Saturday, February 29, 2020


Andrea Freeman, Skimmed: Breastfeeding, Race, and Injustice (Stanford University Press, 2020).

Baby formula is a seventy-billion-dollar industry and Black mothers have the lowest breastfeeding rates in the country. Since slavery, legal, political, and societal factors have routinely denied Black women the ability to choose how to feed their babies. In Skimmed, Andrea Freeman tells the riveting story of the Fultz quadruplets while uncovering how feeding America's youngest citizens is awash in social, legal, and cultural inequalities. This book highlights the making of a modern public health crisis, the four extraordinary girls whose stories encapsulate a nationwide injustice, and how we can fight for a healthier future.
-Publisher's Description

Thursday, February 27, 2020

Foreclosure Echo

Linda E. Fisher & Judith Fox, The Foreclosure Echo: How the Hardest Hit Have Been Left Out of the Economic Recovery (Cambridge University Press, 2019).

This book tells the story of the foreclosure crisis from a new perspective -- that of ordinary people who experienced it. This angle has not been thoroughly communicated before now. The authors are legal academics who have worked for decades defending low- to moderate-income people from foreclosure and challenging predatory lending practices.
-Publisher's Description

Thursday, February 20, 2020

Repugnant Laws

Keith E. Whittington, Repugnant Laws: Judicial Review of Acts of Congress from the Founding to the President (University Press of Kansas, 2019).

A thorough examination of the record of judicial review requires first a comprehensive inventory of relevant cases. To this end, Whittington revises the extant catalog of cases in which the Court has struck down a federal statute and adds to this, for the first time, a complete catalog of cases upholding laws of Congress against constitutional challenges. With reference to this inventory, Whittington is then able to offer a reassessment of the prevalence of judicial review, an account of how the power of judicial review has evolved over time, and a persuasive challenge to the idea of an antidemocratic, heroic court. In this analysis, it becomes apparent that the court is political and often partisan, operating as a political ally to dominant political coalitions; vulnerable and largely unable to sustain consistent opposition to the policy priorities of empowered political majorities; and quasi-independent, actively exercising the power of judicial review to pursue the justices' own priorities within bounds of what is politically tolerable.
-Publisher's Description


Gary Lawson & Guy I. Seidman, Deference: The Legal Concept and the Legal Practice (Oxford University Press, 2020).

Deference is perhaps the most important concept and practice in law. It lies at the core of every system of precedent, appellate review, federalism, and separation of powers, all of which center on how one actor should deal with previous decisions. Oddly enough, deference is also one of the most under-analyzed and under-theorized legal concepts and practices, perhaps because its applications are so varied.
-Publisher's Description

Equal Justice

Frederick Wilmot-Smith, Equal Justice: Fair Legal Systems in an Unfair World (Harvard University Press, 2019).

In Equal Justice, Frederick Wilmot-Smith offers an account of a topic neglected in theory and undermined in practice: justice in legal institutions. He argues that the benefits and burdens of legal systems should be shared equally and that divergences from equality must issue from a fair procedure. He also considers how the ideal of equal justice might be made a reality. Least controversially, legal resources must sometimes be granted to those who cannot afford them. More radically, we may need to rethink the centrality of the market to legal systems. Markets in legal resources entrench pre-existing inequalities, allocate injustice to those without means, and enable the rich to escape the law's demands. None of this can be justified. Many people think that markets in health care are unjust; it may be time to think of legal services in the same way.
-Publisher's Description