Saturday, March 21, 2009

The Teaching Assistant

Hello!  As always, we will cover a number of stories.  This week's installment will take us through a varied collection of stories.

Equal Protection:

The NAACP has filed a suit against a number of mortgage lenders alleging that they deliberated targeted African Americans for subprime mortgages.  In a related story, NPR aired a story (audio only) about how the recession is having a particularly negative effect on racial minorities.

On LGBT issues, President Obama reversed an edict of of the prior administration by endorsing the United Nations' declaration calling for the decriminalization of homosexuality. 

Fundamental Rights:

The Illinois State Legislature has voted a bill out of committee that wil prohibit any state actor froml, inter alia, "deny[ing] or interfer[ing] with a pregnant woman's right to terminate a pregnancy: (i) prior to the viability of the fetus or (ii) when the termination of pregnancy is necessary to protect the life or health of the pregnant woman."  The law further requires that all Illinois public schools " shall offer medically accurate, age appropriate, comprehensive sexual health education."   

The ACLU has a sobering report about the reproductive rights of women held in ICE custody.  The problem is that female detainees are not made aware of their rights, and therefore do not request reproductive health services.  According to the report, "Basic services and options related to reproductive health, including emergency contraception, prenatal care, post-partum care, and abortion, are . . . available to some detainees, at some facilities, under some circumstances, if you know who, and how, to ask."

Appointments Clause:

The Blog of Legal Times has a great story abouta challenge to the Copyright Royalty Board.   The merits of the case may be more interesting to IP profs, but the Con Law question is whether three of the judges on the Copyright Royalty Board have been duly appointed under the Constitution.   The judges were appointed by the Librarian of Congress, so the issue turns on whether the Librarian is a "Department Head" for Article II purposes.   Great story to prove to your students that they should pay close attention to even the structural issues in Con Law. 

That's it for this week.  See you next time!


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