Wednesday, February 19, 2014
.....so spoke Magic Johnson, the greatest point guard in the history of the National Basketball Association, about his gay son, who has a boyfriend. No commentary; I just thought it was a cool story about a dad embracing his gay son.
.....thus runs a hypo posed by a column in Truth Wins Out, an LGBT website. The author, Wayne Besen, worries that Martin would have been propelled from being "not black enough" to being "too black."
I agree that this may have been possible. But who is to say? There is something morally gratifying about a bullied kid getting some payback against his tormentor, not in a sadistic way but in a way that is just even if that justness is procured through a strong shove or a headlock. So too much of manliness, frankly, doesn't rest on such crude dichotomies as Mr. Besen suggests: either get bullied or fight back. There are preemptive measures that boys (at least many boys) know about which can signal to the other party--without having to resort to violence--that they are not to be messed with.
None of this is to say, of course, that Jonathan Martin deserved any of the abuse or that the monstrous Incognito should not be punished.....
Tuesday, February 18, 2014
Finally, completing today's thoughts on writing great and relevant legal scholarship, a perfect example.
The LA Times has Annie Shield's review of Estelle Freedman, (Stanford) Redefining Rape: Sexual Violence in the Era of Suffrage and Segregation
The evolution of how rape has been defined in the United States is the subject of the historian Estelle B. Freedman’s Redefining Rape: Sexual Violence in the Era of Suffrage and Segregation. In this book, Freedman tells the story of the many disparate social movements whose efforts brought about changes in the social and legal constructions of rape from the end of the Civil War until the early 20th century. Not unlike the “Rape is Rape” campaign, most efforts to redefine rape throughout the country’s history have relied on both long-term organizing and unpredictable shifts in the political climate. The impact of anti-rape activism, like that of all movements for social change, is influenced by the fickle public attention span. The FBI’s decision to discard the category of “forcible rape” in favor of a more inclusive definition of assault was a big victory, but it went largely unnoticed by the public. Getting people to sign on was easy, but getting the media to cover an esoteric definitional change by a bureaucratic agency was a struggle. ...
Freedman’s thesis is a simple one: throughout the history of the term “rape,” its changing definition has been inextricably bound to changing definitions of citizenship. She traces the evolution of rape as a social and political concept from the end of the Civil War to the mid-20th century. Through historical records, court transcripts, and newspaper archives, Freedman shows how, since the country’s founding, ideas about sexual violence have traditionally been informed — and enforced — by and for a ruling class of white men. She also outlines the history of anti-rape movements that challenged white supremacy and male supremacy. The presentation of these disparate movements, which were often at odds with one another despite having seemingly similar goals, is among the most fascinating aspects of Freedman’s narrative.
To blog. To share your great ideas. To help make this world a better place. Professors, We Need You!
SOME of the smartest thinkers on problems at home and around the world are university professors, but most of them just don’t matter in today’s great debates....
The latest attempt by academia to wall itself off from the world came when the executive council of the prestigious International Studies Association proposed that its publication editors be barred from having personal blogs. The association might as well scream: We want our scholars to be less influential!...
Professors today have a growing number of tools available to educate the public, from online courses to blogs to social media. Yet academics have been slow to cast pearls through Twitter and Facebook.
I'm thinking a lot today about what we do as law professors as scholarship. Several posts about writing, both it's inspiration and relevance. From the NYT, here's about how to find a perfect writing niche location. The Writer's Room. For me, its a room of one's own and a room with a view.
Monday, February 17, 2014
Call for Papers: Feminist currents to be published in Frontiers, A Journal of Women's Studies, The Ohio State University.
The Question: In an era of tightening budgets and renewed fiscal conservatism, how committed are institutions to our research and teaching, or students to the critical lenses developed in our classrooms? We inhabit a time of policies mandating that retirees not be replaced and that academic units be consolidated. Circulating in the states are proposals to charge differential fees by majors and academic units in order to encourage supposedly practical preparation for the workforce. Thus, for our next question, we propose to continue this conversation by asking you: What’s the impact of today’s neoliberal political economy on programs and departments in Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies and what strategies work to cope, confront and survive?
Replies: Email your reflections, from 30 to 300 words, to email@example.com later than March 15, 2014. In your subject line please type "Feminist Currents." Unless you notify us otherwise in your email, your response signifies that we may paraphrase your thoughts, quote directly from them, and use your name and affiliation. Make sure that you include your affiliation, if applicable. For more information, please see: http://frontiers.osu.edu/feminist-currents
Andrea and have posted .... Their conclusions:
1. First, the type and subject matter of the dispute clearly impacts neutral selection. As detailed in the paper, certain practice areas are far more male and certain others are quite female.
2. Second, it appears to matter how the neutral is selected in mediation. Networking resulted in only 29% women while provider lists resulted in an increased percentage of 47%.
3. Finally, arbitration and mediation are not the same for gender integration. Arbitration seems to hold steady at 20% regardless of selection process and even decreases further in panel arbitrations.
We now know that Richie Incognito, the Dolphins' lineman, was a notorious and vicious bully. So, one can forgive National Review, that proud conservative daily, for articles like this, written in November. Or, perhaps even this, written at the end of last month.
But now that Incognito's sadism has become clear, what does the National Review have to say? Nothing. I don't point this out because I revel in making fun of NR; I really don't. I point it out because I think it's sad that NR wont man up and say that Incognito should be punished. Instead, NR seems to mimic Incognito himself: NR is keeping mum after the truth has come out.
This is why I think young folks are leaving the GOP; it's behind the times. To the extent NR tracks the GOP, the former is becoming less and less relevant to today's culture.
Michael Sam, the All-American from the University of Missouri, is the first openly gay football player. Some NFL teams have already supported his candidacy and it seems that the media is supporting him too.
On the other hand, as you probably know, the NFL doesn't seem to be a hospitable place for cultural differences, as suggested by the ordeals suffered by Jonathan Martin.
This conflict between the gentleman and the brute, which I've examined elsewhere, seems never ending.....
Sunday, February 16, 2014
Saturday, February 15, 2014
From my colleague, Will Huhn, Associate Director of the Constsitutional Law Center at Akron, one of four national centers established by Congress.
In the name of defending religious freedom, the Kansas House recently adopted a statute that would authorize any person or business to refuse service, employment, or employment benefits to same-sex couples. Is it constitutional?
[N]otice that the protection extends to "sincerely held religious beliefs ... regarding sex or gender." Not sexual orientation, but "sex or gender." It is difficult to believe that this law was written to justify gender discrimination, but that is how it is written. In fact, the word "sex" is also ambiguous. Is the law speaking of "sex roles" or "sexual acts"? Is it meant to protect "sincere religious beliefs" regarding the proper roles of men and women or proper and improper modes of consensual sexual conduct? ....
If the qualifying phrase relates solely to "employment benefits" then the scope of the law is very broad indeed, permitting gender discrimination across the board by individuals and private businesses in terms of whom they serve and whom they employ, so long as the person or business holds a "sincere religious belief" that persons of that gender are not supposed to engage in certain conduct or have certain privileges.
From NPR, Facebook Gives Users New Options to Identify Gender. I get moving away from a binary gender. But 50+ genders?? It almost makes gender obsolete. Oh....I get it.
Friday, February 14, 2014
Gender change operations are legal in Iran according to a fatwa - or religious ruling - pronounced by the late Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, spiritual leader of the 1979 Islamic revolution. The law contrasts with the strict rules governing sexual morality under the country's Sharia legal code, which forbids homosexuality and pre-marital sex.
The article is about football (what Americans call soccer) but the news is still arresting, to me, anyway.
We welcome this morning guest blogger Professor Jamie Abrams from the University of Louisville School of Law.
Advocates for same-sex marriage in the Bluegrass State are toasting fine Bourbon. Judge Heyburn of Kentucky’s Western District, a George H.W. Bush appointee, struck down on equal protection grounds Kentucky’s ban on the recognition of valid same-sex marriages performed out-of-state.
While the constitutionality of Kentucky’s own ban was not directly before the court, Judge Heyburn’s opinion in Bourke v. Beshear strongly suggests that Kentucky’s ban sits on perilous constitutional grounds, stating “there is no doubt that Windsor and this Court’s analysis suggest a possible result to that question.” Op. at 19. It states that Romer, Lawrence, and Windsor have established the “framework of cases from which district judges now draw wisdom and inspiration,” which have led to “this place and this time, where the right of same-sex spouses to the state-conferred benefits of marriage is virtually compelled.” Op. at 23. Attorneys are expected to file a direct challenge to Kentucky’s marriage ban today.
After finding the provisions governing out-of-state marriage recognition unconstitutional, the opinion distinctively addressed religious views directly. The government had argued only that its interest in banning same-sex marriage was to “preserve traditional marriage.” Although not directly raised in the briefing, Judge Heyburn nonetheless acknowledged that many Kentuckians support the bans based on their religious beliefs and teachings. Op. at 18. The opinion acknowledged these concerns and described them as “understandable and deserv[ing] of an answer.” Op. at 18. Judge Heyburn responded that:
Once the government defines marriage and attaches benefits to that definition, it must do so constitutionally. It cannot impose a traditional or faith-based limitation upon a public right without a sufficient justification for it. Assigning a religious or traditional rationale for a law, does not make it constitutional when that law discriminates against a class of people without other reasons. Op. at 18.
Although the case applied rational basis analysis, the opinion also weighed in on whether sexual orientation is a suspect classification. The court acknowledged strong precedent suggesting heightened scrutiny is owed; suggested that Lawrence called into question Sixth Circuit precedent relying on Bowers to the contrary; and conducted a cursory suspect class analysis to suggest that “gay and lesbian individuals do constitute a suspect class.” Op. at 9. This opinion reads with strong overtones of a “triple crown” victory of recognition of out-of-state marriages, a roadmap to same-sex marriages performed in Kentucky, and a tentative conclusion of sexual orientation as a suspect class.
The full opinion is here: Download BourkevBeshear
Charles Blow has a NYT column titled "Masculine Mistake." His is neither an interesting nor insightful set of observations. His thesis reads:
The idea of the effete, feminized liberals threatening to suffocate the last remaining expression of true manliness is rife in Republican rhetoric. They are selling the right wing as the last refuge of real men.
But something else caught my eye:
The problem with having your message powered by machismo is that it reveals what undergirds such a stance: misogyny and chauvinism. The masculinity for which they yearn draws its meaning and its value from juxtaposition with a lesser, vulnerable, narrowly drawn femininity.
What Mr. Blow says is plainly true. Yet it also misses something. Manliness's other rival--perhaps its chief rival, or better, object of contempt--is effeminacy, not femininity. For femininity is also imbued with redeeming charms; this is why manly men love their mothers, sisters, wives, friends. But effeminacy--while a derivative of femininity--lacks any virtue. It is the condition for a man who lacks both a woman's charms and those of a man. Effeminate beings therefore invite contempt from both men and women, gay and straight.
Of course, this observation doesn't entail whether to so contemn them is justified, a subject for another day.
Thursday, February 13, 2014
Ushangi Bakhtadze, Is Prostitution a Victimless Crime?
Machteld Zee (Leiden), Five Options for the Relationship between the State and Sharia Councils: Untangling the Debate on Sharia Councils and Women's Rights in the United Kingdom , 16 J. Religion & Society (2014)
Lori G. Beaman (Ottawa), Overdressed and Underexposed or Underdressed and Overexposed? , 3 Onati Soci-Legal Series
Karla Mari McKanders (Tennessee), Anatomy of an Uprising: Women, Democracy, and the Moroccan Feminist Spring , 32 Boston U. Intl. L. Rev. (2014)
Wendy Bach, (Tennessee), The Hyperregulatory State: Women, Race, Poverty and Support , 25 Yale J.L. & Fem. (forthcoming)
Caroline Mala Corbin (Miami), Abortion Distortions , Wash. & Lee (forthcoming)
Zachary Kramer (Arizona State), The New Sex Discrimination, 63 Duke L. J. (forthcoming)
Susan Bisom-Rapp (Thomas Jefferson) & Malcolm Sargeant (Middlesex) It's Complicated: Age, Gender, and Lifetime Discrimination Against Working Women - The U.S. and the U.K. as Examples , 22 Elder L. J. (forthcoming)
Elaine Craig (Dalhousie), Capacity to Consent to Sexual Risk , New Crim. L. Rev. (forthcoming)
Last year, Congress approved a law — promoted by the Obama administration — that for the first time will allow Indian tribes to prosecute certain crimes of domestic violence committed by non-Indians in Indian country. The Justice Department on Thursday announced it had chosen three tribes for a pilot project to assert the new authority.
While the law has been praised by tribal leaders, native women and the administration as a significant first step, it still falls short of protecting all Indian women from the epidemic of violence they face on tribal lands.
The new authority, which will not go into effect for most of the country’s 566 federally recognized Indian tribes until March 2015, covers domestic violence committed by non-Indian husbands and boyfriends, but it does not cover sexual assault or rape committed by non-Indians who are “strangers” to their victims. It also does not extend to native women in Alaska.
Louise Erdrich wrote about this gap in her excellent novel, The Round House (winner of the National Book Award for Fiction).
From the NY Times: Kagan Says Her Path to Supreme Court Was Made Smoother by Ginsburg's
They share New York City roots, a liberal outlook and a personal trainer. But a gap separates Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Elena Kagan, one they explored during an often lighthearted joint appearance last week at the New York City Bar Association.
Justice Ginsburg, 80, is the oldest member of the Supreme Court, and she came of age when many legal careers were closed to women. Justice Kagan, 53, is the court’s youngest member, and she seemed to have little trouble compiling a glittering résumé. She was the first female dean of Harvard Law School and the first female United States solicitor general.
“What explains this gulf between Justice Ginsburg’s experience and mine?” Justice Kagan asked. “In large part the answer is simply Justice Ginsburg. As a litigator and then as a judge she changed the face of American antidiscrimination law.”
Tuesday, February 11, 2014
|Volume 20||2013||Number 2|
|Law, Social Movements, and the Political Economy of Domestic Violence
|Deborah M. Weissman||221|
|Finding Common Feminist Ground: The Role of the Next Generation in Shaping Feminist Legal Theory
|Kathleen Kelly Janus||255|
|After the Arab Spring: A New Opportunity for LGBT Human Rights Advocacy?
|Framing Preglimony: Exploring the Implications of Pregnancy Support Models through Family Law Values
|Candice Marie Reder||325|
|From Romer v. Evans to United States v. Windsor: Law as a Vehicle for Moral Disapproval in Amendment 2 and the Defense of Marriage Act
|Linda C. McClain||351|