Stanford Law Review Online


Book Review Symposium - The Fight to Save the Town

The Deserving Poor

by  Michelle Wilde Anderson  

In The Fight to Save the Town, Michelle Wilde Anderson chronicles the fights to save four places that are usually put on the undeserving, unworthy side of the line. This Book Symposium aims to elaborate on the stories the book tells, with authors Helaine Olen, Julia Mendoza, Sheila Foster, Jessica Andors, and Dan Rivera each reflecting on different towns and individuals featured.

Volume 75 (2022-2023)

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Book Review Symposium - The Fight to Save the Town

It’s Hard to Save a Town

by  Helaine Olen  

Michelle Wilde Anderson’s The Fight to Save the Town offers a compelling portrait of residents of Stockton, California, Lawrence, Massachusetts, Detroit, Michigan, and rural Josephine County, Oregon in their fights against the decline of their hometowns. She focuses her attention on the hardy souls who attempt to push back against ongoing neglect and the people who fight to keep libraries open and teens away from drugs. But we must remember that individual victories—when, that is, they occur—can’t fully compensate for decades of neglect, and that the fight to save a town is often harder than it sounds.

Volume 75 (2022-2023)

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Book Review Symposium - The Fight to Save the Town

Writing for Abolitionist Futures

by  Julia Mendoza  

In The Fight to Save the Town, Michelle Wilde Anderson addresses how local governments and nonprofits can create collective ecosystems of care despite decades of “austerity, spatial inequality, and citywide poverty.”  These ecosystems of care are essential not only to building an abolitionist world without police and prisons, but to creating a world with life-affirming social infrastructures that address all systems of inequity.

Volume 75 (2022-2023)


Book Review Symposium - The Fight to Save the Town

Seeing Like a Chocolate City:
Reimagining Detroit’s Future Through Its

by  Sheila R. Foster  

In The Fight to Save the Town, Michelle Wilde Anderson captures how the rise and fall of Detroit maps onto so many other important cultural, political, social, and economic moments of the twentieth century. As Anderson rightly notes, many of the ways in which the city’s history is commonly told represent a “white gaze on Detroit.” What this narrative often leaves out is the critical role of the Black middle and professional class in stabilizing or holding up the city during the period often associated with the city’s decline.

Volume 75 (2022-2023)

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Rethinking Strategy After Dobbs

by  David S. Cohen, Greer Donley & Rachel Rebouché  

Now that the Supreme Court has overturned Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey, the movement for abortion rights and access finds itself in uncharted territory, and the stakes could not be higher. For abortion rights defenders, this new, post-Roe playing field means adapting their strategy and mindset to confront a new environment without a tether to federal constitutional protection. This Essay, published in the immediate aftermath of Dobbs, offers some initial thoughts about what the changed legal landscape means for abortion rights legal advocacy. It offers several suggestions, all of which require a paradigm shift in movement strategy to one that is in some ways modeled after the now-successful movement to overturn Roe

Volume 75 (2022-2023)

Court Gavel


Is Quasi-Judicial Immunity Qualified Immunity?

by  William Baude  

Has qualified immunity finally found its roots? Scott Keller’s Qualified and Absolute Immunity at Common Law shows the breadth and complexity of nineteenth century case law dealing with official immunities. But its most important claim, for today’s purposes, is the claim to find a historical basis for a doctrine of qualified immunity: an immunity from suit given to all government officials (including, but not only, the police) whenever they are sued for violating the Constitution. According to Keller, “the common law definitively accorded at least qualified immunity to all executive officers’ discretionary duties” in 1871, when Congress passed the civil rights statute now codified as 42 U.S.C. §1983. This would be very important if it were true. But it is not.

Volume 74 (2021-2022)

Your Vote Counts

Symposium - 2022 - Safeguarding the Fundamental Right to Vote

Election Law in an Age of Distrust

by  Richard H. Pildes  

Election law now operates in a sea of pervasive distrust. This essay argues that election law and practices must adapt to the context of this pervasive distrust. Policies and practices that might be fine under normal circumstances, but are likely to feed distrust today, should be re-thought. This short essay identifies seven initial measures that policymakers, election administrators, and even voters can take to help fend off distrust about the election process.

Volume 74 (2021-2022)

Human hand with ballot paper and vote text

Symposium - 2022 - Safeguarding the Fundamental Right to Vote

Enforcing the Political Constitution

by  Franita Tolson  

This short essay argues that the congruence and proportionality test of City of Boerne v. Flores—which the U.S. Supreme Court applies to laws passed pursuant to Section 5 of the Fourteenth Amendment—should not apply to federal voting rights legislation. This test is inapplicable because the right to vote, although a judicially protected constitutional right, is also a political right beyond the purview of the courts. The right to vote implicates a number of constitutional provisions that are direct grants of power to Congress, the exercise of which can directly conflict with the notions of judicial supremacy that dominate our legal system.

Volume 74 (2021-2022)

Boeing 787-10 rollout with President Trump

Symposium - 2022 - Safeguarding the Fundamental Right to Vote

Ascertaining the President-Elect Under
the Presidential Transition Act

by  Michael T. Morley  

The Presidential Transition Act (PTA) requires the Administrator of the General Services Administration (GSA) to facilitate the transition to an incoming administration following a presidential election. The PTA does not provide any guidance for the GSA Administrator, however, in determining whether a presidential candidate qualifies as a President-elect. This Article provides a framework for Administrators to apply, and Congress to consider codifying, when ascertaining the results of presidential elections under the PTA. It further suggests that Congress should amend the PTA to avoid unnecessarily delays and argues that Congress should reduce the potential perceived significance of the Administrator’s ascertainment decision by changing the term “President-elect” as used in the PTA and related federal statutes to a less politically charged term, such as “federal designee.”

Volume 74 (2021-2022)

i vote

Symposium - 2022 - Safeguarding the Fundamental Right to Vote

The Post-Trump Rightward Lurch in Election Law

by  Michael Kang  

The United States Supreme Court’s decisions last Term, Brnovich v. Democratic National Committee and Americans for Prosperity v. Bonta, mark only the beginning of a conservative transformation of election law under the Court’s post-Trump personnel. This Essay argues that although neither decision itself is immediately transformative, both decisions boldly discard ideological compromises not long ago held as obviously sensible by the right and instead point toward a conservative deregulation of minority voting rights and campaign finance disclosure in the near future.

Volume 74 (2021-2022)