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Representative Projects Supported by the Fund
Big Tech and Antitrust – Competition Policy in the Digital Age
Jack Balkin, Knight Professor of Constitutional Law and the First Amendment
Professor Balkin requested funding for a conference which will bring together experts from different disciplines to explore the role of antitrust and competition law in the future of the digital economy. The conference aims to advance regulatory theory in the area of antitrust and competition law; to develop scholarship about the kinds of harms antitrust and competition law need to address in the digital age; and to respond to student interest in and requests for law and technology programming, especially at the intersection of Big Tech, privacy, innovation, and inequality. The event will be open to the public and will be widely publicized through mailing lists, social media, and posters at the Law School.
#MeTooSport in the Larry Nassar Era
James Silk, Binger Clinical Professor of Human Rights
Professor Silk is planning an interdisciplinary symposium focused on approaches to protecting athletes against gender-based discrimination, harassment, and abuse in international sport settings. Sport has the power to be a force for good in society, yet it is not always a safe space for everyone. Due to a wide range of power imbalances in sports settings, including but not limited to gendered hierarchies, the risk of intentional violence for athletes is of particular concern, yet the majority of published scholarship about this population focuses on the positive outcomes of sport participation, without acknowledging the risk of harm. The Larry Nassar abuse tragedy, in which a USA gymnastics doctor was accused of molesting hundreds of young women and girls and was ultimately convicted, brought one aspect of the underbelly of sport into stark relief and, in the context of the #MeToo and #TimesUp movements, sparked a palpable cultural turn. We now recognize that the Nassar case is far from isolated. Intentional, gendered, and sexual violence in sport occurs and is perpetuated and sustained systemically at all levels of sport globally, in insidious and often unseen ways.
Vaccine Policy and Politics: The Role of the Law From A Health Justice and Human Rights Lens
Amy Kapczynski, Professor of Law
Professor Kapczynski organized a panel to consider vaccine policy and law in the US from a human rights and health justice framework. Vaccines are essential public health tools, and among the most effective means to halt the spread of infectious diseases. In recent years, however, rates of vaccine refusal in the US have increased. Dangerous disease outbreaks like the recent measles ones have followed, causing serious harm and alarm. Legislatures around the country have jumped into action, but how should the law respond to vaccine refusals? Are legislatures right to consider limits on vaccination exemptions, or are there other more effective means to protect public health and also individuals? The panel was open to the public and promoted on the Global Health Justice Partnership and Solomon Center websites, social media, and listservs.
Social Parenthood in Comparative Perspective
Douglas NeJaime, Anne Urowsky Professor of Law
Professor NeJaime’s conference will bring together scholars of law, sociology, and psychology from North America and Europe to explore the legal response to social parenthood. As family forms become increasingly varied, legal systems are trying to adapt. A persistent issue is whether and how to confer parental status on a person who functions as a parent to a child but who has no biological, adoptive, or marital tie to the child. This issue arises in every country, and countries are adopting different legal rules. This project—which is both comparative and interdisciplinary—brings together scholars of law, sociology, and psychology from North America and Europe to explore the legal response to social parenthood. These issues are of critical importance to the millions of children who are being raised by social parents around the world. Along with the conference, Professor NeJaime is planning an author roundtable and edited book volume. The book has both descriptive and normative ambitions, seeking to explain as well as interrogate the different legal rules in a number of countries. The book approaches the legal question from the perspective of an adult seeking recognition as a parent, a legal parent potentially resisting another person’s parental recognition, as well as the perspective of a child, asking what a child-centered approach to the law might be.
Tom Tyler, Macklin Fleming Professor of Law and Professor of Psychology
Professor Tyler’s project will comprehensively investigate how various extra-legal factors impact outcomes in the parole system. During the last decades, parole systems have been largely overlooked by reform movements that seek to reduce incarceration across the country. However, recent studies have shown that parole can be an incarceration driver, and it often deepens criminal justice inequities. His goal is to generate knowledge that will inform policies seeking to improve parole by promoting successful reintegration of parolees into communities while reducing parole revocations due to technical violations.
Professor Tyler hopes to disseminate his findings widely both to academic and non-academic audiences. In addition to producing articles for peer-review publication, he will focus on creative communications to reach broader audiences.
Suburban Rezoning During the Civil Rights Era
Anika Singh Lemar, Clinical Associate Professor of Law
Professor Lemar will create a website that catalogs the history of Connecticut suburbs’ adoption of restrictive zoning, prohibiting the development of apartments, starter homes, and rooming houses. The website will describe the history of downzonings in prosperous Connecticut suburbs in the years immediately preceding and following law reforms that sought to advance desegregation. The web resource will be available for use by scholars, nonprofit organizations, students, teachers, and the general public. In addition, Professor Lemar will publish a law review article that both recounts this history and shares her experience making this kind of legal scholarship accessible to a general audience through the use of interactive timelines and maps online.
Evidence from Maine Hunting Lotteries
Ian Ayres, William K. Townsend Professor of Law
The purpose of Professor Ayres’ study is to estimate the causal effect of winning a moose hunting permit on health and welfare outcomes, including applications for state assistance programs and several measures of financial wellbeing. He hypothesizes that, through the monetary or nutritional value of a tagged moose, winning a lottery permit has a positive effect on these outcomes for individuals and communities. Measuring the impact of a shock to wealth and food security has broader implications for welfare policies. Results of the study will be submitted for publication at a peer-reviewed journal.
Covid and the Law
Issa Kohler-Hausmann, Professor of Law
Professor Kohler-Hausmann is devoted to trying to identify the potential harms of Covid-19 to incarcerated persons, correctional works, health care workers, and the communities where prisons and jails are located, specifically researching the impact on geographical regions. She is collecting data on prison populations, locations, capacity, hospital beds and ICU capacity, and staffing levels to quantify the risk pool and show the spatial distribution. She is also researching the possibility of whether failure to take decisive action in the face of this pandemic qualifies as cruel and unusual punishment. Professor Kohler-Hausmann hopes to disseminate widely, including posting all research online and sharing her findings with policy makers.
Free Exercise Clinic
Kate Stith, Lafayette S. Foster Professor of Law
Professor Stith’s Free Exercise Clinic provides an opportunity for students to study and to defend the free exercise rights of politically vulnerable religious minorities. Students will learn about and advocate for the rights of inmates seeking religious accommodations, houses of worship challenging zoning decisions, and employees facing discrimination at work.
The primary goals of the Free Exercise Clinic are for students to study the landscape of religious liberty litigation in the United States today, including religious liberty for communities that don’t always make the front pages; to help students understand and reflect upon enduring questions about how civil governments treat the religious beliefs, expressions, and institutions of their citizens; and for students to participate in on-going litigation regarding the free exercise rights of a variety of individuals and communities, by working under the supervision of first-rate, experienced attorneys who have been engaged to write amicus briefs in a variety of cases.
Enrichment Courses 2020-21
Along with our standard curriculum, every year the Law School offers a number of “enrichment courses.” These courses are usually taught by visitors, and often reflect the changing interests of our students or new developments in law or policy. These courses are very much in keeping with the goals of the Ruebhausen fund to “maintain, increase and assure intellectual vitality, creativity and analytical rigor at the Yale Law School.”
See list of courses.