Volume 37, Issue 1 (2019)

Precarious Citizenship: Asian Immigrant Naturalization 1918 to 1925

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During the height of the exclusion era, when Asian immigrants were prohibited from naturalizing and becoming United States citizens, state and federal court judges around the country naturalized at least 500 Asian immigrant servicepersons and veterans. Between 1918 and 1925, Federal Bureau of Naturalization officials and state and federal court judges had to determine whether the military naturalization provisions enacted in 1918 included the same racial restrictions that the general naturalization provisions included. This Article tells the story of how these officials and judges navigated statutory text, congressional intent, and the reality of Asian immigrant membership in the United States Armed Forces to determine the role that race vis-à-vis military service should play in determining citizenship eligibility. The story of Asian immigrant naturalization between 1918 and 1925 highlights a long-standing question within American citizenship and immigration law: how to measure an applicant’s adoption of and commitment to mainstream American values, norms, and practices. Are there accurate and reliable categories that measure cultural assimilation and allow for cost-effective and efficient decision-making? Alternatively, are categories sufficiently inaccurate and unreliable such that individualized assessments of specific cultural criteria offer the only legitimate approach? Based on administrative memos, state and federal court judicial opinions, and newspaper articles, this article reveals how state and federal court judges struggled with this general question and how the Supreme Court resolved the split that existed across the country. United States naturalization law continues to require category-based decision-making, and it is important that we similarly interrogate those categories to determine the extent to which they accurately and reliably measure the intended naturalization criteria.


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Introduction of articles published as a part of the North American Regional Meeting of the International Society of Family Law

Eleven Things They Don’t Tell You About Law & Economics: An Informal Introduction to Political Economy and Law

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Many legal scholars have critiqued the dominant law and economics paradigm. However, important work is all too often neglected because it is not popularized in an accessible form. This Article features experts who synthesize their key insights into memorable and concise vignettes. Our 11 Things project is inspired by the work of the Cambridge economist Ha-Joon Chang, who distilled many facets of his work into a book called 23 Things They Don’t Tell You About Capitalism. That book was a runaway success, translated for markets around the globe, because it challenged conventional economic reasoning with a series of short and memorable analyses and narratives that translated academic research into accessible language. A project like Chang’s can also inform economic analysis of law. We believe that law and economics pedagogy would benefit from a shift in focus. Scholars are developing increasingly data-driven and empirical research, while too many casebooks and teaching approaches covering the first-year U.S. law school curriculum remain mired in toy models and simplistic accounts of economic life. This Article features critical insights that “they” (politicians, bureaucrats, and, all too frequently, first-year professors and casebook authors) tend to neglect in their understanding of commercial life. Each piece critically explores a facet of the theoretical foundations of law and economics. They connect contemporary developments in policy research to classical economic analysis of law. They bridge the gap between scholarship and pedagogy, introducing students, practitioners, and policymakers to political economy as a vital alternative in policy analysis.