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2004 March - April

Reaffirming Diversity

A Joint Statement of Constitutional Law Scholars—July 2003

By Erwin Chemerinsky, Drew Days III, Richard Fallon, Pamela S. Karlan, Kenneth L. Karst, Frank Michelman, Eric Schnapper, Laurence H. Tribe, Mark Tushnet, Angelo N. Ancheta & Christopher F. Edley Jr.

In Grutter v. Bollinger, 123 S. Ct. 2325 (2003), and Gratz v. Bollinger, 123 S. Ct. 2411 (2003), the Supreme Court established constitutional boundaries for race-conscious admissions policy in higher education. In Grutter the Court upheld the constitutionality of a race-conscious admission policy designed to promote diversity in higher education. However, in Gratz the Court struck down an undergraduate point system that automatically assigned a fixed number of points for underrepresented minority group members as not narrowly tailored to advance an interest in diversity. These opinions have implications inside and outside higher education, including K-12 education, as well as on the constitutional assessment of affirmative action programs.

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Adults Left Behind

Helping Clients Deal with Student Loan Problems

By Deanne Loonin

As costs of higher education soar, more low-income clients may face problems in repaying student loans. The outcome of current congressional debate on Higher Education Act reauthorization will shape the future for low-income clients seeking higher education. For those already indebted, loan cancellation, repayment plans, and defenses to collection may be remedies for federal student loans. Advocates should take note of an apparent resurgence in trade school fraud and the illegal practices of private lenders with whom the schools do business.

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Newly Revised Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act Regulations

Leaving Patients Knocking on the Hospital Door?

By Lourdes A. Rivera, Randolph Boyle, Jane Perkins & Sarah Somers

In response to hospital emergency room patient dumping, Congress enacted the Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act of 1986. The enforcement body, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, issued its new regulations in September 2003. The relaxed tenor of the new regulations could deter proper patient care, especially for persons unable to afford health care. Community awareness, education, and enforcement will be key elements to the Act's effectiveness in protecting patients.

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The Law of Human Trafficking

What Legal Aid Providers Should Know

By Sheila Neville & Susana Martinez

Human trafficking is the use of force, fraud, or coercion for sexual or labor exploitation. The United States enacted landmark legislation in 2000 and 2003 to combat this institution by punishing traffickers, protecting victims, and providing victim services, welfare benefits, legal assistance, and immigration relief. Legal aid providers should become familiar with the workings of human trafficking and acquaint themselves with the legal tools that may be used to help its victims.

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