The Argot of Equality: On the Importance of Disentangling “Diversity” and “Remediation” As Justifications for Race-Conscious Government Action

The rules governing “benign” forms of race-conscious government action are easy to state but very difficult to apply in practice. A great deal of the difficulty arises from the lack of precision associated with the use of terms of art, such as “diversity,” “remediation,” and “affirmative action.” Each of these terms should have a concrete and separate meaning, but in reality often serve as mere synonyms; this lack of precision…

Rediscovering Oyama v. California: At the Intersection of Property, Race, and Citizenship

Rose Cuison Villazor
Oyama v. California was a landmark case in the history of civil rights. Decided in January 1948, Oyama held unconstitutional a provision of California’s Alien Land Law, which allowed the state to take an escheat action on property given to U.S. citizens that had been purchased by their parents who were not eligible to become citizens. At the time, the country’s naturalization law prohibited Japanese nationals from becoming U.S. citizens.…

A No-Excuse Approach to Transitional Justice: Reparations As Tools of Extraordinary Justice

It is sometimes the case that a debate goes off the rails so early that riders assume the rough country around them is the natural backdrop for their travels. That is certainly true in the debate over reparations in transitions to democracy. Reparations traditionally are understood as material or symbolic awards to victims of an abusive regime granted outside of a legal process. While some reparations claims succeed — such…

Teaching Teachers About Teaching Students

David M. Becker
Teachers are accustomed to teaching students, but experienced teachers must also teach teachers. In some instances, law professors are asked to visit and evaluate the classes of non-tenured colleagues. Often evaluations include advice that is intended to improve the subject’s teaching, and this advice may be the most important component of the total process. More often, perhaps, law professors are asked to mentor young colleagues by the school’s dean or…

Diversity and the Federal Bench

Carl Tobias
Justice Sonia Sotomayor’s appointment was historic. She is the first Latina Supreme Court member and President Barack Obama’s initial appointment. Her confirmation is the quintessential example of his commitment to increasing ethnic and gender diversity in the judiciary; it epitomizes how the administration has nominated and appointed people of color and women to the appellate and district courts. Enhancing diversity honors valuable goals. Selection across a presidency’s initial fifteen months…