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2007 November - December

Children's Development Accounts Promote Inclusive Prosperity

By Dory Rand & Stephanie Holmes

Children’s development accounts—publicly provided, individualized bank accounts for children—are an innovative solution to the problems that Americans face in building assets. The bright promise of these accounts faces political, budgetary, and institutional challenges. Advocates need to know how children’s development accounts work, why they are important, and how to promote their realization at the local, state, and national levels.

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The Supreme Court's 2006-2007 Term

The Shift to the Right Takes Shape

By Jane Perkins, Gill Deford, Matthew Diller & Gary F. Smith

Chief Justice Roberts had hoped in this past term to achieve “a greater degree of consensus.” This has not happened since the Court continues its ideological shift to the right with Justice Kennedy as the all-important swing vote. The Court continued to close the courthouse door to plaintiffs in a variety of contexts. In upholding the dismissal of a class action suit charging Sherman Act violations, the Court created a heightened fact-pleading requirement. In a bit of good news, the Court found a state to have standing to challenge the failure to regulate greenhouse gas emissions. However, the Court narrowed taxpayer standing to challenge executive branch actions. In school desegregation cases the Court seemed to create a new theory of standing where the possibility of harm suffices as “injury-in-fact” allowing students not harmed by school policies to challenge those policies nevertheless. The Court engaged in interesting Chevron analyses to uphold agency regulations and policies and rejected attorney fee-shifting where a preliminary injunction was subsequently overturned.

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Human Rights in the Trenches

Using International Human Rights Law in "Everyday" Legal Aid Cases

By Martha F. Davis

International human rights law in increasingly relevant in U.S. courts. In both state and federal courts a growing number of judges welcome and even encourage arguments that rely on international law and treaties, even treaties that the United States has not ratified. Raising claims under international human rights law can help advocates conceptualize “everyday” poverty law cases through a broader framework and strengthen claims made under domestic law.

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Advocacy Strategies to Fight Eviction in Cases of Compulsive Hoarding and Cluttering

By Tom Cobb, Eric Dunn, Vanessa Tores Hernandez, Jake Moroni Okleberry, Riana Pfefferkorn & Chelsea Spector

Compulsive hoarding is a behavior associated with obsessive-compulsive disorder and can often threaten the tenancy of a resident in either private or public housing, as landlords frequently find the clutter that results from the behavior to violate lease and safety requirements. Advocates seeking to prevent eviction of such tenants with disabilities should understand the psychological basis for the disorder and how to use the Fair Housing Amendments Act to preserve the tenancy. Successful advocacy should also include working with community and social service organizations to develop solutions to protect the housing of tenants who hoard.

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American Human Development Report 2008

By Sarah Burd-Sharps, Kristen Lewis, Eduardo Borges Martins & William M. Rodgers III

For the first time ever for an affluent country, a nationwide American Human Development Index (HDI) will present a snapshot of how the United States fares in social and economic spheres and how different communities stack up in terms of well-being. The American Human Development Report, modeled after the United Nations’ global Human Development Reports, introduces the American HDI, explores the extremes of inequality and their costs to society, and promotes informed public policy debate on society outcomes.

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