Category Archives: SARA Catalog

New Tax Titles at BLS

taBrooklyn Law School Library’s New Books List for October contains 10 print titles and 20 eBook titles. Among the print items are two on taxation both authored by BLS Professors. The first is Federal Taxation of Corporations and Corporate Transactions (KF6464.D43 2017) by Steven Dean and Bradley T. Borden. This first edition of Federal Taxation of Corporations and Corporate Transactions provides a comprehensive examination of tax principles with a unique practice-oriented approach to help students become practice ready with skills that they have developed in a setting that reflects practice in the real world. The casebook introduces students not only to transactional tax practice and the federal tax penalty regime, but also to the rules of professional ethics and the specific rules that govern professionals who practice tax law. It features an array of Deal Downloads that breathe life into complex material, presenting high-profile transactions involving Amazon, Apple, Ford and others.

LLCThe second title is Taxation and Business Planning for Partnerships and LLCs: 2017-2018: Client File: DD Pizza LLC (operating partnership) by Bradley T. Borden (Call Number KF6452.B673 2017). The materials in this Client File provide real-word problems, documents, and financials that direct the study of partnership taxation. They are an ideal accompaniment to partnership tax casebooks, especially the author’s own Taxation and Business Planning for Partnerships and LLCs. This first edition of the Client File includes memoranda and practice materials. It also includes recent developments that will not be in most casebooks. The Client File creates a practice setting that is ideal for studying issues that transactional tax attorneys’ clients face regularly.

The book is uniquely designed to help students become practice-ready with skills that they have developed in a setting that reflects actual practice. This new partnership tax casebook has several key features, including an accompanying client file created to help students learn the law in a practice-like setting. This comprehensive treatise-like casebook includes background information on non-tax topics, such as basic accounting and finance, concepts related to debt, and state-law entity transactions, as well as a general review of basic tax concepts that come up through the course of studying partnership taxation. The first edition of Taxation and Business Planning for Partnerships and LLCs also includes rules of conduct for attorneys and practice before the IRS.

Policing the Black Man

PolicingThe Brooklyn Law School Library’s August New Books List (24 print titles and 12 eBook titles) has among its titles an interesting one, Policing the Black Man: Arrest, Prosecution, and Imprisonment, (Call No. HV9950 .P64 2017). Edited by Angela J. Davis, professor of law at American University’s Washington College of Law, an expert in criminal law and procedure with a specific focus on prosecutorial power and racism in the criminal justice system, it is 352 pages. The book explores the many ways the criminal justice system impacts the lives of African American boys and men at every stage of the criminal process, from arrest through sentencing.  Essays range from an explication of the historical roots of racism in the criminal justice system to an examination of modern-day police killings of unarmed black men. The contributors discuss and explain racial profiling, the power and discretion of police and prosecutors, the role of implicit bias, the racial impact of police and prosecutorial decisions, the disproportionate imprisonment of black men, the collateral consequences of mass incarceration, and the Supreme Court’s failure to provide meaningful remedies for the injustices in the criminal justice system. This book is an enlightening must-read for anyone interested in the critical issues of race and justice in America.

The collection of eleven essays is from a variety of scholars and writers. Providing useful context, the editor points out that black males have never fared well when confronted by police and prosecutors across the U.S. For a couple of centuries, in fact, black men could rarely convince white authorities of the breadth and depth of the injustices. In recent decades, new technology, including smartphones and body cameras, combined with the sounding board of social media have removed doubt about the credibility of many victims. In the introduction, Davis invokes the names of numerous dead black males, placing special emphasis on the killing of Trayvon Martin five years ago by George Zimmerman. While soliciting the essays, Davis offered an expanded definition of the word “policing,” showing how much of the foundation of policing black males rests on racial profiling by law enforcement. In her powerful essay, law professor Renée McDonald Hutchins explains what the law does and does not say about racial profiling, how police agency policies are drafted in light of the law, and how the on-the-street practices of racial profiling sometimes violate both the letter and spirit of laws and policies. While many of the essays focus on the police, Davis focuses on her specialty, prosecutors, and how their untrammeled authority is a major part of the problems within the criminal justice system. While the essays lean toward narrating the problems rather than proposing comprehensive solutions, the final essay links multigenerational poverty of black males with violence and an absurd level of incarceration. Other contributors include Bryan Stevenson. His chapter, A Presumption of Guilt: The Legacy of America’s History of Racial Injustice, tells of an experience in Atlanta when a white police officer pulled a gun on him and threatened to “blow my head off.” He says “What threatened to kill me on the streets of Atlanta when I was a young attorney wasn’t just a misguided police officer with a gun, it was the force of America’s history of racial injustice and the presumption of guilt it created.”

July New Books List and Impeachment

Brooklyn Law School Library’s New Books List for July 1, 2017 has 59 print titles and 30 eBook titles. Many of the titles deal with racial discrimination in the criminal justice administration and elsewhere, for example, He Calls Me By Lightning: The Life of Caliph Washington and the forgotten Saga of Jim Crow, Southern Justice, and the Death Penalty by S Jonathan Bass (Call No. E185.93. A3 B37 2017); Caught: The Prison State and the Lockdown of American Politics by Marie Gottschalk (Call No. HV9471. G667 2016); Homicide Justified: The Legality of Killing Slaves in the United States and the Atlantic World by Andrew T. Fede (E-Book); Killing the Black Body: Race, Reproduction, and the Meaning of Liberty by Dorothy Roberts (Call No. HV6533.L8 M37 2017); and Unequal: How America’s Courts Undermine Discrimination Law by Sandra F. Sperino and Suja A. Thomas (Call No. KF4755 .S965 2017).

ImpeachmentMore controversial is The Case for Impeachment by Allan J. Lichtman (Call No. KF5076.T78 L53 2017). Lichtman made headlines when he predicted that Donald J. Trump would defeat the heavily favored Democrat, Hillary Clinton, to win the presidential election. His latest book lays out the reasons Congress could remove Trump from the Oval Office: his ties to Russia before and after the election, the complicated financial conflicts of interest at home and abroad, and his abuse of executive authority. The book offers a fascinating look at presidential impeachments throughout American history, including the often-overlooked story of Andrew Johnson’s impeachment, details about Richard Nixon’s resignation, and Bill Clinton’s hearings. Lichtman shows how Trump exhibits many of the flaws (and more) that have doomed past presidents. As the Nixon Administration dismissed the reporting of Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein as “character assassination” and “a vicious abuse of the journalistic process,” Trump has attacked the “dishonest media,” claiming, “the press should be ashamed of themselves.” Historians, legal scholars, and politicians alike agree: we are in politically uncharted waters—the durability of our institutions is being undermined and the public’s confidence in them is eroding, threatening American democracy itself. Most citizens—politics aside—want to know where the country is headed. Lichtman argues, with clarity and power, that for Donald Trump’s presidency, smoke has become fire.

New Book List: Baseball and the Law

Brooklyn Law School Library’s New Books List for June contains 31 print titles and 11 eBook titles and ranges in subject matter from Abortion — Law and legislation;  Sexual minorities — Legal status, laws, — United States; Sex discrimination against women — Law and legislation — United States – History; Genocide – History; Capital punishment – History; and Detention of persons — Cuba — Guantánamo Bay Naval Base.

baseballThe title that caught the attention of this reader was Baseball Meets the Law: A Chronology of Decisions, Statutes and Other Legal Events by Edmund P. Edmonds, Notre Dame Law School and Frank G. Houdek, Southern Illinois University School of Law (Call No. KF3989.2. E36 2017). It is a book that strives to cite the entire field of baseball’s intersection with law with nearly 400 individual accounts that, taken together, give a clear picture of the profound effect that law has had on baseball. The chapters include Baseball Origins and Club Teams, 1791-1865 — Professionalization and the Rise of Leagues, 1866-1902 — The National Commission Era, 1903-1920 — Landis in Charge, 1921-1944 — Owners on Top, 1945-1965 — MLBPA and the Rise of the Players, 1966-1995 — Selig, Steroids and Baseball Prosperity. Sweeping in scope, this book leaves no stone unturned about court cases and other legal aspects associated with the national pastime. The authors have taken great pains to produce a magisterially inclusive volume that features a chronological text and a huge bibliography. The book, with its list of cases and statutes , is one that every fan or researcher needs on the shelf to answer any legal question pertaining to baseball.

The book begins by recalling that in 1791, a Pittsfield, Massachusetts, ordinance prohibited ball playing near the town’s meeting house. Ball games on Sundays were barred by a Pennsylvania statute in 1794. It goes on to the story that in 2015, a federal court held that baseball’s exemption from antitrust laws applied to franchise relocations. Another court overturned the conviction of Barry Bonds for obstruction of justice. A third denied a request by rooftop entrepreneurs to enjoin the construction of a massive video screen at Wrigley Field. This exhaustive chronology traces the effects the law has had on the national pastime, both pro and con, on and off the field, from the use of copyright to protect not only equipment but also “Take Me Out to the Ball Game”. An original recording, featuring Edward Meeker and the Edison Orchestra was among the sound recordings selected for preservation by the Library of Congress in its National Recording Registry in 2010. See Baseball’s Greatest Hits: The Music of Our National Game for more on the song including “Take Me Out to the Ball Game” and Suffrage and Love Triangle on the Baseball Diamond.

She is.. She is.. NO, NO, NO, NOTORIOUS (R.B.G.)

Photo Credit: Angie Gottschalk, Ithaca Journal

Thirty years ago, before a sparse audience scattered throughout a cavernous auditorium at Cornell University, a petite woman argued passionately about the meaning of the U.S. Constitution. As her fellow symposium panelists — Cornell professors of law, government, and history — debated the technicalities of the document, she pushed for broader questions to be asked on issues that the Constitution is silent on, including “affirmative rights” and “cultural and social guarantees.”  ‘’ ‘Our Constitution is defective in that respect’ she said. ‘Why should the U.S. Constitution be a model for the world? Who needs freedom of speech when you have an empty belly?’ ” (Yaukey, Ithaca Journal, September 19, 1987, p. 4A)  

Much has changed in the intervening years. That appellate judge and pioneering women’s rights advocate who couldn’t draw a decent-sized crowd at her own alma mater, is now a pop culture icon.  Journalists breathlessly report on her fashion sensibilities (fishnet gloves anyone?) or when she is spotted carrying a tote bag with her own face on it.  Kids dress up as her for Halloween and adore her coloring book.

One thing hasn’t changed though: Ruth Bader Ginsburg still has plenty to say about the Constitution.

A lot has also been said and written about Justice Ginsburg, who holds an honorary degree from BLS.  The following are some relevant titles in the BLS Library collection to consider putting on your summer reading list:

Notorious RBG: The Life and Times of Ruth Bader Ginsburg by Irin Carmon & Shana Knizhnik (2015). [Call number: KF8745.G56 C37 2015]  The elevation of RBG to her current status as a cultural icon can be traced to the Notorious R.B.G. Tumblr created by Shana Knizhnik, one of the book’s co-authors, in 2013. This title is a colorful and entertaining look at Ginsburg’s life and career.  We get plenty of juicy nuggets about her Brooklyn childhood and nickname (Kiki), her favorite bathroom at Cornell where she could get schoolwork done (in the architecture school), the time she couldn’t check a citation as a Harvard Law Review member (the volume was located in a men-only library reading room), and how her mentor Prof. Gerald Gunther had to “blackmail” federal judge Edmund Palmieri so she could secure a clerkship (Justice Frankfurter flatly said no; Judge Learned Hand refused to hire women as he was “potty-mouthed” and did not want to watch his language around women.)   Notorious RBG remains accessible even when it starts covering the denser legal material from Ginsburg’s time as a law professor, at the ACLU Women’s Rights Project, and her judicial tenure.  Excerpts from the brief she authored in Reed v. Reed (1971), her majority opinion in the VMI gender discrimination case, United States v. Virginia (1996), and the dissent she read from the bench in the equal pay case Ledbetter v. Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. (2007) (that helped spur passage of the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009) are all meticulously annotated so as to be readily understood by the layperson. RBG’s loving marriage to Marty Ginsburg shines through: the last note he wrote to her before he died from cancer, reproduced in the original, is especially touching.  Even if you don’t want to read all the material, skimming through the many photographs and illustrations in the volume can be a joy.

My Own Words by Ruth Bader Ginsburg, with Mary Hartnett and Wendy W. Williams (2016)  [Call number: KF373.G565 G56 2016]  My Own Words is a collection of Ginsburg’s writings and speeches which are given context by short introductory essays by her co-authors.  Especially interesting are the early documents: a school newspaper editorial from June 1946 that champions the new United Nations Charter; “One People”, a 1946 article for the East Midwood Jewish Center Bulletin (religious school graduation issue) discussing post-war unity; and a 1953 letter to the editor published in the Cornell Daily Sun titled “Wiretapping: Cure worse than Disease?” We get some insight into Ginsburg’s love for opera, friendship with Justice Antonin Scalia, and why her given name Joan never stuck.  Her family and marriage get some attention: husband Marty was a true partner, did all the cooking, and was the biggest champion of his wife — decades after the fact, he remained annoyed at Harvard Law School for not allowing RBG to be awarded a Harvard degree after completing her third year at Columbia.  Yet My Own Words feels incomplete: despite the many speeches, law review articles, briefs, and judicial opinions contained in the volume, Ginsburg’s personality and character remain elusive.  This is a function of the limited scope of the project: RBG’s co-authors Mary Hartnett and Wendy Williams are her official biographers, and one gets the sense that more personally revealing anecdotes and materials are being held back for the main publication that will follow.

Brief for Appellant, Reed v. Reed

The Legacy of Ruth Bader Ginsburg by Scott Dodson (ed.) (2015)  [Call number: KF8745.G56 L4499 2015]  This volume is a collection of 16 essays from legal luminaries that include Herma Hill Kay, Nina Totenberg, Lani Guinier, Tom Goldstein, and many more.  Linda Kerber’s essay “Before Frontiero there was Reed” vividly traces the history of Reed v. Reed, the first case in which the Supreme Court held that arbitrary discrimination based on gender violated the Equal Protection clause. As Kerber writes, Ginsburg added the names of Pauli Murray and Dorothy Kenyon to her Reed brief; even though neither had written a word, RBG “understood more clearly than anyone of her time the debt that the women of her generation [ ] owed to those of preceding generations.” Many of the essays focus on doctrine — criminal procedure, jurisdiction, federalism — but the closing essays speak to her temperament and approach to life and the law. The closing essay “Fire and Ice: Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the Least Likely Firebrand” by Dahlia Lithwick is especially revealing. Lithwick describes how Ginsburg’s judicial voice grew exponentially after Justice O’Connor retired and RBG was left the only woman on the court.  Faced with the male Justices’ insensitivities during oral argument in Safford Unified School District v. Redding (2009), a case in which school officials strip searched a teenaged female student, RBG took the unprecedented step of granting an interview while the decision was still pending. In the interview, Ginsburg told Joan Biskupic of USA Today (who was also Justice O’Connor’s biographer) that her colleagues “have never been a 13-year-old girl” and that more women were needed on the court. The student prevailed 8-1 in her claim against the school district.  And perhaps it was no coincidence that just 3 weeks after the USA Today interview was published, President Obama nominated Sonia Sotomayor to the Supreme Court.

Sisters in Law: How Sandra Day O’Connor and Ruth Bader Ginsburg went to the Supreme Court and changed the world by Linda Hirshman (2015).  [Call number: KF8744 .H57 2015]  Sisters in Law traces the background of two ostensibly very different women, one a Goldwater Girl, the other a card-carrying member of the ACLU, who ended up as pioneers on the Supreme Court.  Justice O’Connor was known to be a centrist, a “justice-as-legislator” who believed in “playing defense” to protect hard-earned gains and who adhered to incrementalism. In contrast, Ginsburg with her litigation and advocacy background was used to “playing offense.” Nevertheless, once RBG reached the court, she quickly determined that of all the relationships she needed to develop, the most important was the one with O’Connor.  Justice O’Connor, who had over the years been fed many of RBG’s clerks, reciprocated.  Contrary to tradition, RBG’s first assigned majority opinion for the court was not a unanimous decision but rather a complex ERISA case on which the Justices had split 6-3.  After Ginsburg had successfully navigated her way through this first challenge, O’Connor, who had dissented, sent her a note that read: “This is your first opinion for the Court, it is a fine one, I look forward to many more.”  Hirshman also includes an anecdote about how RBG, as the first Jewish justice in a generation, helped change court practices. Upon joining the court, Ginsburg sent a letter to Chief Justice Rehnquist, siding with Orthodox Jewish lawyers who objected to the year on their certificates of admission being worded as “The Year of Our Lord.”  She encountered resistance from an unnamed colleague (the author suspects Rehnquist or Blackmun) “Why are you making a fuss about this? It was good enough for Brandeis, it was good enough for Cardozo and Frankfurter.” RBG’s response? “It’s not good enough for Ginsburg.”  The Court ultimately acquiesced.  There is plenty in this book to chew on about both the differences and shared experiences of the first two female Supreme Court Justices, and how they have changed the dynamic of the Court forever.

 

May New Book List: Fact and Fiction

The Brooklyn Law School Library May 1, 2017, New Book List is now online and has 52 print titles and 31 eBook titles. The subject areas consist of law, history and even fiction.   Subjects are Executive orders — United States – Corporate governance — United States; Judicial power — United States; Solo law practice — United States; War crime trials — History — 20th century; Sexual rights — United States — History; Scalia, Antonin; Trial practice — United States. Like law school libraries throughout the country, the BLS Library has scholarly material subjects for legal researchers in its collection and on the New Book List.

Consider these new acquisitions:

Calling the Shots: The President, Executive Orders, and Public Policy (Call No. KF5053. G58 2017) by Daniel P. Gitterman, Professor of Public Policy at University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill. This 288-page book explains how modern presidents have used the power as purchaser to require federal contractors to pay a minimum wage and to prohibit contracting with federal contractors that knowingly employ unauthorized alien workers. This book is very timely as that author believes that the current administration will likely use a mix of executive orders and memorandums. Unlike executive orders, memorandums aren’t thoroughly recorded by the government. He says that “Memorandums go below the radar much more and are harder for, I think, the news media and the public to track”

Dear Chairman: Boardroom Battles and the Rise of Shareholder Activism (Call No. HD2744. G73 2015) by Jeff Gramm, Adjunct Associate Professor of Finance and Economics at Columbia Business School. In 291 pages, the book gives a rich history of shareholder activism that has been described as “a grand story” and an “illuminating read” by the Wall Street Journal, “a revelation” by the Financial Times, and “an excellent read” by Andrew Ross Sorkin at the New York Times. Last month, the author presented a Book Talk sponsored by the Center for the Study of Business Law & Regulation at Brooklyn Law School. For details, see this link.

The Unexpected Scalia: A Conservative Justice’s Liberal Opinions (Call No. KF8745.S33 D67 2017) by David M. Dorsen, a Washington lawyer with Sedgwick, LLP. In 377 pages, the book by a close friend of Scalia describes the subject as a leader in opposing abortion, the right to die, affirmative action, and mandated equality for gays and lesbians, and was for virtually untrammeled gun rights, political expenditures, and the imposition of the death penalty. However, he usually followed where his doctrine would take him, leading him to write many liberal opinions.

Fiction is also on the New Book List. See, for example, The Advocate’s Daughter: A Thriller (Call No. PS3606.R4228 A67 2016) by Anthony J. Franze who tells a story of family, power, loss, and revenge set within the insular world of  Washington, D.C. The story focuses on Sean Serrat, a Supreme Court lawyer on the short list to be nominated to the U.S. Supreme Court. His daughter, Abby, a talented and dedicated law student, goes missing and her lifeless body is found in the library of the Supreme Court. Her boyfriend, Malik Montgomery, a law clerk at the high court, is immediately arrested. The media frenzy leads to allegations that Malik’s arrest was racially motivated, sparking a national controversy. While the Serrat family works through their grief, Sean begins to suspect the authorities arrested the wrong person. Delving into the mysteries of his daughter’s last days, Sean stumbles over secrets within his own family as well as the lies of some of the most powerful people in the country. People will stop at nothing to ensure that Sean never exposes the truth.

 

History and Future of NAFTA

The history of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) began in 1980 when candidate Ronald Reagan proposed a North American common market in his presidential campaign. The first move in creating NAFTA came when President Reagan made good on his campaign pledge and declared a North American common market as a future goal. During the early 1980s, with Mexico remaining aloof, Canada and the US signed a series of agreements that culminated in the Canada-US Free Trade Agreement in 1988. At this crucial juncture, Mexico signaled its willingness to join the negotiations and NAFTA talks began. On August 12, 1992, before the summer GOP convention, President George H.W. Bush initialed the deal. After losing the general election to William J. Clinton, Bush formally signed the treaty on December 17, 1992, saying during his Remarks on Signing the North American Free Trade Agreement “I’ve been privileged as Vice President and President over the past 12 years to be here on quite a few occasions, and I am so thrilled that this, the final one, is to sign the NAFTA agreement.”

As negotiated, the agreement was signed by the US, Canada, and Mexico, aiming to eliminate trade barriers among the three nations. Essentially, NAFTA was an extension of the Free Trade Agreement between Canada and the United States. Several other considerations beyond free trade under the scope of the NAFTA include intellectual property, telecommunications, and environmental protection. The treaty was to take effect on January 1, 1994, but ratification faced obstacles in the US Congress, especially from members of the Democratic Party. At the time of its ratification in Congress, more Republicans than Democrats supported NAFTA. With strong opposition by labor unions, a key ally for President Clinton was then-House Minority Whip (and later House Speaker) Newt Gingrich (R-Ga). Since NAFTA went into effect, bilateral trade between the US and Mexico amounts to more than $500 billion per year. The US is Mexico’s largest trading partner in merchandise (about 80% of its goods exports go to the US) while Mexico is America’s third-largest trading partner (after Canada and China).

NAFTA at 20Readers interested in learning more about NAFTA can review the Brooklyn Law School Library volume NAFTA at 20: The North American Free Trade Agreement’s Achievements and Challenges edited by Michael J. Boskin (Call No. HF1746 .N3326 2014), a Professor of Economics and senior fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution. As chairman of the president’s council of economic advisers from 1989 to 1993, he helped initiate NAFTA. He writes that NAFTA was bold and controversial from the start. When first conceived, it was far from obvious that it would be possible given the circumstances of the times. Drawing from a December 2013 Hoover Institution conference on “NAFTA at 20,” his book brings together distinguished academics who have studied the effects of NAFTA with high-level policy makers to present a comprehensive view of the North American Free Trade Agreement. It looks at the conception, creation, outcomes so far, and the future of NAFTA from the perspective of economists, historians, and the policy makers in the words of those who participated in the negotiations and research. In the context of the fundamental economic and political transformation of North America, they discuss the trade, real wage, and welfare gains that NAFTA has produced for the United States, Mexico, and Canada, along with a review of the major energy markets within and among the three countries. The book has lessons from NAFTA for the future, both for NAFTA itself (if there is one) and for other trade agreements. The author stresses the importance of political leadership and providing information on the benefits of trade liberalization to voters and ill-informed politicians who cater to the fears of free trade opponents.

NAFTAThe BLS Library  has in its collection a related title, an e-book NAFTA and Sustainable Development: History, Experience, and Prospects for Reform (Treaty Implementation for Sustainable Development), edited by Hoi L. Kong and L. Kinvin Wroth. On the twentieth anniversary of NAFTA’s ratification, the book outlines the scope of NAFTA and its impact on environmental issues and paths to reform. Analyzing the impact of the NAFTA on bio-engineered crops in Mexico, marine environmental effects, climate change, and indigenous rights, the book is an important contribution to the global conversation on international trade agreements and sustainable development.

Equal Pay

On April 4, 2017, as part of the Legal Lunches series, BLS professors Liz Schneider and Susan Hazeldean led a lively townhall discussion on the impact of the Trump administration on women’s rights, reproductive rights, and LGBTQ rights.  

President Kennedy signs Equal Pay Act into law in 1963

One of the topics discussed was equal pay. When the Equal Pay Act was signed into law in 1963, women received 59 cents for every dollar earned by a man. Despite progress over the years, women who work full-time currently earn only about 80% of what their male counterparts earn. Among other efforts, President Obama had issued Executive Order 13673 (Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces) on July 31, 2014, which was aimed, in part, at narrowing that gap.

Trump’s revocation of the Obama executive order on March 27, 2017 nullifies rules that required paycheck transparency, and that barred federal contractors from imposing mandatory arbitration when their workers raised claims of sexual assault or sexual harassment.  The revocation is particularly harmful to women workers. Prof. Schneider also pointed out that the Trump administration has deleted the White House webpage on equal pay. Where the Obama White House once had information about the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act and the Equal Pay Pledge, all that remains is a landing page with the terse “Thank you for your interest in this subject. Stay tuned as we continue to update whitehouse.gov

April 4, 2017 also happened to be Equal Pay Day.  This is the day that symbolizes how far into the next year a woman has to work, in order to earn what a man did during the preceding year. Equal Pay Day is always commemorated on a Tuesday, to further represent how far into the following work week women have to work, to reach the level earned by men the previous week.

BLS Library has various print and digital resources on the subject of equal pay.  Our collection includes the following:

Omilian & Kamp, Sex-Based Employment Discrimination

Susan Omilian & Jean Kamp, Sex-Based Employment Discrimination (updated through Sept 2016)This treatise is available electronically through Westlaw. It includes comprehensive treatment of claims brought under the Equal Pay Act, including making a prima facie case, defenses, enforcement, and remedies. Citations are kept current, with the most recent update in September 2016. The library also has the looseleaf version of the title in print, updated through June 2014.

Nyla Jo Hubbard, The rape of the American working woman: How the law and attitude violate your paycheck (2016).   Hubbard, a non-lawyer, combines anecdotes from her personal experience with analysis of how women are placed at a systematic disadvantage under our laws. She discusses a wide range of laws and policies, ranging from Social Security, to healthcare, to childcare subsidies, in order to explain the causes of pay inequality. This title is available as an e-book through ProQuest.  

Susan Bisom-Rapp & Malcolm Sargeant. Lifetime disadvantage, discrimination, and the gendered workforce (2016).  The authors, who are law professors in the U.S. and U.K. respectively, examine the disadvantages faced by women at work, including equal pay issues, in light of inadequacies in the law in both countries. They contend that the piecemeal, incremental approaches built into the legal systems of the U.S. and U.K. do not work and that a more holistic solution is required. This title is available as an e-book through ProQuest.

Christianne Corbett & Catherine Hill, Graduating to a pay gap: The earnings of women and men one year after college graduation (2012). The American Association of University Women (AAUW) has long been engaged in studying, analyzing, and providing policy direction on equal pay issues. In this publication, they explain how pay inequality among college graduates begins immediately after graduation. While discrimination is an important factor, the AAUW study recognizes that gender differences in willingness and ability to negotiate salary contribute to the pay gap, recommending that this issue also be addressed.

Chen, Compliance and Compromise

Cher Weixia Chen, Compliance and compromise: The jurisprudence of gender pay equity (2011).  In this book, Chen, a legally-trained professor of international studies, approaches the topic of pay equality from an international law perspective. She focuses in particular on International Labour Organization (ILO) Convention No. 100 on Equal Remuneration, and how ratifying states have complied or failed to comply with its mandate. This is an interesting read on pay equality laws in countries other than the U.S.: while 173 of the 187 ILO members have ratified ILO Convention No. 100 to date, the U.S. is not one of them.

New Book List: Working Class Whites

Brooklyn Law School Library’s April 2017 New Book List is now available at this link. There are 65 new entries, 45 print titles and 20 eBook titles. The subject areas cover a broad range of topics including both law, history and social aspects of American life, e.g., Women lawyers — United States – Biography; Law clerks — United States; Criminal procedure (International law); Extradition; Solitary confinement — United States; Trial practice — United States; Drone aircraft — Law and legislation — United States; Brooklyn (New York, N.Y.) – History; Law teachers — United States; Law reviews — Competitions — United States; Commercial crimes; Global Financial Crisis, 2008-2009; Police shootings — United States; Self-defense (Law) — Social aspects — United States. Among the titles related to law and legal education are the following:

White TrashThe BLS Library collection includes titles related to social aspects of American life. One such title from the New Book List that stands out is White Trash: The 400-Year Untold History of Class in America by Nancy Isenberg (Call No. HN90.S6 I84 2016). The author, an American historian and Professor of History at Louisiana State University, tells a rarely recounted story about a race, namely so-called “white trash”, a derogatory American English racial slur referring to poor white people, especially in the rural southern United States. The 460-page book has twelve chapters divided into three parts: Part I – To Begin the World Anew; Part II – Degeneration of the American Breed; and Part III – The White Trash Makeover.  The chapters in Part I include Taking out the Trash: Waste People in the New World; Benjamin Franklin’s American Breed: The Demographics of Mediocrity; Thomas Jefferson’s Rubbish: A Curious topography of Class; and Andrew Jackson’s Cracker Country: The Squatter as Common Man. Later chapters include Pedigree and Poor White Trash: Bad Blood, Half-Breeds and Clay-Eaters;  Cowards, Poltroons, and Mudsills: Civil War as Class Warfare; Thoroughbreds and Scalawags: Bloodlines and Bastard Stock in the Age of Eugenics; Forgotten Men and Poor Folk: Downward Mobility and the Great Depression; The Cult of the Country Boy: Elvis Presley, Andy Griffith, and LBJ’s Great Society; Redneck Roots: Deliverance, Billy Beer, and Tammy Faye; Outing Rednecks: Slumming, Slick Willie, and Sarah Palin; and lastly, America’s Strange Breed: The Long Legacy of White Trash.

HillbillyThe BLS Library has ordered for its collection a related title, Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis (Call No. HD8073.V37 A3 2016) by J. D. Vance, a graduate of Yale Law School who grew up in the Rust Belt and the Appalachian town of Jackson, Kentucky. Vance offers a look at the struggles of America’s white working class and tells his own story of upward mobility with a discussion about the loss of the American dream for a large segment of the country. The books by Isenberg and Vance are reviewed in Fanfares for the Common Man by Phil Christman, Volume 19, Issue 1 of The Hedgehog Review. 19.1 (Spring 2017 available via OneSearch to the BLS community.

Mass Incarceration and Prison Reform

war on crimeIn the past few years, there has been increased discussion of the growth in America’s prison population to more than 2 million Americans incarcerated, many of them drug offenders, for periods that seem far too long. Since the publication in 2010 of Michelle Alexander’s The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness, there has been more scholarship on the topic of mass incarceration. In a title added last year to the Brooklyn Law School Library collection, From the War on Poverty to the War On Crime: The Making of Mass Incarceration in America by Elizabeth Hinton (Call No. HV9950 .H56 2016), the topic get detailed attention.

The author, an Assistant Professor at Harvard University and urban historian, argues that mass incarceration is not just a conservative backlash to the civil rights movement but an initiative of both of the major political parties. In the book, Hinton traces mass incarceration, often based on assumptions about the cultural inferiority African-Americans, back to the 1960s, from the administrations of John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson to that of Ronald Reagan in the 1980s. The Democrats passed the The Juvenile Delinquency and Youth Offenses Control Act of 1961 which portrayed black youth as being in need of repair rather than justice. At the same time when President Johnson’s War on Poverty sought to foster equality and economic opportunity, his administration advanced initiatives rooted in widely shared assumptions about African Americans’ role in urban disorder.  Johnson called for a War on Crime in 1965 when he created the Office of Law Enforcement Assistance, which significantly increased federal involvement in militarizing local police. From the late 1960s starting with Richard Nixon’s law and order campaign to the 1980s administration of Ronald Reagan, crime control and incarceration dominated national responses to poverty and inequality as initiatives that were the full realization of the punitive transformation of urban policy implemented by both parties.

Locked inA search of the BLS Library OneSearch platform will lead readers to a recent review of Hinton’s book in the February 2017 issue of the American Journal of Public Health (Vol. 107 Issue 2) under the title Reckoning with the Rise of the Carceral State by David H. Cloud. For more on the topic, the BLS Library has ordered for its collection a new title, Locked In: The True Causes of Mass Incarceration—and How to Achieve Real Reform by John F. Pfaff, Professor of Law at Fordham Law School. The book describes a fractured criminal justice system, where many counties do not pay for the people they send to state prisons, and white suburbs set law and order agendas for more-heavily minority cities.