Document Type

Article

Publication Date

2007

Abstract

This article provides a general overview of reparations discourse in the United States and offers suggestions concerning how advocates of reparations might frame their claims. The author discusses how remedies law might be a useful means of redress for litigants and examines some of the political and legal barriers to reparations in the United States. The barriers include the failure of opponents to treat remedies for gross human rights or civil rights deprivations as a public good, rather than as a series of private transactions that benefit or burden individuals. The author ultimately sets the litigation model aside as providing little hope for redress due to longstanding doctrinal and institutional constraints. He instead offers legislation as a better response to the dispersed nature of the harms associated with oppression and one which can provide the deep structural reform necessary to rectify social injustice and to invest in human capital.

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