Jennifer Bradley

Jennifer Bradley is the director of the Federalism Project at Community Rights Counsel.

Recent Articles

Property Wrongs

One of the most important Supreme Court rulings of the last few years was not about church-state issues, affirmative action, or even the war on terrorism. It was about real estate -- 15 houses located in a forlorn part of southeastern Connecticut called New London. On its face, the case, Kelo v. New London , which was decided earlier this year, was a victory for New London and other flailing cities that have tried to remake tired, depleted neighborhoods into glittering urban showplaces using the power of eminent domain. Kelo held that local governments looking for redevelopment sites that might require condemnation could look throughout a municipality, rather than restricting their search to blighted areas most likely to be inhabited by poor and minority residents. In affirming that middle-class residents, not just the poor, should share the often intensely felt costs of urban improvement, the case was actually rather progressive. But now, several months after the June 2005 ruling, it...

Private Suburbs, Public Cities

The traditional explanation of the power of cities now seems as grand and outdated as an old movie palace. "The dominance of the city, especially of the great city," wrote sociologist Louis Wirth in 1938, "may be regarded as a consequence of the concentration in cities of industrial, commercial, financial, and administrative facilities and activities, transportation and communication lines, and cultural and recreational equipment such as the press, radio stations, theaters, libraries, museums, concert halls, operas, hospitals, colleges, research and publishing centers, professional organizations, and religious and welfare institutions." In the six decades since Wirth wrote, most of the important functions he named have slipped across the city border. Today, more business services, manufacturing, wholesaling, and retailing are found in the suburbs than in the cities. Five of the 10 largest U.S. cities--Chicago, Dallas, Detroit, Los Angeles, and Philadelphia--have fewer private-sector...

Fighting the Establishment (Clause)

The Rutherford Institute portrays itself as merely interested in defending the rights of religious Americans. A closer look reveals a more sweeping and questionable agenda.

You may not have heard of the Rutherford Institute, but you've probably heard of some of its clients. There was the St. Louis boy who was forbidden to pray in the school cafeteria. There was the Virginia girl with physical and mental disabilities who was forced to stop reading her Bible on the school bus. And there was the public school teacher in Waco, Texas, who was fired after praying with a student during class. A legal and educational organization based in Charlottesville, Virginia, the Rutherford Institute has emerged as one of the most active of the newly prominent religious right groups working, they say, to ensure that religious people get a fair deal, particularly in public schools. Rutherford has done some laudable work, challenging some ridiculous, discriminatory, and unconstitutional rules, and winning some important legal decisions on behalf of free expression. But Rutherford uses the tools and words of liberalism to advance a pinched, illiberal worldview. In its...

The Common Interest in Property

The Jewish legal concept of pe'ah requires landowners to leave a meaningful portion of their field unharvested so that the poor can gather food for themselves. The basis for the concept comes from the Book of Leviticus, which states, "And when ye reap the harvest of your land, thou shalt not wholly reap the corners of thy field, neither shalt thou gather the gleanings of thy harvest. And thou shalt not glean thy vineyard, neither shalt thou gather every grape of thy vineyard; thou shalt leave them for the poor and stranger." The conditions of pe'ah (which is the Hebrew term for edges or corners of the field) are intricate and strict. A landowner cannot, for example, set aside the worst section of the field; if she has two fields, she must set aside a fraction of both; the owner cannot harvest the entire field and then give a portion of the harvest to the needy. Instead, the produce must be left for the poor to take for themselves, and the amount left for them is determined by...