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Benefits & Social Welfare Law Review





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The Community Reinvestment Act of 1977 ("CRA") primarily sought to remedy decades of government sanctioned disinvestment in so-called “redlined communities.” Through the Home Owners’ Loan Corporation and later the Federal Housing Administration, the United States of America created from whole cloth a structure that encouraged and subsidized the explosion of homeownership in white American households. Following decades of racialized wealth generation, the United States had a change of heart. Congress determined that financiers needed a gentle push to invest fairly. Additionally, Congress wanted one thing clear in the drafting of this remedy—it must not allocate credit.

This essay considers how a different pedagogical approach in law schools could better equip legal thinkers to address racial economic harms. Coupling critical legal studies with a Jeffersonian approach to legal education would foster more ambitious remedies. Those remedies would be better informed regarding the power structures and human costs at play. A Critical Jeffersonian mind would be poised to not only know what the law is, but prepared to determine what the law should be. Using the CRA as an example, the essay provides a glimpse into how to better tackle historical harms.



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