Racial Equality: Progressives’ Passion for the Unattainable

In the 2008 presidential race, the debate as to the role of race in past and present American life would benefit enormously had all the citizenry read The Lost Promise of Civil Rights, Professor Risa L. Goluboff’s extensively researched and impressively presented history of racial discrimination and the only partially successful efforts to combat it by a small group of government and private lawyers and those who supported them. In my review, I express doubt with her thesis that more progress might have been possible had civil rights advocates devoted more of their limited resources to litigation challenging employment discrimination. Refuting her position, though, enhanced my understanding of why in the abstract we Americans have more that unites than divides us. For that truth is, even today, too easily diluted by fears, suspicions, and deep-seated beliefs about the legitimacy of dominance by whites over people of color. 

The Low Written Description Bar for Software

This Note focuses on the application of 35 U.S.C. � 112�s �written description� disclosure requirement to software. After tracing the contours of the modern written description requirement, it addresses the seemingly-inconsistent treatment of software and biotechnology inventions under � 112. The Note argues that while functional written descriptions are generally held to be insufficient for biotechnology or DNA inventions (�Gene X does Y� does not pass muster), courts will allow inventions involving software to be claimed via functional descriptions (�Program X does Y� is sufficient)�a much lower descriptive bar. The note concludes that the relative predictability of software development as well as the inherently functional nature of software description account for this differing treatment, and that biotechnology inventions will require less burdensome disclosure as the predictability of that field increases.

The Networked Family: Reframing the Legal Understanding of Caregiving and Caregivers

Recent efforts to reconcile family law theory and doctrine with the lived experiences of families have focused narrowly on expanding the definition of the legal family to accommodate those in non-traditional family arrangements. By contrast, scant attention has been paid to the disjunction between law�s understanding of caregiving and how families actually function in providing care. Law understands caregiving to be the work of parents; accordingly, it creates two caregiving extremes � one is either a parent, with the rights and responsibilities of that status, or one is a legal stranger without any entitlements. In focusing on these two poles, law disregards the caregiving continuum that exists between them. This Article explores this interpolar space and the non-parental caregivers who occupy it. Intuitively, we recognize that there are caregivers who are neither parents, nor strangers; and empirical and sociological evidence makes clear that parents do not provide care autonomously, but rather, rely on networks of non-parental caregivers. Indeed, in other doctrinal areas, like sentencing and public assistance, law acknowledges these caregiving networks explicitly. This Article calls for a theory that expands the legal construction of caregiving to accommodate the way in which parents rely on caregiving networks comprised of non-parental caregivers. Recognizing these networks, it argues, would reconcile family law with the reality of family life, while furthering family law�s stated interest in enabling and facilitating caregiving within families.