Volume 26, Special Issue

Volume 26, Special Issue (Winter 2021)

Content titles below link to full text on the MLaw Scholarship Repository.


Black-Owned Businesses and Organizations and Economic Justice

Lawyers as Social Engineers: How Lawyers Should Use Their Social Capital to Achieve Economic Justice

Article by Dana Thompson

This Article addresses the concerns of Black-owned small businesses and Black-led nonprofits and community organizations, recognizing that all of these entities play an important role in furthering economic justice in Black communities. The author recognizes that Black-owned small businesses face different funding challenges than Black-led nonprofits and community organizations but the common issue these entities face is that they are often excluded from social networks that are necessary to obtain financing for their entities.

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Environmental Racism

Looking Toward Restorative Justice for Redlined Communities Displaced by Eco-Gentrification

Article by Helen H. Kang

Helen Kang’s piece offers a unique analytic approach for analyzing the roots of environmental racism and the appropriate tools to help rectify it. She offers an argument for why restorative justice needs to be the framework and explains how we can accomplish this in the context of a whole government solution.

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Reproductive Healthcare and Black Women

Medical Violence, Obstetric Racism, and the Limits of Informed Consent for Black Women

Essay by Colleen Campbell

This Essay critically examines how medicine actively engages in the reproductive subordination of Black women. In obstetrics, particularly, Black women must contend with both gender and race subordination. Early American gynecology treated Black women as expendable clinical material for its institutional needs. This medical violence was animated by biological racism and the legal and economic exigencies of the antebellum era. Medical racism continues to animate Black women’s navigation of and their dehumanization within obstetrics. Today, the racial disparities in cesarean sections illustrate that Black women are simultaneously overmedicalized and medically neglected—an extension of historical medical practices rooted in the logic of biological race. Though the principle of informed consent traditionally protects the rights of autonomy, bodily integrity, and well-being, medicine nevertheless routinely subjects Black women to medically unnecessary procedures. This Essay adopts the framework of obstetric racism to analyze Black women’s overmedicalization as a site of reproductive subordination. It thus offers a critical interdisciplinary and intersectional lens to broader conversations on race in reproduction and maternal health.

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U.S. Foreign Policy

U.S. Race Relations and Foreign Policy

Essay by Ambassador Susan D. Page

It is easy for Americans to think that the world’s most egregious human rights abuses happen in other countries. In reality, our history is plagued by injustices, and our present reality is still stained by racism and inequality. While the Michigan Journal of International Law usually publishes only pieces with a global focus, we felt it prudent in these critically important times not to shy away from the problems facing our own country. We must understand our own history before we can strive to form a better union, whether the union be the United States or the United Nations. Ambassador Susan Page is an American diplomat who has faced human rights crises both at home and abroad. We found her following call to action inspiring. We hope you do too.

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Mental Health and Immigration Law

Toward a Race-Conscious Critique of Mental Health-Related Exclusionary Immigration Laws

Article by Monika Batra Kashyap

This Article employs the emergent analytical framework of Dis/ability Critical Race Theory (DisCrit) to offer a race-conscious critique of a set of immigration laws that have been left out of the story of race-based immigrant exclusion in the United States—namely, the laws that exclude immigrants based on mental health-related grounds. By centering the influence of the white supremacist, racist, and ableist ideologies of the eugenics movement in shaping mental health-related exclusionary immigration laws, this Article locates the roots of these restrictive laws in the desire to protect the purity and homogeneity of the white Anglo- Saxon race against the threat of racially inferior, undesirable, and unassimilable immigrants. Moreover, by using a DisCrit framework to critique today’s mental health-related exclusionary law, INA § 212(a)(1)(A)(iii), this Article reveals how this law carries forward the white supremacist, racist, and ableist ideologies of eugenics into the present in order to shape ideas of citizenship and belonging. The ultimate goal of the Article is to broaden the conceptualization of race-based immigrant exclusion to encompass mental health-related immigrant exclusion, while demonstrating the utility of DisCrit as an exploratory analytical tool to examine the intersections of race and disability within immigration law.

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Race and the Law

Excerpt of Law and Anti-Blackness

Essay by Michele Goodwin

Professor Michele Goodwin’s essay here (and the article from which it came, to be published in full in our Winter issue) explicitly identifies the development of American law as a project of cementing racial caste. This piece is a call for conversation and asks us all to consider: “How has the failure to acknowledge and address the carnage and prurience of America’s racial origin story impacted life today?” For 26 volumes, we have attempted to answer that question. In publishing this story in this issue, we are excited to be joined by our peers in that effort.

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Puerto Rico

No Voice, No Exit, But Loyalty? Puerto Rico and Constitutional Obligation

Essay by Guy-Uriel Charles & Luis Fuentes-Rohwer

Professors Charles and Fuentes-Rohwer’s Essay is on the subjugated status of Puerto Rico as an “unincorporated territory.” This Essay contextualizes Puerto Rico not as an anomalous colonial vestige but as fundamentally a part of the United States’ ongoing commitment to racial economic domination. We are thrilled to highlight this work, which indicts our constitutional complacence with the second-class status of Puerto Rican citizens and demands a national commitment to self-determination for Puerto Rico.

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Critical Race Theory and Technology 

When Critical Race Theory Enters the Law & Technology Frame

Essay by Jessica M. Eaglin

Professor Jessica Eaglin’s essay is on the intertwining social construction of race, law and technology. This piece highlights how the approach to use technology as precise tools for criminal administration or objective solutions to societal issues often fails to consider how laws and technologies are created in our racialized society. If we do not consider how race and technology are co-productive, we will fail to reach substantive justice and instead reinforce existing racial hierarchies legitimated by laws.

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