Saturday, October 25, 2014
But to the professor Kevin Allred and 32 students at Rutgers University, Beyoncé is something more—a feminist, a gay icon, and a powerful political figure.
Allred teaches a wildly popular women’s studies course, Politicizing Beyonce: Black Feminism, US Politics, & Queen Bey.
The class is at capacity, and the room is cramped—especially because Allred encourages students to bring their friends. But that doesn’t stop them from rocking out to Beyonce’s greatest hits.
“They usually sign up because they're big fans of Beyoncé's music, but they quickly start to make connections beyond just being fans," Allred says.
Allred, 33, says he’s been a huge fan of Beyoncé for a long time, but he didn’t think of her as a political actor until he came across an essay by Yale Professor Daphne Brooks that linked the singer to black, female disempowerment. ***
In Allred’s course, Beyonce’s music is paired with black, feminists texts, another love of his.
“That way, students are getting an education in the history of black feminist theory in the US, just using Beyoncé as the focal point,” he says. “I let them be pretty fan-oriented on the first day, but urge them for the remainder of the semester to push past that and engage academically.”
Tuesday, October 21, 2014
Amanda Marcotte, Slate, South Carolina Says "Stand Your Ground" Law Doesn't Apply to Abused Women
South Carolina has an expansive "stand your ground" law that paves the way for someone to get immunity from prosecution by declaring that they killed another person in self-defense. Liberals have been critical of these laws, arguing that they make it far too easy for violent people to deliberately provoke or escalate confrontations and then avoid prosecution when things get out of hand. (There is some proof that such laws correlate with a rise in the murder rate.) There are also concerns that the laws are unfairly applied, due to massive racial disparities in who successfully invokes "stand your ground" to avoid punishment. Now comes a reason for women to be especially worried.
In South Carolina, prosecutors are trying to argue that a woman's right to stand her ground in a domestic dispute is less than a man's right to stand his ground with some stranger he's gotten into a fight with. Andrew Knapp at the Charleston Post and Courier—which has been aggressively covering the issue of domestic violence in recent months—reports that three North Charleston women have been "charged with murder during the past two years after stabbing a boyfriend or a roommate she said attacked her," despite the existence of the state's strong "stand your ground" law.
[h/t Molly McBurney]
We recently blogged here about legal scholarship on this issue. In this article, Professor Mary Anne Franks argues:
This two-track system of self-defense — Battered Women’s Syndrome for women and Stand Your Ground for men — has far-reaching implications outside of the courtroom. Battered Women’s Syndrome sends the legal and social message that women should retreat even from their own homes in the face of objective, repeated harm to their bodies; Stand Your Ground sends the legal and social message that men can advance against strangers anywhere on the basis of vague, subjective perceptions of threats.
During this media firestorm, John Grisham might want to study up on the work of legal scholar Catharine MacKinnon. Her key takeaways: Pornography is oppression of women. Pornography exploits and harms the girls and women in it, and the men who consume it facilitate and further that exploitation and sex discrimination.
Here's more on the story:
ABA Journal, John Grisham Says US "Has Gone Nuts" with Child Porn Incarcerations, Then Issues Apology. Grisham said,
"We have prisons now filled with guys my age. Sixty-year-old white men in prison who’ve never harmed anybody, would never touch a child,” he said. “But they got online one night and started surfing around, probably had too much to drink or whatever, and pushed the wrong buttons, went too far and got into child porn.”
He said the justice system fails to distinguish between child abusers and people who download porn. “I have no sympathy for real pedophiles,” Grisham said, “God, please lock those people up.”
For one response, see Heidi Stevens, Chicago Tribune, John Grisham, Kesha Cases Display Sexism
John Grisham's ire is up because a law school buddy of his got caught up in a Canadian child porn sting.
"His drinking was out of control, and he went to a website," the 59-year-old best-selling author told The Telegraph. "It was labeled '16 year old wannabe hookers or something like that'. And it said '16-year-old girls.' So he went there. … He shouldn't 'a done it. It was stupid, but it wasn't 10-year-old boys."Why are 16-year-old girls acceptable pornography subjects? Why is a middle-age man with a law degree justifying the exploitation of children, as long as the children are female? Does he believe 16-year-old girls actually "wannabe" hookers?
I don't know. I've never spoken with Grisham and I don't know his heart or his values. But I know his comments, and they are a deeply disturbing example of our ingrained and toxic belief that girls and women have, above and before all else, two roles: sexpot and helpmate.
Tuesday, October 14, 2014
Tomorrow, I am presenting as part ofthe University of Akron's Rethinking Gender series." The title of my talk is "Understanding Divorce Law Historically Through the Lens of Gender." It is based on a chapter of my book project, Elizabeth Cady Stanton and the Feminist Foundations of Family Law now nearing completion.
One running theme of the book is appreciating Stanton as a lay lawyer - a person trained by her father, who was a judge and lawyer who apprenticed young lawyers in their home; a person analytically inclined to "think like a lawyer;" who understood the normative function of the law; and who advocated for legislative reform and legal change. This legal understanding, I think, offers insights for us in both understanding her work in the nineteenth-century, and also incorporating its relevance today. See Tracy A. Thomas, Elizabeth Cady Stanton and the Notion of a Legal Class of Gender, in Feminist Legal History (Thomas & Boisseau, eds. NYUP 2011).
On divorce, Stanton was a vocal and persistent advocate for no-fault, or "easy divorce." But more importantly from my perspective is that she framed divorce as a woman's issue. Divorce was both a right and a remedy for woman's wrongs. Her life-long commitment to divorce reform attacked the problem of restrictive marriages, which confined women into legal obscurity under coverture, patriarchal social expectations, and sometimes domestic abuse.
Her framework of gender approached the divorce issue from the three classic feminist approaches: equality, difference, and systemic. As to formal equality, Stanton challenged the double moral standard that supported the law of divorce, for example, allowing divorce for the wife's adultery, but requiring "aggravated" adultery of adultery plus some additional fault like cruelty, dessertion, or sodomy by the husband. Her equality theories conceptualized divorce as a individual right, granting women autonomy and psychological freedom to control their own personal relations.
As to difference, Stanton argued that fault grounds for divorce should be expanded to address the different concerns of women. The law was too focused on grounds based on sexual privilege, as in adultery and failure to consummate. Instead, it needed to include grounds most relevant to women, cruelty and desertion. A cruelty divorce mechanism connected to Stanton's work on temperance and against domestic violence, arguing the necessity of releasing and protecting women and children in abusive relationships. Desertion was important for women because they needed a court to restore their legal rights as a single woman to contract, hold property, earn income, and have custody of their children. Men accomplished desertion by practice, simply walking away, often headed West, retaining their legal identity, all property rights, and the ability to earn a livelihood and thus in little need of the courts.
These specific arguments as to divorce grounds though were part of Stanton's much bigger and radical challenge to the system of marriage itself. She conceptualized marriage not as a covenant or status, but as a contract. And as a contract between two fully equal partners. And as a contract like any other employment or commercial contract that could be modified or terminated at the will of the parties. This gave her the legal foundation to justify no-fault divorce, though it didn't mollify the moral critics. Despite opposition from most other feminist reformers, Stanton continued to advocate for free access to divorce, fighting against the backlash and growing conservativism at the end of the century. See Tracy A. Thomas, Elizabeth Cady Stanton on the Federal Marriage Amendment, 22 Const. Comment. 137 (2005).
Public, single-gender schools have become more common over the last decade, but new research shows that people might choose such schools based on de-bunked ideas of differences in male and female brains.
Meagan Patterson, associate professor of psychology and research in education, co-authored a study with Erin Pahlke of Whitman College and Rebecca Bigler of the University of Texas in which they surveyed parents, teachers and students at both an all-girls school in the southwestern United States as well as parents, teachers and students from co-ed schools in the same district. They asked respondents about reasons that their district had opened an all-girls school and their personal endorsement of these reasons. The study is published in the journal Sex Roles.
They found that teachers largely embrace the idea that differences in boys’ and girls’ brains affect the way they learn. Neuroscience research fails to support that claim. But despite neuroscientists showing that such differences are small and the similarities between the two genders’ brains and learning styles are much greater, the idea has nto teaching materials, the media and acceptance in society.
Thursday, October 9, 2014
The National Women's Law Center has this preview, Supreme Court Preview: 2014-2015
This term, the Supreme Court will decide at least one case—and possibly multiple cases—with critical implications for both women’s health and women’s economic security. The Court’s consideration of these cases comes in the immediate wake of the 2013-2014 term, when the Supreme Court’s decisions in McCullen v. Coakley, Burwell v. Hobby Lobby, and Harris v. Quinn—threatened real harm to both. In addition, this term the Court will consider two other potentially important employment discrimination cases and a significant housing discrimination case, and may again take up the issue of marriage equality; the legal issues in all these cases are important for women.
Tuesday, October 7, 2014
Scott Cunningham (Baylor) & Manisha Shah (UCLA, Public Affairs), Decriminalizing Indoor Prostitution: Implications for Sexual Violence and Public Health
Carmen Gonzalez (Seattle), Women of Color in Legal Education: Challenging the Presumption of Incompetence, The Federal Lawyer (July 2014)
Steven Douglas Smith (San Diego),Die and Let Live? The Asymmetry of Accommodation
Aaron A. Dhir (Osgoode Hall), Homogeneous Corporate Governance Cultures, Chp. 1, Challenging Boardroom Homogeneity: Corporate Law, Governance, and Diversity (Cambridge University Press. Forthcoming).
Russell K. Robinson (Berkeley), Unequal Protection, 67 Stanford L.Rev. (2015)
Ian P. Farrell & Nancy Leong (Denver), Gender Diversity and Same-Sex Marriage, Columbia Law Review Sidebar (Forthcoming)
Deborah Drake (The Open U), et. al., Sociology of Prison Life, in Wright, J. (ed), Int'l Encyclopedia Social & Behavioural Sciences (Forthcoming)
Ben McJunkin, Deconstructing Rape by Fraud, 28 Columbia J. Gender & Law (2014)
Saturday, October 4, 2014
Isn't that an oxymoron? Slate, Iceland Announces U.N. Men Only Gender Equality Conference
Iceland announced on Monday an unusual plan to tackle the problematic state of gender equality in the world, particularly violence against women. The plan, as explained by the country’s foreign minister, Gunnar Bragi Sveinsson, to the U.N. General Assembly is to hold a conference on the issue in January. The twist: Only men and boys are invited to participate.
Here’s what Sveinsson had to say:[W]e want to bring men and boys to the table on gender equality in a positive way. Iceland and Suriname will convene a “Barbershop” conference in January 2015 where men will discuss gender equality with other men, with a special focus on addressing violence against women. This will be a unique conference as it will be the first time at the United Nations that we bring together only men leaders to discuss gender equality.
Tuesday, September 30, 2014
Yesterday, the EEOC initiated litigation against two separate employers: two lawsuits alleging sex discrimination "in violation of federal law by firing an employee because she is transgender, because she was transitioning from male to female, and/or because she did not conform to the employer's gender-based expectations, preferences, or stereotypes."
In one lawsuit, the EEOC claims that a funeral home fired an employee who had been with the company for several years, but two weeks after she wrote a letter to the company explaining that she was "undergoing a gender transition from male to female, and would soon start to present (e.g., dress) in appropriate business attire at work, consistent with her gender identity as a woman."
In the other lawsuit, the EEOC alleges that the employee was fired only after she began to present as a woman and informed her employer that she was transgender.
Thursday, September 25, 2014
Our colleague Colby Itkowitz writes for In the Loop about a new analysis that found out of more than 5,000 witnesses that have come before the 113th Congress, only 23 percent were women.
There has been much hoopla during the last few years about the record number of women in Congress — 102, or 18.8 percent. But that’s still no where near parity with women’s percentage of the U.S. population.
Itkowitz also notes that “… in the House, men are at the helm — they chair all but one of the House’s 20 committees, and the one run by Rep. Candice Miller (R-Mich.) is the House Administration panel, which is basically congressional housekeeping.”
Tuesday, September 23, 2014
Speaking before the United Nations on feminism, Emma Watson (of Harry Potter fame) launched the HeforShe campaign encouraging men to support equal gender rights. Read the full speech to the UN. Some excerpts:
This is the first campaign of its kind at the UN: we want to try and galvanize as many men and boys as possible to be advocates for gender equality. And we don’t just want to talk about it, but make sure it is tangible.
I was appointed six months ago and the more I have spoken about feminism the more I have realized that fighting for women’s rights has too often become synonymous with man-hating. If there is one thing I know for certain, it is that this has to stop.
For the record, feminism by definition is: “The belief that men and women should have equal rights and opportunities. It is the theory of the political, economic and social equality of the sexes.”
I started questioning gender-based assumptions when at eight I was confused at being called “bossy,” because I wanted to direct the plays we would put on for our parents—but the boys were not. When at 14 I started being sexualized by certain elements of the press. When at 15 my girlfriends started dropping out of their sports teams because they didn’t want to appear “muscly.” When at 18 my male friends were unable to express their feelings.
I decided I was a feminist and this seemed uncomplicated to me. But my recent research has shown me that feminism has become an unpopular word. Apparently I am among the ranks of women whose expressions are seen as too strong, too aggressive, isolating, anti-men and, unattractive.
Why is the word such an uncomfortable one?
The video is Emma Watson at the UN.
Thursday, September 18, 2014
Anita Bernstein (Brooklyn) has published Gender in Asbestos Law: Cui Bono? Cui Pacat?, 88 Tulane L.Rev. 1211 (2014).
The large literature about liability for asbestos exposure has, for the most part, omitted gender. This omission matters. Men and women who sought redress in court fared very differently, and the two genders have shared unequally in the spoils of asbestos litigation and regulation. Here I ask: Cui bono? Cui pacat? In other words—English words—this Article investigates who has gained from and who has paid for the transfer of wealth put in motion by asbestos law.
* * *
The paradigm here starts with a married woman who inhales fibers that her husband, an asbestos worker, brought home from his job. Typically she did not encounter asbestos from any other source. She develops mesothelioma or asbestosis--both diseases bespeak asbestos exposure19--and seeks redress in court. Not all courts have said no to this plaintiff; some of the decisional law that comes out against wives treats them fairly. But the pattern of hostility is striking, especially in light of how comparatively well men injured by asbestos have fared in court.
Tuesday, September 16, 2014
I have published the 2014 edition of Women and the Law (Thomas Reuters). This annual edition collects selected top scholarship in women's legal rights from the past year. A sort of greatest hits of women and the law articles compiled for the researcher and practitioner to stay up on both current trends and the breadth of work in the field.
The Table of Contents:
Tracy A. Thomas, Back to the Future of Abortion Rights in the First Term, 29 Wis. J. Law, Gender & Soc’y 47 (2014)
Feminism and the Family
Melissa L. Breger, The (In)Visibility of Motherhood in Family Court Proceedings, 36 N.Y.U. Rev. of Law & Social Change 555 (2012)
Lauren Sudeall Lucas, A Dilemma of Doctrinal Design: Rights, Identity and the Work-Family Conflict, 8 FIU L. Rev. 379 (2013)
Violence Against Women
Carolyn B. Ramsey, The Exit Myth: Family Law, Gender Roles, and Changing Attitudes Toward Female Victims of Domestic Violence" 20 Michigan Journal of Gender & Law 1 (2013)
Sarah Lynnda Swan, Triangulating Rape, 37 NYU Review of Law and Social Change 403 (2013)
Women in the Workplace
Joan C. Williams, Double Jeopardy? An Empirical Study with Implications for the Debates over Implicit Bias and Intersectionality, 37 Harv. J. Gender & Law 185 (2014)
Kimberly Yuracko, Soul of a Woman: The Sex Stereotyping Prohibition at Work, 161 U. Penn. L. Rev. 757 (2013)
Laura Rosenbury, Work Wives, 36 Harv. J. Law & Gender 345 (2013)
Kimberley D. Krawiec, John M. Conley, Lissa L. Broome, The Danger of Difference: Tensions in Directors’ Views of Corporate Board Diversity", 2013 University of Illinois Law Review 919 (2013)
Women as Economic Actors
Linda Coco, Visible Women: Locating Women in Financial Failure, Bankruptcy Law, and Bankruptcy Reform, 8 Charleston L. Rev. 191 (2013)
Amy Schmitz, Sex Matters: Considering Gender in Consumer Contracts, 19 Cardozo Journal of Law & Gender 437 (2013)
Feminist Legal Theory
Rebecca Zietlow, Rights of Belonging for Women, 1 Indiana Journal of Law & Social Equality 64-99 (2013)
Aya Gruber, Neofeminism, 50 Houston L. Rev. 1325 (2013)
Thursday, September 11, 2014
When the curtain fell on California's legislative session, Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins released a bland statement celebrating its accomplishments. In it, she singled out a water bond, an on-time budget, and a bill that would cut down plastic bag use. What Atkins failed to mention: The state's first openly gay speaker had just wrapped up one of the most women-friendly legislative sessions ever. ***
Here's what passed:
- A bill requiring the state's commercial airports to offer a clean, private space for mothers to breastfeed or pump.
- A bill barring the sterilization of prison inmates
- A bill establishing timelines for local law enforcement to process rape kits.
- A bill expanding the definition of the word "harm" for the purposes of a restraining order to include and protect minors who were present during an act of domestic violence.
- A bill making it easier for pregnant graduate students to finish their studies.
- A bill bolstering Title IX enforcement.
- A bill strengthening the California attorney general’s oversight of hospital mergers (mergers that could limit access to abortion services).
- A bill requiring colleges to adopt an “affirmative consent” model in their sexual assault policies.
- A bill ensuring all California workers have the right to earn and use three paid sick days a year.
Friday, January 2nd
WILE Business Meeting (and Networking Event), 6:30-7:30 p.m.
(Note: This is a change in date and time from the printed program you likely received last month.)
Come to the WILE Business Meeting to learn more about how to get involved with WILE and to network with your colleagues from around the country. Chair-Elect Wendy Greene, Cumberland Law, is working to make this a fun networking event!
Saturday, January 3
Co-Sponsored Program, Liberty-Equality: Gender, Sexuality, and Reproduction—Griswold v. Connecticut Then and Now, 8:30 a.m. – 10:15 a.m.
Presented by the Section on Constitutional Law and co-sponsored by the Sections on Women in Legal Education and Legal History, this program marks the 50th anniversary of Griswold v. Connecticut, the ground-breaking Supreme Court decision recognizing a right to privacy that protected individuals in making decisions about the use of contraceptives from the reach of state criminal law, but spoke implicitly to the constitutional underpinnings of an individual’s rights or interests in intimacy, marriage, procreation, sexuality, and sexual conduct. Panelists will place the case in historical context, and explore the development of the Griswold doctrine, as well as its implications for current constitutional controversies over access to reproductive health care, marriage, sexuality and sexual conduct.
Section on Women in Legal Education Luncheon, 12:15 – 1:30 p.m.
We are pleased to announce that this luncheon honors both Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who is scheduled to attend and for whom the Section on Women in Legal Education Ruth Bader Ginsburg Lifetime Achievement Award is named, and this year’s Award recipient, Herma Hill Kay, UC Berkeley. Join us to spend some time with and hear from our honorees.
Joint Program: Engendering Equality: A Conversation with Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Associate Justice, Supreme Court of the United States, and New Voices in Legal History, 1:30 – 3:15 p.m.
This Section on Legal History and Women in Legal Education Joint Program, co-sponsored by the Section on Constitutional Law, explores the history of women’s equality and the legacy of Justice Ginsburg. The first portion of the program will, through a conversation between Justice Ginsburg and Wendy Williams, consider the ideas and strategies shaping Justice Ginsburg’s efforts as an advocate, an academic, and a Justice to equal citizenship for women. The second portion of the program will present a panel of new voices in Women’s Legal History who study the complex and often contradictory ways in which social, political, and legal actors have appealed to gender and equality in movements of the past, and suggest how such studies might engender/inform equality’s future.
AALS Crosscutting Program: The More Things Change . . . Exploring Solutions to Persisting Discrimination in Legal Academia, 2:00 – 3:45 p.m.
This program, spearheaded by WILE Member Meera Deo, draws from empirical data, legal research, litigation strategy, and personal experience to both further conversations about the persistence of discrimination in the legal academy and activate strategies for addressing ongoing structural and individual barriers. Intersectional bias compounds many of these challenges, which range from the discriminatory actions of colleagues and students, to the marginalization of particular subject areas in the curriculum, to structural hierarchies in the profession.
By creating an avenue for direct personal exchange regarding these topics, the program seeks to build community between like-minded individuals who are diverse across characteristics of race, gender, class, teaching status, institution, and age. The focus of the participants is to share best practices and explore new approaches for overcoming ongoing discrimination, with the hope that these strategies may be more broadly employed.
The program follows an innovative format. After short presentations by three speakers, the program transitions to an “open microphone” session of speakers (selected in advance from a “call for remarks”) including those who are untenured, women of color, allies to marginalized faculty, clinical, legal writing and library faculty, and others with perspectives that may differ from the majority. The final thirty minutes are reserved for questions and conversation.
Monday, January 5
Co-Sponsored Program: Emotions at Work: The Employment Relationship During An Age of Anxiety, 10:30 a.m. -12:15 p.m.
This program, presented by the Section on Labor Relations and Employment Law and co-sponsored by the Sections on Socio-Economics and on Women in Legal Education, recognizes that in uncertain economic times that translate into uncertain times in the workplace, many individuals are experiencing a greater range and intensity of emotions at work, both as employees and as employers. Employees may be anxious about job security even when they have an employment contract or other job protections, may feel more pressure with respect to their work responsibilities, and may be emotionally (and not just financially) unprepared for sudden changes to their employment relationships and changes in career plans. Employers also are experiencing heightened pressure as they try to steer their work organizations safely past the rough economic waves while needing to make some hard decisions along the way. Are these emotions in the workplace openly recognized and managed, and if so, how? This panel explores the emotional aspects of the employment relationship and how employment law or workplace policy should address these concerns.
This year WILE established a subcommittee to organize an oral history project so that we might capture the law school experiences of women professors who have retired or are close to retiring before we lose touch with them in the profession. The subcommittee, headed by Marie Failinger at Hamline, has been working on an interview packet (invitation letter, release, tips for interviews, and sample questions) and on inviting senior law professors to be interviewed. Justice Ginsburg will be interviewed this month, but we still have several interviewees who need to be matched with an interviewer; we hope to have as many as 12 videotaped interviews on the Saturday and Sunday of AALS.
We could use your help as an interviewer for this project. Those who have done oral histories know that it's a great opportunity to forge a bond and learn a lot about what a previous generation of women law professors experienced. As mentioned, interviewers would be matched with an interviewee and supplied with the materials you need to do a good interview. All that is required of interviewers is a small amount of prep time and about an hour for the interview at AALS. If you are willing to interview, please contact Marie Failinger at email@example.com<mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org>, 651-523-2124, or Kerri Stone at email@example.com, 305 348-1154. Many opportunities to do interviews at future conferences or at home schools will be available, so even if you're not coming to AALS or have a full schedule there, please let us know if you'd be interested in interviewing at some point.
See you at AALS!
The AALS Section on Women in Legal Education Executive Committee
Kirsten Davis, Chair
Wendy Greene, Chair-Elect
Bridget Crawford, Immediate Past-Chair
Rebecca Zietlow, Secretary
Kerri Stone, Treasurer
Cindy Fountaine, Member-At-Large
Tuesday, September 9, 2014
Celebrate Constitution Day with The Constitutional Sources Project (ConSource), The Institute for Constitutional History at the New-York Historical Society and the George Washington University Law School. Tune in to a live webcast of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg's Constitution Day Lecture on September 12, 2014 at 1 p.m. ET: http://bit.ly/1ystgOc
Saturday, September 6, 2014
Russell Robinson (Berkeley) has posted Unequal Protection, 67 Stanford L. Rev. (2015)
During the last 30 years, the Supreme Court has steadily diminished the vigor of the Equal Protection Clause. It has turned away people of color who protest systems such as racialized mass incarceration because their oppression does not take the form of a “racial classification.” It has diluted the protections of intermediate scrutiny in gender discrimination and abortion cases. And it has turned its back on groups who once benefited from “animus” review, including people with disabilities and poor people. Meanwhile, the only site of vitality in equal protection jurisprudence is LGBT claims. Yet the Court, writing opinions that are rarely in conversation with one another, has made no effort to justify this growing divide. I call attention to this re-ordered equal protection landscape, which contrasts sharply with the conventional understanding of equal protection tiers of scrutiny.
Specifically, I identify three advantages that LGBT people enjoy compared to virtually every other civil rights constituency: (1) the Court has rigidly used the concept of a “classification” as a gate keeping device, but it has ignored this requirement in sexual orientation cases; (2) LGBT people can invoke animus, a standard that emerged from cases brought by people of color, poor people, and people with disabilities but that the Court no longer recognizes in such cases; and (3) LGBT cases leave open important questions, including the legal standard that would apply to remedial policies based on sexual orientation — quite unlike the Court’s adverse resolution of these questions in race cases.
These findings demand that law professors and legal scholars reconsider how they teach and write about equal protection.
Thursday, September 4, 2014
Ian Farrell and Nancy Leong (Denver) have posted, Gender Diversity and Same-Sex Marriage.
Opponents of same-sex marriage have recently adopted a curious new argument. The argument goes something like this. The Supreme Court has held that diversity is a compelling state interest in institutions of higher education. Opposite-sex marriage includes gender diversity, while same-sex marriage does not. Therefore, states may allow opposite-sex marriage while banning same-sex marriage — even if the ban triggers heightened scrutiny under equal protection or due process — because opposite-sex marriage furthers gender diversity, while same-sex marriage does not.
The gender diversity argument against same-sex marriage has made its way into a number of briefs during the recent increase in challenges to same-sex marriage bans. For example, it appeared in multiple amicus briefs in United States v. Windsor, as well as in various filings in challenges to Utah's same-sex marriage ban in the Tenth Circuit and Kentucky's same-sex marriage ban in the Sixth Circuit.
Despite this newfound popularity, the gender diversity argument fails for a number of reasons. It erroneously conflates sex and gender, impermissibly relies on sex and gender stereotyping, lacks credible empirical support, draws untenable analogies, runs afoul of well-established doctrine, and, taken to its logical conclusion, leads to a inexorably to a number of consequences that are either universally undesirable or that we are fairly certain its proponents do not support. In short, we think the argument wholly unsuccessful, and urge courts not to entertain it.
Tuesday, August 26, 2014
Slate, Why It Felt So Amazing When Beyonce Stood in Front of that Glowing "Feminist" Sign at the Video Music Awards.
Thursday, August 14, 2014
Last week a Council on Contemporary Families online symposium provided new data suggesting that the stall in progress on gender egalitarian attitudes and behaviors has ended. Evidence has accumulated, and a stall in attitudes that started around 1994 may have turned around after 2004.