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Weekly Roundup: May 24


At the Blog

On Monday, Kate Andrias described an emerging constitutional clash between labor and business, echoing the fights of the early twentieth century. Presented with a conservative supermajority on the Supreme Court, corporations and right-wing trade associations have launched a series of constitutional challenges to worker rights. In response, workers are putting forward a fundamentally different vision for our economy and society — one that offers an alternative not only to business’s right-wing constitution but also to the New Deal constitutional settlement.

On Wednesday, Kate Yoon kicked off a new symposium on the LPE of Insurance. From the health care we receive to the public services our cities provide, private insurers play a considerable yet often overlooked role in our political economy. As she writes, “insurers and governments make choices about what risks are tolerable and what risks are not, as well as who bears responsibility for risk. Indeed, insurance can even serve the role of obscuring political decisions behind the seeming objectivity of actuarial logic, re-directing public blame to individuals who make ‘bad choices.’ Instead of an anti-discrimination approach that simply demands, say, equal premiums for equal ‘risk,’ an LPE approach to insurance asks how risk itself is made legible.”

And on Thursday, Anthony O’Rourke, Guyora Binder, and Rick Su continued the series by explaining how the business model of municipal insurers hinders radical police reform. There is, they note, a lively scholarly debate over whether municipal liability insurance providers wield their influence to promote or hinder incremental police reform. Yet this overlooks the incentives that insurers have to block more radical transformations to police governance. As they write, “from the perspective of insurers, democratic reform of police agencies is undesirable, not because it will predictably increase or decrease claims, but because its effects are uncertain. If insurers could confidently determine the effects of a reform, they could adjust their business model and continue to profit from issuing policies. However, because it is relatively untested, radical democratic reform threatens the core of the business model for liability insurance by creating uncertainty as how much municipal liability the insurer will have to cover.” 

In LPE Land

On Tuesday, May 28, Ryan Doerfler (HLS) will be leading the fifth session of our open course/reading group “What To Do About The Courts,” focusing on specific reform proposals. How many weird flags is Samuel Alito going to have to fly before you join the cause?

On the Ezra Klein Show, Aslı Ü. Bâli examines the Israeli-Palestinian conflict through the lens of international law.

On UVA’s Common Law podcast, Karen Tani and Craig Konnoth discuss “medicalizing” civil rights — assigning a medical diagnosis to receive help to address a social issue such as poverty.

David Pozen’s The Constitution of the War on Drugs, which recovers a lost history of constitutional challenges to punitive drug laws, is out now and available for free download. And, if you want to see what it’s all about, Balkinization just concluded a symposium on the book.

In Dissent, Simon Torracinta reviews Branko Milanovic’s Visions of Inequality: From the French Revolution to the End of the Cold War.

In Chartbook #284, Adam Tooze looks at the the surreal geoeconomic imaginary of Netanyahu’s “economic peace.”