Jason Marisam teaches constitutional law, administrative law, and civil procedure. His research focuses on voting rights, election law, and administrative law.
As part of his research on voting rights, Marisam is looking at how vote dilution claims, which traditionally have been used to challenge laws and practices that reduce the effectiveness of ballots cast by Black voters, are being coopted by advocacy groups claiming certain laws or practices enable voter fraud. He is excited about partnering with the center on this and other projects that engage with Black voting rights.
Several of the courses under the umbrella of the Dispute Resolution Institute— including Restorative Justice, Theories of Conflict, and Justice in Dispute—have a direct connection to the center. DRI is also involved in community projects, including an ongoing one titled Truth and Action: Addressing Systemic Racism in the Criminal Justice System in Minnesota. Press says she sees the center as being an important partner with DRI on this project. She is delighted to be an affiliated faculty member and believes the center will make important contributions to our collective understanding of the Black experience and how to improve it.
Jill Bryant’s research focuses on the historical use of convict leasing and peonage as forms of wealth extraction for corporations following the end of the Civil War. As the South rebuilt its post-war economy, companies and former plantation owners came to rely on peonage (forced debt contracts) and convict leasing to maintain a free or cheap labor source. Bryant’s research explores theories of accountability including legal options, reparations, and other political solutions to make amends for the harm caused to African Americans, their families, and their community by exposing the history of and examining the current day status of these companies.
After a decade working in the indigent defense system, Mollenkof has taken up teaching with the hope of contributing to the conversations around harm, retribution, and safety. He believes moving toward abolitionist modes of being will allow for Black flourishing in America. As Mollenkof writes about the abolition of the for-profit cash bail system, mental health in the criminal system, and indigent defense writ large, he is motivated primarily by a desire to see a less retributive America, one that makes us all safer by pushing for restoration over punishment. In an America that punishes Black Americans at a wildly disproportionate rate, this work is necessarily and intentionally married to the restoration of the parts of Black life America has stolen and caged.
Kim Vu-Dinh teaches property law, criminal law, and the Economic Inclusion Clinic, which she launched in the fall of 2022. Her research focuses on the economic inclusion of historically disenfranchised communities and increasing access to opportunities through social enterprises and other economic innovations. Her most recent publications have focused specifically on access to credit as a civil right for Black consumers and businesses. She looks forward to engaging with community organizations and members through the center in addition to the Economic Inclusion Clinic.