Monday, May 22, 2023

Fifth Annual Equality Law Scholars' Forum

A great opporutnity for junior scholars:

 

Call for Proposals for the Fifth Annual Equality Law Scholars’ Forum

November 10-11, 2023 – Boston University School of Law

Building on the success of the Equality Law Scholars’ Forum held at UC Berkeley Law in 2017, at UC Davis Law in 2018, at Boston University Law in 2021, at Loyola Los Angeles Law in 2022, and in the spirit of academic engagement and mentoring in the area of Equality Law, we (Tristin Green, Loyola Los Angeles; Angela Onwuachi-Willig, Boston University; and Leticia Saucedo, UC Davis) announce the Fifth Annual Equality Law Scholars’ Forum  and Reunion, to be held in Fall 2023. 

This Scholars’ Forum seeks to provide junior scholars with commentary and critique and to provide scholars at all career stages the opportunity to engage with new scholarly currents and ideas.  We hope to bring together scholars with varied perspectives (e.g., critical race theory, class critical theory, queer theory, feminist legal theory, law and economics, law and society) across fields (e.g., criminal system, education, employment, family, health, immigration, property, tax) and with work relevant to many diverse identities (e.g., age, class, disability, national origin, race, sex, sexuality) to build bridges and to generate new ideas in the area of Equality Law.  

This year, because this year’s gathering also will include a reunion, we will be selecting fewer Equality Law Scholars than in prior years. Specifically, we will select three to five relatively junior scholars (untenured, newly tenured, or prospective professors) in the United States. to present papers from proposals submitted in response to this Call for Proposals. In so doing, we will select papers that cover a broad range of topics within the area of Equality Law.  Leading senior scholars will provide commentary on each of the featured papers in an intimate and collegial setting.  The Forum and Reunion will take place all day Friday through lunch on Saturday.  Participants are expected to attend the full Forum and Reunion. The Equality Law Scholars’ Forum will pay transportation and accommodation expenses for participants and will host a dinner on Friday evening. 

This year’s Forum will be held on November 10-11, 2023, at Boston University School of Law.

Junior scholars are invited to submit abstracts of proposed papers, 3-5 pages in length, by June 15, 2023.   

Full drafts of papers must be available for circulation to participants by October 20, 2023

Note: We urge submission of proposals for drafts that will still be substantially in progress in October/November 2023 over drafts that will be in late-stage law review edits at that time.

 

Proposals should be submitted to:

Leticia Saucedo, UC Davis School of Law, [email protected].  Electronic submissions via email are preferred.

 

 

Jeff Hirsch

May 22, 2023 in Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, May 19, 2023

Fall 2023 Online Labor Law Class?

Nicole Porter (Chicago-Kent) needs to know whether anyone is teaching an online Labor Law class in the fall 2023 semester. If you know of any such classes, please contact her at [email protected]

Jeff Hirsch

May 19, 2023 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, May 1, 2023

Reddy on Reclaiming the Normative Stakes of Labor Unions

Diana Reddy (who is starting full-time next year at Berkeley--congrats!) just had her article, After the Law of Apolitical Economy: Reclaiming the Normative Stakes of Labor Unions, published in the Yale Law Journal. The abstract:

It is a consequential moment for American labor unions. Over the past decade, public support for labor unions has skyrocketed. Yet even in this moment of renewed public interest, I argue that the American conversation about unions remains constrained by the legacy of past legal decisions. Within the post-New Deal constitutional framework, unions were categorized as engaging in commercial activity, rather than advancing inherently normative claims about justice at work. I refer to this jurisprudential paradigm and the sociolegal accommodations that followed as the “law of apolitical economy.” Synthesizing labor history, legal doctrine, sociological theory on social movements, and original empirical work, this Feature traces the trajectory of the law of apolitical economy in courts, identifies its broader cultural reverberations, and marshals new evidence to show that it still matters today.

When liberal lawyers made the political and constitutional case for labor unions in the 1930s, they operated within a socioeconomic context radically altered by the Great Depression. Instead of arguing, as labor movement leaders had in the 1800s and early 1900s, that democracy required people to have autonomy and self-determination in their working lives, and instead of advancing unions’ own emergent fundamental rights claims, they emphasized labor law as sound economic policy, boosting aggregate demand and promoting industrial peace. In the new constitutional equilibrium that emerged after the New Deal, labor-union advocacy within the workplace was treated as transactional rather than normative.

This choice had benefits, but it also had costs. Under the law of apolitical economy, labor unions increasingly found themselves denied First Amendment protection for the forms of broad, solidaristic protest that built the labor movement. And as new social movements began pressing rights claims in the public sphere, labor unions came to be seen as categorically distinct, as interest groups rather than social-movement organizations. When supply-side economics gained prominence in the late 1970s, it was devastating for union legitimacy. New economic theories and the on-the-ground realities they facilitated undermined the New Deal-era economic arguments that had justified labor law. At the same time, unions’ ability to counter with broadly resonant normative arguments was hampered by the detritus of their previous legal bargain. In a moment when rights had become, in sociological parlance, the “master frame” for articulating justice claims, it was well-established that bread-and-butter unionism had little to do with rights, or even right and wrong.

Returning to the present day, I argue that the legacy of the law of apolitical economy continues to shape contemporary discourse, even with public approval at a sixty-year high. Faced with a decimated membership and a legitimacy crisis, labor-movement organizations have sought over the past decade to reassert the normative stakes of unionization. They have used what social scientists call “collective action frames” to show that unions further causes with defined normative stakes. These frames underscore the inherently intersectional role of labor unions in an unequal economy—as institutions that advance society-wide economic equity, racial and gender justice, and community well-being. Yet, they too often discount the value of unions’ primary statutory role: bringing workers together to improve their working conditions. In so doing, they fail to reclaim the inherently political vision of work and workers lost to the law of apolitical economy.

In conclusion, I reflect on the broader implications of this project. The dialogic relationship between law and social movements over the twentieth century—how labor unions were steered away from rights claims while other social movements were steered toward them—continues to shape American law and politics today. In turn, upending the law of apolitical economy can be about more than reclaiming the normative stakes of labor unions; it offers an opportunity to reclaim a transformative vision of rights.

Check it out!

Jeff Hirsch

 

May 1, 2023 in Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0)