"Justice for All" set for September 28
August 21, 2012
Why does the United States outpace every other nation on earth in its incarceration rate? Can there be justice for undocumented persons who have no right to be present in the country? How can the legal system be used to promote equality for groups that are subordinated such as the LGBT community and people of color? “Justice for All: Examining Privilege and Subordination in the U.S. Legal System” will address these questions and many more on September 28. This free, public event at Penn State Law will examine how traditionally marginalized people, i.e. the poor, sexual minorities, racial minorities and others, are affected by the legal system and explore possible remedies.
- Paul Butler, Professor of Law at Georgetown University. Professor Butler will present “A Hip Hop Theory of Justice,” focusing on hip hop's important description and critique of American criminal justice, especially the unprecedented number of Americans who are behind bars. He will share ideas from hip hop about how every American can be safer and more free.
- Carla Pratt, Associate Dean for Academic Affairs and Professor of Law at Penn State. She will present “Heeding the Call: Hip Hop’s Call for Criminal Justice Reform,” a response to Professor Butler’s presentation. Professor Pratt will argue that the hip hop generation of lawyers embrace a race conscious professional identity and are heeding hip hop’s call for criminal justice reform.
- Dean Spade, Assistant Professor of Law, Seattle University School of Law. Professor Spade will present “The Limits of Legal Equality,” outlining how declarations of equality have not yet brought the improvement of material conditions that people want and need. He argues that during the last 40-50 years in the US when the law has supposedly started treating people equally and protecting against racism, sexism and ableism, inequality has actually increased. How should people who strive to eliminate violence and discrimination make sense of these dilemmas? How and when should we use law reform as part of our strategies? His talk will examine these questions and offer some models for approaching these challenges.
- Victor Romero, Maureen B. Cavanaugh Professor of Law at Penn State. Professor Romero will present "Equality for Legal Outsiders: The Case of Unauthorized Migrants." In this response to Dean Spade’s presentation, Professor Romero will explore how U.S. law and society view unauthorized immigrants, a group that lives outside of the law but within our borders. If the pursuit of legal equality may be of limited use to U.S. citizens who are, in theory, full members of our society, what implications might this have for people who are not even supposed to be here?