Among the topics in its admittedly ambitious agenda, Jurisdynamics hopes to provide comprehensive coverage of legal issues surrounding disasters. From basic governmental frameworks to preparation, response, mitigation, compensation, reconstruction, and social and environmental vulnerability, disasters demand the utmost from the law.
More often than not, however, the law's performance leaves much to be desired. This morning's mailbox delivered two seemingly unrelated items shedding unflattering light on the law of disasters. The law, so it seems, can neither give nor take with any degree of grace.
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On one hand, according to Washington Post reporters Gilbert M. Gaul, Dan Morgan and Sarah Cohen, federal drought aid is available even when there is no drought. A drought relief plan adopted hastily in 2002 metastasized into an expensive part of the federal government's sprawling system of agricultural entitlements. In 2005, these entitlements cost more than $25 billion. Meanwhile, in Katrina, Urban Redevelopment and Justice Thomas’ Dissent in Kelo, a post on Bl ackProf.com, Emma Coleman Jordan takes a thoughtful look at the use of eminent domain to engage in "redevelopment" of predominantly black neighborhoods, particularly in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.
Jurisdynamics hopes to report regularly on the law of disasters and to provide insightful commentary on how this vital but undeveloped area of the law might be improved. I commend my readers' attention to a research site called Disasters and the Law: Hurricane Katrina and Beyond. This site, constructed under the direction of Daniel Farber, has proved invaluable as Dan and I have prepared a casebook on the law of disasters.