Researching Public Law and Public Policy in the Public Interest

Cities may sue banks for injuries to their tax base caused by unlawful conduct against homeowners, according to the Supreme Court in a May 1st decision that was closely watched by fair housing advocates.  An unusual split among the justices produced the 5-4 opinion in Bank of America v. City of Miami.  The federal Fair Housing Act (FHA) ruling demonstrates that the aggregation of direct harms can produce broader consequences that may be actionable by indirect victims.

While the Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing rule requires cities to assess their housing stock in order to reduce disparities, the Newark Housing Authority follows the national pattern of dismissing racial integration.
If the nation’s capital were free of its stark racial inequities, it could be a more prosperous and competitive city—one where everyone could reach their full potential and build better lives for themselves and their families.
Too often the gentrification of working class neighborhoods is deemed “inevitable” when it is not. Just as gentrification is often promoted by upzoning and other city laws, communities can pass measures to prevent or at least slow this process.
2014-2015 Equity + Opportunity Studies Fellow, Center on Law in Metropolitan Equity (CLiME): Food scarcity is a problem throughout the United States, but particularly acute within the urban ecosystem. As a result of mid-20th century urban flight, many urban supermarkets have followed the dollar, leaving urban communities- predominantly communities of color- underserved by traditional grocery retailers. To address this, I explore the idea of creating a sustainable nonprofit/for-profit partnership that can harness the strengths of both sectors to forge an enduring and duplicable hybrid solution to inequitable access.
The new world of publicly funded, privately provided human services opens a new discussion about inequality on two fronts: inequality of spatial access to services, and inequality of quality of services. Whereas when services were publicly provided there were institutional avenues for registering dissatisfaction with access, the introduction of private providers adds a level of distance between potential clients and their governments.
CLiME Fellow Sarah Fletcher examines the state of fair housing in New Jersey, providing a historical context for the formation of COAH (the Council on Affordable Housing) and an analysis of its administration of the law. Despite over forty years of policy reform to address racial and economic segregation in New Jersey, this paper argues that the state has consistently failed to enforce the law. Concluding with an analysis of how other states have approached fair housing, it offers specific recommendations to implement the Mount Laurel Doctrine. Written just prior to New Jersey's recent decision to re-dedicate the fair share process from COAH to the judiciary, Fletcher's analysis may be a guide to future litigation.
This report proposes an educational and policy agenda that will enable schools to become supportive environments in which traumatized children can focus, behave appropriately, and learn.
For many years, I studied the experiences of mothers whose children were enrolled in New York City childcare centers. My team and I interviewed rich and poor mothers, blacks, whites, Asians, and Latinas, extroverts and introverts and everything in between. We visited centers, participated in parent-teacher events, and fielded large-scale surveys. We found that, because of the way their centers were structured, many mothers built strong, meaningful social connections that challenged the notion that we are doomed to social isolation.