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Weekly Roundup: July 1, 2022


At the Blog

On Monday, Nicole Summers explained how landlords are expanding their control over tenants through settlements that result in “civil probation.” As she writes, “under the terms of these settlements, the tenant is allowed to remain in their home, and ultimately have their tenancy reinstated, so long as they abide by certain conditions for a certain period of time…. If the tenant violates any of the conditions, however, they can be evicted through an expedited, alternative legal process, in which they have few procedural or substantive rights.” This system of civil probation “creates an alternative procedural (and substantive) regime under which tenants can be ordered out of their homes, subverting the rules established by statutory and constitutional law.”

On Wednesday, we gathered six friends of the blog around the virtual water cooler to offer their initial reactions to Viking River Cruises Inc. v. Moriana. Luke Norris had this to say: “From the perspective of designing a robust democratic regulatory enforcement system, there are good reasons to have individualized and non-individualized claims proceed together, and in public. Workers’ individualized harms and experiences are often the prism through which they come to understand and gain the gumption to challenge a host of workplace practices…. Even the most worker-friendly reading of Viking River Cruises weakens the ability of employees to leverage their experiences in court and chops up claims that are best advanced together.”

And on Thursday, Laura Wolf-Powers continued our symposium on decommodifying urban property, focusing on the imperative of property tax reform. As she writes, “Hyper-commodified property – imbued with value by public infrastructure, developed at its ‘highest and best use’ from an income generation perspective, and then taxed – is in theory a boon for municipal governments. In reality, urban fiscal and land use policies become caught up, under regimes of commodification, in cycles of price appreciation and rent-seeking.”

In LPE Land

A CFP for a conference Commodification and the Law, hosted by the Department of Law of the European University Institute (Florence, Italy) in collaboration with Conversations on New Histories of Capitalism: “we welcome submissions focusing on any area of the law during any period of the development of capitalism, as long as they centre around commodification and engage directly with the significance of law in such processes.”

Over at Slate, Blake Emerson discusses West Virginia v. EPA: “Using a legal rule of its own invention that defies the intent of Congress, the court has struck at the heart of government agencies’ ability to protect the public.”

If you haven’t yet had your fill of the Anti-Oligarchy Constitution, join Joseph Fishkin, Willy Forbath, and Katharine Jackson for an online conversation on July 18.