If poor people knew how rich rich people are, there would be riots in the streets.
Yet some lawyers, judges, legislators, professors, and law students would strongly dispute that view. Many legal workers, like other Americans, believe in a legal system that aspires to, and often achieves, neutrality in matters of class and equality in matters of race.
Because American law seems removed from race and wealth concerns, legal workers see no place for such considerations in their education or practice.
In response to the prevalent view that American law and legal institutions are class and color blind, this Article provides examples of how legal institutions sometimes do create and maintain racialized wealth disparities. The Article offers examples of this phenomenon by examining a sequence of federal judicial decisions, the federal taxing statutes, the role of legal education, and access to legal services.
These examples are instructive because they cut across a broad spectrum of components of the American legal system.
By revisiting issues of race and wealth in different legal settings from the Constitution to federal cases, the tax system, and legal education and practice, this Article confirms that race and wealth are both involved in legal outcomes and ignored by legal actors and institutions in a systematic way.
Legal actors and citizens of all vocations need to look more critically at the American legal landscape and critique the influence of race and wealth.
Legal realists, critical legal theorists, critical race theorists, feminist theorists, and others have noted the contradiction between legal doctrines and legal realities.
Yet, despite its contradictions and failures, the urge towards equality and neutrality creates opportunities for change. They will not be mystified by the first man who puts on a wig. The Declaration of Independence aspired to equality among people and neutral application of law.
Indians outside American society; black slaves; and white male full citizens, whether free or bound for a term of years. Ironically, neutrality and equality can support subordination and hierarchy. Hale explained that wealth gives its owner control over his or her own life and leisure and over other people's lives as well.
Hale illustrated this control of the wealthy over the working classes through the greater bargaining power that capital has over labor, especially low-skilled workers. This unequal bargaining power leads to the inequitable distribution of wealth as those with control over capital can extract work from others without just compensation.
As seen in Hale's work, legal neutrality claims that law has no effect on this wealth distribution. Instead, law simply protects property rights and freedom of contract. Under this concept of legal neutrality, other institutions, for example the market, fuel the wealth distribution occasioned by unequal bargaining power.
Hale rejected the claim that legal neutrality has no wealth effects.
Rather, Hale pointed out that legal rules lead to particular wealth distribution patterns and that different legal rules create different wealth distribution patterns while still protecting property rights and freedom of contract.
For Hale, the allegedly neutral system of American property and inheritance laws does more than merely protect private property and freedom of contract; these laws also give property owners power over workers to the detriment of most Americans.
Sixty years after Hale, Stephen J. Rose, in a book and poster depicting the interrelationships of income, wealth, occupation, race, gender, and household type, showed that five percent of the United States population owns sixty percent of the nation's wealth.
Ninety-three percent of the American population is able to fit within the physical frame of the approximately two by three foot poster. Although Rose's poster tells a different story, the American myth perpetuates the idea that anyone can climb those three stories in one lifetime.
This belief coexists with public rules and private practices that have tied wealth to race for generations.
As a result, non-whites are even less likely to move out of poverty than whites. The disparate, distributional result that ties race and wealth has been supported throughout American history by government programs.
The United States began as a slave nation, and the end of slavery did not break the tie between race and wealth. Most people are aware of the failures of the post-Civil War Reconstruction and the emergence of the Jim Crow system of segregation.
Few are as aware of how the liberal New Deal tied race and wealth. The New Deal introduced the notion of an economic safety net into American politics.
As such it pulled many Americans from poverty. After World War II, the government continued to enrich its citizens based on race through the Federal Housing Administration, which made home ownership available to working class whites, while excluding black buyers through redlining and other exclusionary practices.Justice, Inequality, and the Poor.
but also free public education, legal representation in courts of law, emergency medical care, and other forms of basic welfare. Burkhauser and his colleagues found that "the increase in American income inequality since has been significantly slower than in the previous two decades.".
- The American legal system is a complex animal with many parts and functions dictated to it.
of the U.S. (Orwell).
Inequality has always existed in the United States legal system and continues to exist today; however, the inequality presently in the system is not as blatant as what it once was, but the system has come to depend on.
- The American legal system is a complex animal with many parts and functions dictated to it. of the U.S. (Orwell). Inequality has always existed in the United States legal system and continues to exist today; however, the inequality presently in the system is not as blatant as what it once was, but the system has come to depend on.
CHAPTER 14 RACIAL INEQUALITY Final Draft, August Race and racial inequality have powerfully shaped American history from its beginnings. Americans like to think of the founding of the American colonies and, later, the United States, as.
Inequality in the Legal System essaysInequality in the United States' Legal System In the United States, true equality has never existed. From the Declaration of Independence to modern times, the US legal system has failed at any attempt at equality.
Social inequality linked to economic inequality, usually described on the basis of the unequal distribution of income or wealth, is a frequently studied type of social inequality.
Though the disciplines of economics and sociology generally use different theoretical approaches to examine and explain economic inequality, both fields are actively involved in researching this inequality.