Hot Off the Press: Volume 40, Issue 1 of the Mississippi College Law Review – The Racial Justice Symposium Edition

Written by: McKenna Stone Cloud

Volume 40, Issue 1 of the Mississippi College Law Review was dedicated to the 2021 Symposium, “Racial Justice in Mississippi: What Happens Next?”  This meaningful Issue features publications from three student authors, a Southeastern University Shepard Broad College of Law Professor, and the Special Assistant to the Chief Justice of the Virgin Islands.

Please consider reading Volume 40 of the Mississippi College Law Review online.  The Mississippi College Law Review Digital Commons provides online access to all publications.  The Racial Justice Symposium Edition can be located here.

Former Managing Editor Mackenzie Ellis organized the Racial Justice Symposium and authored an Introduction to the Symposium Edition Issue.  The Introduction highlights the significance of racial justice in today’s world, not only in Mississippi, but also across the United States, and recaps the panel discussions held virtually in April 2021.  For more details regarding the Symposium, see this previous blog post and a recording of the virtual event.

A brief synopsis of each publication follows.

“Pigs in the Parlor”: The Legacy of Racial Zoning and the Challenge of Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing in the South by Jade A. Craig

This Article, penned by Assistant Professor Jade A. Craig of Nova Southeastern University Shepard Broad College of Law, discusses the history of racial zoning and challenges to affirmatively furthering fair housing in the South.  Professor Craig argues fair housing in the South is not just about access to housing itself, but also about changing the context around it.  The Article contends racial zoning should be considered a logic and a metaphor rather than simply a historical moment in land use policy that has passed.  The Article explains how racial zoning has been used to segregate and confine African Americans in undesirable spaces with little protections, and it explores whether the federal Fair Housing Act can remediate this legacy through policy or litigation.  As Professor Craig highlights, the South faces unique challenges because oversight mechanisms often overlook smaller, rural communities where anti-black land use policies and segregation patterns remain in place.

Territorial Paternalism by Anthony M. Ciolli

Anthony C. Ciolli, Special Assistant to the Honorable Rhys S. Hodge, Chief Justice of the Virgin Islands, advocates for equal rights for residents of America’s territories, particularly as it relates to representation in Congress.  His Article strives to deconstruct and dismantle the most prominent misconceptions and lies used to justify the continued withholding of constitutional rights and liberties from American Samoa, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.  Mr. Ciolli explains how the territories are governed just like the fifty states yet, unlike the states, lack electoral votes and representatives with a floor vote in Congress.  Additionally, the Article examines the portrayal of the territories as geographically isolated, crumbling, lacking safe drinking water, and otherwise substantially underdeveloped compared to the mainland U.S.  Mr. Ciolli proposes strategies the territories and their allies could pursue to improve their current status-quo, which are not grounded in paternalism and would not require surrendering the long-term struggle for equal rights.

Discrimination and Disparity: Violating Olmstead v. L.C. Discriminates Against the Psychiatrically Vulnerable and Fosters Racial/Ethnic and Socioeconomic Mental Health Disparities by McKenna S. Cloud

This Comment, written by McKenna S. Cloud, a 2022 graduate of Mississippi College School of Law and current Law Clerk for the Honorable Leslie H. Southwick of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, received the “Best Comment Award.”  It discusses the discriminatory impact of violating the Americans with Disabilities Act and Olmstead v. L.C. ex rel Zimring by unnecessarily institutionalizing individuals with psychiatric vulnerabilities, and offers solutions for states to comply with these federal mandates.  Using Mississippi as a case study, the Comment explores methods to expand access to affordable community-based mental health services.  Ms. Cloud argues compliance will not only provide individuals the least-restrictive treatment possible – ensuring they are not unnecessarily institutionalized against their will – but it will also increase racial/ethnic and socioeconomic healthcare parity.

The Intersection of the U.S. Immigration System and Human Trafficking: A Legalized Labor of Injustice by Stephanie Durr

Stephanie Durr, a 2022 graduate of Mississippi College School of Law and current Law Clerk for the Honorable S. Maurice Hicks, Jr., of the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Louisiana, advocates for immigration law reform.  Her Comment examines the intersection between human trafficking and the U.S. immigration system, with a specific focus on how traffickers can use the current immigration system to continually exploit immigrant workers.  Ms. Durr’s Comment explores how the legal framework of trafficking in the U.S. perpetuates trafficking, and analyzes whether the existing remedies available to trafficking survivors accomplish their purported goals.  Her Comment also analytically explores how trafficking is advanced through temporary work visas.  She posits that after walking through each stage of the immigration process – from recruitment to removal – the need to provide survivor-centered immigration policy and protections becomes increasingly clear.

More Than Fifty Years After the Enactment of Federal Laws Forbidding Discrimination in Pay, the Wage Disparity Based on Sex Continues: Focusing on the Circuit Courts’ Differing Interpretations of “Factors Other Than Sex” by Audrey K. Hurt

Audrey K. Hurt, a 2022 graduate of Mississippi College School of Law and current associate attorney at Baker Donelson, analyzes the lasting effects in pay disparity since the passage of the Equal Pay Act of 1963 (EPA), focusing specifically on the differing circuit court interpretations of the “Factor Other Than Sex” (FOTS) defense available to employer defendants.  Because of the differing interpretations of FOTS by courts aiding in continued wage discrimination, Ms. Hurt argues that further legislation is necessary to advance the efforts of Congress in writing the EPA and Title VII and reduce the gender wage gap still present in our society.  However, with little headway being made in the legislation regarding pay equity, her Comment proposes that courts adopt the job-relatedness standard that multiple circuits already apply for the FOTS defense.  Ms. Hurt suggests reformation for, and solutions to, ongoing wage discrimination in America and urges that the FOTS defense be amended to redefine FOTS.