Works in Progress Legislation Roundtable


Abbe Gluck, Professor of Law
Professor Gluck will hold a roundtable for works in progress in the field of legislation. As the only legal conference of its type, the roundtable is critical to the field of legislation and statutory interpretation, and will help solidify Yale Law’s position as one of the leading institutions for study of the field. Approximately 20-25 papers will be presented at the event. The conference is the ideal way for Yale law school students to engage with leading legislation scholars and scholarship as Legislation is one of the most popular courses at the Law School. Professor Gluck expects that all papers from the conference will be published.

Hack to Govern


Jack Balkin, Knight Professor of Constitutional Law and the First Amendment

Professor Balkin’s hackathon, “Hack to Govern,” created an opportunity for law, political science, computer science, and engineering students to engage in interdisciplinary discussions about how to regulate autonomous weapons systems. Each group presented a proposal or proof of concept, including the relevant technological, policy, and legal rationales and feasible technical specifications. They defended their proposal or proof of concept in front of a panel of leading professors and practitioners from each discipline. The winning team had a celebratory dinner with the judges.

Suburban Rezoning During The Civil Rights Era


Anika Singh Lemar, Clinical Associate Professor of Law

Professor Lemar is writing a law review article investigating the history of rezoning actions, particularly downzonings, in prosperous Connecticut suburbs in the years immediately preceding and following law reforms that sought to advance desegregation. By many accounts, residential zoning became much more restrictive, and first began to affect housing affordability, in the 1970’s. There is speculation in the literature as to why zoning becomes more restrictive over the course of the 1970’s. Observers cite as possible factors the birth of the environmental movement, the desire of homeowners to protect the investment value of housing in the face of high inflation, and efforts to preserve residential segregation following the passage of the Fair Housing Act. Professor Lemar will visit this question through a review of zoning decisions, including rezonings, in suburban Connecticut, focusing on between three and six Connecticut towns.

Immigration and the American State


Cristina Rodriguez, Leighton Homer Surbeck Professor of Law

In an effort to understand our immigration politics and the institutions and objectives that structure this country’s laws of admission and exclusion, Professors Rodriguez and John Witt will convene a seminar of leading scholars of immigration history to present their work to the Law School and University communities. The seminar will also function as a course, in which students will meet in the “off” weeks with Professors Rodriguez and Witt to discuss the work of the invited guests and students’ own ideas. Themes for the course will include the development of institutional capacity; race, immigration, and citizenship; refugee policy and the American imperial project; and challenges to the welfare state. To fulfill the course requirements, students will be asked to write four short response papers to the weekly readings. Students who wish to write a serious and publishable work on the history of immigration or citizenship may submit a proposal to produce a longer-term research paper instead. 

Future Time Reference


Ian Ayres, William K. Townsend Professor of Law 

It has been hypothesized that languages that grammatically associate the future with the present foster future-oriented behavior. In particular, if a language has a weak future time reference (FTR), it may create the illusion of making the future seem less distant than it is compared to languages, like English, that have a strong FTR. This, in turn, may encourage more future-oriented behavior such as delaying consumption now to enable more spending later. 

To this effect, studies in the social science literature have shown that languages that grammatically associate the future and the present tend to be correlated with future-oriented behavior. Professor Ayres plans to extend this idea to bilingual speakers and conduct a randomized controlled trial to experimentally test the hypothesis that for people who speak any given combination of a weak and a strong FTR language, randomly asking some a question in the weak FTR language will increase the likelihood that they show more future-oriented time preferences than the people who we ask the same question in a strong FTR language. It is expected that the results of Professor Ayres’ study will be disseminated in a peer-reviewed publication.

Crime and Punishment in Black America


James Forman, J. Skelly Wright Professor of Law

Professor Forman requested funding to support his writing a teacher’s guide for high school teachers (including those who teach in juvenile prisons) for his book, Locking Up Our Own: Crime and Punishment in Black America. The project came from conversations he had with officials at the Center for Educational Excellence in Alternative Settings. The group seeks to improve the quality of instruction in juvenile facilities around the country, and they have said that the subject matter in Locking Up Our Own would be highly relevant and engaging to incarcerated students. They concluded that a teacher’s guide could help bring the conversation about the causes and consequences of mass incarceration to a new and important audience: high school students.

Police and Communities


Tom Tyler, Macklin Fleming Professor of Law and Professor of Psychology

Trust building has become the new focus of discussion among police leaders who recognize that their ability to do their jobs is undermined by their lack of legitimacy in many communities. But, how do you build trust? In a series of experiments, Professor Tyler will study what types of police initiatives are most effective at increasing legitimacy and cooperation. The particular focus of these studies is on minority communities. He will write-up the results of his research for academic and policy audiences through peer-reviewed empirical journal articles and Law Review Articles. 

The Judicialization of the Right to Health in Brazil: Enacting Magic Legalism and Prospecting Biopolitical Futurity


Amy Kapczynski, Professor of Law

Professor Kapczynski hosted an event series with João Biehl, PhD. In his talk, Biehl explored grassroots mobilizations for the right-to-health and for state accountability in Brazil against the backdrop of an expanding pharmaceuticalization of care. He argued that contrary to notions of ‘the end of human rights,’ patients and legal activists are litigating for access to medicines and are rallying for effective infrastructures. Biehl suggested that as people enact ‘magical legalism,’ they create the conditions of biopolitical futurity. Faculty and students had an opportunity to discuss his wide-ranging work, its implications, and prospects for scholarly collaboration and knowledge exchange. 

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.