Elvia Anguiano Palafox

Question: Do laws promote inequality by allowing members of the same family of various legal statuses different rights and access to benefits?

"Racial Disparities in the Criminal Justice System"
The reading is actually 60 pages long but you can get a good idea of it from the summary. The full text can be read here

"Kansas governor rescinds order protecting gay state workers"
Soon after being sworn in the governor of Kansas rescinds previous executive order that protected workers of the state that were part of the LGBT community. He claims that this should be done by legislation not an executive order.

Stacy England

Brenda Olvera

"Incarceration and social inequality" -Brenda Olvera
We can see that our prison population in America has been vastly growing, however, the incarceration rates of minorities (especially African Americans) have gone up. Many of these minorities who are put in prison come from neighborhoods where the average family lives in poverty. They also lack a good education and are predominantly male. You can read the article here

Shea Reynolds

The US Supreme Court will meet in conference on Friday to decide whether to take on cases on same sex marriage.
"The justices this week will be considering petitions from five states where lower-court judges, bucking a nationwide trend, upheld laws banning same-sex marriage and barring the recognition of such unions performed in states where they are legal.
In all but one case, even the winning side has asked the Supreme Court to accept the cases and settle the issue during its current term, which will conclude at the end of June."
UPDATE: The USSC will rule on marriage equality From SCOTUSBLOG:
"Taking on a historic constitutional challenge with wide cultural impact, the Supreme Court on Friday afternoon agreed to hear four new cases on same-sex marriage. The Court said it would rule on the power of the states to ban same-sex marriages and to refuse to recognize such marriages performed in another state. A total of two-and-a-half hours was allocated for the hearings, likely in the April sitting. A final ruling is expected by early next summer, probably in late June.

The Court fashioned the specific questions it is prepared to answer, but they closely tracked the two core constitutional issues that have led to a lengthy string of lower-court rulings striking down state bans. As of now, same-sex marriages are allowed in thirty-six states, with bans remaining in the other fourteen but all are under court challenge. Although the Court said explicitly that it was limiting review to the two basic issues, along the way the Justices may have to consider what constitutional tests they are going to apply to state bans, and what weight to give to policies that states will claim to justify one or the other of the bans."

Liliana Rzepecka

Research Question:
Question: How can interest groups provoke legislation that would establish equal pay/wage for women who do the same job as men?


By Liliana
Here is an article from Institute of Women's Policy Research, it talks about unequal pay for women. The article gives some fascinating statistics of how women are still getting paid less than men in nearly every single occupation. Check it out:

For more than four decades, NWLC has worked to close the wage gap and ensure that male and female employees get equal pay and benefits for comparable work. The Center has dramatically changed the workplace for women by successfully pushing for laws that could bring about pay equity for women. But there's still much more to be done. American women who work full-time, year-round are paid only 78 cents for every dollar paid to their male counterparts — which means it's important to keep pushing for new legislation that would make the workplace fair for women

Paycheck Fairness Act- proposed legislation to fix loopholes in the EPA. It would be more difficult for employers to discriminate. -- This is a great website that digests the Lilly Ledbetter v. Goodyear Supreme Court case. It states all the fact and goes through the process. It states the question that court had to resolve, and explains the entire controversy around the Ledbetter decision. Really good article from Newsweek that gives real life examples of how women are affected by the wage gap. One awesome example that they use are women surgeons. On average those highly educated women earn more than $700 dollars less per week than their male colleagues. It is crazy to think that the more educated an individual is the worst the wage gap gets.

Text Version for Population and labor force participation, by sex, 2013.
Text Version for Population and labor force participation, by sex, 2013.

Text Version for Labor force participation rates, by sex, race and Hispanic ethnicity, 2013 annual averages.
Text Version for Labor force participation rates, by sex, race and Hispanic ethnicity, 2013 annual averages.

Mothers Participation in the Labor Force

external image mothers_children.gifexternal image mothers_children_2.gifexternal image mothers_children_3.gifexternal image mothers_children_4.gifexternal image mothers_children_5.gif

The above images show participation of women in the labor force. It breaks it down based on sex and nationality. The above graphs come from Department of Labor.

Humaa Siddiqi


By Humaa

Research Question: Is it harder to resolve disputes and/or go to court if you're not a conservative Christian in the "Bible Belt" states?

Bible Belt States

This article is very interesting regarding religious inequality and police accountability. Christianity is the dominant religion in the US, therefore infamous terms like the "Bible Belt" is used to describe conservative groups in the south-east side of the country. Going back to the article, a woman sued Michigan police because of her forced removal of her religious attire. The woman was arrested for driving with an outstanding drivers license. She had requested for a female officer and was denied for the booking photo of her arrest. The suit claims Kazan experienced “extreme shame, humiliation, mental anguish, and emotional distress” when she was forced to remove her hijab. Police Chief Lee Gavin told that the department requires individuals to remove hats and other head coverings for safety reasons, as they can “contain concealable items that could pose a threat or chance of injury to the cops or to themselves.” He said procedure is to have women remove hijabs in the presence of a female officer, but there aren’t always enough female officers at the station. “Our number one concern is security of our officers and the prisoners,” Gavin said.

Priya Uppuluri


By Priya
Research question: Is socioeconomic status the main factor in educational inequality at the high school level? (Ex: Chicago Public schools vs.suburban schools)

Educational inequality has been an ongoing issue within the U.S. for more than 50 years. Moreover, the court and legal system has been involved in educational inequality issues throughout history yet there are still so many ongoing problems.
This article from the Huffington Post focuses on Brown vs. Board of Education and goes further into discussing inequalities still present today, 60 yeas after Brown vs. Board.

A passage from the article states that, "The Civil Right Project at UCLA, using Education Department data, has found that segregation has been increasing since 1990, and that black students nationally are substantially more segregated than they were in 1970. Around the country, only 23 percent of black students attended white-majority schools in 2011. That's the lowest number since 1968 and far below the peak of 44 percent in 1988."

This data shows that the inequality in school systems deals with multiple factors such as race and class. This segregation of social class and race in school systems influences quality of education given to a student, graduation rates for certain races, and likeliness for certain students to pursue higher education.
This article stresses the relationship between socioeconomic status and educational inequalities within the U.S. This is a reminder that educational and any time of social inequality have more than one factor. (Ex: Race, economic status, gender, etc.)
"alleging that the special admissions program operated to exclude him on the basis of his race in violation of the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, a provision of the California Constitution, and 601 of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which provides, inter alia, that no person shall on the ground of race or color be excluded from participating in any program receiving federal financial assistance. "

Edward Wells


Are there social implications alluding to why African Americans are dealt with more harshly than white people in the eye of the law?

What does Gerald Rosenberg tell us about the use of the courts to produce greater social equality?

Kerby, Sophia. "The 10 Most Disturbing Facts about Racial Inequality in the U.S. Criminal Justice System" Alternet. N.p., n.d. 27 January 2015. Web. (Ed)

Cohen, Steve. "Reducing Racial Inequality in Our Justice System". The Nation. The Nation, 2012. 27 January 2015. Web. (Ed)

Dred Scott v. Sandford (1857) - Taney's belief in the inferiority of blacks and white supremacy. Chief Justice Taney contended that all blacks were unfit to associate with the white race, either in social or political relations; and that all blacks, "whether emancipated or not," had "no rights which the white man was bound to respect; and that [blacks] might justly and lawfully be reduced to slavery for... [their own] benefit." (taken from POLS 358 slide, accredited to Professor Kevin Lyles)

Equal Protection Clause in 14th Amendment is supposed to protect all equally under the law, yet African-Americans are often the exception.
“14th Amendment”. Cornell University Law School. N.p., n.d. Web. 23 April 2015.

This article discusses white privilege and helps to understand why white people are often times given softer repercussions than blacks in the eye of the law.
Jay, Gregory. “Who Invented White People?” A Talk on the Occasion of Martin Luther King,
Jr. Day, 1998. Print.

This article provides statistics on how often blacks are profiled under the Stop & Frisk laws in several metropolitan areas in a significantly larger number than whites.
“Policing”. Race & Justice News. N.p., n.d. Web. 23 April 2015.

This website provides a series of cases where race was clearly a motivating factor when sentencing blacks to the death penalty while it is imposed on whites much less frequently.
“The Death Penalty in Black and White: Who Lives, Who Dies, Who Decides”. Death Penalty
Information Center. Death Penalty Information Center, 2015. Web. 23 April 2015.

Sexual orientation

Are the courts contributing to increasing equality in this area? Why and how?


Posting this, hopefully it will help

Minority Mayors and the Hallow-Prize Problem

This article talks about mayors that are an ethnic minority and the troubles they face when they enter office. it talks about the hollow prize idea problem. Interesting read if youre looking to discuss problems minorities face when in the predominantly white government.