Law and Class in America

Trends Since the Cold War

432 pages

2 illustrations

June, 2006

ISBN: 9780814716540



Part of the Critical America series


Paul D. Carrington is Professor at Duke University School of Law, whose many publications include Spreading America's Word: Stories of Its Lawyer-Missionaries .

All books by Paul Carrington

Trina Jones is Professor at Duke University School of Law.

All books by Trina Jones

In Law and Class in America, a group of leading legal scholars reflect on the state of the law from the end of the Cold War to the present, grappling with a central question posed to them by Paul D. Carrington and Trina Jones: have recent legal reforms exacerbated class differences in America? In a substantive introduction, Carrington and Jones assert that legal changes from the late-20th century onward have been increasingly elitist and unconcerned with the lives of poor people having little access to the legal system. Contributors use this position as a springboard to review developments in their own particular fields and to assess whether or not legal decisions and processes have contributed to a widening gap between privileged and unprivileged people in this country.

From antitrust and bankruptcy to tax and election law, the essays in this unique volume invite readers to reflect thoughtfully on socio-economic justice in the new century, and suggest that a lack of progressive reform in all areas of law may herald a form of undiagnosed class dominance reminiscent of America's Gilded Age.

Contributors: Margaret A. Berger, M. Gregg Bloche, David L. Callies, Paul D. Carrington, Paul Y. K. Castle, Lance Compa, James D. Cox, Paula A. Franzese, Marc Galanter, Julius G. Getman, Lawrence O. Gostin, Joel F. Handler, Trina Jones, Thomas E. Kauper, Sanford Levinson, John Linehan, Joseph D. McNamara, Burt Neuborne, Jeffrey O'Connell, Judith Resnik, Richard L. Schmalbeck, Danielle Sarah Seiden, Richard E. Speidel, Gerald Torres, David M. Trubek, Elizabeth Warren, and Lawrence A. Zelenak.


  • “This splendid collection of essays by leading legal scholars, on topics ranging from constitutional law to tax law and policy, draws on the best recent scholarship to illuminate how and why contemporary American law addresses—and fails to address—persistent problems caused by the maldistribution of wealth and income in the United States. Accessible to non-specialists, the essays are full of provocative insights and arguments.”

    —Mark Tushnet, Carmack Waterhouse Professor of Constitutional Law, Georgetown University Law Center

  • “A brilliant collection of essays—each one brisk and authoritative. Altogether they show that class—the increasingly unbridgeable gap between rich and poor—is the biggest challenge to our national and global dreams of freedom and equality. Not only does the volume avoid the unevenness that plagues most groups of essays, but they are uniformly lively and interesting.”

    —Barbara Allen Babcock, Judge John Crown Professor, Emerita, Stanford Law School

  • “In this much-needed book, twenty-five specialists reveal how the growing gulf between Haves and Have-nots has distorted their fields of law—invariably to the advantage of the Haves. If you are concerned at the injustice of putting our lawmaking institutions up for sale to the highest bidders, this book is for you. If you are not concerned, where have you been?”

    —Kenneth L. Karst, David G. Price and Dallas P. Price Professor of Law Emeritus, University of California, Los Angeles