Inequality Inquiry >> Category

Response to MPD’s Killing of George Floyd

June 2, 2020

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by Jen Davison and the JLI Editorial Team        On May 25, 2020, a White Minneapolis Police Department officer killed George Floyd, a Black man in our Twin Cities community. The White police officer killed Mr. Floyd while Mr. Floyd was in police custody, and bystanders captured the scene of Mr. Floyd’s final…

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The Movement Lawyer of 2020

August 11, 2020

Image of a wall with spray painted text reading "I Can't Breathe"

Want to hear how two recent University of Minnesota Law grads chose to respond to the tragic killing of George Floyd? Click the link to learn more about the inspiration behind the “Breathless” podcast, created by Ian Taylor, Jr. (’19) and Haaris Pasha (’19).

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How We Got Here: Race, Police Use of Force, and the Road to George Floyd

April 1, 2021

Long before the killing of George Floyd, the United States has struggled to mitigate racially arbitrary use of force by the police. This article seeks to explain how we got to the killing of George Floyd. This article contends that that the law—especially the decisions of the Supreme Court and political choices made by politicians—has helped to enable the relatively unchecked use of force against people of color.

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Biden’s Private Prison Ban Must Include ICE Detention

March 16, 2022

By Katie McCoy* Our incarceration-focused immigration system needlessly locks up hundreds of thousands of noncitizens each year. The number of people incarcerated in Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) custody was 15,000 when President Biden first took office, and it now hovers near 29,000. Sixty-nine percent of those detained have no criminal history. Many ICE detention…

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JLI’s Statement of Solidarity

June 2, 2020

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Black Lives Matter. The Journal of Law & Inequality extends its deepest sympathies to Mr. George Floyd’s loved ones and condemns the unequal legal system that continues to destroy Black American lives like Mr. Floyd’s. The Journal is deeply concerned that police brutality is disproportionately affecting Black Americans in our city and demands an independent and unbiased investigation into Mr. Floyd’s killing.

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Avoiding Atkins: How Tennessee is on the Verge of Unconstitutionally Executing an Individual with Intellectual Disabilities

November 18, 2020

Image Courtesy of Attorneys for Pervis Payne

If the state executes an intellectually disabled individual, but no one knows of the intellectual disability, has the state violated the constitution? It is our sincerest hope that Pervis Payne and others in a similar procedural labyrinth that could lead to what everyone agrees would be an unconstitutional execution are provided an opportunity to present the merits of their claims of intellectual disability. Justice, decency, and the Constitution demand it.

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A Constitutional Necessity, Not a Luxury: States Must Provide Public Defender Offices With More Resources to Provide Indigent Defendants With Effective Counsel

March 30, 2022

By Haashir Lakhani* The phrase “you have the right to an attorney” is so ingrained in our social conscience that we perhaps do not even give it a second thought. The task of upholding this right for indigent defendants falls largely on public defenders, with some cases being assigned to other court-appointed attorneys. However, underfunded…

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Turning Gaming Dollars into Non-Gaming Revenue: Hedging for the Seventh Generation

May 27, 2016

by Shane Plumer
There are four levels of diversification that tribes engage in: level one consists of amenities to gaming facilities; level two consists of tourist-reliant non-gaming businesses; level three involves on-reservation businesses that export products off the reservation; and the most sophisticated level involves acquiring off-reservation businesses in order to access more diverse markets. Historically, tribal economic development has been hindered by lack of access to capital markets, limitations placed on federal funding, federal Indian policy that requires creation of jobs on the reservation, information asymmetry and conservative investment strategies that are holdovers from how federal agencies invested tribal funds. This article provides a roadmap for cutting-edge tribal economic development that focuses on off-reservation investment by mobilizing investment banks and private equity in order to diversify tribal investment portfolios.

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Protecting Civil Liberties: Easier Said Than Done

April 1, 2022

by Julia Decker*   It is easy to say that voting is the cornerstone of our democracy, perhaps easier still to say that protecting the right to vote is paramount. There is nuance, however, in assessing those protections. In an era of what many perceive to be increasing political polarization, ostensibly neutral yet increasingly stringent…

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Pass Senate Bill 355: How Proposed Minnesota Legislation Brings the U.S. into Compliance with International Norms

May 25, 2016

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by Maria Warhol
As the 2016 presidential election approaches, the issue of voting rights in the United States is more salient than ever. While millions of people will take advantage of their right to vote in the election, nearly six million U.S. citizens are unable to vote as a result of a felony conviction. Of this disenfranchised population, only 25% are incarcerated. The remaining 75% are in the process of completing supervised release (probation or parole) or have served their sentence entirely. This concern only deepens when data reveals that disenfranchisement policy disparately impacts some communities more than others. These concerning figures impact almost every state in the United States.

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A Solution to Hoffman’s Choice for Unauthorized Workers: Creating New Incentives to Report Unlawful Workplace Discrimination

October 4, 2016

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by Andrew J. Glasnovich
In 2012, the United States was home to 11.7 million people who did not have legal authorization to reside in the country. Of those, approximately 8 million people were active in the work force. Unauthorized workers will likely contribute $2.6 trillion over the next decade to the U.S. economy. Those unauthorized persons are some of the most vulnerable members of society.  Because of their status, some unauthorized workers fear that their choice to report employer misconduct will lead to their deportation or imprisonment. State and federal laws prohibit employers from class-based discrimination against their workers—whether these workers are authorized or unauthorized. Despite those laws, some employer misconduct is notably egregious and includes wage theft, unsafe labor conditions, race and sex discrimination, and sexual assault. However, some unauthorized workers are brave enough to risk deportation and challenge their employers’ unlawful practices.

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Does the Minneapolis Police Department Traffic Stop Data Reveal Racial Bias?

November 24, 2020

This study analyzed Minneapolis Police Department traffic stop data from 2016 to 2020 to determine if racial bias influences MPD behavior. Results of the analysis showed that Black drivers are 10.8% percent more likely to be stopped during the day, when officers can observe the driver’s race for profiling, than when Black drivers’ race is not observable during darkness. The effect was highly statistically significant and demonstrated that Minneapolis Police Department traffic stops are racially biased.

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Attack on the Right to Choose

April 12, 2022

By Laura Gustafson* A person’s right to choose has been under attack by state actions for some time, making headlines as the Supreme Court rules on bills restricting access to abortion. These bills can inflict great harm on people and attack the right to choose, but there is another very real threat that often goes…

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Proscribing Prescriptions: A Legal Analysis of State Off-Label Restrictions on Medication Abortion

November 21, 2016

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by Kaiya A. Lyons
Since its decision in Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court has consistently upheld the right of a woman to choose to terminate a pregnancy before viability and without undue burden. However, the ability of a woman to exercise that right today is as intimately connected to her economic privilege and geographic location as it was in the days preceding that landmark ruling. Under the guise of protecting women from the “harms inherent in abortion,” major conservative gains in the 2010 midterm elections resulted in hundreds of anti-abortion measures flooding a majority of state legislatures. In the aftermath of that year’s midterm elections, the bulk of state legislatures passed an unprecedented number of harsh new restrictions on when, how, and even whether women may access abortion services. Because these laws are also substantially more obstructive than their predecessors, for low-income women, the economic impact of these restrictive regulations is extremely harmful.

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The Case for Preserving Transgender and Gender Nonconforming Health Care Protections

December 5, 2017

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by Bailey Metzger
On May 18, 2016, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office for Civil Rights (OCR) published the final rule implementing § 1557 of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) in the Federal Register. The final rule addressed a wide variety of discrimination in the health care context, including discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, age, and disability. Perhaps the most notable part of the rule finds that discrimination on the basis of gender identity constitutes discrimination on the basis of sex.

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