Areas of Specialization
Race, Criminal Law (and Theory), Social and Political Philosophy (Historical and Contemporary), African-American Political Thought, Legal Ethics
Areas of Competence
Antidiscrimination Law, Contract Law (and Theory), Tort Law (and Theory), Constitutional Law (and Theory)
First Amendment, African-American History (19th and 20th Century), Democracy, Criminal Justice
My research is about how we should construct our legal and political institutions to respond to various forms of inequality, with a primary focus on the laws and institutions of the United States. One angle of this research program approaches the issue theoretically. In my dissertation and other essays, I show what it means to emphasize righting past wrongs and why many dominant theories of justice that overlook the need to correct injustices of the past are wanting. By exploring various liberal and libertarian theories of justice, I explain why any framework adequately aimed at correcting pernicious forms of inequality ought to begin with a focus on repairing past wrongs.
The theory of reparative justice that I am developing has implications in many areas of law: criminal, torts, contracts, property. A second angle of my research program explores these spaces. In a series of articles, I work to provide a framework for legal participants—prosecutors, judges, juries, etc.—to fairly resolve problems that are meant to be addressed by our legal systems. As designed, the law operates as a set of rules that penalize the people who could benefit most from its protection. And many efforts to reform the legal system overlook the structural problems thwarting efforts to achieve justice. Consequently, legal participants struggle to remain neutral while also reaching the just result. My work attempts to explain why, in many instances, neutrality should be cast aside for principles that correct injustices.
A full research agenda is available upon request.