Notes

Socioeconomic and Racial Disparities in Public Special Education: Alleviating Decades of Unequal Enforcement of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act in New York City

Published May 23, 2018

After a long history of neglecting children with special needs, Congress enacted the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) to grant every child with a qualifying disability the right to a free and appropriate public education. To ensure local compliance, the IDEA created a private right of action through which parents may sue their school district for failing to offer an adequate education for their child. If successful, these parents, may then send their child to a private school at the expense of their local government. Private enforcement of the IDEA has helped equalize educational opportunities for wealthy children whose parents can afford to commit to the financial, emotional, and physical costs of suing the government, but children of less affluent families who cannot afford to make similar commitments are often left behind when a school district fails to adhere to the IDEA’s mandate. As a result, large special educational disparities exist in segregated school districts between wealthy, predominantly white families and less affluent, predominantly non-white families.

State and local governments have mostly limited their efforts to fully achieve the IDEA’s goal by implementing voucher programs, which allow only a handful of low-income children to enjoy the educational opportunities afforded to their wealthier peers. Under Mayor Bill De Blasio, New York City took a different approach and began settling most IDEA claims to effectively lower the procedural barrier for parents. Much like vouchers, however, De Blasio’s policy fails to address the underlying issue: The IDEA’s reliance on private enforcement will continue to fail those who historically have been deliberately excluded from the full social and economic benefits of white citizenship. State and local governments must go beyond tinkering with the accessibility of the private enforcement mechanism and instead invest financial resources to equalize educational opportunity through public enforcement of the IDEA. This Note assesses potential state and local policy reforms to secure expanded special education opportunity and discusses how New York City can begin to effectively lead in IDEA public enforcement.

Broadening Diversity on the Bench: Voting Behavior and Panel Effects on the United States Courts of Appeals

Published May 23, 2018

This Note seeks to determine the extent to which personal characteristics of judges—namely gender, race, and prior prosecutorial experience—affect individual judicial votes and panel decisions on the United States Courts of Appeals. Although these characteristics do not have a significant effect on the way an individual judge votes, this Note finds that the presence of one of these characteristics on a three-judge panel can influence how the other two judges vote, affecting the overall outcome.

The presence of at least one female or black judge on a panel increases the likelihood of a more liberal decision across all cases. However, this effect disappears in cases that are specifically related to gender or race issues, such as employment discrimination cases. The presence of a prior prosecutor on a panel in criminal cases decreases the likelihood of a more liberal ruling (in favor of the defendant). These results shed light on the dynamics of panel decision-making, and allow us to critically examine the federal judicial appointment process and the pursuit of judicial diversity.

Neutral in Name: Rothe, the Error of Anticlassification, and the State of Race-Neutral Means

Published Feb 22, 2018

Abstract This Note discusses the language state-actors use to create affirmative action programs, and the methods courts employ to determine their constitutionality. It describes the context and history of affirmative action jurisprudence, and explains the anticlassification method, the antisubordination method, and the former’s influence on the current tiered approach. This Note then discusses a 2016… Read more

A Place to Call Home: Defining the Legal Significance of the Sanctuary Campus Movement

Published Feb 22, 2018

Abstract The sanctuary campus movement ignited following the election of Donald Trump as the 45th president of the United States. The movement has given rise to questions about the protections available to undocumented immigrants in the United States, with specific emphasis placed on the vulnerability of undocumented students. The movement joins a list of sanctuary… Read more

African Immigrants, Intersectionality, and the Increasing Need for Visibility in the Current Immigration Debate

Published Apr 27, 2017

Abstract Africans are one of the fastest growing immigrant groups in the United States, yet their presence receives very little attention in public discourse about immigration.  In an era where America’s immigration policies have grown increasingly insular, African immigrants are particularly at risk of having measures that historically facilitated their entry into the United States,… Read more

The Status Quo of Racial Discrimination in Japan and the Republic of Korea and the Need to Provide for Anti-Discrimination Laws

Published Apr 27, 2017

Abstract Japan and the Republic of Korea, two neighboring nations situated in East Asia, have homogenous demographics.  Both societies face large influxes of foreigners—from immigration and tourism alike—due to various factors ranging from rapidly aging populations, low birth rates, and globalization.  Despite this, neither country has sufficient legal means of halting racially discriminatory practices that… Read more

A Seat at the Table: Changing the Governing Structure of Low Income Housing Tax Credit Program Administration to Reflect Civil Rights Values and Fair Housing

Published Sep 8, 2016

Abstract The Low Income Housing Tax Credit (“LIHTC”) program is the largest existing program for the development of low-income affordable rental housing in the country.  The program is administered by the United States Department of Treasury and the Office of Comptroller of the Currency (“OCC”), federal agencies by statute that have regulatory and supervisory authority… Read more

Dismantling Discrimination in the Stairways and Halls of NYCHA Using Local, State, and National Civil Rights Statutes

Published Sep 8, 2016

Abstract This Note explores various national and New York civil rights statutes that may be used to combat abusive police tactics in New York City Housing Authority (“NYCHA”) buildings.  This Note begins by providing a backdrop on how NYCHA buildings are policed in New York City and a description on how vertical patrols are conducted… Read more

Midwives and Pregnant Women of Color: Why We Need to Understand Intersectional Changes in Midwifery to Reclaim Home Birth

Published May 9, 2016

Abstract The vast majority of births occur in hospitals attended by physicians. However, this has not always been the case. Prior to the turn of the twentieth century, home births held the majority and were primarily attended by midwives, the majority of whom were women of color and immigrant women. The move toward hospital birth is rarely discussed… Read more

Protecting the Constitutional Rights of Minority Youth on Rikers Island

Published May 9, 2016

Abstract In 2014, the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York released a report on their investigation into the patterns and practices of treatment of adolescent inmates on Rikers Island, finding systemic defects that result in the pervasive violation of the adolescent inmates’ constitutional rights. Ninety-five percent of the adolescent population on Rikers is… Read more

The Shrouded Borderland Between Preemption and Discrimination: A Framework for the Analysis of City Ordinances That Require Proof of Citizenship or Legal Residency as a Condition to Rent a Dwelling Place

Published Oct 19, 2015

Abstract In the absence of a comprehensive reform of the federal immigration system, numerous cities, counties, and local governments have passed various local laws and ordinances aimed at addressing the externalities of a growing influx of undocumented immigrants. Recently, there has been a proliferation of local ordinances that establish licensing schemes intended to prohibit a landlord from leasing… Read more

Color in the “Black Box”: Addressing Racism in Juror Deliberations

Published Jun 25, 2015

Abstract The idea of trial by an impartial jury lies at the core of American criminal justice. Yet racism—both explicit and implicit—often has profound impacts on the administration of criminal law and criminal procedure. Such bias manifests itself at all levels of the system, including the deliberative process itself. Currently, however, defendants of color have… Read more

On Death’s Doorstep: The Racially Stratified Impact of the Michigan Self-Defense Act and Why Race-Centric Advocacy is Not the Answer

Published Jun 25, 2015

Abstract On July 20, 2006, Michigan joined the growing number of states to enact “Stand Your Ground” legislation. These statutes marked a dramatic expansion of the common law Castle Doctrine by allowing individuals to employ deadly force against assailants without first considering whether there were reasonably available avenues of retreat to safety. This Note first… Read more

Tribe-Sanctioned Nuclear Waste Facilities and Their Involuntary Neighbors

Published Jun 24, 2015

Abstract In 2010, President Barack Obama appointed the Blue Ribbon Commission on America’s Nuclear Future (BRC) in order to study options for dealing with nuclear waste as alternatives to replace permanent disposal at Yucca Mountain, Nevada. The BRC recommended a new voluntary siting mechanism based on the Nuclear Waste Negotiator (NWN), an expired program decried… Read more

Making Rights Real: Effectuating the Due Process Rights of Particularly Vulnerable Immigrants in Removal Proceedings Through Administrative Mechanisms

Published Jun 24, 2015

Abstract Immigration removal proceedings provide insufficient due process protections to certain immigrants. Vulnerable immigrants who cannot adequately represent themselves are expected to do so even if they cannot afford an attorney or qualified Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) representative. This Note argues that the Department of Justice’s (DOJ) Executive Office of Immigration Review (EOIR) can… Read more

The Numbers Matter: An Update to the Implementation of New York’s Prison Gerrymandering Law

Published Jun 21, 2015

Abstract To combat the rise of “Prison-Based Gerrymandering”, the New York State Assembly enacted a law requiring prisoners to be counted in their “home” districts. These laws changed the Census Bureau’s “usual residence rule”, which required the Bureau to count prisoners in their places of incarceration. While the law has been a firm step forward… Read more

Editor’s Note

Published Jun 21, 2015

Abstract On October 22, 2010, the Journal presented its inaugural symposium, “So Goes Arizona, So Goes the the Nation?: Immigration and Civil Rights in the 21st Centry.” The symposium focused on the state of Arizona’s passage of the controversial law, S.B. 1070, which has spawned an outcry from the civil rights community and others that… Read more

Editor’s Note

Published Jun 21, 2015

Abstract The pieces contained in the following pages underscore the salience of race in the law today and explore both conceptual and practical implications of this intersection.