Posts Tagged ‘Civil Rights’

The Widener Journal of Law, Economics & Race 2012 Fall Semester Blogs

October 28th, 2012 No comments

The Widener Journal of Law, Economics & Race would like to announce its 2012 Fall semester blogs.

This semester, the blogs will focus on four central topics:

1) Immigration, 2) Affirmative Action, 3) Race and Economics in the Media and 4) The Economics of Discrimination.

New blog entries will be added every week, up until finals so that we can keep the Widener Community informed about these important topics. The blogs can be accessed by clicking the blogs & posts link.

Thank you once again for all of your support.


Sara Horatius, Web & Technology Editor

Who holds the discretion when determining whether someone has a justifiable legal defense? Police Officers or Prosecutors? Instead they focus on race relations.

April 22nd, 2012 No comments

Written by: Jade Morrison

If Trayvon Martin was shot and killed by another black teenager, President Obama wouldn’t have weighed in, Al Sharpton wouldn’t be holding rallies, and the media would not be running this on television for hours. Liberals in the media like to show their good racial manners, they don’t shine a spotlight on dysfunctional behavior in some black neighborhoods, and that’s also how the civil rights establishment wants it because they don’t want to air dirty laundry in front of the whole nation.

– Berine Goldberg

Historically, a large percentage of African Americans protest revolves around racial motivated crimes. More specifically, we have seen the Black Community come together to fight against police brutality. This was most recently seen in the Sean Bell case in 2006 and Amadou Diallo in 1999. Today, once again, the Black Community had joined forces to fight against a potential racial crime committed by George Zimmerman against Trayvon Martin. There is absolutely nothing wrong with our community coming together to fight racial inequality, but it becomes an issue when we turn a blind eye to intra-racial crimes. Not once in the few last years has there been a protest against gang violence within the Black Community. Neither have there been reports of the Black Community taking a stance against the effects of drugs in our inner city schools. Many political leaders today remind us, that race related issues are not the only topics African American’s should take a stance against. We need to first help stop crimes in our own neighborhood and need to take a pledge to uplift the Black Community as a whole. At a press conference Jesse Jackson stated, “[I] would like to see the Black population turn its anger over the death of Trayvon Martin into an energy directed at voter registration, economic inequity and other issues of discrimination and racial injustice. I would hope that the movement would turn into Trayvon Martin voter-registration rallies.”

Those protesting for the arrest of George Zimmerman should be focused on the Stand Your Ground laws and how it impacts society as a whole. More specifically, whether there had been an increase in crimes rates due to these laws? Or whether Stand Your Ground laws give an excessive amount of discretion to police officers? And lastly, whether theses laws give police officers total power to determine ones innocence or guilt before making an arrest? Some argue that the Black Community predominantly protest race related crimes because the purpose of Civil Rights leaders is to protect the Black Community from the “White” majority. But whose responsibility is it to protect African American from their “own people?”

Are we as a society now promoting self help? The New Black Panther Party (NBPP) has found Zimmerman guilty based one “street law” and will award $100,000 for his “capture.” I ask, why are law student’s not analyzing whether this speech is protected by the First Amendment? And whether it should have First Amendment protection at all? This is not what the discourse is about today. We see media stations continuously interviewing the NBPP and spreading the word of their bounty. Many law students are feeding into the ideals of the general population and wearing black hoods as a symbol of Trayvon Martin. Law students should be applying the concepts they have learned in criminal law, criminal procedure and constitutional law to educate our society on the workings of our legal system.

The opinions expressed herein are strictly those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the Widener Journal of Law, Economics & Race.


1)         Main article

2)         Bernie Goldberg

3)         Jesse Jackson:

4)         Mayor Nutter’s Speak Out:

5)         Black Panther party

6)         Bernie Goldberg

Ready, Aim, Fire?

April 9th, 2012 No comments

Written by: Amy C. Hummler

The Ready, Aim, Fire? District of Columbia v. Heller and Communities of Color article presumes that the Supreme Court’s failure to articulate a standard of review or what constitutes a reasonable regulation of firearms will likely increase litigation on a municipality’s ability for regulating the possession and use of firearms within their own city limits. I found this article interesting as it describes that this is not just an issue about public, health, and safety but also a civil rights issue because African Americans are statistically more victimized by gun related violence than other races. There are several municipalities who have similar regulations to D.C. that prohibit firearms, and the Court’s invalidation of this ordinance will require widespread restrictions to become lenient in areas where violence is rampant. The article notes that handguns in urban areas pose distinctive dangers and African Americans usually bear the largest burden from these dangers. I agree with the authors’ main assertion that municipalities should have  broad power to enact laws regulating firearms based upon their own circumstances. These laws should be determined by local citizens, and especially by African American communities, who are affected by handgun related violence.

Link to “Ready, Aim, Fire? District of Columbia v. Heller and Communities of Color” by Michael B. de Leeuw, Dale E. Ho, Jennifer K. Kim, and Daniel S. Kotler.

The opinions expressed herein are strictly those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the Widener Journal of Law, Economics & Race.

The Disparate Impact of the One Strike Eviction Policy

April 8th, 2012 No comments

Written by:  Shloka Joshi

“The ache for home lives in all of us, the safe place where we can go as we are and not be questioned.” – Maya Angelou

Authors Wendy Kaplan and David Rossman, professors at Boston University’s Law School, recently examined the issue of juvenile delinquency and its effects on a family’s ability to obtain and maintain public housing in the United States.

In their article, published in the Duke Forum of Law and Social Change, they go into great detail about how the federal government’s One Strike Policy allows public housing authorities to evict families from their housing programs if their children commit any type of criminal act, regardless of its severity and without consideration of the child’s level of participation in that act. The authors argue that policies such as these create and foster many more problems than they seek to solve: Here, the government is hoping that such policies reduce and deter criminal activity among those utilizing public housing. In practice, the policy is allowing public housing authorities to displace families that first, should not be displaced, and second, are relying on this housing.

The proposed solutions to the problems raised by this type of policy are not only constructive, but also appear to be easily applied to impact change. They include changes at the political level, within the administrative agencies and housing authorities, as well as changes in the juvenile justice system to address the systemic problems created by this policy.


The opinions expressed herein are strictly those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the Widener Journal of Law, Economics & Race.


One Strike and You’re Out!

April 7th, 2012 No comments

Written by:  Megan Hunsicker

One strike and you’re out… what happened to three?  While strict liability maximizes deterrence and eases enforcement difficulties, the policy is a bit extreme when applied to the public housing context.  Kaplan’s article, entitled Called “Out” at Home: The One Strike Eviction Policy & Juvenile Court discusses the federal government’s One Strike policy, in which public housing authorities are encouraged to evict an entire household for any individual household member’s criminal act, no matter how trivial.  Where the basis for eviction is juvenile delinquency, the family agrees to either dispossess one of its children or stay together and find itself out on the street.  How does homelessness reduce crime levels?  A correlation between the two has yet to be systematically measured.  Modification of the existing law is obviously needed to brunt the harsh effects of the One Strike policy at least until its effect has been proven.

Link to Article: Called “Out” at Home: The One Strike Eviction Policy & Juvenile Court, by Kaplan & Rossman in the Duke Forum for Law & Social Change.

New Voter ID Law Passed in PA

April 4th, 2012 No comments

Written by:  Katelyn McKenzie

Pennsylvania recently passed a law requiring specific photo identification in order to vote.  People without the requisite form of ID may still vote “provisionally,” but must return within six days with the proper form of identification in order to have their vote count.

Gov. Tom Corbett contends that this law is necessary to prevent widespread voter fraud. Before signing the bill, Corbett said, “This is a law of prevention. It is to prevent voter fraud. And I believe it needs to be prevented.”  This law will undoubtedly deter people from voting, but will it actually deter voter fraud? Since 2004, there have been 20 million votes cast in PA, and only four prosecuted fraud cases. None of these cases involved a voter pretending to be someone else.

Critics of this law contend that instead of deterring voter fraud, the law will suppress the votes of the elderly, disabled, minorities, and the poor, as these groups make up the lion’s share of those who do not possess photo IDs.  Representative Thaddeus Kirkland (D., Delaware) said, “This is a Jim Crow voter-suppression bill. . . . I know it, you know it, we all know it. I’m just not afraid to say it.” According to the Washington Post, 11 percent of all voters nationally lack photo IDs, equating to 25 percent of all African Americans in the U.S. Pennsylvania will become one of the toughest states in the nation to vote, and in turn disenfranchise some 700,000 voters, including a large percentage of the African American constituency who vote disproportionately Democratic. Is this law really to deter voter fraud, or is it merely a political maneuver to disenfranchise thousands of African American voters in order manipulate the result in a battleground state?

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