Inequality Inquiry

Shorter Form Content from the Minnesota Journal of Law & Inequality


A Full Constellation of Benefits: How In Re the Custody of N.S.V. Exemplifies the Need for Courts and Legislatures to Readdress Definitions of Parenthood in Light of the Recognition of Same-sex Relationships

June 21, 2022

View/Download PDF Version By Esther Raty† Two women fall in love, move in together, and decide to start a family.[1] While two women cannot both genetically[2] be the parent of one child, they can choose when to have a child, which sperm donor to use, and how to co-parent a child.[3] However, no matter how…

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Gentrification, Displacement, and Disparate Impact Liability: How Gentrification Theory is Not Cognizable Under the Fair Housing Act

May 2, 2022

by Adam Mikell*   In the United States, the topic of housing has an ugly history comprised of decades of government-sanctioned discrimination and segregation carried out through racially-motivated practices such as “neighborhood composition” rules, racial covenants, steering, and redlining. In 1968—the tail end of the Civil Rights Movement—the Fair Housing Act (FHA) was passed to…

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The Constitutionality of SB 1142

April 28, 2022

By Chase Lindemann[1]   On March 1, 2022, Oklahoma State Senator Rob Standridge introduced Senate Bill 1142 to the Oklahoma Senate Floor.[2] SB 1142’s title states that this bill is an act “prohibiting certain schools and school libraries from maintaining or promoting certain books.”[3] If a parent believes that there is a violation of SB…

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An Illogical and Harmful Assessment: Credibility Findings in Trauma Survivor Asylum Applicants

April 18, 2022

By Linnea VanPilsum-Bloom* The current focus on and process for establishing credibility in asylum application interviews is illogical and harmful. A person who seeks asylum in the United States will either request asylum affirmatively, by applying to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), or through their potential removal in Immigration Court. In either process, the…

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Racism, Social Control, and the Regulation of Bar Admissions

April 14, 2022

By Professor David Schultz* Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. famously declared: “The life of the law has not been logic: it has been experience.” When it comes to admission to practice law, one could say that “The life of admission to practice law has not been fairness but exclusion.” From its birth, America was a racist…

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Out of the Cell and Into the Fire: Inherently Dangerous Prison Work Assignments, the Eighth Amendment’s Guarantee of Safe Conditions of Confinement, and California’s AB-2147

April 13, 2022

by River Lord[1]   Using the labor of inmates in the United States has a long and controversial tradition. Many observers have identified how higher rates of policing and incarceration among minority communities, coupled with the widespread use of inmate labor in exchange for sub-minimum wages, create a system of labor exploitation and racial oppression…

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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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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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Ignoring Inequalities and Refusing to Consider Consequences: The Supreme Court’s Blocking of OSHA’s Emergency COVID Standard

March 31, 2022

By Brandon Vaca[1] On January 13, the six conservative Justices on the U.S. Supreme Court stayed (blocked) and effectively struck down the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA’s) emergency vaccine-or-test standard (Standard) for employers.[2] The Court’s reasoning in its unsigned opinion ranges from vexing to troubling. As the three dissenting Justices pointed out, the Court…

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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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A Healthy Start: Minnesota Is Pioneering an Alternative to Prison Nurseries, and Other States Should Follow Its Lead

March 28, 2022

by Rachel Pokrzywinski*   In May 2021, Governor Tim Walz signed Minnesota’s Healthy Start Act (HSA) into law. The first of its kind in the United States, the HSA authorizes placement of pregnant and postpartum inmates into alternative housing—such as halfway houses and residential treatment facilities—with their newborns for up to one year after birth.…

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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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Injured on the Job: Minnesota Case Presents Opportunity to Address Employment Rights of Medical Cannabis Users

March 3, 2022

Grace Moore* The United States Supreme Court seems poised to consider the case of an employee injured in Mendota Heights, Minnesota that could settle a dilemma in employment law that has divided state courts and denied injured workers their employment rights. In Musta v. Mendota Heights Dental Center (“Musta”), the Minnesota Supreme Court determined that…

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