At the end of this collection of essays critical of law, law schools, and legal ideology, Victor Rabinowitz reminds us of another such collection, Robert Lefcourt’s Law Against the People,’ published at the beginning of the last decade. Like this book, Lefcourt’s was a landmark, not because the pieces in it were so excellent-many of them were ill-conceived and rough, as are some of the pieces in The Politics of Law-but because it summed up, as this book does, a set of attitudes about law that were increasingly widespread. Lefcourt and many of his contributors, reflecting that era of political show trials and resistance to the draft, embraced a version of what I call, in my mental shorthand, the “cat’s paw” theory of the law: “that the law as an institution is an instrument of the bourgeoisie designed to deceive and oppress the mass of the people, and the lawyer is necessarily a part of this machinery.” While that theory is currently disfavored as being untenable in the long run, it at least had the virtue of apparent simplicity. The critique expressed or implied in much of Kairys’s collection is more subtle and puzzling, even when the writers swing from the floor at the legal system.
By Ben Notterman In order to address the dearth of available legal services for indigent communities, we should put ideology to the side and focus instead on the verifiable economic effects of legal aid. These effects can be leveraged to secure funding
In 2001, the New York Court of Appeals unanimously ruled, in Aliessa v. Novello, that it was unconstitutional for New York State to bar immigrants who lawfully reside in the United States from receiving state-funded Medicaid benefits.
DOJ guidance for mentally impaired detainees in immigration removal proceedings should be amended to provide counsel at earlier signs of incompetence.
Voting rights advocates should explore section 11(b) of the Voting Rights Act as a vehicle to combat voter intimidation.