The New Jim Crow

July 16, 2013

While coming to record last week’s commentary, I was listening to Michelle Alexander on Alternative Radio. If you haven’t heard her or read her book, The New Jim Crow, I strongly recommend it. Some of us knew the basic facts but she fills in the details and makes the argument brilliantly.

I want to elaborate something implicit in her talk but not fully expressed – what she described is why civil liberties matter, one of the major reasons the ACLU was formed, and why Alexander was an attorney for the ACLU of Northern California. Read the rest of this entry »


The Cost of Law

April 9, 2013

I was explaining the cost of law to one of my classes recently. A woman in Florida woke up from surgery to find doctors had removed the wrong breast. A well-respected attorney down there told her a lawsuit wasn’t worth the cost. Friends lost half their life savings to an abusive stockbroker. The best securities lawyers in their area told them that the tax deduction plus the cost of legal fees would equal any judgment, so don’t bother. A woman fired from her job for complaining about sexual harassment was told it’s not worth the cost to sue. Read the rest of this entry »


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