About

ABOUT ANNA

I am a specialist in U.S. immigration and constitutional law, history, and politics.  I hold the Herbert Kurz Chair in Constitutional Rights in the political science department at CUNY Brooklyn College.  Prior to entering academia, I was a Program Analyst on the research staff of the United States Commission on Immigration Reform in Washington, D.C. in the mid-1990s.  It was a bipartisan, blue-ribbon congressional panel charged with making policy recommendations to Congress and the President.  I am also the author of the book, The Immigration Battle in American Courts and articles published in both political science and law journals.  I was acommentator in the WNET documentary series The Supreme Court, which aired nationwide on all PBS channels in 2007.

I operate in an interstitial space as a political scientist studying law.  While I have a Ph.D. in Government from the University of Texas at Austin, I have no J.D.  My last name being "Law" also adds to the confusion.  Although many political scientists like me have been studying law and legal institutions for a long time, I have encountered law professors who have looked askance at my research on law and legal institutions as if I am unlawfully intruding on their turf. There doesn't need to be a rumble.  While the legal academy tends to focus on the analysis of case law and precedent, political scientists concentrate on studying legal institutions and law as products of political conflict.

ABOUT THE BLOG

You should expect to find several themes in my blog entries, which are my areas of expertise:  immigration and constitutional law,  The Supreme Court, U.S. Courts of Appeals; and civil rights and civil liberties.  Rather than just analysis of the content and politics of the laws, I will also place the laws and legislation in the historical context of either immigration history and/or federal court history. I will also note not so much what the policymakers and federal courts are talking about, but what they are not talking about that they should be.

Immigration:  The untimely demise of comprehensive immigration reform in 2014 paved the way for the rise of Donald Trump's anti-immigration stance and his assurance that immigration remained a front-burner 2016 election issue.  This blog will track those developments as they unfold.

The Supreme Court and U.S. Courts of Appeals:  My entries will analyze not just the blockbuster cases coming out of the two highest courts in the federal judicial hierarchy, but also focus on the politics of judicial appointments to these two courts.

Civil rights and civil liberties:  There is nothing more powerful than an idea whose time has come.  So much of civil rights and civil liberties progress is bound up in the political moment rather than in the development or logic of law.  My entries will focus especially on the changing political and economic landscapes and how they either help and hinder pro-civil rights and civil liberties legislation.