Inequality Inquiry >> Category

Eviction/Housing Issues During COVID-19—Interview with Mid-Minnesota Legal Aid’s Joey Dobson

April 30, 2020

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JLI staff members Maddie Sheehy, Adam Johnson, and Peter Schuetz recently interviewed Joey Dobson (Housing Policy Attorney at Mid-Minnesota Legal Aid). The group discussed how the pandemic can exacerbate health and safety issues in housing (mold, infestations, heat, etc.), the eviction moratorium, and how housing attorneys are advocating for their clients now and will be moving forward.

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The Burying of Boumediene v. Bush

February 11, 2021

Kevin Thomson* At the University of Minnesota Law School in 2018, Chief Justice John Roberts declared that the court “erred greatly” when it gave into political pressure and upheld the internment of Japanese Americans in the “shameful” decision Korematsu v. United States. The Court is at its best, said the Chief Justice, when it stands…

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Where is the U.S. Military?: An Update on the Department of Defense’s Efforts to Prevent Sexual Assault and to Protect Victims

November 17, 2021

by Thor Hawrey* Currently, a female military member is more likely to get post-traumatic stress disorder from being sexually assaulted or harassed than from actual combat. Due to this trauma, as well as the many other complex reasons associated with sexual assault, many victims feel trapped, have suicidal thoughts, and opt to leave the military. Those who desire to serve and protect us must forfeit their careers due to an inability for us to protect them. 

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What’s Brewing with Bruen?

October 30, 2022

Kenneth Cooper examines the impact of New York State Rifle & Pistol Association, Inc. v. Bruen, 142 S.Ct. 2111 (2022), and New York’s public defender and legal aid offices unexpected involvement in the case. 

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 Reason-Specific Abortion Bans Under Current Abortion Jurisprudence

March 13, 2023

View/Download PDF Version By Jocelyn Rimes† Introduction In 2021 alone, 108 restrictions on abortion were enacted in just nineteen states.[1] With the recent Supreme Court decision, Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, that eliminated the federal constitutional right to obtain an abortion, abortion access is in a perilous position for millions of individuals.[2] Currently, ten…

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Attacks on Reproductive Rights During COVID-19—Interview with Gender Justice’s Megan Peterson

May 7, 2020

JLI staff members Kristin Trapp, Anna Berglund, and Anwen Parrott recently interviewed Megan Peterson, who serves as the Executive Director of Gender Justice. Gender Justice is a nonprofit legal and policy advocacy organization devoted to addressing the causes and consequences of gender inequality, both locally and nationally. In this conversation, the group discussed how some states are trying to use COVID-19 to restrict access to abortion and reproductive services, the effects of not being able to access essential health care, and how advocates can strive to safeguard reproductive rights during a pandemic.

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The Sex Offender Registry is a Life Sentence for Juveniles

December 2, 2021

by Layni Sprouse* In 1990, in the wake of her 11-year-old son Jacob’s kidnapping, which grabbed the attention of the entire county, Minnesota native Patty Wetterling believed it crucial to take action to protect children against sexually violent offenders. Due to her efforts and the tragic story of her son, the first sex offender registry…

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Inmate Rights and the Prison/Jail System During COVID-19—Interview with Prof. Susanna Blumenthal

May 9, 2020

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JLI staff members Abbie Hanson and Jen Davison recently interviewed Professor Susanna Blumenthal in a conversation about COVID-19’s effects on inmate rights and the prison/jail system. Professor Blumenthal co-directs the Program in Law and History at the University of Minnesota and she is an expert in criminal law. Professor Blumenthal’s research and writing focuses on the historical relationship between law and the human sciences. In this discussion, the group highlights the challenges of containing a virus in inherently constrained spaces, the damaging results on inmate rights, and how groups are working to ensure that incarcerated individuals receive adequate protection during a pandemic.

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How a New Ohio Law and Other State Reforms Are Changing the Landscape of Mental Health and Criminal Justice

January 24, 2022

By Bailey Martin* In 2021, Ohio became the only active death penalty state with a law that allows for resentencing of people on death row who have serious mental health conditions. While this kind of law provides an important starting point for thinking about mental health and criminal justice, courts have much further to go to protect all persons with mental health conditions from disparate impacts in the justice system.

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Deadly Force: How George Floyd’s Killing Exposes Racial Inequities in Minnesota’s Felony-Murder Doctrine Among the Disenfranchised, the Powerful, and the Police

March 8, 2021

View/Download PDF Version Greg Egan[1] I. Equity in Peril: How Felony-Murder Charging Discretion and Widely Varying Punishments are Deployed Against White Defendants, Defendants of Color, and Peace Officers Minnesota’s second-degree felony-murder statute represents a unique and creative charging mechanism that affords wide discretion to prosecutors. This makes it ripe for inequitable application. It is the…

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The Clash Between LGBTQ Anti-Discrimination Law and Freedom of Speech in 303 Creative v. Elenis: Which Will Take the Cake?

April 2, 2023

By Elizabeth Wellhausen* In December 2022, the Supreme Court heard oral arguments for 303 Creative v. Elenis, a case that is basically a “redo” of Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission.[1] In Masterpiece, a baker refused to make a wedding cake for a same-sex couple because same-sex marriage conflicted with his religious views.[2] The…

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2020 Summit for Civil Rights – The State of American Apartheid

November 20, 2020

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  In “The State of American Apartheid”, scholars and on-the-ground activists discuss the history of school segregation, and, even six decades after Brown v. Board of Education declared “Separate is not equal”, how segregation exists and affects people today. This panel discusses the causes, results, and on-going impact of our society’s unwillingness to challenge racial…

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Are New York’s Bail and Discovery Reforms in Renewed Danger?

February 9, 2022

By Kenneth Cooper* Tracking the status of these New York procedural reforms in particular (one increasing discovery obligations and the other reducing the use of cash bail in pretrial services) can shed further insight into how other attempts at reform, perhaps more substantive in nature, may play out.

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Reforming the Troubled Teen Industry

November 30, 2022

By Alida Weidensee* Imagine yourself as a teenager. You wake up in the middle of the night to adult strangers in your bedroom. Maybe there are police officers too. These strangers force you to go with them, telling you that there is “a choice to do this the easy way or hard way.” You might…

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Minnesota Crisis Pregnancy Centers and The Positive Pregnancies Bill

May 9, 2023

By Lizzy Miller* Introduction In 2022, the federal constitutional right to abortion previously found in Roe v. Wade was overturned by Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization.[1] Crucially, Dobbs found that “the  state has an ‘important and legitimate interest’ in protecting fetuses that it does not have in preventing contraception.”[2] While abortion remains constitutionally protected…

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