Course Description

601:642. POVERTY LAW (3) WI



Surveys laws impacting on those with the least means, and the appropriateness and willingness of courts to confront such issues. Explores a historical overview of the factual realities of poverty in American society today, including the data, the categories of assistance, the experiences of poor people, and the rhetoric that dominates discussions about poverty; provides a historical overview which focuses on the legacies of racial and gender discrimination, and the specific antipoverty benefits programs that emerged in the 1930s, 1960s, and 1990s. Grapples with policy perspectives from the political right, middle and left that fuel the never-ending debates about government's role in addressing poverty.

Examines poverty law practice by exploring historical and contemporary challenges for poverty lawyers, including how to improve poverty lawyering and how to obtain judicial access for poor people. Analyzes constitutional issues including (1) restrictions on the Legal Services, Corp. and the funding of public interest lawyering with lawyer escrow accounts, (2) due process issues such as restrictions on benefits (food stamps, workers compensation medical benefits, public assistance), (3) equal protection (SSI to aliens, welfare and the right to travel, school choice, medicare conditioned on state work rules, housing), and (4) tenth amendment effects on federal welfare restrictions. Integrates theory and practice in the context of welfare reform with a particular focus on the family (e.g., reductions of AFDC grants to second and third children) and the fight for work (e.g., paying minimum wages to the homeless and working welfare recipients).