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.
Sunday, September 21, 2014
Months after declaring an Islamic caliphate, Islamic State, which has seized large swaths of Syria and Iraq, is seeking to address a need of any viable nation: women.
In Internet posts and social media messaging, the extremist Sunni militants are recruiting women to marry their fighters and have children, part of a larger strategy of state-building.
"They are treating the Islamic State as a country that needs women," said Rita Katz, director of the SITE Intelligence Group, which monitors online activity by militant organizations. "The message is: 'You are coming to marry someone immediately and have kids and cook.' They're building a state."
As the Al Qaeda breakaway group comes under attack by the United States and other nations, and risks losing territory it has captured, a dual-gender expansion of membership could make it — or at least its ideology — more difficult to dislodge.
Thus runs the Advocate's article.
Hundreds of leaders in law enforcement, religion, and business came out in support of marriage equality through a series of amicus, or friend of the court, briefs filed this week in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, which will hear a case involving the issue in the next few months.
Police officers and first responders pointed out that they carry out the law without bias in a state that shows bias to same-sex couples. “Gay and lesbian law enforcement officers and other first responders put on their uniforms, place themselves in harm’s away to protect and defend our communities, and swear to uphold our laws without prejudice and bias,” reads the brief filed by the Sheriff Adrian Garcia of Harris County (which includes Houston), and Sheriff Lupe Valdez of Dallas County, and numerous other law enforcement officials.
The case for marriage equality in Texas has endured a lengthy fight to the appeals court. In February, U.S. District Judge Orlando Garcia struck down the ban on same-sex marriage in Texas, ruling in a lawsuit filed in October of last year.
A group of clergy led by Episcopal bishop Scott Mayer also filed an amicus brief supporting same-sex couples. The religious leaders argue that same-sex couples should receive the same treatment as their heterosexual counterparts in the civil sphere. They point out that in states where same-sex marriage has been legalized, it has not affected anyone but the couples who are now free to marry.
In the NYT. An exceprt:
I was engulfed in an irrepressible rage. Everything in me was churning and pumping and boiling. All reason and restraint were lost to it. I was about to do something I wouldn’t be able to undo. Bullets and blood and death. I gave myself over to the idea.
The scene from the night when I was 7 years old kept replaying in my mind: waking up to him pushed up behind me, his arms locked around me, my underwear down around my thighs. The weight of the guilt and grieving that followed. The years of the bullying designed to keep me from telling — and the years of questioning my role in his betrayal.
I jumped in the car, grabbed the gun from under the car seat. It was a .22 with a long black barrel and a wooden grip, the gun my mother had insisted I take with me to college, “just in case.”
Saturday, September 20, 2014
Leigh Bienen, Florence Kelley and the Children: Factory Inspector in 1890s Chicago (2014)
A new book by a Northwestern University School of Law scholar aims to fill in the gaps in all that has been written about Florence Kelley—focusing particularly on the somewhat neglected decade the late 19th-century advocate for women and children spent in Chicago. Though Kelley is the subject of three biographies and an autobiography, author Leigh Bienen, a senior lecturer at the School of Law, concluded during her extensive research on the legal and social activist that too little had been written about her efforts to improve working conditions in Chicago, where starving women and children labored long hours in unsafe conditions.
In an interesting twist, Bienen parallels her own life in Chicago with Kelley’s in the new book. She braids together three narratives, the story of Kelley’s life as a mother and reformer in the tumult of 1890s Chicago, the story of her (Bienen’s) own arrival in Chicago a century later and her life and work here, as well as a narrative of the extraordinary events leading to the abolition of capital punishment in Illinois.
Tireless in her efforts to improve working conditions and eradicate child labor, Kelley was fleeing an abusive husband when she came to Chicago from New York in the 1890s and took up residence with her children at Hull-House, the legendary settlement house co-founded by Jane Addams. Although strapped for funds, Kelley did the work she set out to do, held several government jobs, and, along with others, persuaded the public that this was the time to do something about the conditions in the tenements. She was named the first chief factory inspector for the state of Illinois. Gov. Peter Altgeld’s 1893 appointment of a woman to such an important position was nearly unprecedented. Kelley implemented a factory inspection law adopted by the Illinois legislature in 1893, limiting women’s working hours to eight per day.
The new book grew out of an interactive website based on Bienen’s research on Kelley that was launched in 2008 (http://florencekelley.northwestern.edu). “I am interested in her life, her family life, her children and how she managed to be both a public figure and a mother,” Bienen said. “None of the biographies adequately deal with her decade in Chicago, perhaps because they were written by Easterners,” Bienen said. “None, in my opinion, conveyed the richness of the historical context of the effort to reform conditions in city sweatshops and tenements and the actions and personalities of public figures such as Florence Kelley and Jane Addams.”
Also of particular interest to Bienen, Kelley earned a law degree from Northwestern in 1895 -- during a time when college graduate education was highly uncommon for women. Kelley was also known for combining fiery stylized prose with well-researched findings in her advocacy and investigations. ***
Extensive litigation challenging Kelley’s work and the new factory inspection law resulted in the Illinois Supreme Court declaring parts of the law unconstitutional in 1895. However, Kelley and her colleagues triumphed years later when the U.S. Supreme Court, at the urging of Louis Brandeis, upheld such statutes. Kelley and her colleague Josephine Goldmark invented the Brandeis Brief for that case.
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, [I’ll fill this in before I send and after I talk with her]. 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 achieve 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.
Friday, September 19, 2014
Many people have called last week's brutal attack on two gay men in Center City a hate crime, but it can't be prosecuted as one under Pennsylvania law.
That gap in Pennsylvania's ethnic intimidation statute -- the law used to prosecute hate crimes -- has prompted calls for changes to the law and a federal hate-crime investigation.
Pennsylvania law defines ethnic-intimidation offenses as crimes motivated by "malicious intention toward the race, color, religion or national origin" of a person or group.
That means attacks based on sexual orientation aren't considered hate crimes.
ACTIVISTS on warring sides of the abortion debate rarely take the same position when it comes to Supreme Court cases involving women’s rights. But pro-choicers and pro-lifers have found common cause in Young v United Parcel Service, a pregnancy discrimination case the justices will take up on December 3rd. Yet the ideological overlap, while intriguing, is no guarantee that justices will reach consensus.
And the case facts:
Peggy Young was working part-time as the driver of a delivery truck for UPS when she became pregnant in 2006. Ms Young’s midwife, frowning on the requirement in her job description that she haul 70lb boxes, wrote a note to UPS recommending that “she not lift more than 20 pounds." On this basis, Ms Young requested a few months of a lightened load. Other UPS employees were eligible for such an accommodation, she reasoned, so she wasn’t asking for anything out of the ordinary. Workers who were injured on the job, who were disabled under the terms of the Americans With Disabilities Act, or who lost their driving credentials were all eligible (under the collective-bargaining agreement) for “light duty” assignments. But Carolyn Martin, the company’s occupational health manager, rejected Ms Young’s request. Since pregnancy did not fall into any of the three categories of workers eligible for alternate assignments, UPS would not switch her to a less physically onerous job. Ms Martin "empathise[d] with [Ms Young's] situation and would have loved to help her," but sent her packing on an unpaid leave.
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.
From the NYT. The Question: Going After the Abusers: When police have evidence of domestic violence, should prosecution be mandatory or should the victim be allowed to decide whether to pursue the case?
Law professors weigh in here:
NYT, Leigh Goodmark (Maryland), Healthy Alternatives to Prosecution can Help Victims
Donna Coker (Miami), Mandatory Policies Can be a Threat to Women
The rest of the debate here.
The fate of same-sex marriage bans could come down to the 6th Circuit, according to Ruth Bader Ginsburg. The Supreme Court justice told an audience at the University of Minnesota on Tuesday that whether the high court will take up the issue of marriage equality in the coming term will likely depend on a pending ruling from the appellate court, the Associated Press reports:
Ginsburg said cases pending before the circuit covering Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio and Tennessee would probably play a role in the high court’s timing. She said “there will be some urgency” if that appeals court allows same-sex marriage bans to stand. Such a decision would run contrary to a legal trend favoring gay marriage and force the Supreme Court to step in sooner, she predicted.
She said if the appeals panel falls in line with other rulings there is “no need for us to rush.”
And from the Wall St. J., Justice Ginsburg: Future of Gay Marriage Bans Could be Decided in Ohio
Presidential elections have been decided in Ohio. The fate of same-sex marriage bans — at least in the near future — could also be settled there too, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has suggested.
Tuesday, September 16, 2014
From the Guardian UK:
The Swedish election on Sunday offered enough emotional extremes for even The Bridge’s cold and unresponsive detective Saga Norén to need a lie-down. There were tears when the Feminist Initiative’s (FI) celebrations about the exit polls – which had indicated that the party would cross the 4% threshold necessary to win seats in parliament for the first time – proved too optimistic. The final count saw FI’s share land at 3.1%: despite support from Pharrell Williams and Abba’s Benny Andersson, it was not enough to secure one of the 349 parliamentary seats up for grabs. (At the opposite end of the spectrum, the nationalist Sweden Democrats (SD) were forced to celebrate the tripling of their vote – to 12.1% – by candlelight in the southern city of Malmö after their chosen venue’s landlord literally pulled the plug on the party. At midnight, the festivities were abandoned after the same landlord set off the fire alarm to get stragglers out.)
Officially, the group with the greatest reasons for over-the-top celebrations were the members of the red-green bloc, made up of the formerly very dominant Social Democratic party, the smaller Left party and the increasingly strong Green party, whose combined share of the vote ousted the sitting centre-right alliance from power after eight years. So far, so standard, but the entry of FI (and SD) on the political scene in the past decade illustrates an irrevocable change in Swedish voting patterns. The future path of the new parliament has not yet been decided, but despite failing to secure a seat, the FI campaign has shown that there is support for bringing feminist issues to the top of the agenda.
From my neck of the woods, near Ft. Lauderdale, the Sun Sentinel reports:
Broward County's tourism bureau has been marketing to the LGBT community since 1996, but results of a survey released Monday show extra effort is needed to attract more transgender travelers.
In August, some 700 members of the transgender community across 48 states participated in the online survey conducted by Community Marketing & Insights, a San Francisco-based specialty marketing and research firm.
Only 10 percent of participants perceived Fort Lauderdale to be very trans-friendly, the study revealed.
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)
Courtney Joslin (Davis) has posted Federalism and Family Status, Indiana L.J. (forthcoming).
The myth of family law’s inherent localism is sticky. In the past, it was common to hear sweeping claims about the exclusively local nature of all family matters. In response to persuasive critiques, a narrower iteration of family law localism emerged. The new, refined version acknowledges the existence of some federal family law but contends that certain “core” family law matters — specifically, family status determinations — are inherently local. I call this family status localism. Proponents of family status localism rely on history, asserting that the federal government has always deferred to state family status determinations. Family status localism made its most recent appearance (although surely not its last) in the litigation challenging Section 3 of DOMA.
This Article accomplishes two mains goals. The first goal is doctrinal. This Article undermines the resilient myth of family law localism by uncovering a long history of federal family status determinations. Although the federal government often defers to state family status determinations, this Article shows that there are many circumstances in which the federal government instead relies on its own family status definitions.
After a week of unprecedented bad publicity, the NFL has hired four women to shape new policies on domestic violence and sexual assault.
The announcement was something of a mixed message, coming just moments before the Minnesota Vikings announced that Adrian Peterson, who was arrested Saturday for recklessly or negligently injuring a child, was cleared to play Sunday.
Commissioner Roger Goodell made the announcement in a letter to owners, writing that the goal is “to make a real difference on these and other issues.”
Anna Isaacson, currently a league vice-president of community relations and philanthropy, assumed the additional title of vice-president of social responsibility. She will oversee initiatives aimed at raising awareness about the issues and decreasing the instances of violence. Lisa Friel, Jane Randel and Rita Smith were hired as senior advisers because of their experience with the issues. Friel is the former head of sex-crimes prosecution for the Manhattan district attorney; Randel is a co-founder of NO MORE, an advocacy group focusing on domestic violence and sexual assault; and Smith is former executive director of the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence.
Monday, September 15, 2014
Caitlin Borgmann, CUNY Law, has uploaded on SSRN "Abortion Exceptionalism and Undue Burden Preemption." The abstract:
This Article discusses the tendency of some lower federal courts to interpret the undue burden standard of Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pennsylvania v. Casey as essentially occupying the field of potential constitutional claims whenever abortion is involved. Thus, where litigants have alleged constitutional claims other than, or in addition to, undue burden violations, courts have either changed how they normally analyze these constitutional claims or they have even completely foreclosed the application of other doctrines on the grounds that the undue burden standard subsumes or displaces these claims. This Article illustrates this phenomenon in the context of three types of non-undue-burden claims that have been asserted against some abortion restrictions: bodily integrity, equal protection, and the right against compelled speech. Undue burden preemption, I argue, flies in the face of the Court’s recognition that “[c]ertain wrongs...can implicate more than one of the Constitution’s commands.” Where multiple constitutional violations are alleged, the Court’s normal approach is to examine each constitutional provision in turn. There is one well-established exception to this general rule, the “Graham doctrine.” This doctrine provides that, when a litigant asserts a substantive due process claim, and where the Court finds that another more specific constitutional provision applies, the Court analyzes the claim under the more specific provision to the exclusion of substantive due process. This Article argues that undue burden preemption, far from being justified by the Graham doctrine, turns that doctrine on its head.
....or, so argues a writer featured in the NYT. More:
The first book, “Why Gender Matters in Economics” (Princeton University Press, 2014) by Mukesh Eswaran, an economics professor at the University of British Columbia, draws on data from past economic studies conducted under laboratory conditions to show how gender influences financial actions and relationships.
In one set of these experiments, called the dictator game, women were found to be more generous than men. Players were given $10 and allowed but not required to hand out some of it to a hidden and anonymous partner.Women, on average, gave away $1.61 of the $10, whereas men gave away only 82 cents.
Sunday, September 14, 2014
A former New York Mets senior vice president, who was fired last month by the club, sued the organization on Wednesday alleging that she was discriminated against on the basis of her sex, and ultimately fired for becoming pregnant while unmarried. Leigh Castergine, who joined the Mets organization in 2010, was the head of ticket sales when, the suit says, she was fired by team COO Jeff Wilpon because he was “morally opposed” to Castergine having a child out of wedlock.
[T]he National Women’s Law Center and law firm Jenner & Block submitted an amicus brief on behalf of 123 Members of Congress in the Supreme Court pregnancy discrimination case, Young v. United Parcel Service, Inc.; the brief highlights the plain language, legislative history and intent of the Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA), which Congress passed in 1978. In Young, the Supreme Court will decide for the first time whether the PDA requires an employer to provide light duty to a worker if she needs it because of pregnancy, when the employer provides light duty to workers with similar limitations in ability to work arising out of disability or on-the-job injury. The brief argues that the plain language and legislative history of the PDA demonstrate that an employer may not deny accommodations for medical needs arising out of pregnancy that it provides to other workers based on a similar inability to work.
In 2006, Peggy Young, a pregnant UPS delivery driver in Landover, Maryland, was instructed by her medical provider to avoid heavy lifting during her pregnancy. Although UPS routinely accommodates employees who need light duty because they have a disability or an on-the-job injury—and even when they lose their commercial driver’s license because of a D.U.I. conviction—it forced Young to take a leave of absence for the rest of her pregnancy, causing her to lose her wages and her health insurance coverage. Young sued UPS, but two lower courts ruled against her, finding that the company’s refusal to accommodate pregnancy when it accommodated the medical needs of other workers with similar limitations in ability to work did not constitute pregnancy discrimination
More than 120 members of Congress urged the Supreme Court on Thursday to recognize that pregnant workers are entitled to reasonable accommodations such as light duty, saying it's needed to ensure that expecting mothers are not forced out of their jobs.
In a friend-of-the-court brief, the Democratic lawmakers — 99 from the House, including Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, and 24 senators — said UPS delivery driver Peggy Young of Lorton, Virginia, was unfairly treated by her employer when it asked her to take unpaid maternity leave rather than provide a less strenuous position as her doctors advised.