falls predominantly on women of color.


Measuring a construct as complex and dynamic as emotional labor lays the groundwork for important reform. By codifying, measuring, and describing the differential emotional burdens embedded in public organizations, I quantitatively demonstrate the need for equitable human resource management practices that address how organizations structurally reinforce inequity.

December 6, 2022 in Equal Employment, Race, Work/life, Workplace | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, November 17, 2022

New Book Invisible Mothers, Unseen Yet Hypervisible After Incarceration

New Book, Invisible Mothers: Unseen Yet Hypervisible After Incarceration (UC Press)

Author Book Talk, Q&A With Janet Garcia-Hallett, Author of Invisible Mothers

Mothering is work. Yet, as I mention in my book, not all motherwork is equally visible, validated, or respected by the general public. This is especially true for mothers in the criminal legal system. Their experiences are unique because of the competing demands they face in oppressive carceral systems. Still, they did motherwork through varying housing arrangements, in noncustodial circumstances, while recovering from substance use, with low pay, during unemployment, and while not in contact with their children. All things considered, they did motherwork that was realistic for them and their circumstances post-incarceration – even if this went unnoticed or was undervalued by outsiders.

 

November 17, 2022 in Books, Family, Race | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, October 6, 2022

Tracing the Racial and Gendered Origins of Exemptions to Labor Standards

Daiquiri Steele, Enduring Exclusion, 120 Michigan L. Rev. (2022)

Economic justice has long been a part of the civil rights agenda, and minimum labor standards statutes play a crucial role in eradicating the exploitation and subordination of historically marginalized workers. While statutes establishing labor standards are characterized as “universal,” their effect has been anything but universal. Racial and ethnic minorities, women, and those at the intersection experience disproportionate violations of labor standards laws concerning minimum wage, overtime, and occupational safety and health.

Through legislative maneuvering dating back to the New Deal era, Congress carved out many female workers and workers of color from core protections of minimum labor standards legislation. Due to the vigorous advocacy of civil rights groups, amendments to these statutes expanded coverage, making these statutes more inclusive of marginalized workers. Nevertheless, the exclusionary legacy of these New Deal era-laws lingers today. Black, Latinx, and female workers are more likely to be retaliated against for asserting rights or reporting employer misconduct pursuant to these statutes.

Tracing the racial and gendered origins of exemptions to labor standards statutes from the early twentieth century to the present, this Article argues that, despite expanded coverage, female workers and workers of color remain largely excluded from “universal” workplace protections. Although anti-worker forces previously sought to thwart creation of legal rights for marginalized workers, contemporary anti-worker campaigns seek to gut marginalized workers’ protections through actual and threatened retaliation. Examination of the traditional rationales for employer retaliation reveals that the retaliation disparity is incongruent with these conventional motivations. This Article argues that securing compliance with both minimum labor standards and anti-retaliation reform should be integral parts of the civil rights agenda.

 

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October 6, 2022 in Business, Equal Employment, Gender, Legal History, Race | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, September 15, 2022

Black Women and Voter Suppression

Carla Laroche, Black Women & Voter Suppression, 103 Boston U.L. Rev.   

Black women vote at consistently high rates during elections in the United States. States, however, have excluded Black women from voting by regulating when a person convicted of a crime may be eligible to vote. These efforts are known as felony disenfranchisement but amount to voter suppression. With the alarming rate of conviction and incarceration of Black women, criminal law intersects with civil rights to bar their involvement in the electoral process.

By reconceptualizing conviction-based voter suppression through the experiences of Black women’s access to their voting rights, this Article adds a new perspective to the rich scholarship analyzing voting rights. This Article examines the history of Black women’s exclusion from the ballot box in the United States, including how the racist legacy of Jim Crow continues through mass incarceration and voter suppression schemes. Using Florida’s disenfranchisement maze as a case study, this Article shows that while Black women and other advocates have led attempts to abolish voter suppression schemes, permanently, they have yet to succeed through the judicial, executive, and legislative branches.

The ostensible reasons for these voter suppression schemes vary, but the outcome has been the devaluing of the interests of Black women and their communities while preserving the voting priorities of white communities. This Article concludes by demanding the dismantling of these voter suppression schemes. Until then, society will continue to bar Black women from the ballot box disproportionally

September 15, 2022 in Constitutional, Legal History, Legislation, Race | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, September 12, 2022

Ederlina Co on "Weathering Invisible Labor"

Ederlina Co has published Weathering Invisible Labor in volume 51 of the Southwestern Law Review (2022). The abstract previews: 

Professor Meera Deo’s Unequal Profession: Race and Gender in Legal Academia powerfully demonstrates how the legal academy has adopted many of American society’s social hierarchies as they relate to race and gender. Inspired by Unequal Profession and using a Critical Race Feminism framework, this Essay centers on women of color professors and the problem of invisible labor in legal academia.

Although for many women of color professors invisible labor involves a labor of love, this Essay contends that the legal academy’s unwillingness to recognize it in a meaningful manner marginalizes women of color professors, devalues how important invisible labor is to law students, law schools, and the legal profession, and perpetuates a raceXgender institutional bias. This Essay recommends steps that law school administrators and allies can take immediately to recognize invisible labor but also suggests that the time has come for the legal academy to begin to reexamine how it values “service” more broadly.

The article concludes that: 

Despite the depth of time and commitment that women of color professors devote to invisible labor and the value law students, law schools, and the legal profession take from it, the legal academy does not meaningfully appreciate it as work. The ongoing failure to recognize and credit invisible labor in many law schools is a form of raceXgender institutional bias that marginalizes women of color professors and diminishes the importance of this work. Although the legal academy has tracked much of American society’s progress when it comes to providing equal opportunity for women of color professors, the academy is not immune from American society’s present-day raceXgender challenges. In the same way many of us expect American institutions to work to address inequalities and inequities in society, the academy must be equally diligent about addressing them in our own institution.

September 12, 2022 in Law schools, Race, Workplace | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, July 18, 2022

The Pre-Civil War History of Fugitive Slave Laws and its Parallel to the Battle Over State Abortion Rights

Kate Masur, What Pre-Civil War History Tells Us About the Coming Abortion Battles, Wash. Post

The Supreme Court’s decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Womens Health Organization, which overturned Roe v. Wade and eliminated the constitutional right to an abortion, is prompting allusions to slavery and the antebellum United States. There’s talk of a new “Underground Railroad” that conjures clandestine networks helping people to flee their home states in search of the freedom to end a pregnancy. And some predict Dobbs will result in conflicts among the states of a magnitude not seen since before the Civil War.

 

Any historical comparison requires considerable care, with attention to differences as well as similarities.***

 
The Dobbs decision, which gives states complete control over abortion laws, has unleashed conflicts that resemble the battles that arose when enslaved people fled slave states for free states, and enslavers, in turn, mobilized state and federal power to get them back.
 

This history doesn’t provide a blueprint for action in our own time, but it does remind us of the corrosive impact of interstate conflict and of the importance of federal protections for freedom and individual rights.***

 

The history of the 19th century reminds us that arguments for states’ rights, or for federal power, have no intrinsic political or moral valence. Northerners adopted personal liberty laws to mitigate oppressive aspects of the Constitution and federal law, while enslavers insisted on extending their jurisdiction beyond state lines and put unprecedented federal power in the service of human bondage.

 

But that doesn’t mean the best option for the country is to leave questions of fundamental rights in the hands of the states. To the contrary, history also shows that the United States has been at its best when, as in the Reconstruction amendments and federal civil rights laws, it offered federal guarantees of freedom, dignity and equality to all people. Federal guarantees not only strengthen democracy, they also tamp down conflicts among the states. Now the Supreme Court has withdrawn the 14th Amendment’s protection of reproductive freedom. No wonder we find ourselves looking for parallels to a period before the amendment existed.

July 18, 2022 in Abortion, Constitutional, Legal History, Pregnancy, Race, Reproductive Rights | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, June 23, 2022

Unequal Representation of Women in Clinical Research

Allison Whelan, Unequal Representation: Women in Clinical Research, Cornell Law Review Online 2021

Abstract:

This Article engages with legal and social history to analyze the present-day consequences of two distinct, yet related historical wrongs: the exclusion of pregnant women and women of child-bearing potential from medical research and the unknowing or unwilling medical experimentation on women of color. It provides a critical contribution to the ongoing discourse about clinical trial representation, arguing in favor of policy considerations rooted in law and society to address the harms caused by this deeply rooted and problematic history.

Introduction:

The underrepresentation of women in clinical research throughout history is a well-recognized problem. Progress has been made, but there is still room for improvement and it must be recognized that not all women have been or continue to be treated equally in the context of clinical research. On the one hand, there is a long history of paternalism and lack of respect for women’s autonomy that has resulted in the exclusion of women from research, particularly pregnant women and women of childbearing potential. The potential consequences of this are many, including harm to women’s health because diseases and treatments can affect men and women differently.

On the other hand, there is also a long history of women of color being unknowingly or unwillingly subjected to unethical medical experiments and procedures. This includes experimentation during human enslavement, carried out most famously by doctors like James Marion Sims, who abused and terrorized Black women who he rented as slaves. He performed myriad gynecological experiments on these women, often without providing them any anesthesia. It is a glaring reflection on the multiple cruelties of slavery as well as the American experience of medical experimentation.


However, the horrors experienced by women of color in the medical setting are far more extensive, spanning into the nineteenth, twentieth, and twenty-first centuries. Famously, throughout the Jim Crow period, Black women became the unwitting subjects of eugenics platforms, legally blessed by the 1927 Supreme Court decision Buck v. Bell. In Mississippi, the frequency and normalization of sterilizations are revealed by the term “Mississippi Appendectomy” becoming associated with the practice. The term reveals the mistruths told to Black women and girls, as well as the callousness and neglect used to obtain consent for the real surgeries taking place. Most recently, during the COVID-19 pandemic, allegations of sterilizations at immigrant detention centers only further the concerns related to these matters, particularly as they affect vulnerable, poor women. This history has contributed to women of color’s distrust in the government, research institutions, and the medical system in general.

These two historical wrongs are distinct, yet related in that they both harm women’s health, dignity, and autonomy. As this Article will discuss, much progress has been made to increase women’s overall representation in clinical trials, but there is far more work to be done with respect to the representation of women of color, and people of color in general. The primary focus of this Article, therefore, is the inadequate representation of women of color, and people of color more generally, in clinical trials. 

June 23, 2022 in Healthcare, Legal History, Pregnancy, Race, Science | Permalink | Comments (0)