Law School Discussion

Nine Years of Discussion
;

Author Topic: Reparations?  (Read 9537 times)

philibusters

  • Sr. Citizen
  • ****
  • Posts: 1076
    • View Profile
    • Email
Re: Reparations?
« Reply #50 on: April 04, 2007, 12:49:26 AM »
I know all about sovereign immunity, I just don't think it's an insurmountable obstacle.  Like attic, I'm not a law student, but I have in mind cases like Pigford v. Veneman, where a class action suit was brought (and settled) by a group of black farmers against the USDA for discrimination in the granting of federal loans.  Now that I've jumped in, I'd like to continue this conversation, but anything terribly substantial is going to have to wait until tomorrow morning.

You keep referring to 'you guys,' which isn't helping the clarity of the exchange, but I don't think I'm misunderstanding how the courts function as much as you're suggesting.  I expect you know much more about it than attic and I do, but this knowledge gap doesn't need to be used to close off the debate. 

From what I know of the law, I find it very hard to imagine reparations would ever come from the courts.  I have to look up the case you cited to find the procedural history of it, I only know landmark cases, I'll look it up and get back to you on the procedural history.
2008 graduate of William and Mary Law School

philibusters

  • Sr. Citizen
  • ****
  • Posts: 1076
    • View Profile
    • Email
Re: Reparations?
« Reply #51 on: April 04, 2007, 12:51:35 AM »
Okay I looked up the case Pigford v. Veneman, they acted under a statute that allowed them to sue the government, I am copying a pasting the relevant part of the case to the procedural history...

"Proceeding under the Equal Credit Opportunity Act, 15
U.S.C. ss 1691-1691f, three African-American farmers filed
this class action against the United States Department of
Agriculture alleging racial discrimination in the administra-
tion of federally funded credit and benefit programs. "
2008 graduate of William and Mary Law School

attic4fp

  • Sr. Citizen
  • ****
  • Posts: 153
    • View Profile
    • Law School Numbers Profile
Re: Reparations?
« Reply #52 on: April 04, 2007, 12:53:07 AM »
Quote
Don't know about that, you would have to ask somebody with knowledge of that period, probably a prof or you could look it up in scholarly writings to see if you can find anything about it yourself, but I have no idea off the top of my head.

That was not the reply I expected at all.  Does that mean it may very well be actionable?

That seems to contradict your whole point in this thread, which was that descendents of freed slaves could not sue for damages for economic injuries received from non-enforcement of Reconstruction legislation.

philibusters

  • Sr. Citizen
  • ****
  • Posts: 1076
    • View Profile
    • Email
Re: Reparations?
« Reply #53 on: April 04, 2007, 12:56:29 AM »
That was not the reply I expected at all.  Does that mean it may very well be actionable?

That seems to contradict your whole point in this thread, which was that descendents of freed slaves could not sue for damages for economic injuries received from non-enforcement of Reconstruction legislation.


There is probably a statute that lets them sue, most agencies for example, the EPA or Disability Programs let people bring suit.  Plus its highly likely that the 1964 and 1965 Civil Rights Act gave African American's remedies to sue for any violations of their rights....WAIT...I thought you meant Lyndon Johnson, you mean Andrew Johnson, I was confused
2008 graduate of William and Mary Law School

philibusters

  • Sr. Citizen
  • ****
  • Posts: 1076
    • View Profile
    • Email
Re: Reparations?
« Reply #54 on: April 04, 2007, 01:03:15 AM »
Okay for anything that happened under Andrew Johnson, remember you need living parties that have a dispute over the legal rights.  The legal issue is whether any rights given under statute during Reconstruction are assignable (can they be passed to heirs)--the answer depends on what the statute says.  If the statute says nothings, the courts will interpret it based on Congressional intent.  So ignoring things like statute of limitations or whether there is a statute giving them the power to sue the gov't, its possible living parties could have legal rights in dispute...

Just to reemphasize a point, say the government in 1866 emphasized that each ex-slave was entitled to 100 bucks and the this right was assignable to the ex-slave heirs if the ex-slave died before receiving the money.  Now you get to today, all the heirs of the ex slaves would be entitled to a portion of that 100 bucks, if there were 100 of them, then each would be entitled to a dollar under the statute.  This would not be reparations which was my first point, theortically its possible African Americans who can prove their heritage would be entitled to any benefits their ancestors were granted, that are assignable, but that is all they are entitled to. 
2008 graduate of William and Mary Law School

attic4fp

  • Sr. Citizen
  • ****
  • Posts: 153
    • View Profile
    • Law School Numbers Profile
Re: Reparations?
« Reply #55 on: April 04, 2007, 01:18:17 AM »
That was not the reply I expected at all.  Does that mean it may very well be actionable?

That seems to contradict your whole point in this thread, which was that descendents of freed slaves could not sue for damages for economic injuries received from non-enforcement of Reconstruction legislation.


There is probably a statute that lets them sue, most agencies for example, the EPA or Disability Programs let people bring suit.  Plus its highly likely that the 1964 and 1965 Civil Rights Act gave African American's remedies to sue for any violations of their rights....WAIT...I thought you meant Lyndon Johnson, you mean Andrew Johnson, I was confused

haha, sorry, my bad.  I should have been more clear, since there is indeed a bit of difference between the two.  Especially when it comes to civil rights issues.


Quote
Okay for anything that happened under Andrew Johnson, remember you need living parties that have a dispute over the legal rights.  The legal issue is whether any rights given under statute during Reconstruction are assignable (can they be passed to heirs)--the answer depends on what the statute says.  If the statute says nothings, the courts will interpret it based on Congressional intent.  So ignoring things like statute of limitations or whether there is a statute giving them the power to sue the gov't, its possible living parties could have legal rights in dispute,

yeah, i guess that's the question.  I bet it's an interesting one, too.  On the one hand, I'm pretty sure the statutes were explicitly written to apply to the transition from slave to free, which would probably make them less likely to be interpreted as assignable, huh?  On the other hand, I think Congressional intent was pretty clearly to A) completely restructure southern society and economy  and B) redress past wrongs.  That would be an interesting endeavor in statute construing, I guess.

For what it's worth (maybe nothing), it's pretty clear the members of Congress who wrote and voted for the law thought injury was being done to the southern African-Americans.  After all, they did impeach Andrew Johnson, although that was nominally for removing the Sec. of War, I think.

philibusters

  • Sr. Citizen
  • ****
  • Posts: 1076
    • View Profile
    • Email
Re: Reparations?
« Reply #56 on: April 04, 2007, 01:24:42 AM »
That was not the reply I expected at all.  Does that mean it may very well be actionable?

That seems to contradict your whole point in this thread, which was that descendents of freed slaves could not sue for damages for economic injuries received from non-enforcement of Reconstruction legislation.


There is probably a statute that lets them sue, most agencies for example, the EPA or Disability Programs let people bring suit.  Plus its highly likely that the 1964 and 1965 Civil Rights Act gave African American's remedies to sue for any violations of their rights....WAIT...I thought you meant Lyndon Johnson, you mean Andrew Johnson, I was confused

haha, sorry, my bad.  I should have been more clear, since there is indeed a bit of difference between the two.  Especially when it comes to civil rights issues.


Quote
Okay for anything that happened under Andrew Johnson, remember you need living parties that have a dispute over the legal rights.  The legal issue is whether any rights given under statute during Reconstruction are assignable (can they be passed to heirs)--the answer depends on what the statute says.  If the statute says nothings, the courts will interpret it based on Congressional intent.  So ignoring things like statute of limitations or whether there is a statute giving them the power to sue the gov't, its possible living parties could have legal rights in dispute,

yeah, i guess that's the question.  I bet it's an interesting one, too.  On the one hand, I'm pretty sure the statutes were explicitly written to apply to the transition from slave to free, which would probably make them less likely to be interpreted as assignable, huh?  On the other hand, I think Congressional intent was pretty clearly to A) completely restructure southern society and economy  and B) redress past wrongs.  That would be an interesting endeavor in statute construing, I guess.

For what it's worth (maybe nothing), it's pretty clear the members of Congress who wrote and voted for the law thought injury was being done to the southern African-Americans.  After all, they did impeach Andrew Johnson, although that was nominally for removing the Sec. of War, I think.

Sounds weird, but today he could challenge that impeachment, as courts have intrepreted Article 1 of the constitution to give the President the sole power to remove cabinet members.  Congress passed a law when they got wind Stanton was going to be fired saying he needed their approval before he fired a cabinet member.  He did fire a cabinet member and Congress impeached him for violating the law-the law which he violated, under today's court's decision, Congress had no power to pass because they can't lessen the powers granted to the President by Article 1 of the constitution by passing a statute.
2008 graduate of William and Mary Law School

philibusters

  • Sr. Citizen
  • ****
  • Posts: 1076
    • View Profile
    • Email
Re: Reparations?
« Reply #57 on: April 04, 2007, 01:25:59 AM »
Whoops, I meant Article II.  Ignore the momentary brain freeze.
2008 graduate of William and Mary Law School

attic4fp

  • Sr. Citizen
  • ****
  • Posts: 153
    • View Profile
    • Law School Numbers Profile
Re: Reparations?
« Reply #58 on: April 04, 2007, 01:30:46 AM »
Yeah, but who need Article II when you're talking about Ed Stanton.  He was much sweeter than Article II.

Lindbergh

  • Sr. Citizen
  • ****
  • Posts: 4358
    • View Profile
Re: Reparations?
« Reply #59 on: August 29, 2007, 02:53:49 AM »
Anyone else agree that Affirmative Action is a pathetic excuse for reparations? Is there any room to argue that affrimative  action, put into effect by whites, deflected the vison and purpose of the Black liberation struggle in this country? Does affirmative action operate to provide oppurtunities for some people of color while keeping the overall conditions of oppression and white privilege in place? In other words the fact that some under-represented minorities receive some preferential consideration is ultimately miniscule in light of the larger structure of inequality. Instead of being drawn into debates on AA what about building a movement to take back what was stolen through slavery and oppression.


If you can produce an actual living slave, I'll happily support his right to reparations.