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How Courts Will Shape the Post-Pandemic World

People around the world are going to court to challenge long-standing injustices made visible by the COVID-19 pandemic. How judges respond will indicate whether the current reconsideration of neoliberal economics is likely to be a temporary blip or part of a more enduring transformation of law and policymaking.

NEW YORK – In just a few months, COVID-19 has stricken millions and effectively shut down the global economy. But at the same time, the pandemic has profoundly altered the global debate about inequality and raised the prospect of reversing our decades-long failed experiment with market fundamentalism.

Many lauded this month’s May Day protests by newly recognized (but still underpaid) “essential workers” as a sign of growing activism. But fewer have noticed that people around the world are going to court to challenge long-standing injustices made visible by the pandemic.

These legal cases are presenting arguments that will serve as central poles of advocacy in the post-COVID-19 world. How judges respond will not just affect the parties involved, but will indicate whether the current reconsideration of neoliberal economics is likely to be a temporary blip or part of a more enduring transformation of law and policymaking.

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