Not Your Mule? Disrupting the Political Powerlessness of Black Women Voters

On the one hundredth anniversary of the Nineteenth Amendment, this Article reflects on the legacy of Black women voters. The Article hypothesizes that even though suffrage was hard fought, it has not been a vehicle for Black women to meaningfully advance their political concerns. Instead, an inverse relationship exists between Black women’s political participation and their relative level of socioeconomic and political well-being. Taking recent national elections as a case study, the Article identifies two sources of Black women’s political powerlessness: “caretaker voting” and the Continue reading →

Contesting the Legacy of the Nineteenth Amendment: Abortion and Equality from Roe to the Present

Beyond the question of suffrage, the Nineteenth Amendment raised the issue of what it would take for women in America to achieve equal citizenship. The meaning of both the Nineteenth Amendment and equality for women remain especially contested in broader conflicts about abortion—and of how those conflicts have changed in fundamental ways in the decades since Roe v. Wade. For some time, fetal rights were pitted against the kinds of concerns about equality for women that drove reformers to seek the vote in 1920. But Continue reading →

Working Mothers and the Postponement of Women’s Rights from the Nineteenth Amendment to the Equal Rights Amendment

The Nineteenth Amendment’s ratification in 1920 spawned new initiatives to advance the status of women, including the proposal of another constitutional amendment that would guarantee women equality in all legal rights, beyond the right to vote. Both the Nineteenth Amendment and the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) grew out of the long quest to enshrine women’s equal status under the law as citizens, which began in the nineteenth century. Nearly a century later, the ERA remains unfinished business with an uncertain future. Suffragists advanced different visions Continue reading →

The Political (Mis)Representation of Immigrants in Voting

Who is a member of the political community? What barriers to inclusion do immigrants face as outsiders to this political community? This Essay describes several barriers facing immigrants and naturalized citizens that impede their political belonging. It critiques these barriers on the basis of immigrants and foreign-born voters having rights of semi-citizenship. By placing naturalization backlogs, voting restrictions, and reapportionment battles in the historical context of voter suppression, it provides a descriptive and normative account of the political misrepresentation of immigrants. PDF: Chen* and Knapp,** Political (Mis)Representation Continue reading →

Women’s Votes, Women’s Voices, and the Limits of Criminal Justice Reform, 1911–1950

Deriving its vigor from the work of grassroots organizations at the state and local levels, the League of Women Voters (LWV) sought, in the first half of the twentieth century, to provide newly enfranchised women with a political education to strengthen their voice in public affairs. Local branches like the San Francisco Center learned from experience—through practical involvement in a variety of social welfare and criminal justice initiatives. This Article, written for a symposium commemorating the centennial of the Nineteenth Amendment, assesses the role of Continue reading →

“Make the Map All White”: The Meaning of Maps in the Prohibition and Suffrage Campaigns

Maps have long been deployed as instruments of power, protest, and reform in American history. In the antebellum era, Northerners used maps to galvanize opposition to the expansion of slavery beyond the South. These dramatic and urgent anti-slavery maps served as powerful models for two of the most ambitious challenges to American law in the twentieth century: prohibition and woman’s suffrage. Both movements began with regional strengths—suffrage in the West, prohibition in the South. Suffragists and prohibitionists widely circulated maps to highlight those legislative achievements Continue reading →

Environmental Citizen Suits and the Inequities of Races to the Top

Environmental citizen suits were founded on the belief that empowering organizations and individuals to take legal action would provide a backstop against lax federal or state programs. Working in conjunction with the system of cooperative federalism, citizen suits were designed to uphold minimum levels of environmental protection and to provide a restraint on so called “races to the bottom” in which states compete for economic development by relaxing environmental standards. To our knowledge, no one has considered whether the geographic distribution of citizen suits could Continue reading →

Outsourced Emissions: Why Local Governments Should Track and Measure Consumption-Based Greenhouse Gases

While many local governments track greenhouse gas (“GHG”) emissions, almost all of them exclude most GHGs associated with consumption. These consumption-based emissions stem from the lifecycle production, pre-purchase transportation, sale, and disposal of goods, food, and services produced outside of a local jurisdiction but consumed inside the jurisdiction. Based on the limited data measuring extraterritorial emissions, these consumption-based emissions amount to more than half—and in some places more than three-fourths—of GHG emissions directly connected to local consumption patterns and behaviors. This Article argues that local Continue reading →

International Water Law and Fresh Water Dispute Resolution: A Cosean Perspective

International Water Law has developed a set of rules for resolving interstate fresh water disputes that govern both the substance of these disputes and the conduct of the disputing states. “Equitable and reasonable utilization” is commonly considered as the leading substantive rule, “no significant harm” as subsidiary to it, and the “duty to cooperate” as the central procedural rule. The purpose of this Article is to analyze the merits of these substantive and procedural rules under the lens of the celebrated Coase theorem. The “normative” Continue reading →

Communities of Interest in Colorado Redistricting

Every ten years, states redraw their congressional district boundaries following the results of the U.S. Census. This important process determines the boundaries of districts that will be represented in Congress. As a result, district boundaries selected through the redistricting process can directly impact future congressional elections and the subsequent representation of citizens’ concerns in Congress. If districts are drawn to favor one political party over another, certain sections of the population may see their political power diminished and thus be less fairly represented in Congress. Continue reading →