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Progressive Lawyering in Politically Depressing Times
Harvard Journal of Law & Gender (2007)
  • Susan D. Carle, American University Washington College of Law
INTRODUCTION: Susan Sturm's important work offers a ray of optimism in a contemporary political climate most people of progressive inclinations find somewhat depressing. Sturm examines new models for bringing about institutional re- form without extensive management from legislatures or courts. As Sturm recognizes, resort to litigation as a strategy for increasing gender parity in employment is not a promising option these days, for several sets of reasons. First, as Sturm has explained in an earlier pathbreaking article, judicial decrees are not well suited to addressing "second generation" problems of structural reform of institutions, such as eliminating manifestations of race and gender inequality that persist despite laws banning discrimination.' These complex, intractable problems require nuanced remedial strategies tailored to particular settings. Courts lack this kind of remedial flexibility.' Nor are they well-equipped to monitor compliance with the complex, long- term remedies required to bring about deep and lasting structural change. The past half century of litigation over school desegregation and many other kinds of institutional reform have taught these lessons. Litigation-focused approaches can help correct some egregious violations of law, but few argue today that traditional, court-ordered "command and control" injunctions provide a promising avenue for future structural reform.
  • progressive,
  • political climate,
  • litigation,
  • strategy,
  • race and gender,
  • structural reform
Publication Date
Citation Information
Susan D. Carle. "Progressive Lawyering in Politically Depressing Times" Harvard Journal of Law & Gender Vol. 30 (2007) p. 323 ISSN: 1558-4356
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