Separate Spheres

By Franklin, Cary | The Yale Law Journal, June 2014 | Go to article overview

Separate Spheres


Franklin, Cary, The Yale Law Journal


ESSAY CONTENTS  INTRODUCTION I.   ACKERMAN'S ARGUMENT II.  THE DEVELOPMENT OF INTERSPHERICAL REASONING III. INTERSPHERICAL REASONING IN THE CIVIL RIGHTS ERA CONCLUSION 

INTRODUCTION

Attorney General Eric Holder made news recently by calling for an end to the practice of felony disenfranchisement (1)--a practice that currently curtails the voting rights of 5.8 million Americans, a number greater than the individual populations of most states. (2) Holder argued that any abrogation of a fundamental right on such a wide scale should concern us, but in this case, there is additional cause for concern, because the burdens imposed by felony disenfranchisement are not distributed evenly across the population. Well over a third of individuals who have lost the right to vote as a result of criminal conviction are African American. (3) Holder argued that this disparate racial impact was not a coincidence. He noted that "[a]fter Reconstruction, many Southern states enacted disenfranchisement schemes to specifically target African Americans and diminish the electoral strength of newly-freed populations." (4) These schemes largely accomplished their goal: In the late nineteenth century, and for much of the twentieth century, vast numbers of African Americans "had their rights rescinded, their dignity diminished, and the full measure of their citizenship revoked for the rest of their lives." (5) Holder argued that felony disenfranchisement laws continue to have this racial effect today, and are thus "too significant to ignore" and "too unjust to tolerate." (6) "[W]e've outlawed legal discrimination [and] ended 'separate but equal,'" (7) but now, he contended, we need to confront the ways in which discrimination and disadvantage in one context may spill over into other contexts and perpetuate patterns of racial subordination generally associated with earlier eras in the nation's history. (8)

The Attorney General's commentary on the relationship between voting rights and the criminal justice system is part of a much broader, ongoing conversation about the cumulative effects of discrimination and disadvantage across different social and legal contexts. In recent years, commentators have focused in particular on the way in which felony convictions affect one's life chances in contexts far removed from criminal law. As Holder noted, loss of the right to vote is only one of a constellation of "burdensome collateral consequences ... [imposed on] formerly incarcerated individuals." (9) Having a criminal conviction makes it more difficult, and sometimes impossible, to access all sorts of opportunities, across contexts such as employment, housing, education, and social welfare. (10) But one need not be convicted of a felony to experience this phenomenon. Discrimination and disadvantage in one context frequently spill over and create obstacles to opportunity in other contexts. Public elementary and secondary schools in this country are no longer formally segregated on the basis of race, but decades of redlining and employment discrimination may nonetheless render neighborhoods with well-funded, high-performing schools inaccessible to racial minorities. (11) The law has for some time barred race discrimination in employment, but such protections may do little to help people who never hear of job opportunities or develop the right connections because they are unable to afford to live in the residential areas and attend the schools where employers and their children reside. (12) President Lyndon Johnson made this point fifty years ago, on the eve of the passage of the Voting Rights Act, when he asserted that the forms of discrimination and disadvantage experienced by racial minorities in this country cannot "be understood as isolated infirmities. They are a seamless web. They cause each other. They result from each other. They reinforce each other." (13)

As the Attorney General's recent comments indicate, antidiscrimination law, as it is currently interpreted, does not always recognize these interconnections. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Separate Spheres
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Author Advanced search

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.