This Essay explores how civil courts function as sites of racial capitalism. The racial capitalism conceptual framework posits that capitalism requires racial inequality and relies on racialized systems of expropriation to produce capital. While often associated with traditional economic systems, racial capitalism applies equally to nonmarket settings, including civil courts.

The lens of racial capitalism enriches access to justice scholarship by explaining how and why state civil courts subordinate racialized groups and individuals. Civil cases are often framed as voluntary disputes among private parties, yet many racially and economically marginalized litigants enter the civil legal system involuntarily, and the state plays a central role in their subordination through its judicial arm. A major function of the civil courts is to transfer assets from these individual defendants to corporations or the state itself. The courts accomplish this through racialized devaluation, commodification, extraction, and dispossession.

Using consumer debt collection as a case study, we illustrate how civil court practices facilitate and enforce racial capitalism. Courts forgo procedural requirements in favor of speedy proceedings and default judgments, even when fraudulent practices are at play. The debt spiral example, along with others from eviction and child support cases, highlights how civil courts normalize, legitimize, and perpetuate the extraction of resources from poor, predominately Black communities and support the accumulation of white wealth.

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The relationship between race and civil courts has been understudied and undertheorized. Those who research and practice in those courts—and certainly those individuals who are subjected to them—have long been aware of the pervasive influence of race. Yet the myriad ways in which race influences the operation, structure, and design of civil courts require far more attention in the scholarly literature. This need is particularly acute in the case of state civil courts, where most civil cases are litigated. 1 Daniel Wilf-Townsend, Assembly-Line Plaintiffs, 135 Harv. L. Rev. 1704, 1715–16 (2022).

While the dearth of race-based data from state civil courts has made it difficult to construct a full picture, existing data show that racialized individuals and communities are impacted disproportionately by civil justice issues. 2 See Rebecca L. Sandefur, Access to Civil Justice and Race, Class, and Gender Ine­quality, 34 Ann. Rev. Soc. 339, 349–50 (2008) [hereinafter Sandefur, Access to Civil Jus­tice]. Although there is relatively little scholarship focusing on the influence of race on the civil legal system as a whole, several scholarly works have taken an in-depth look at the influ­ence of race in a particular legal context. See, e.g., Dorothy E. Roberts, Shattered Bonds: The Color of Child Welfare 267–76 (2002) [hereinafter Roberts, Shattered Bonds]; Tonya L. Brito, David J. Pate, Jr., & Jia-Hui Stefanie Wong, “I Do for My Kids”: Negotiating Race and Racial Inequality in Family Court, 83 Fordham L. Rev. 3027, 3027–30 (2015) [hereinafter Brito et al., I Do for My Kids]; Peter Hepburn, Renee Louis & Matthew Desmond, Racial and Gender Disparities Among Evicted Americans, 7 Socio. Sci. 649, 653–56 (2020); Richard Lempert & Karl Monsma, Cultural Differences and Discrimination: Samoans Before a Public Housing Eviction Board, 59 Am. Soc. Rev. 890, 894–905 (1994); Kathryn A. Sabbeth, Housing Defense as the New Gideon, 41 Harv. J.L. & Gender 55, 89, 95–96 (2018) [hereinafter Sabbeth, Housing Defense as the New Gideon] (arguing that creation of a right to eviction defense counsel promotes race and gender equality); Paul Keil & Annie Waldman, The Color of Debt: How Collection Suits Squeeze Black Neighborhoods, ProPublica (Oct. 8, 2015), https://www.propublica.org/article/debt-collection-lawsuits-squeeze-black-neighborhoods [https://perma.cc/DW2R-Y782] (exploring an in-depth study that highlights the disproportionate frequency of debt collection lawsuits in black neighborhoods); see also Kathryn A. Sabbeth, Eviction Courts, 18 U. St. Thomas L.J. 359, 368–71 (2022) (on file with the Columbia Law Review) [hereinafter Sabbeth, Eviction Courts] (describing why eviction disproportionately impacts people of color); Kathryn A. Sabbeth & Jessica K. Steinberg, The Gender of Gideon, 69 UCLA L. Rev. (forthcoming 2022) (manuscript at 13–34), https://ssrn.com/abstract=3807349 [https://perma.cc/55SF-878F] (summarizing empirical literature on women of color facing eviction, debt, and family law matters). Racialized litigants are less likely to have access to critical resources and more likely to receive negative results. 3 See infra Part I. And, as in all systems, the ability to access justice in the civil legal system is influenced by multiple factors, including societal discrimination, economic inequality, and race-based behaviors of individual system actors. 4 See infra Part I; see also Kathryn A. Sabbeth, Market-Based Law Development, LPE Project: L. & Pol. Econ. Blog (July 21, 2021), https://lpeproject.org/blog/market-based-law-development/ [https://perma.cc/WXE6-BKWG] [hereinafter Sabbeth, Market-Based Law Development] (arguing that access to the system is based on capital). The civil court system is characterized by racial disparities in access, treatment, and outcomes, all of which deserve increased attention. At the same time, we view the observation of these disparities as the beginning of a larger and sustained inquiry about how and why such disparities exist. Racial disparities in the civil courts serve as a miner’s canary—an invitation to further question the role that race plays in the design, structure, and operation of the civil court system. 5 See Lani Guinier & Gerald Torres, The Miner’s Canary 11 (2002) (“Those who are racially marginalized are like the miner’s canary: their distress is the first sign of a danger that threatens us all.”). The responses to that inquiry are critical not only to our understanding of how race affects the administration of civil justice, but also as part of a necessary foundation for contemplating systemic change.

This Essay contributes to the above conversation—and offers one possible response to the above inquiry—by exploring how civil courts, as an arm of the state, function as sites of racial capitalism. It argues that theories of racial capitalism help to explain how and why state civil courts are designed and operate to subordinate racialized groups and individuals. In doing so, it also makes an important contribution to the growing racial capitalism literature by expanding its application in legal scholarship. This Essay strengthens the existing literature by examining the racial capitalism conceptual framework in state civil courts, a site commonly understood as nonmarket. 6 See Angela P. Harris, Foreword: Racial Capitalism and Law, in Histories of Racial Capitalism vii, xi (Destin Jenkins & Justice Leroy eds., 2021) [hereinafter Harris, Foreword] (distinguishing “government” and sources of state power (such as courts) from governance exercised by economic markets). More broadly, it advances still nascent conversations about race and access to civil justice that require not only more empirical data on racial demographics but also more theoretical analysis of the social significance of race.

Racial capitalism is a relatively new concept in legal academia and has its roots in several other disciplines, including Black studies, history, political science, sociology, and cultural studies, where the term has been defined and used differently by a wide range of scholars. 7 Michael Ralph & Maya Singhal, Racial Capitalism, 48 Theory & Soc’y 851, 851–74 (2019). While critical race theorists have demonstrated that race is fundamental to and deeply embedded in U.S. law, 8 See, e.g., Derrick A. Bell, Jr., Brown v. Board of Education and the Interest-Convergence Dilemma, 93 Harv. L. Rev. 518 (1980); Kimberlé Williams Crenshaw, Race, Reform, and Retrenchment: Transformation and Legitimation in Antidiscrimination Law, 101 Harv. L Rev. 1331, 1348, 1370–72 (1988) (emphasizing that racism is formally entrenched in U.S. law and plays a “hegemonic” role in the institutional oppression of Black people). scholars of racial capitalism have emphasized how racial subordination is fundamental, rather than incidental, to economic exploitation. 9 See, e.g., Cedric J. Robinson, Black Marxism: The Making of the Black Radical Tra­dition 9–10 (3d ed. 2020) (illuminating that “the nonobjective character of capitalist devel­opment” exists at the intersection of racism and economic exploitation). From a legal perspective, racial capitalism can be understood as a system of racialized “dispossession, extraction, accumulation, and exploitation” for power and profit in which human elements are both commodified and devalued. 10 See Harris, Foreword, supra note 6, at vii. We argue that through their interpretation and implementation of the law and the processes they impose, the civil courts function as instruments of racial capitalism, facilitating its goals and assisting in its entrenchment.

Civil cases are typically framed as voluntary disputes among private parties, yet many racially and economically marginalized litigants, particularly Black individuals, enter the civil legal system involuntarily, often in a defensive or vulnerable posture. 11 See Sabbeth & Steinberg, supra note 2, at 10–11; Colleen F. Shanahan, Jessica K. Steinberg, Alyx Mark & Anna E. Carpenter, The Institutional Mismatch of State Civil Courts, 122 Colum. L. Rev. 1471, 1478–87 (2022) [hereinafter Shanahan et al., Institutional Mismatch]. Even in cases where marginalized plaintiffs initiate litigation, they enter the civil courts due to a lack of other feasible options. They are forced to subject themselves and others to a system designed to devalue them, commodify their needs, and maximize financial extraction. Most of the cases in the civil system involve eviction, debt collection, or family law matters 12 See Sabbeth & Steinberg, supra note 2, at 10 (“The civil courts churn through 20 million cases per year, most of which are evictions, debt collections, and family law matters of all types—divorce, custody, child support, parental rights, and domestic violence.”); Paula Hannaford-Agor, Scott Graves & Shelley Spacek Miller, Civil Justice Initiative, The Landscape of Civil Litigation in State Courts, Nat’l Ctr. for State Cts., 17, 19 (2015), https://www.ncsc.org/__data/assets/pdf_file/0020/13376/civiljusticereport-2015.pdf [https://perma.cc/9AJ3-TN84] (noting that almost two-thirds of state civil court caseloads consist of contract cases and that, of those, the large majority are debt collection and landlord–tenant cases); see also Wilf-Townsend, supra note 1, at 1717. —legal matters likely to target poor and racialized litigants. 13 See, e.g., Brito et al., I Do for My Kids, supra note 2, at 3029–30 (describing the predominance of Black male defendants in child support cases); Vicki Lens, Judging the Other: The Intersection of Race, Gender, and Class in Family Court, 57 Fam. Ct. Rev. 72, 73 (2019) (noting the disproportionate representation of African Americans in the child wel­fare system and how institutional factors exacerbate the hardships experienced by poor Black families); Andrew Roesch-Knapp, The Cyclical Nature of Poverty: Evicting the Poor, 45 Law & Soc. Inquiry 839, 852 (2020) (citing Matthew Desmond, Weihua An, Richelle Winkler & Thomas Ferriss, Evicting Children, 92 Soc. Forces 303, 303–27 (2013)) (noting that “black tenants have a significantly higher likelihood of receiving an eviction notice than white tenants”); Wilf-Townsend, supra note 1, at 1750–51 (noting the disproportionate impact of debt collection and eviction cases on communities of color); see also Sabbeth, Housing Defense as the New Gideon, supra note 2, at 89–96 (highlighting that eviction dis­proportionately impacts Black women). For more on the impact of the child welfare system on Black communities, see infra note 41 and accompanying text (various sources describing impact of child welfare system on Black communities). And in many of those cases, an individual has been sued  by  the  state  or  a  corporation. 14 See Wilf-Townsend, supra note 1, at 1711 (“[I]n state courts . . . the most common cases pit a better-resourced plaintiff, often a corporation with lawyers, against an unrepre­sented individual defendant.”); id. at 1724 (“[T]he majority of civil cases pit a business plaintiff against a natural person defendant, often in a contract dispute involving an alleged debt.”). In the eviction context, several recent studies have evidenced the dominance of large, corporate landlords and their relative likelihood to file for eviction. See Henry Gomory, The Social and Institutional Contexts Underlying Landlords’ Eviction Practices, Soc. Forces, June 16, 2021, at 1, 2–3 (finding that corporate landlords are two-to-three times more likely than non-corporate landlords to file for evictions); Elora Lee Raymond, Richard Duckworth, Benjamin Miller, Michael Lucas & Shiraj Pokharel, From Foreclosure to Evic­tion: Housing Insecurity in Corporate-Owned Single-Family Rentals, 20 Cityscape 159, 162 (2018) (showing that “[l]arge corporate owners in the single-family rental business are 68 percent more likely than small landlords to evict tenants”); Devin Q. Rutan & Matthew Desmond, The Concentrated Geography of Eviction, 693 Annals Am. Acad. Pol. & Soc. Sci. 64, 65, 76–78 (2021) (noting that a small number of large landlords were found to be responsible for a significant percentage of all evictions in 17 cities). It is those cases that are the focus of this Essay, where the ability of the party initiating court action to extract capital and exercise control over racialized people is strongest. And it is in these cases that the role of the courts in facilitating the transfer and accumulation of assets from racialized individuals to majority-white corporations or the state itself is most visible.

Courts have long played a role in defining race and policing racial order, contributing to the perpetuation of racial inequality and, more specifically, white dominance. 15 See, e.g., Ian Haney López, White By Law: The Legal Construction of Race (1996) (“[T]he courts were responsible for deciding not only who was White, but why someone was White. Thus, the courts had to wrestle in their decisions with the nature of race in general and of White racial identity in particular.”); Ariela J. Gross, Litigating Whiteness: Trials of Racial Determination in the Nineteenth-Century South, 108 Yale L.J. 109, 112–14 (1998) (“[The] law, broadly defined, played an important role in constituting the cultural meaning of racial identities. . . . [In] the antebellum period, law made the ‘performance’ of whiteness increasingly important to the determination of racial status.”). The civil courts that are the focus of this Essay are very much a part of that story. They oversee and process case dockets filled by poor people and, as limited available data have shown, disproportionately Black people. 16 While we acknowledge that matters handled by the civil courts harm people of all races—and marginalized communities in particular—the literature has highlighted the par­ticular harm committed in Black communities. See, e.g., Benjamin F. Teresa, The Geography of Eviction in Richmond: Beyond Poverty, RVA Eviction Lab 1, https://cura.vcu.edu/media/cura/pdfs/cura-documents/GeographiesofEviction.pdf [https://perma.cc/W8LE-6H6G] (observing the correlation between the share of African American population and eviction rate); Raymond et al., supra note 14, at 16 (demonstrat­ing that the highest levels of eviction filings in Atlanta are in “predominantly black neighborhoods”); Wilf-Townsend, supra note 1, at 1750 (noting the high rates of default judgments in debt collection cases in Black (and Latinx) neighborhoods); Keil & Waldman, supra note 2. In addition, the racialization of poverty in U.S. society has made it impossible to disentangle narratives of the “undeserving poor” from those of Black America. 17 See, e.g., Jill Quadagno, The Color of Welfare: How Racism Undermined the War on Poverty 9 (1994); Martin Gilens, How the Poor Became Black: The Racialization of Pov­erty in the Mass Media, in Race and the Politics of Welfare Reform 101, 101–02 (Sanford S. Schram, Joe Soss & Richard S. Fording eds., 2003) (describing the entwinement of race and poverty and the “association of African Americans with the ‘undeserving poor’”); john a. powell, The Race and Class Nexus: An Intersectional Perspective, 25 Law & Ineq. 355, 396 (2007) (“Race and class are mutually constitutive.”). This entwinement of racial and economic status—and the imposition of beliefs and traits suggesting that these individuals are appropriate subjects for state-sponsored discipline 18 Cf. Kaaryn S. Gustafson, Cheating Welfare: Public Assistance and the Criminaliza­tion of Poverty 1–2 (2011); Wendy A. Bach, The Hyperregulatory State: Women, Race, Poverty, and Support, 25 Yale J.L. & Feminism 317, 336 (2014) (describing use of the “hyperregulatory state” to control and subordinate people targeted by race, class, place, and gender); see also Joe Soss, Richard C. Fording & Sanford F. Schram, Disciplining the Poor: Neoliberal Paternalism and the Persistent Power of Race 2–3 (2011). —is operationalized through the work of civil courts and provides additional justification for the extraction that racial capitalism requires.

The courts administering these cases are often characterized by mass adjudication, speed, and a lack of procedural protections. 19 See infra Part III; see also Sabbeth, Eviction Courts, supra note 2, at 376–85 (describ­ing the speed and volume of eviction case dispositions and the lack of procedural protec­tions available to tenants); Wilf-Townsend, supra note 1, at 1716–23 (describing the high-volume nature of assembly-line litigation of debt collection lawsuits). The systematic and low-cost way in which these civil courts process cases—devaluing and commodifying the individuals subject to them and disregarding their pro­cedural and substantive rights—contributes to the narrative that these individuals are not worthy of the justice system that society upholds as the ideal. Instead, the courts interpret and apply law and procedure in ways that facilitate and maintain a racialized underclass that can be used to gen­erate profit for dominant individuals and corporations. 20 This phenomenon is not exclusive to procedural aspects of the law; much of the substantive law practiced and implemented in civil courts also favors those in power and is used to similar effect. In doing so, courts normalize, legitimize, and perpetuate a system of racial subordination for profit. The role of the state in driving this process should not be underestimated. Framing the civil courts as neutral and passive arbiters of private civil disputes—rather than as agents of the state helping to maintain the social order necessary for racial capitalism to function 21 Cf., e.g., Shelley v. Kraemer, 334 U.S. 1, 19 (1948) (emphasizing the court’s role as an arm of the state in enforcing private contracts that restricted property ownership to white persons); see id. at 20 (“The judicial action in each case bears the clear and unmistakable imprimatur of the State.”). —diminishes courts’ responsibility for the harm they perpetuate and undermines the ability to address it.

In Part I of this Essay, we examine various perspectives that have been offered to date on the relationship between race and civil justice. As we demonstrate, although there are some notable exceptions, 22 See, for example, the discussion in Part I of work done by Dorothy E. Roberts and others in the family and child welfare contexts. much of the literature relating to the civil legal system has focused on disproportionate racial impact—including disparities in access and treatment—rather than theorizing about the court system’s role in creating or maintaining those disparities. In contrast, the relationship between race and systemic design—including relevant court processes and procedures—has been more thoroughly explored in the context of the criminal legal system. We suggest that the justifications for this imbalance are inadequate and highlight several important examples of deeper theorizing as to how race and racism have shaped the civil legal system.

In Part II, we begin with an overview of the scholarly literature on racial capitalism, highlighting the aspects most relevant to state civil courts. Theories of racial capitalism show us not only that racism and capitalism are fundamentally intertwined, but also that capitalism requires inequality and relies on racialized systems of exploitation and extraction to generate and accumulate capital. While often associated with traditional economic systems, racial capitalism is both dynamic and malleable and applies equally to nonmarket forums, including state courts.

After examining racial capitalism in broader terms, we translate these concepts to the civil court context and show how civil courts serve as sites of racial capitalism, carrying forward the historical role of white supremacy. Through a broad-strokes discussion of civil court processes, we demonstrate how the courts assist in capital accumulation through patterns of racialized extraction and dispossession; these processes are, in turn, facilitated and justified through racialized devaluation and commodification of elements critical to human survival. The courts create opportunities for the extraction of financial assets and products of labor from subordinated people and for their transfer to entities that become more powerful as a result; it is racial subordination that makes this process tolerable and allows the courts to subjugate individuals’ humanity to their role in a larger capitalist structure. Ultimately, we argue that a primary function of the civil courts is to produce profit for those with capital; to do so, they must maintain the racialized social and economic order that role requires.

Using consumer debt collection as a case study, Part III of the Essay illustrates how civil court structures and practices facilitate and enforce racial capitalism. In the spiraling world of debt collection, where poor and racialized defendants borrow money for necessities that then costs them far more to repay, courts issue default judgments en masse. 23 See infra Part III. The courts forgo procedural requirements in favor of speedy proceedings and financial extraction, even when fraudulent practices such as “robo-signing” and “sewer service” are at play. 24 See infra Part III. The way in which courts process debt collection cases—and their use of default judgments in particular—facilitates extraction from poor, predominately Black communities and the accumulation of capital by powerful corporate interests; and it does so to a broader degree than the substantive law alone would require. Many aspects of the courts’ approach to civil adjudication are not required by the law itself, but instead reflect choices made based on the premise that racialized people are less valuable and that economic values outweigh basic human needs. The common racialized identity of the people targeted by the debt collection industry feeds the narrative that they are lesser and undeserving of better treatment while ensuring an oppressed class that can support the capitalist structure; 25 We want to acknowledge the role that intersectionality may play in the relationship between the courts and racial capitalism. See Kimberlé Crenshaw, Demarginalizing the Intersection of Race and Sex: A Black Feminist Critique of Antidiscrimination Doctrine, Feminist Theory and Antiracist Politics, 1989 U. Chi. Legal Forum 139, 139. In courts where a large number of affected individuals are Black women, multiple forms of disadvantage may interact to produce particular dynamics of subordination (distinct from that applied to all Black people or all women). it also renders their existing treatment tolerable rather than fodder for moral outrage.

In sum, we use the conceptual framing of racial capitalism to demonstrate how the civil courts operate to reinforce and perpetuate systems of social and economic injustice against racialized communities, who are, in many instances, Black men, women, and families. While we argue that civil courts contribute to and facilitate racial capitalism, we also acknowledge that the inequality and subordination integral to racial capitalism run far deeper and the forces fueling racial capitalism range far wider than the reach of courts. Therefore, although we support various court reforms for reasons beyond the scope of this Essay, 26 See, e.g., Tonya L. Brito, The Right to Civil Counsel, 148 Daedalus 56 (2019) (advocating for a civil right-to-counsel that is national in scope, adequately funded, and pro­tected from political influence); Tonya L. Brito, David J. Pate Jr., Daanika Gordon & Amanda Ward, What We Know and Need to Know About Civil Gideon, 67 S.C. L. Rev. 223 (2016) [hereinafter Brito et al., Civil Gideon] (identifying additional research needed for an effective implementation of civil Gideon); Kathryn A. Sabbeth, Simplicity as Justice, 2018 Wis. L. Rev. 287, 288–89 [hereinafter Sabbeth, Simplicity as Justice] (critiquing overemphasis on simplification in the context of pro se court reform); Kathryn A. Sabbeth, (Under)Enforcement of Poor Tenants’ Rights, 27 Geo. J. Poverty L. & Pol’y 97, 139–44 (2019) [hereinafter Sabbeth, (Under)Enforcement] (proposing a mix of public and private enforcement schemes to better protect tenants’ rights); Jessica K. Steinberg, A Theory of Civil Problem-Solving Courts, 93 N.Y.U. L. Rev. 1579, 1594–85 (2018) (explaining how the problem-solving court model might be adapted to the civil context); Jessica K. Steinberg, Demand Side Reform in the Poor People’s Court, 47 Conn. L. Rev. 741, 747 (2015) (advo­cating for court-driven rather than party-driven reform efforts); Lauren Sudeall, Rethinking the Civil–Criminal Distinction, in Transforming Criminal Justice: An Evidence-Based Agenda for Reform (NYU Press, forthcoming) (manuscript at 20–21) (on file with the Columbia Law Review) [hereinafter Sudeall, Rethinking the Civil–Criminal Distinction] (arguing that courts should eschew a rigid civil–criminal distinction in favor of a more holistic and litigant-focused approach); Lauren Sudeall, The Overreach of Limits on “Legal Advice,131 Yale L.J. Forum 637, 653–55 (2022) (advocating for courts to employ narrower definitions of legal advice and thus relay critical information to litigants about the law and legal process); Lauren Sudeall & Daniel Pasciuti, Praxis and Paradox: Inside the Black Box of Eviction Court, 74 Vand. L. Rev. 1365, 1427–31 (2021) (suggesting that courts should develop forms and procedures that better inform and elicit the most relevant information from litigants). we do not suggest that court-driven changes, such as the provision of additional procedural protections, would lead to systems change of the order that challenging racial capitalism requires.

The application of the racial capitalism framework in this Essay is not intended to generate solutions, but it helps us to understand how and why civil courts operate as they do. Racial subjugation is not incidental or external, but central to the economic exploitation facilitated by courts through the processing of cases involving housing, debt, and family relationships. Eviction is not only about repossession of a home, but also about seizing the products of racialized tenants’ labor 27 Rent eats more than fifty percent of many household incomes. Millions of Americans Burdened by Housing Costs in 2015, Joint Ctr. for Hous. Stud. Harv. Univ., https://www.jchs.harvard.edu/son2017-housing-cost-burdens-table [https://perma.cc/34L6-DABC] (last visited Feb. 11, 2022). and instilling fear to prevent resistance. 28 See Philip Garboden & Eva Rosen, Serial Filing: How Landlords Use the Threat of Eviction, 18 Cty. & Cmty. 638, 640 (2019) (“The daily threat of eviction subjugates poor tenants, stripping them of their consumer rights.”); Sabbeth, Eviction Courts, supra note 2, at 402 (arguing that eviction courts function “to enforce the existing social order”). Child support is less about transferring funds to custodial parents than it is about the state seizing pennies from Black fathers as payback for public benefits received by the custodial parent. 29 See infra section II.B.1. Debt collection is less about ensuring debts are repaid than about ensuring the smooth, one-directional flow of capital from Black communities to powerful corporations. 30 See infra Part III. Courts orchestrate the handling of these cases so that the people involved are devalued and their needs rendered mere commodities; the process is swift and easy for powerful, repeat actors. By engaging in these practices, the civil courts normalize, legitimize, and perpetuate a racialized social and economic order that allows racial capitalism to thrive.