Law & Society Review

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Table of Contents for Law & Society Review. List of articles from both the latest and EarlyView issues.
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On the Radar: System Embeddedness and Latin American Immigrants' Perceived Risk of Deportation

Wed, 2020-03-18 06:59

Drawing on in‐depth interviews with 50 Latin American immigrants in Dallas, Texas, this article uncovers systematic distinctions in how immigrants holding different legal statuses perceive the threat of deportation. Undocumented immigrants recognize the precarity of their legal status, but they sometimes feel that their existence off the radar of the US immigration regime promotes their long‐term presence in the country. Meanwhile, documented immigrants perceive stability in their legal status, but they sometimes view their existence on the radar of the US immigration regime as disadvantageous to their long‐term presence in the country. The article offers the concept of system embeddedness—individuals' perceived legibility to institutions that maintain formal records—as a mechanism through which perceived visibility to the US immigration regime entails feelings of risk, and perceived invisibility feelings of safety. In this way, the punitive character of the US immigration regime can overwhelm its integrative functions, chilling immigrants out of opportunities for material and social well‐being through legalization and legal status. More broadly, system embeddedness illuminates how perceived visibility to a record‐keeping body that combines punitive and integrative goals represents a mechanism of legal stratification for subordinated populations—even absent prior punitive experiences with other social control institutions that might otherwise be thought to trigger their system avoidance.

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The Role of Military Law and Systemic Issues in the Military's Handling of Sexual Assault Cases

Wed, 2020-03-18 06:59

Allegations of sexual assault and sexual harassment by prominent entertainment and media figures and politicians in the United States have brought renewed attention to a political debate that earlier had been focused on universities and the military: the apparent failure of institutions to address and punish cases of sexual assault by their members. In light of this debate, we consider how cases fare in an institution that is perennially accused of gender bias and of tolerating rape: the US military. Through the analysis of 585 sexual assault report summaries from the US military bases in Japan, we find that the military often tries to punish cases of sexual assault. However, many cases do not have sufficient evidence for prosecution as sexual assault cases. Low conviction rates at court‐martial for reported sexual assaults may indicate systemic problems with the nature of the cases themselves and the circumstances in which the cases arise. Low conviction rates may also reflect the military's legal mandate to prioritize mission, and its legal system's multiple options for addressing crime outside of trial procedures. Case characteristics interact with the primary concerns of command authority and complainants, within a highly institutionalized, closed context, to affect the military's handling and disposition of reported sexual assault cases.

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Legal Consciousness and Cultural Capital

Wed, 2020-03-18 06:59

In this article, we use a Bourdieusian framework to theorize the relationship between cultural capital and legal consciousness, and in turn to consider how variation in legal consciousness contributes to the creation and maintenance of legal hegemony. We investigate how cultural capital shapes the ways people navigate situations that force them to mediate between state‐conferred rights, on one hand, and requests from state authority, on the other. Specifically, we analyze open‐ended responses to a series of vignettes about constitutional rights in the criminal procedure context. We find that high cultural capital gives rise to a greater sense of self‐efficacy in police–citizen interactions. This finding parallels the literature on the influence of cultural capital in the education context and may point to a more general pattern of self‐advocacy within the juridical field. People with high cultural capital also evince a more salient sense of entitlement, understanding their own needs and desires as paramount. The social processes we identify may make people with limited cultural capital more vulnerable to investigative authority, and thus more susceptible to arrest and prosecution. Even if knowledge of a right and the opportunity to assert that right are equally distributed, meaningful access to that right remains inequitable.

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Reconfiguring the Deserving Refugee: Cultural Categories of Worth and the Making of Refugee Policy

Wed, 2020-03-18 06:59

Studies on asylum give little explanatory power to the role of categories of worth in how lawmakers formulate asylum law in lack of a clear policy framework for determining eligibility for asylum status. This article contends that during periods of policy upheaval, distinctions of worth shift to forefront lawmaking: lawmakers renegotiate the moral boundaries between categories of deserving and undeserving refugees to give content in ambiguous law. In the United States, lawmakers drew on the concept of immutability—the notion that to be worthy of protection you must be targeted on account of traits beyond your control to change—to distinguish between “undeserving” Central Americans fleeing civil wars and gang violence, and “deserving” women subjected to gender violence. Understanding how categories of worth inform the formulation and implementation of law in periods of policy upheaval advances understandings of asylum policy and expands scholarship on the role of ideas about worth in processes of institutional change.

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Elite Mobilization: A Theory Explaining Opposition to Gay Rights

Wed, 2020-03-18 06:59

Media and scholastic accounts describe a strong backlash against attempts to advance gay rights. Academic research, however, increasingly raises questions about the sharply negative and enduring opinion change that characterizes backlash among the mass public. How can we reconcile the widespread backlash described by the media with the growing body of academic research that finds no evidence of the opinion change thought to be its hallmark trait? We argue that rather than widespread opinion change, what appears to be backlash against gay rights is more consistent with elite‐led mobilization—a reaction by elites seeking to prevent gays and lesbians from achieving full incorporation in the polity. We present evidence from what is widely considered to be a classic case of anti‐gay backlash, the 2010 Iowa Judicial Retention Election. Analysis of campaign contribution data in Iowa versus other states between 2010 and 2014, and voter roll‐off data exploiting a unique feature of the 2010 retention election supports this argument. The results simultaneously explain how reports of backlash might occur despite increased support for gay rights, and an academic literature that finds no evidence of backlash.

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Jailing Immigrant Detainees: A National Study of County Participation in Immigration Detention, 1983–2013

Wed, 2020-03-18 06:59

Hundreds of county jails detain immigrants facing removal proceedings, a civil process. In exchange, local jails receive per diem payments from Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Immigration detention thus presents a striking case of commodification of penal institutions for civil confinement purposes. Yet we know very little about the counties participating in this arrangement and the predictors of their participation over time. Our study offers the first systematic analysis of immigration detention in county jails using new and comprehensive panel data on jails across the United States. First, we find that the number of counties confining immigrant detainees steadily increased between 1983 and 2013, with the largest growth concentrated in small‐ to medium‐sized, rural, and Republican counties located in the South. Second, our regression analyses point to a number of significant predictors of county participation in immigration detention: (a) worsening labor market conditions, combined with growing excess bed space for the criminal inmate population; (b) an increasing Latino population up to a certain threshold level; and (c) increasing Republican Party strength. These findings have important implications for current debates raging across the United States about the proper role of local communities in detaining immigrants.

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Realizing the Right to Be Cold? Framing Processes and Outcomes Associated with the Inuit Petition on Human Rights and Global Warming

Wed, 2020-03-18 06:59

Our article provides an in‐depth analysis of the framing processes and outcomes associated with a petition submitted by Inuit communities in the arctic on the human rights violations caused by climate change before the Inter‐American Commission of Human Rights in 2005. Drawing on semi‐structured interviews conducted in two different Inuit communities in Canada that have ties to the petition and with lawyers and activists in the transnational climate justice movement, we process‐trace the role that the petition has played in promoting discursive and collective action frames related to the recognition of the “right to be cold.” We argue that the Inuit petition articulated a novel “climate rights” frame through an innovative combination of legal argumentation, scientific research, and the oral testimony of Inuit communities concerning the ways in which climate impacts were affecting their human rights and traditional practices. Our findings reveal that the resonance of this frame has varied significantly among different actors, influencing the ideas and strategies of climate activists and lawyers around the world, but having limited resonance among policymakers in the United States or Canada or among Inuit communities themselves. Our research thus speaks to the complex challenges and ethical responsibilities that must be addressed in initiatives that seek to draw on international human rights law to influence policy decisions and empower Indigenous communities in the context of climate change.

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How to Be Sort of Happy in Law School. By Kathryne M. Young. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2018.

Wed, 2020-03-18 06:59
Law & Society Review, Volume 54, Issue 1, Page 307-309, March 2020.
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Constituting Religion: Islam, Liberal Rights, and the Malaysian State. By Tamir Moustafa . Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2018.

Wed, 2020-03-18 06:59
Law & Society Review, Volume 54, Issue 1, Page 301-304, March 2020.
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Gender, Alterity and Human Rights: Freedom in a Fishbowl. By Ratna Kapur . Edward Elgar Publishing, 2018.

Wed, 2020-03-18 06:59
Law & Society Review, Volume 54, Issue 1, Page 304-307, March 2020.
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Editor's Note

Wed, 2020-03-18 06:59
Law & Society Review, Volume 54, Issue 1, Page 5-6, March 2020.
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Issue Information

Wed, 2020-03-18 06:59
Law & Society Review, Volume 54, Issue 1, Page 1-4, March 2020.
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Retraction

Wed, 2020-03-18 06:59
Law & Society Review, Volume 54, Issue 1, Page 313-313, March 2020.
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Repeat Players, the Law, and Social Change: Redefining the Boundaries of Environmental and Labor Governance Through Preemptive and Authoritarian Legality

Wed, 2020-03-18 06:59

Powerful corporations leverage the law to shape the regulatory environments in which they operate. A key strategy for achieving this is litigation. I ask under what conditions corporations litigate, and specifically, what happens when two repeat players, transnational agribusiness firms and local governments, face each other in court. I compare outcomes of two cases—Hawaii and Arica, Chile—documenting how different sociopolitical contexts and legal systems shape how actors engage the law. Interviews with firm managers, unions, government officials, lawyers, and advocacy organization leaders and document analysis reveal that firms seize on existing institutional norms and politics to define their localized legal strategies. Through strategic legalism, a defensive legal strategy that is outcome‐oriented and context‐specific, firms accomplish legal compliance and political containment of their opposition. In Hawaii, firms rely on preemptive legality, a strategy that moves controversial issues like pesticide safety from one domain of democratic politics to another that is largely incontestable because it is preempted by a higher authority. In Chile, firms use authoritarian legality, an approach that draws on authoritarian structures and policies within the state, to sway legal outcomes. These cases reveal the mechanisms that corporations draw on to institutionalize their power advantages through the law, offering a typology for future scholars to better understand how the strategic behavior of corporations shapes regulatory outcomes.

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Reassessing Gender Neutrality

Wed, 2020-03-18 06:59

Since the 1970s, advocates have used the term gender neutral to press for legal change in contexts ranging from employment discrimination to marriage equality to public restroom access. Drawing on analyses of all Supreme Court cases, federal courts of appeals cases, and Supreme Court amicus briefs in which the terms gender neutral/neutrality, sex neutral/neutrality, or sexually neutral/sexual neutrality appear, this study examines how US courts have defined gender neutrality and what the scope and limits of its legal application have been. We find that the courts have defined gender neutrality narrowly as facial neutrality, but nonetheless that this limited understanding has transformed some areas of the law, even if it has had little impact on others. Our analysis confirms earlier feminist skepticism about the sufficiency of gender neutrality to guarantee equality but also points to areas in which the law has yet to exploit the idea's significant potential to address discrimination on the basis of sex, sexual orientation, and gender identity.

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