Monday, January 19, 2015

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)

Monday, January 12, 2015

(Malicious) Humor as Free Speech Principle

The recent terrorist attack against Charlie Hebdo may not have raised explicit issues of gender (although I couldn't help but think about the subject of male rage and attendant claims of patriarchal authority), but readers might find an article I wrote to be of interest.  It argues that humor--especially a certain variety of barbed humor--should be protected as a principle of antiauthoritarianism:  John Kang, "In Praise of Hostility:  Antiauthoritarianism as Free Speech Principle," 32 Harv. J. L. & Public Policy 351 (2012).  

January 12, 2015 in Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Why Scholars Should Blog and Tweet

As the recent flurry of tweeting on #AALS2015 showed, academic discourse is fully on social media. Everybody's doing it.  

Here's a nice guide to why and how to Tweet for academic purposes.

TaxLawProf, Why Scholars Should Blog and Tweet

One of the recurring themes (from many different contributors) on the LSE Impact of Social Science blog is that a new paradigm of research communications has grown up — one that de-emphasizes the traditional journals route, and re-prioritizes faster, real-time academic communication. Blogs play a critical intermediate role. They link to research reports and articles on the one hand, and they are linked to from Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Tumblr and Google+ news-streams and communities. So in research terms blogging is quite simply, one of the most important things that an academic should be doing right now.

January 7, 2015 in Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Aziz on Coercive Assimilationism

Sahar F. Aziz, Texas A & M Law, has uploaded "Coercive Assimilationism:  The Perils of Muslim Women's Identity Performance in the Workplace."  It's forthcoming in the Michigan J. of Race & Law and its abstract reads as follows: 

Fifty years after Congress passed the Civil Rights Act of 1964, unlawful discrimination continues to ail American workplaces. Despite the prevailing narrative that America is now "post-racial" after the election of the first African American president, equal opportunity still eludes many Americans. Their membership in racial, ethnic, or religious groups stigmatized as the "other" adversely affects their access to education, political empowerment, and equal opportunity in the workplace.

At the time Title VII was passed, victims often experienced explicit bias against their protected group. The law’s immediate effect was to ban overt prejudice causing disparate intergroup discrimination between men and women, blacks and whites, different ethnicities, and Christians and non-Christians.As a result, Title VII, along with other anti-discrimination laws, has been relatively successful in rooting out explicit bias in employment. Many employers now refrain from overtly treating employees disparately on account of an immutable characteristic. But, as the data show, the absence of discriminatory policies on paper does not always translate into a discrimination free workplace in practice. Rather, it pushes bias into more covert manifestations wherein facially neutral factors become proxies for unlawful discrimination.

While Title VII prohibits covert bias; it is ill equipped to prevent two increasingly prevalent forms of discrimination: 1) implicit bias arising from negative stereotypes of protected classes; and 2) disparate treatment of subgroups of protected classes who do not conform to coercive assimilationist pressures.Because an employee alleging discrimination must show that a similarly situated worker outside the protected class does not receive the same adverse treatment or impact, an employer who treats a subgroup of a minority better than another subgroup of the same minority can evade liability. 

Of course, if the difference in treatment among the subgroups is based on performance and skills directly related to the work at issue, then no liability should attach. However, that is not always the case. Disparate treatment of members of the same protected class arises from negative racial, ethnic, or religious stereotypes that privileges those able and willing to perform their identity in accordance with assimilationist demands of the majority group. The effect is intragroup discrimination based on intergroup bias rooted in implicit negative stereotyping. 

Female employees who fall under multiple protected classes face an intersection of identity performance pressures as women, racial or ethnic minorities, and religious minorities.The dominant group’s expectations of how women or members of minority groups should behave, dress, and communicate to be "professional" are often contradictory due to conflicting stereotypes. A Black woman, for example, who is assertive, ambitious, and exhibits leadership qualities associated as masculine characteristics, risks being stigmatized as aggressive, insubordinate, and threatening because of negative stereotypes of blacks. Meanwhile, her behavior contradicts gender conformity norms that women should be deferential, gentle, soft spoken, and pleasant. And if she is a Muslim, then her behavior triggers stereotypes of Muslims as terrorists, disloyal, foreign, and suspect.

For workplace anti-discrimination laws to eradicate these multiple binds that disparately impact women of color, this Article argues that Title VII jurisprudence should take into account intergroup discrimination based on intragroup identity performance to assure all employees, not just a subset of a protected class, are covered by workplace antidiscrimination law. As such, a plaintiff’s treatment should not be compared only with similarly situated employees outside the protected class but also with similarly situated employees within the protected class whose identity performance accommodates coercive assimilationism rooted in stereotypes.

This Article applies social psychology and antidiscrimination theories to the case of Muslim women of color in the workplace, an under-researched area in legal scholarship. I examine in detail the identity performance challenges and contradictions faced by Muslim women of color as "intersectionals" facing stereotypes against 1) Muslims as terrorists, violent, and disloyal; 2) Muslim women as meek, oppressed, and lacking individual agency; 3) women as sexualized, terminally second best to men, and uncommitted to their careers; 4) immigrants as forever foreign and undeserving of equal treatment; and 5) ethnic minorities from the Middle East and South Asia as barbaric, misogynist, and anti-American. I conclude that Muslim women of color are at risk of falling between the cracks of Title VII jurisprudence due to courts’ unwillingness to recognize the harms caused by coercive assimilationst pressures to conform one’s identity to comport to high status group norms, irrespective of the relevance to work performance.

January 6, 2015 in International, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, January 5, 2015

Darr on the British Regulation of Sex Offenses in Palestine

Orna Alyagon Darr, Carmel Academic Center, has uploaded an article forthcoming from the Yale J. of Law and Humanities.  It's titled "Relocated Doctrine:  The Travel of the English Doctrine of Corroboration in Sex Offense Cases to Mandate Palestine."  The abstract reads:  

The spread of the British Empire was accompanied by the relocation of legal doctrines, which took on new meanings and uses. This article follows the relocation to Mandate Palestine of the common-law doctrine of corroboration of victim testimony in sex offense cases. In England, corroboration was a cautionary rule that expressed mistrust of female complainants. In jury-less Palestine, the rule also expressed deep distrust toward non-English complainants, especially children. While the British rulers of Palestine prided themselves on imposing sexual regulation tailored to protecting women and children, an analysis of the way corroboration was applied in that setting reveals a rigidly imposed and hard-to-meet evidentiary standard. British colonial judges maintained that demanding corroboration in sex offense cases was an implementation of English law. However, the rule was not simply a ‘transplant’ that reproduced the original but, rather, acquired its meaning within the specific social context and in the subjectivities of its users.

January 5, 2015 in International, Scholarship, Violence Against Women | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Paltrow and Flavin on Forced Intervention Against Pregnant Women

Lynn Paltrow (Nat'l Advocates for Pregnant Women) and Jeanne Flavin (Fordham Law) have uploaded "Arrests of and Forced Interventions on Pregnant Women in the United States, 1973-2005: Implications for Women's Legal Status and Public Health." The abstract reads:

In November 2011, the citizens of Mississippi voted down Proposition 26, a “personhood” measure that sought to establish separate constitutional rights for fertilized eggs, embryos, and fetuses. This proposition raised the question of whether such measures could be used as the basis for depriving pregnant women of their liberty through arrests or forced medical interventions. Over the past four decades, descriptions of selected subsets of arrests and forced interventions on pregnant women have been published. Such cases, however, have never been systematically identified and documented, nor has the basis for their deprivations of liberty been comprehensively examined. In this article we report on 413 cases from 1973 to 2005 in which a woman’s pregnancy was a necessary factor leading to attempted and actual deprivations of a woman’s physical liberty. First, we describe key characteristics of the women and the cases, including socioeconomic status and race. Second, we investigate the legal claims made to justify the arrests, detentions, and forced interventions. Third, we explore the role played by health care providers. We conclude by discussing the implications of our findings and the likely impact of personhood measures on pregnant women's liberty and on maternal, fetal, and child health.

December 17, 2014 in Reproductive Rights, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0)

Chang on "Immigration-Status Spousal Support"

Stewart Chang, Whittier Law, has uploaded Dreams of My Father, Prison for My Mother: The H-4 Nonimmigrant Visa Dilemma and the Need for an "Immigration-Status Spousal Support."  The abstract reads: 

This article uses the situation of H-4 visa derivatives in the Asian Indian immigrant community as a case study to expose and critique larger incongruities within current American immigration policy, which on the one hand has historically extolled individuality, equality, and workforce participation as avenues to the American Dream, while enforcing gender hierarchy and dependency through requirements that prioritize family unity on the other. These incongruities remain largely unnoticed because the culture of dependency is often attributed to traditional ethnic culture, which then becomes the site of scrutiny and blame. The H-4 visa dilemma in the Asian Indian community illustrates how the legal restrictions stipulated in immigration law often produce and perpetuate recursions of ‘traditional culture’ within immigrant American families that ultimately consign Asian Indian women to perpetually occupy the place of the foreign ‘Other’ in American society. The ‘Othering’ of the ethnic alien culture perpetuates the illusion that America is not patriarchal in comparison, which concurrently promotes the idea that the foreign culture is inferior, behind, and incompatible. This constructed inferiority further forecloses these women from other avenues of justice in America, such as family law, which is similarly configured as to be culturally incompatible with the dependent immigrant subject. Thus, these women of- ten voluntarily choose to exclude themselves from the process, as did many of my Asian Indian clients. These are the assumptions and hierarchies regarding the mythos of independence in American identity that this article seeks to overcome, which then open avenues for some nonconventional solutions.

December 17, 2014 in Family, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Women Law Professors Cited More, but Published Less than Men

A new study says women law professors are cited slightly more often than men.  NLJ, Study: Women Law Professors Cited More Often. Citation suggests some measure of good or relevant work being done by women.  But juxtapose that against the fact that women are published less often than men (32% of law reviews, 20% in top journals), a disparity that begins with student notes. (And similar to other disciplines where studies have shown, women are published less and cited less.)  Is this the professional equivalent of the neighborhood kickball game, where the girl has to be twice as good to get picked?  

Nancy Leong in Discursive Disparities details the consequences of women being left out of the writing game:   

Such harms include economic loss, damage to career, and diminished public influence. These harms are serious in themselves. Perhaps more importantly, however, the discursive gender disparity means that men's words dominate public discourse, and to control discourse is to control reality. When men's words, thoughts, ideas, and arguments constitute the overriding public narrative, the result is that men determine the texture of daily life on matters both trivial and grave. The result of the discursive disparity is that male discourse exercises a disproportionate influence on our collective consciousness.

 

 

December 11, 2014 in Law schools, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (1)

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Huntington on Postmarital Family Law

Clare Huntington, Fordham Law, has uploaded "Postmarital Family Law" on SSRN.  It's forthcoming from Stanford Law Review and its abstract reads: 

Family law is based on marriage, but family life increasingly is not. The American family is undergoing a seismic shift, with marriage rates steadily declining and more than four in ten children now born to unmarried parents. Children of unmarried parents fall far behind children of married parents on a variety of metrics, contributing to stark inequality among children. Poverty and related factors explain much of this differential, but new sociological evidence highlights family structure — particularly friction and dislocation between unmarried parents after their relationship ends — as a crucial part of the problem. As the trend toward nonmarital childbearing continues to spread across class lines, the effect will be most pronounced among children. 

This shift is the single most important issue facing family law today, yet scholars have been slow to engage with the structure and substance of the law in response. In family law, the marital family serves as a misleading synecdoche for all families, not only marginalizing nonmarital families, but also actively undermining their already tenuous bonds. 

It is essential for family law to address the needs of both marital and nonmarital families. This entails a new theory of state regulation as well as new doctrines, institutions, and norms in practice. Some feminists argue that the state should privilege caregiving between parents and children instead of marital relationships, while other commenters stubbornly advocate marriage primacy — the elevation of marriage above other family forms — despite all evidence that marriage promotion fails. These responses fundamentally misunderstand nonmarital family life, in which dynamics between parents deeply affect children yet marriage is not realistically returning. We must instead understand that it is possible to separate marriage from parenthood but not relationships from parenthood. The state must accordingly help unmarried parents become effective co-parents, especially after their relationship ends, so they can provide children with the healthy relationships crucial to child development. This theoretical insight, and the family law that flows from it, will inaugurate a larger debate about how to prepare for a world in which marriage is not the defining institution of family life.

November 12, 2014 in Family, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, November 10, 2014

Who Is the Better Cop? Females or Males?

Amalia Miller and Carmit Segal, both economists, have an interesting article titled "Do Female Officers Improve Law Enforcement Quality?"  It's uploaded on SSRN and the abstract reads: 

We study the impact of the integration of women in US policing between the late 1970s and early 1990s on violent crime reporting and domestic violence escalation. Along these two key dimensions, we find that female officers improved police quality. Using crime victimization data, we find that as female representation increases among officers in an area, violent crimes against women in that area, and especially domestic violence, are reported to the police at significantly higher rates. There are no such effects for violent crimes against men or from increases in the female share among civilian police employees. Furthermore, we find evidence that female officers help prevent the escalation of domestic violence. Increases in female officer representation are followed by significant declines in intimate partner homicide rates and in rates of repeated domestic abuse. These effects are all consistent between fixed effects models with controls for economic and policy variables and models that focus exclusively on increases in female police employment driven by externally imposed affirmative action plans resulting from employment discrimination cases.

November 10, 2014 in Scholarship, Workplace | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

McJunkin on "Rank Among Equals"

Ben A. McJunkin has recently uploaded on SSRN "Rank Among Equals," which is forthcoming from the Michigan Law Review.  The abstract reads:  

Dignity is on the march. As illustrated by Justice Kennedy’s recent majority opinion in United States v. Windsor, the concept — once seen as exclusive to moral philosophy — has taken on increasing importance in the legal realm, particularly in the recognition of individual human rights. Jeremy Waldron's recent book, Dignity, Rank, and Rights, offers a profound and provocative take on dignity's newfound centrality to law. Waldron contends that dignity currently operates as a universal legal status that entails individual rights. He suggests that this development reflects the gradual democratization of aristocratic privilege — a kind of "leveling up" of humanity.

This Review disentangles and separately examines the two core accounts of dignity in Waldron's work. The first, which purports to identify the nature of contemporary legal dignity as a form of status, appears to be promising step toward better understanding the role dignity plays in law. The second, Waldron's historical account of dignity's development that offers up something like an origin story for our contemporary conceptions, is more troubling. Borrowing from feminist theory and queer theory, as well as from the equality projects to which they are allied, I contend that Waldron's narratives of extending aristocratic privilege threaten to entrench inequality and injustice while limiting the potential for marginalized groups to employ dignity as a deeply remedial legal tool. I urge Waldron to revisit dignity's expressive connection to human worth, which has proven central to dignity-based antidiscrimination and antisubordination projects.

November 5, 2014 in Scholarship, Theory | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, October 31, 2014

"There is No Constitutional Right to Marriage ... Of Any Kind"

Or so argues one commentator. From the Jurist:  

The Constitution provides no citizen of any gender or orientation a Constitutional right to marriage. The Constitution is silent on the issue of marriage. It is not mentioned, and therefore it is not a power delegated to the federal government to regulate. For lawyers, judges and in particular, Supreme Court justices, the inquiry on this issue should end there—right where silence demands judicial inaction.

 

October 31, 2014 in LGBT, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, October 17, 2014

Sheley on "Condemned Woman as Historical Relic"

Erin Sheley, GW Law, has uploaded "Doubled Jeopardy: The Condemned Woman as Historical Relic."  It is forthcoming from Law and Literature and its abstract reads: 

This article explores how Sir Walter Scott's fictional condemned women serve as relics through which a history of evolving British legal authority becomes present and legible. It argues that Scott's treatment of gender aestheticizes a particular concept of and reaction to the condemned woman in the context of the common law tradition generally. Using the backdrop of eighteenth century penal practice, it also shows how Scott establishes the female condemned body as an object necessarily fixed in time in order to contemplate legal change through a historically controlled process. The first part of the article considers the late eighteenth century movement to abolish the punishment of burning at the stake for women convicted of treason, and the extent to which competing understandings of chivalry reified an entire history of penal practice into the body of the burned woman. The second part argues that the interrelations between archaic practice and evolved norm which characterize the precedent-based common law system are dramatized in the fixed, idealized bodies of Constance de Beverly and Rebecca of York through which Scott acknowledges the implicit need for legal change over time, while simultaneously legitimizing adherence to a chivalric tradition.

October 17, 2014 in Scholarship, Theory | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Thomas on Divorce History Through a Gendered Lens

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).


October 14, 2014 in Family, Gender, Legal History, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Top Recent Scholarship in Gender, Women and Law

From SSRN:

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 IncompetenceThe Federal Lawyer (July 2014)

Steven Douglas Smith (San Diego),Die and Let Live? The Asymmetry of Accommodation

Muhammad Munir (Intl Islamic Univ.), Judicial Law-Making: An Analysis of Case Law on Khul‘ in Pakistan

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)

 

October 7, 2014 in Gender, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, October 6, 2014

Sexual Violence During War and Peace

Jelke Boesten, University of Leeds, UK, has recently published Sexual Violence During War and Peace (Palgrave Macmillan).  The abstract reads: 

The idea that rape is widely used as a weapon of war has taken root in international institutions, influencing how post-conflict justice and transitional justice are perceived and pursued. Despite this global attention, there has been no progress eradicating or even mitigating sexual violence in war or in peace and very little progress prosecuting crimes of sexual violence. With particular reference to post-conflict justice, this book asks what sexual violence means from a socio-political perspective and in what ways contemporary "peacetime" violence is linked to wartime rape. Evidence from Peru and the internal armed conflict of 1980-2000 shows that acts of wartime rape are deeply embedded in existing configurations of gender and power and that sexual violence serves not only wartime terror but also peacetime hierarchies.

October 6, 2014 in Scholarship, Theory, Violence Against Women | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, October 3, 2014

Susan Ayres on Dramatic Narratives

Susan Ayres, Texas A & M Law, has uploaded to SSRN "Using Dramatic Narratives to Teach Domestic Violence."  The abstract reads: 

The 2003 call of the ABA for teachers to incorporate domestic violence into the law school curricula remains gravely important today. Domestic violence intersects many areas — from family law, to torts, to criminal law. Along with sexual assault, it is one of the most difficult subjects to teach. Students, like the general public, find it hard to comprehend why a person batters, or why a victim stays with the batterer. While students may learn about domestic violence from case law and scholarly excerpts, the best lessons may be learned through narratives, which provide a window into the reasons for battering and the multi-faceted reasons a victim stays with a batterer. In this article, I describe a teaching approach that incorporates narratives by the award-winning, multi-racial writer, Ai (1947-2010). This valuable approach offers a picture of domestic violence that is more compelling than that of casebooks or statistics, and provides students — as future lawyers — with the ability to respond to clients experiencing domestic violence with greater empathy and understanding.

October 3, 2014 in Scholarship, Theory, Violence Against Women | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, September 29, 2014

Ciocchetti on Hobby Lobby

Corey Ciocchetti, Denver (Business School), has uploaded to SSRN "Religious Freedom and Closely Held Corporations: The Hobby Lobby Case and Its Ethical Implications."  The abstract reads: 

Hobby Lobby and its quest for religious freedom captured the attention of a nation for a few moments in late June 2014. The country homed in on the Supreme Court as the justices weighed the rights of an incorporated, profit-making entity run by devout individuals that objected to particular entitlements granted to women under the Affordable Care Act. The case raised important legal issues such as whether the law allows for-profit corporations to exercise religion (yes!) and whether protection for religious freedom trumps the rights of third parties to cost free preventive care (sort of!). The Supreme Court’s decision also brought to light some major ethical dilemmas such as: (1) whether the government has the right to second-guess a person’s religious beliefs, (2) when do religious beliefs become too attenuated from the actions they oppose to truly pose a burden on religion and (3) whether religion can only be experienced by human beings. Though the lawyers will move on to the next legal challenge, Americans in general must continue to grapple with these ethical dilemmas as citizens of a society needing to find the appropriate balance between religious freedom and improving public heath.

This article attempts to answer some of these questions by evaluating the Hobby Lobby case from many different angles. Part II recounts the stories underlying the legal challenge. These stories, often-neglected in law review articles and judicial opinions, when told in depth add context and nuance to the case and help bring to life topics that seem boring if analyzed purely in legalese. For example, the Greens tell a story of a family who consider their work at Hobby Lobby to fulfill their calling from God. They sincerely believe they are expected to practice their religion at work even if it costs the corporation, and themselves personally, a great deal of money. The federal government tells the story of a nation in desperate need of better and less expensive health care options -- particularly for women. The government claims that women need cost-free preventive care (and particularly cost-free contraceptives) in order to improve their health and reduce unwanted pregnancies. Better access to contraceptives will also give women more power to control their reproductive lives and compete more effectively in the workplace. Part II brings these litigants to life and sets the stage for a discussion of the law in Part III and the application of the law to these parties in Part IV.

More specifically, Part III synthesizes the state of the law surrounding religious freedom and preventive health care at the time the Hobby Lobby case hit the Supreme Court. The article recounts the history of religious freedom in America and how this concept worked its way into the first words of the First Amendment and eventually into the very broadly protective Religious Freedom Restoration Act. This part ends with an evaluation of the ACA’s contraceptive mandate and its requirements regarding access to cost free preventive care for women.

Part IV evaluates the court decisions in the Hobby Lobby case. The discussion begins with the District Court’s denial of Hobby Lobby’s request that mandate be stayed and ends with the Supreme Court’s decision issued on the last day of its October 2013 term. All in all, the discussion moves with the case from a federal district court (where Hobby Lobby asked for a preliminary injunction) to the Tenth Circuit Court of appeals (where that decision was affirmed) to the United States Supreme Court (where Hobby Lobby’s appeal was summarily denied) back to the Circuit Court sitting en banc (where the district court was urged to issue the preliminary injunction) back to the district court (where the judge reversed himself and issued the injunction) and finally to the Supreme Court (where Hobby Lobby emerged victorious). This part summarizes the lower court decisions and evaluates the Supreme Court decision in detail, section by section.

Part V, the final substantive part of the article, begins with the statement that the Court reached the correct legal decision in the case considering: (1) the important place religious exercise holds in the fabric of America, today and historically, (2) the broad brush with which Congress painted RFRA and (3) the fact that Hobby Lobby’s employees will still receive all twenty FDA-approved contraceptives at no cost. The discussion then moves to the ethical issues spun off by the Supreme Court decision. The three ethical dilemmas chosen for analysis revolve around the questions of whether corporations can exercise religion, whether it is ethical for religion to trump third party rights and whether governments have any business analyzing the beliefs of a religious adherent in order to better craft public policy.

The article concludes with a call for further research into potential answers to these and other ethical dilemmas keeping in mind that Hobby Lobby is just the first shoe to drop in the fight between religious freedom and parts of the Affordable Care Act.

September 29, 2014 in Healthcare, Religion, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Marriage in Islam

Shagufta Omar, International Islamic University, has uploaded to SSRN Marriage in Islam.  The abstract reads: 

The institution of family occupies a highly important position in Islam. Besides regulating human marital relations it plays a key role in the development and progression of a well-entrenched social order. It considers this relationship a sacrament social contract between two independent and pubescent persons and introduces checks and balances to protect and secure the rights of all stakeholders in this matter - husband, wife, children and the society large. Unlike certain other religions, Islam however does not regard marriage above dissolution and gives this right to both the spouses. According men and women equal social, legal and moral status as human beings, Islam differentiates between their status, roles and responsibilities in the family system, based on equity and justice. However, the true spirit of role differentiation is misunderstood by non Muslims as well as by less informed Muslims as establishing the patriarchal system endorsing gender equality and discrimination against women.

September 25, 2014 in International, Religion, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, September 15, 2014

Abortion Exceptionalism

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.

September 15, 2014 in Reproductive Rights, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0)