Wednesday, January 21, 2015

China's One-Child Policy creating serious problems

From Yahoo News:  

Chinese health authorities on Wednesday described the gender imbalance among newborns as "the most serious and prolonged" in the world, a direct ramification of the country's strict one-child policy.

A Chinese government website

acknowledged that women were transferring blood samples overseas to determine the genders of their babies as part of an "underground chain for profit".

"This has further exacerbated the gender imbalance in our country's birth structure," the agency said.

Researchers have warned that large sex-ratio imbalances could lead to instability as more men remain unmarried, raising the risks of anti-social and violent behavior.

January 21, 2015 in International, Reproductive Rights | Permalink | Comments (0)

BBC says women more likely than men to believe in God and Heaven

Religion questionnaire

The story:

Of the British men surveyed, 54% said they were atheists or agnostics compared with only 34% of women.

The study also showed that Muslims in the survey had the fewest doubts about the existence of God and the afterlife.

The research involving more than 9,000 British people born in 1970 was analysed at the University of Essex.

 

January 21, 2015 in Religion | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

AALS Podcasts Now Online

Annual Meeting Podcasts Now Online

More than 150 audio podcasts from the 2015 AALS Annual Meeting in Washington, D.C. are available at no charge to faculty and professional staff from AALS member and fee-paid schools.


 Please visit aals.org/am2015/podcasts to listen to the Annual Meeting podcasts.


 A user name and password are required to access them. Your user name is your primary e-mail address. If you do not have or do not remember your password, click the "forgot password" link on the bottom of the login screen.

January 20, 2015 in Conferences, Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

The Pope on Contraception: Catholics Don't Have to be like Rabbits.

People hvae a moral responsibility to practice "responsible parenting." 

Pope: Catholics Need Not Breed "Like Rabbits"

Pope Francis, after a visit to the largest Catholic nation in Asia, says Catholics may have a moral responsibility to limit the number of their children and need not reproduce "like rabbits.''

 But the pope also reaffirmed the church's ban on artificial means of birth control and said Catholics should practice "responsible parenting."***

The pope cited the case of a woman he met who was pregnant with her eighth child after seven Cesarean sections. "That is an irresponsibility!" he said. The woman might argue that she should trust in God. "But God gives you methods to be responsible," he said.

 

January 20, 2015 in Religion, Reproductive Rights | Permalink | Comments (0)

SCOTUS Rewrites Question Presented in Same-sex Marriage Case

Adam Liptak, NYT, Taking UP Gay Marriage, but on its Own Terms

The first page of a petition seeking Supreme Court review is the most important. It sets out the “question presented,” the one the court will answer if it takes the case.

 

The justices do not ordinarily tinker with the wording of those questions. But on Friday something unusual happened: In agreeing to hear four same-sex marriagecases, the court framed for itself the issues it would address.

 

Lawyers and scholars scrutinized the court’s order with the anxious intensity of hypochondriacs attending their symptoms. Some saw an attempt by Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. to elicit a ruling that would stop short of establishing a nationwide constitutional right to same-sex marriage.

 

The court’s order was not issued until 3:30 in the afternoon, long after the justices’ private morning conference concluded. That suggested the drafting had taken some time and had involved some negotiation.

 

Richard L. Hasen, a law professor at the University of California, Irvine, did not like what he saw. Has the Supreme Court “stacked the deck against gay marriage in how it has framed the question?” he asked in a blog post.

 

But there are perfectly innocuous explanations for the court’s new questions. It agreed to hear four different petitions, from Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio and Tennessee, and they featured different questions, which needed to be harmonized since the cases were consolidated.

 

“The court’s order represents good housekeeping,” said Laurence H. Tribe, a law professor at Harvard.

 

But Professor Tribe also voiced a small note of caution.

 

“The rephrased questions,” he said, “technically leave open a middle path along which the court would prevent states from discriminating against same-sex couples lawfully married in their home states without requiring any state to take the affirmative step of issuing its own marriage licenses to same-sex couples.”

That's what I think.  A middle path, following Windsor.  

January 20, 2015 in Same-sex marriage | Permalink | Comments (0)

SCOTUS Fair Housing Case on Disparate Impact Important to Domestic Violence Victims

ACLU, Supreme Court Decision Could be Crucial to Protecting Domestic Violence Survivors

But now, the U.S. Supreme Court is poised to decide a case that will determine the future of this key legal protection. Next week, the court will consider whether the Fair Housing Act prohibits policies that have a discriminatory effect, regardless of whether they were adopted with the intent to discriminate, in Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs v. The Inclusive Communities Project, Inc.

 

Without the ability to bring disparate impact claims, many domestic violence survivors will have no recourse when they face the same double victimization as Ms. Alvera: first abuse, then an eviction notice blaming them for the violence in their homes. Even more disturbingly, landlords usually only become aware of the violence after survivors call for help, and so survivors are forced to choose between seeking safety and keeping their homes.***

 

Most of the time, landlords that hold victims of abuse responsible for violence perpetrated against them do not say they are making their decisions because they intend to discriminate against women. Yet, as we described in our amicus brief, it is clear that the majority of domestic violence victims are women, and that time and again, the homes and security of female victims of domestic violence are jeopardized because ostensibly neutral housing policies that evict entire households following criminal activity are enforced against them.

January 20, 2015 in Violence Against Women | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, January 19, 2015

Sexual Assault on Campus: It's Because Too Many Women Attend College

Or so argues Phyllis Schlafly in Salon.  

Conservative icon Phyllis Schlafly is worried that college campuses are populated by too many women, a phenomenon she insinuated has contributed to increased sexual assault on campus.

In a Monday column for the far-right website World Net Daily, the longtime anti-feminist crusader lamented the declining portion of university enrollments accounted for by men. Schlafly — BA and JD, Washington University in St. Louis; MA, Radcliffe College — argued that it may even be time to implement quotas to ensure that men constitute at least half of a college’s enrollment.

“Long ago when I went to college, campuses were about 70 percent male, and until 1970 it was still nearly 60 percent,” Schlafly wrote. “Today, however, the male percentage has fallen to the low 40s on most campuses.”

 

January 19, 2015 in Education, Violence Against Women | Permalink | Comments (0)

SCOTUS Blog rundown on same sex marriage scholarship

SCOTUS Blog has some articles on the same sex marriage issue now taken up by the Supreme Court for review.

January 19, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Problems of Intersex Prisoners

A recent student Note in the Hastings Constitutional Law Quarterly examines the status of intersex prisoners. It's available here and the abstract reads:

Miki Ann DiMarco spent 438 days in the most restrictive and isolated housing pod at Wyoming Department of Corrections due to the fact that she was “classified as an individual of ambiguous
gender.”

Even though DiMarco identified herself as female since puberty, she was segregated from the general prison population because of her gender ambiguity. Biologically speaking, she “has a
nearly complete set of male reproductive organs however [sic] does not have testicles . . . [or] female reproductive organs.”

People who are intersex, such as DiMarco, “fail to fit neatly into the traditional male/female binary construct.” DiMarco’s case demonstrates the difficulty in determining appropriate housing arrangements in the prison system for people whose bodies do not conform to the
traditional male/female dichotomy.


This Note seeks to examine the problems that arise due to the insistence upon a binary society with regards to sex. First, this Note sheds light on sex as a spectrum, rather than the classic male/female dichotomy—particularly focusing on the different conditions of intersex people. Next, this Note discusses the ways in which prison authorities house and treat intersex prisoners. The potential constitutional violations of these housing classifications is analyzed with special emphasis on the DiMarco case.

January 19, 2015 in LGBT, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, January 16, 2015

When Sexism and Racism Collide

From the Atlantic:

A scuffle between a largely black sorority and a predominantly white fraternity provides an interesting case study on Title IX.

Peter Morenus/UConn Photo

At first, the kerfuffle at the University of Connecticut between a largely black sorority and a predominantly white fraternity might seem a lot like the big-kid version of a schoolyard fight. It is, after all, a dispute over an iconic boulder on campus affectionately known as the “Spirit Rock.” No one has been physically hurt, and campus officials have taken action in response to the event.

But a closer look at the quarrel likely reveals a racially charged conflict in whichwhite frat brothers, according to university investigators’ initial findings, physically intimidated the group of black women, hurling verbal insults at them, including “fat black bitch” and “whores.” It has forced university officials—administrators accustomed to treating race and gender bias as distinct problems—to grapple with a conflict that’s almost certainly shaped by some combination of both issues. What’s more, the Spirit Rock affair is unfolding at a time when public scrutiny of issues related to sexual violence and harassment on campus has reached an all-time high. Turns out that what happened at the Spirit Rock is hardly a petty matter.

 

January 16, 2015 in Education, Masculinities, Race | Permalink | Comments (0)

Cardinal Burke: Radical Feminism Is Threat to Catholicism

From WaPo:

Last week, Cardinal Raymond Burke delivered a whopper of a manifesto in an interview with something called “The Emangelization,” which seeks to restore a sense of manliness to men in the church. In the interview, Burke offered a lengthy meditation on what he perceives to be the problem with the modern church. Most of them began, he said, with the advent of the women’s rights movement during the 1960s, which pushed for female participation in the Catholic Church. He derided it as “radical feminism.”

When that happened, the “goodness and importance of men became very obscured,” which gave rise to a “very feminized” Church, he said: “There was a period of time when men who were feminized and confused about their own sexual identity had entered the priesthood; sadly some of these disordered men sexually abused minors; a terrible tragedy for which the Church mourns.”

 And some background on the Cardinal: 

 The former archbishop of St. Louis, who once said supporters of abortion rights shouldn’t receive communion, became the highest-ranking American in the Vatican during the tenure of former Pope Benedict on the strength of unabashed conservatism. But as soon as Pope Francis arrived on the scene, that same conservatism turned divisive when Burke criticized Francis’s progressive policies.

For example, Burke, who headed the Vatican’s highest court of canon law, lampooned Francis in a Buzzfeed interview late last year. He said Francis had “done a lot of harm. … The pope is not free to change the church’s teachings with regard to the immorality of homosexual acts.” Weeks later, the pope booted the rampaging cardinal, who had come to symbolize the so-called “Culture Wars” roiling the Vatican, demoting him to a ceremonial post with the charity group Knights of Malta.

 

January 16, 2015 in Manliness, Masculinities, Religion | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Breastaurants Exacerbate Sexual Harassment Problem

Surprised? And yes, there is something people (or some people) actually call "breastaurants."

HuffPo, Breastaurants Booming as the Restaurant Industry Struggles

The so-called "breastaurants" take inspiration from Hooters, the 30-year-old chain known for big-breasted waitresses wearing short shorts and oddly orange pantyhose. But today's cleavage chains have updated the concept with fresher-looking spaces and menus better suited to today's young people who are increasingly interested in artisanal food and craft beer.***

 

“Men are simple creatures and so you don’t have to get too crazy to get them in the door,” said Kristen Colby, the chain’s senior director of marketing, adding that all it takes is an ice cold beer, sports on TV and beautiful girls.

 

“We know we're not for everybody and that’s okay,” she said, noting that other casual dining chains have struggled in part because they’re trying to be all things to all people.***

 

The restaurants create an environment that exacerbates an already prevalent problem, said Liz Watson, the director of workplace justice for women at the National Women’s Law Center. The restaurant industry is notoriously rife with sexual harassment -- nearly 80 percent of female servers say they’ve been harassed on the job, according to a report released last year by Restaurant Opportunities United, a restaurant worker advocacy group.

 

January 15, 2015 in Equal Employment | Permalink | Comments (1)

The Value of the Paycheck Fairness Act

Nicole Porter (Toledo), "Choices, Bias, and the Value of the Paycheck Fairness Act: A Response Essay"  29 ABA Journal of Labor & Employment Law 429 (2014)

This essay is in response to an article written by three practitioners, who argue that the pay gap is not primarily caused by employer discrimination, but rather can be attributed to many factors, including the choices made by women regarding occupation, caregiving, and commitment to the workforce. Thus, they argue that we should not place the blame on employers and focus on the reach of anti-discrimination laws, and should instead acknowledge that there is a broader problem caused by entrenched social norms that the law cannot change. I have a slightly different perspective. Although I agree with the authors’ assertion that much of the pay gap is caused by the choices men and women make, I disagree with them in several respects. First, I disagree that employers are primarily blamed for the pay gap. In fact, as I have argued elsewhere, the pay gap is often blamed on the choices women make. Second, and more importantly, I believe that most workplace choices made by women (and men) are constrained by social norms and workplace structures that are not compatible with balancing work and family. And, finally, although I agree with the authors that the proposed Paycheck Fairness Act cannot solve all of the problems with the Equal Pay Act, I believe it can make a dent in the pay gap, especially with a few minor tweaks. 

January 15, 2015 in Equal Employment | Permalink | Comments (0)

Steubenville Redux: The Vanderbilt Case

Reuters, Prosecutors Detail Assault as Vanderbilt Rape Trial Opens

Prosecutors recounted graphic crime details on Tuesday at the opening of a trial of two former Vanderbilt University football players charged with raping a female student at the school in 2013.

 

The woman was raped and sodomized by Brandon Vandenburg and Cory Batey while unconscious in Vandenburg's dorm room on the morning of June 23, 2013, Deputy District Attorney General Tom Thurman told the jury.

 

Thurman added that Batey urinated on the victim while using racial slurs and the rape was recorded on a cell phone.

 

Defense attorneys countered that the two men, who both pleaded not guilty, should not be convicted because Batey was too drunk to make a conscious decision at the time and that Vandenburg did not do anything. ***

 

Batey's attorney said the football player from Nashville was influenced by a campus culture of sexual freedom, promiscuity and excessive alcohol consumption that contrasted with the manner of his upbringing.***

 

All four men were kicked off the football team and banned from campus after the charges were leveled.

January 15, 2015 in Violence Against Women | Permalink | Comments (0)

Obama to Give Federal Employees Paid Maternity Leave

USA Today, Obama to Propose Paid Sick Leave for American Workers

WASHINGTON -- President Obama will call on Congress to require companies to give workers up to seven days of paid sick leave a year, a senior adviser said Wednesday.

 

 Obama will also take executive action to give at least six weeks of paid leave to federal employees after the birth or adoption of a child, Senior White House Adviser Valerie Jarrett said.

 

 And Obama wants Congress to spend $2.2 billion to help states and cities develop paid family leave programs.

 

 Jarrett announced the new initiatives in a post on the job networking site LinkedIn -- a venue chosen, she said, because its audience was best positioned to drive change in their own workplaces.

From Jarrett's announcement:

So on Thursday, President Obama will call on Congress to pass the Healthy Families Act, which would allow millions of working Americans to earn up to seven days a year of paid sick time — and call on states and cities to pass similar laws. The President will outline a new plan to help states create paid leave programs, and provide new funding through the Department of Labor for feasibility studies that will help other states and municipalities figure out the best way to implement programs of their own. And the President will sign a Presidential Memorandum that will ensure federal employees have access to at least 6 weeks of paid sick leave when a new child arrives and propose that Congress offer 6 weeks of paid administrative leave as well.

January 15, 2015 in Equal Employment, Reproductive Rights, Work/life | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Bill Would Ban Abortions for Gender or Disability

From Indiana:

A state senator's proposal seeks to prohibit abortions if the provider knows the procedure is being sought because of the fetus's gender or due to a genetic mental or physical disability such as Down syndrome.

Senate Bill 334, filed by Markle Republican Travis Holdman, would make it a felony for providers to perform abortions in those instances.

"We support the bill, because we don't believe an unborn child should be discriminated against based on disability or sex," said Mike Fichter, president and CEO of Indiana Right to Life.

January 14, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0)

In West Hollywood, Gender Neutral Bathrooms

Gender neutral

From the LA Times: 

A West Hollywood law requiring all single-stall restrooms in businesses and public places to be gender-neutral will go into effect this week.

The law, which will have no impact on multiple-stall restrooms, mandates that any facility designed for use by no more than one person not be restricted to a specific sex or gender identity by signage, design or installation of fixtures.

January 14, 2015 in Theory | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

More from Rock Star Justice Ginsburg

The Atlantic's video interview with Justice Ginsburg is here: Ruth Bader Ginsburg's Life Lessons

And ICYMI, What Ruth Bader Ginsburg Taught me About Being a Stay-at-Home Dad

January 13, 2015 in Women lawyers, Work/life | Permalink | Comments (0)

The Failures of the LSAT and SAT Testocracy

Lani Guiner (Harvard), Ivy League's Meritocracy Lie: How Harvard and Yale Cook the Books for the 1 Percent.  In this excerpt from Guiner's new book, she traces the elitest and anti-Jewish origins of standardize testing in law schools and discredits the alleged merit evalution of SAT and LSAT tests. Taking the "testocracy" to its ultimate result, she concludes we are admiting students based on a false sense of merit and failing to prepare students as future leaders and professionals. 

The top career choices of many male Harvard students—whether it is 2007 or 2013—are severely lacking in any element of service. This is the damage that we are doing through our testocracy. We are credentializing a new elite by legitimizing people with an inflated sense of their own merit and little unwillingness to open up to new ways of problem solving. They exude an arrogance that says there’s only one way to answer a question—because the SAT only gives credit for the one right answer.

January 13, 2015 in Education, Poverty, Race | Permalink | Comments (0)

Pregnancy Discrimination Cases Surprisingly on the Increase

NC Woman Battles for Right to Work While Pregnant

What is happening to Jamie Cole is happening to women all over the country, said Ariela Migdal, an attorney and senior staff member for the ACLU's Women's Rights Project in New York City.

 

Charges filed with the EEOC and Fair Employment Practices Agencies alleging pregnancy discrimination in the workplace increased by nearly 47% from 1997 through 2011, the last year in which states and the federal government reported numbers together.

 

"We are surprised that we're still seeing so much pregnancy discrimination in our nation's workplaces, 37 years after the Pregnancy Discrimination Act," said Christine Saah Nazer, spokeswoman for the EEOC.

January 13, 2015 in Equal Employment, Reproductive Rights | Permalink | Comments (0)