I sat in my apartment hearing the helicopters overhead and smelling the fires burning blocks away. I felt fear, anger, frustration, and hopelessness. Like so many white people in America, I wondered how I could do more to help. I’ve dedicated my career to legal issues that often intersect with race, but don’t deal with racism head on. I don’t avoid racial issues when they arise, but I’ve often thought of administrative law as being structural and procedural, not substantive. Racism has been someone else’s topic, not mine.
Recent events have convinced me that my head was in the clouds. I go through life in white skin. I can go birdwatching without someone calling the cops. I can drive through a posh neighborhood without being pulled over. People don’t cross to the other side of the street when they see me coming. If I ever got arrested, I’m confident that I would get through it alive.
In my scholarship, my head also has been in the clouds. Racism infects every bit of U.S. law. It is not enough to discuss it when it arises. We need to take it head on, including in administrative law. Pretending that racism is a tangential issue is a cop out that solidifies racism’s hold on our society.
I sent an email to the administrative law professors list serve, and with Chris Walker’s encouragement, this symposium was born.
Contributors will discuss the racial aspects of cases in the administrative law canon, the structural aspects of administrative law that exacerbate racism, critical theories of administrative law, historic racism in administrative law, and racist aspects of current regulatory policies. In this symposium, we will hear many voices and messages that we don’t usually hear in administrative law but should. Contributors include:
- Jerry Anderson, Dean of the Drake University Law School
- Bernard Bell, Rutgers Law School
- David Bernstein, Antonin Scalia Law School
- Rebecca Bratspies, CUNY School of Law
- Warigia Bowman, University of Tulsa College of Law
- Ming Hsu Chen, Colorado Law
- Charlton Copeland, University of Miami School of Law
- Bridget Dooling, George Washington Regulatory Studies Center
- Stella Burch Elias, Iowa Law
- Natalie Gomez-Velez, CUNY School of Law
- Andrew Hammond, University of Florida Fredric G. Levin College of Law
- Dina Haynes, New England Law
- Ernesto Hernández-López, Chapman University Dale E. Fowler School of Law
- Kit Johnson, University of Oklahoma College of Law
- Renée Landers, Suffolk University Law School
- Matthew Lawrence, Emory Law
- Melissa Luttrell, University of Tulsa College of Law
- Neysun Mahboubi, University of Pennsylvania
- Gwen McKee Savitz, University of Tulsa College of Law
- Raquel Muñiz, Boston College Lynch School of Education and Human Development, Liaison to the Law School
- Kali Murray, Marquette University Law School
- Shruti Rana, Indiana University Bloomington, Hamilton Lugar School of Global and International Studies
- Carrie Rosenbaum, University of California Berkeley Center for the Study of Law & Society
- Bijal Shah, Arizona State University Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law
- Peter Strauss, Columbia Law School
- Victoria Sutton, Texas Tech School of Law
- Steph Tai, University of Wisconsin Law School
- Karen Tani, Berkeley Law
- Jonathan Weinberg, Wayne State University Law School
- Ruqaiijah Yearby, Saint Louis University School of Law
- Vanessa Zboreak, Elon Law
I hope this symposium broadens our conception of what administrative law is and our understanding of the role racism plays in that law. And I hope it marks the beginning of a longer and fruitful conversation. Please contact me if you’d like to participate in this symposium.