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2009 January - February

Three Years Later

The Impact of the Bankruptcy Abuse and Consumer Protection Act of 2005 on Low-Income Debtors

By Tara Twomey

The 2005 amendments to the Bankruptcy Code were designed to prevent debtors able to repay their creditors from filing for bankruptcy. The Bankruptcy Abuse and Consumer Protection Act of 2005 made bankruptcy filings more complex and expensive and consequentially affected low-income consumers and their attorneys. Although the law added a fee-waiver provision for Chapter 7 cases, it limited bankruptcy relief for tenants and made it more difficult for the poorest debtors to obtain counsel.

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Who Knows What Lurks in the Hearts of Human Rights Violators? The Shadow (Reporter) Knows--Human Rights Shadow Reporting

A Strategic Tool for Domestic Justice

By Eric Tars

U.S. advocates, participating in the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, used “shadow reporting” to urge the committee to hold the U.S. government accountable for racial discrimination. Two case studies from the shadow report, one concerning police brutality in Chicago and the other highlighting the failure of several U.S. cities to uphold the human right to housing, were directly adopted by the committee in its final report. Advocates at home can use such international attention as a tool to promote their clients’ interests.

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Poverty’s Place

The Use of Geographic Information Systems in Poverty Advocacy

By Jason Reece & Eric Schultheis

The use of geographic information systems (GIS) gives advocates a powerful way to understand how laws and policies affect the poor based on where they live. Through the use of this computer-based tool, advocates can visually illustrate adverse effects upon the poor and thus more effectively focus their advocacy efforts. Understanding how GIS works and how it can be applied in the real world can both expand the advocacy community’s perception of the intersection of space, place, race, and poverty and further specific advocacy goals.

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The ADEA at 40

The U.S. Supreme Court Confronts Old Age

By Daniel B. Kohrman

The Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) takes on increasing relevance in tough economic times. While older workers make up an increasing share of the workforce, they are vulnerable in times of economic contraction. The U.S. Supreme Court in its 2007-2008 Term took a surprisingly pragmatic view of the ADEA. In three of its four ADEA decisions, the Court sided with employees on burden of proof, timeliness of a charge of discrimination, evidence, and retaliation issues. In the fourth case, however, the Court approved an age-discriminatory retirement plan because age discrimination was not the motive.

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How the College Cost Reduction and Access Act of 2007 Can Benefit You

Public Service Loan Forgiveness and Income-Based Repayment

By Heather Jarvis

Many law students who want to devote themselves to careers in public interest law are deterred by seemingly insurmountable law-school and college debt. The College Cost Reduction and Access Act of 2007 makes it more possible than ever for public-interest-minded graduates to pursue their desired careers. The Act and other debt-relief programs can be confusing, but, when understood, they offer most relief to those burdened with education debt.

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The Supreme Court's 2007-2008 Term

Relatively Quiet on the Access Front

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

In a few of the limited number of decisions focusing on federal court access in its 2007-2008 Term, the U.S. Supreme Court actually expanded access in some respects. In Federal Express Corporation v. Holowecki, for example, the Court confirmed that the plaintiff satisfied the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s definition of a “charge.” In some civil rights cases the Court employed stare decisis to protect claims of discriminatory retaliation in the workplace. The Court also took up claim preclusion, paralegal compensation, and cross-appeal requirements.A free PDF version of this article, which includes hyperlinks to cited authority, is available online.

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The Measure of America

American Human Development Report 2008-2009

By Sarah Burd-Sharps, Kristen Lewis & Eduardo Borges Martins

For the first time since the United Nations Development Programme began its global Human Development series eighteen years ago, a report gauging living standards in the United States, a wealthy developed nation, has been published. The American Human Development Index—the measure of how well Americans are doing—assesses whether they are living a long and healthy life, having access to knowledge, and enjoying a decent standard of living.

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