Gender and the Law Prof Blog

Editor: Tracy A. Thomas
University of Akron School of Law

Friday, December 13, 2019

Improving Gender Diversity in Corporate Boards with Term Limits

Board Diversity by Term Limits?

Gender diversity in the U.S. corporate world is shockingly low. As The New York Times reported, fewer women run large corporations than CEOs named John. Boardrooms also lack diversity. While 86% of directors participating in PwC’s annual director survey stated they felt that women should comprise between 21% and 50% of the board, only 28% of Russell 3000 boards have more than one-fifth of their board comprised of women. Some U.S. boards do not even try to include women: 76 of the largest 1,500 Russell 3000 companies have not had any female directors in the past decade.

The investor community has made board diversity a recent point of emphasis. State Street, Vanguard, and Blackrock have all voiced their commitment to gender diversity, followed by recent support from proxy advisors. California has ventured even further, passing legislation that mandates specific quotas for women on Californian corporations. New Jersey and Illinois may soon follow suit. Diversity mandates, however, confront substantial legal, economic and societal challenges.

What if companies could advance gender diversity without explicitly regulating diversity at all? Our recent article, Board Diversity by Term Limits? forthcoming in the Alabama Law Review, explores how the use of director term limits can promote gender diversity in boardrooms, avoiding quota controversies altogether. While term limits have often been invoked as a tool to improve director independence and board oversight, they may be also effective in improving diversity. We demonstrate the negative correlation between incumbency and diversity to support our findings. Director turnover in the U.S. remains very low. Firms hesitate to force out incumbents, who typically believe they contribute to the firm in unique and essential ways. Furthermore, although perhaps not averse to the idea of hiring a woman, these leaders will eventually search among potential replacements for people whose skills mirror their own. The cycle self-perpetuates, locking women out of opportunities.

Our article explores this aforementioned connection between term limits and board diversity. Drawing upon quantitative data on director turnover in the S&P 1500 and qualitative data on S&P 500 firms with term limits, our research shows that firms experiencing higher board turnover have more gender diversity. A regression analysis of the S&P 1500 companies over the 2010-2016 period shown in Table 1 below depicts how a decrease in average board tenure correlates significantly with an increase in gender diversity. Conversely, a one-year increase in average board tenure results in a 0.24 percentage point decrease in female board percentage.

December 13, 2019 in Business, Gender | Permalink | Comments (0)

Weinstein Settlement Shows Not Much Has Changed

Meghan Twohey & Jodi Kantor, Weinstein and His Accusers Reach Tentative $25M Deal

After two years of legal wrangling, Harvey Weinstein and the board of his bankrupt film studio have reached a tentative $25 million settlement agreement with dozens of his alleged sexual misconduct victims, a deal that would not require the Hollywood producer to admit wrongdoing or pay anything to his accusers himself, according to lawyers involved in the negotiations.

 

The proposed global legal settlement has gotten preliminary approval from the major parties involved, according to several of the lawyers. More than 30 actresses and former Weinstein employees, who in lawsuits have accused Mr. Weinstein of offenses ranging from sexual harassment to rape, would share in the payout — along with potential claimants who could join in coming months. The deal would bring to an end nearly every such lawsuit against him and his former company.

 

The settlement would require court approval and a final signoff by all parties. It would be paid by insurance companies representing the producer’s former studio, the Weinstein Company. Because the business is in bankruptcy proceedings, the women have had to make their claims along with its creditors. The payout to the accusers would be part of an overall $47 million settlement intended to close out the company’s obligations, according to a half-dozen lawyers, some of whom spoke about the proposed terms on the condition of anonymity.

Slate, The Weinstein Settlement Reveals Nothing Has Changed

The $25 million, down from a $90 million victims fund that was contemplated at one point, would be paid by an insurance company for the Weinstein Company, which is now in bankruptcy proceedings because of everything Weinstein did. The agreement further stipulates that another $12 million would go toward legal fees for Weinstein, his brother, and other board members. It would also protect Weinstein and the board from future suits. In short: Besides not having to pay a dime himself, or admit to any wrongdoing, the millions of dollars it cost for the legal jiujitsu that made this extraordinary outcome possible will also be covered—by the company Weinstein’s own actions helped bankrupt. The victims, 18 of whom can get a maximum of $500,000 under this agreement, will be among other creditors trying to collect from the embattled company.

December 13, 2019 in Equal Employment, Media, Pop Culture | Permalink | Comments (0)

Professor Linda Mullenix Files Equal Pay Lawsuit Against University of Texas Law School

 

Linda S Mullenix

From the complaint in Mullenix v. University of Texas (W.D. Tex. filed 12/12/19)

Plaintiff Linda Susan Mullenix files Plaintiff’s Original Complaint & Jury Demand, and sues the University of Texas for violations of the Equal Pay Act, as well as for sex discrimination and retaliation. Over the past three years, Professor Linda Mullenix, one of UT Law’s most distinguished professors, has been paid $134,449 less than male professor Robert Bone. Professor Bone has the same above-average teacher evaluation rating as
Professor Mullenix, but almost a decade less overall teaching experience, fewer than a third of Professor Mullenix’s overall publications, and fewer professional honors. This pay gap is sex discrimination.

 

Moreover, UT Law has retaliated against Professor Mullenix for opposing the law school’s unequal pay practices. For the last several years, Professor Mullenix has received among the lowest raises of any tenured faculty. For example, Professor Mullenix received a $1,500 raise for the 2018-2019 academic year, which was the lowest raise given to any faculty member. That same year Professor Bone, and many other professors less accomplished than Professor Mullenix, received $10,000 raises, some of the highest raises given. Dean Farnsworth also retaliated against Professor Mullenix and attempted to chill reports of discrimination by telling Professor Mullenix that he would pay her the same as Professor Bone only if she agreed to resign in two years. At that time and at present, Professor Mullenix has no plans to resign.

 

Another example of retaliation is that despite Professor Mullenix’s repeated requests to be appointed Associate Dean for Research or to be put on the prestigious Budget Committee, she has been relegated to “do-nothing” committees that have little impact on the governance of the law school. Most disturbingly, because of Professor
Mullenix’s opposition to UT Law’s unequal pay practices, she has been made a pariah by the administration. New professors are told to stay away from her and that she is “poison.” Professor Mullenix’s marginalization is also held out as a warning to other professors who might speak out.

 

UT Law has reason to be worried about others speaking out about unequal pay and sex discrimination. For at least the last three years, UT Law has, on average, paid tenured female professors over $20,000 less than tenured male professors. By paying Professor Mullenix less than a similarly-situated male professor and retaliating against her for opposing unequal pay based on gender, UT Law has violated Title VII, the Equal Pay Act, and the Texas Labor Code.

December 13, 2019 in Equal Employment, Law schools, Women lawyers | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, December 9, 2019

Holiday Card Features SCOTUS Women Justices

SCOTUS Ladies Holiday Card  (Really?  Ladies?!?)

 

December 9, 2019 in Pop Culture, SCOTUS, Women lawyers | Permalink | Comments (0)

John Legend Rewrites Song "Baby It's Cold Outside" as a Song of Affirmative Consent

Why "Baby It's Cold Outside" Remains Controversial and Recently Got a Remake from John Legend [and Kelly Clarkson]

Every year, the anticipation of the holidays ushers in a return of winter classics on radios and streaming services across the United States, including the 1944 hit, "Baby It's Cold Outside."

 

The song continues to stir up controversy due to lyrics that some have considered questionable as they believe they advocate date rape.

 

Written by Frank Loesser, the 75-year-old song first became popular in 1949 as a twice-featured song in the MGM romantic comedy Neptune's Daughter.***

 

According to Rolling Stone, outrage over the song's lyrical content became prominent in 2007, following the emergence of social media sites like Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr. However, the magazine also noted that frustration with the song had been brewing for a couple of years prior, with journalists and bloggers describing the depicted romantic encounter as "semi-consensual" or "a guy who hasn't taken 'no' for an answer."***

 

In 2014, a Washington Post opinion piece—drawing from a 2010 post from Persephone Magazine—noted in that the woman's lines in the song do not explicitly state her reluctance to leave for her own sake, but for the sakes of those who might worry about her or question her virtue.

 

The Post columnist, Marya Hannun, also mentioned that in 1944 the notion of an "unmarried woman staying the night at her beau's was cause for scandal," and that in the song, the woman lists her mother, father, sister and maiden aunt as the reasons for her departure.

 

"In this light, the song could be read as an advocacy for women's sexual liberation rather than a tune about date rape," Hannun wrote for the Post.

 

 Earlier this week, award-winning singers John Legend and Kelly Clarkson received both sharp criticism and high-praise from others for a revamped version of the song, which they performed Tuesday night on an episode of The Voice.

 

As Vanity Fair wrote last month, listeners can now hear Clarkson singing "What will my friends think?" and then Legend's reply: "I think they should rejoice." Clarkson continues by asking, "If I have one more drink?" Legend's answer: "It's your body, and your choice."

 

Legend chose to pen new lyrics to the song, sparking backlash from individuals who felt it shouldn't be changed.

Listen to it here.

December 9, 2019 in Pop Culture | Permalink | Comments (0)

Theme for March for Life 2020 Relies on Questionable Women's History, Incorrectly Claiming Early Feminist Leaders as Pro-Life

The old claims that feminist suffrage leaders like Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Susan B. Anthony, and Alice Paul were pro-life, are getting dusted off and used as the basis for pro-life advocacy, seeking a connection to the 2020 centennial of women's suffrage.  One problem, however, is that they are not true. 

March for Life 2020 Theme Pays Tribute to Pro-Life View of Early Feminists

Organizers of the March for Life have chosen "Life Empowers*: Pro-Life Is Pro-Woman" for the 2020 rally and march in Washington.

 

In embracing the theme, Jeanne Mancini, president of the March for Life Education Fund, cited the coming centennial of the 19th Amendment, which gave women the right to vote, and the views of early suffragists, including the best-known figure of the movement, Susan B. Anthony.***

 

Leaders of the suffrage movement, Mancini said, knew that "mothers and babies were not at odds with each other." Citing Alice Paul, leading strategist of the 19th Amendment, Mancini said Paul "referred to abortion as "the ultimate exploitation of women."

 

This was reinforced by another panelist, Serrin Foster, president of Feminists for Life, who said early American feminists condemned abortion "in no uncertain terms."

 

Abortion, Foster said, "was constantly referred to as child murder," and it was a frequently discussed topic in the feminist newspaper edited by Elizabeth Cady Stanton and to Anthony, the best known feminist leader of her age, was a frequent contributor.

 

A page on the website of the Susan B. Anthony House and Museum in Rochester, New York, disputes the notion Anthony can be considered a heroine to the pro-life movement, insisting her writings for the paper, called The Revolution, were mostly appeals to support the publication.

Similar claims have been made by the pro-life movement since the mid-1990s, in prior political campaigns, in college recruitment --  and in amicus briefs to the U.S. Supreme Court.  This is not merely political rhetoric, but is being used as historical evidence to advocate for legal truth in the courts of law. 

I've written extensively to dispute this claim, particularly the claim of pro-life as applied to pioneering feminist leader Elizabeth Cady Stanton.  See Tracy A. Thomas, Misappropriating Women's History in the Law and Politics of Abortion, 36 Seattle L. J. 1 (2012);  Tracy A. Thomas, Elizabeth Cady Stanton and the Feminist Foundations of Family Law, chp. 5 (NYU Press 2016).

As I explained the general context:  

The appeal to historical figures in the abortion debate is powerful because it utilizes the gravitas of feminist  heroines to challenge the existing legal and political assumption that abortion is a cornerstone of sex equality. The use of feminist leaders suggests that women themselves, even radical feminist women like Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony, have traditionally opposed abortion.  If these feminist leaders indeed opposed abortion, the historical story would seem to bolster the claim that abortion is not in the best interests of women.

 

The need to create a history of antiabortion feminists seems important today because abortion has come to be equated with women’s rights. Since the second wave of the women’s liberation movement in the late 1960s, feminists have identified abortion as a foundational right for women upon which all other economic and educational rights rest. The appeal to feminist history by prolife advocates offers a counter-narrative in which women dedicated to improving the economic and educational rights of women reject abortion as a  gender-based right. This story of women leaders opposing abortion is thus aimed at undermining the prevailing feminist and legal view that a woman’s right to bodily autonomy and reproductive choice is a privacy right of constitutional dimension going to the heart of gender equality.

 

The lack of popular knowledge about the lives and work of women’s rights leaders facilitates the co-opting of the historical feminist narrative by antiabortion activists. Most people, politicians, and policymakers lack a familiarity with these women’s lives or their work, much less the details of their philosophies and speeches. It is therefore easy to make the claim that a feminist leader had a particular belief because few are able to challenge it.

Despite the ease and utility of creating a feminist history against abortion, the narrative is simply not true.

 The evidence alleged of Stanton's position is meager, a handful of quotes, only 2 of which can be attributed to Stanton, and the two do not endorse a pro-life stance.  The other anonymous articles published in Stanton's newspaper were more likely written by, and selected by, the male managing editor of the paper, Parker Pillsbury, a former minister who was on the record as opposing abortion (although against criminalization of it). 

What Stanton did talk about was women's reproductive choice, and voluntary motherhood.  Maternity was woman's sole choice, unrestricted by men or government.  Stanton also took up the public defense of Hester Vaughn, a young woman convicted of infanticide.  Her extensive writings on both these subjects reveal a strong support for women's autonomy and choice in reproduction, a precursor to the modern pro-choice movement.

As to Susan B. Anthony, scholars of her life and work -- eminent historians Ann Gordon, Lynn Sherr, Stacy Schiff, and Christine Stansell, all strongly refuted that Anthony was pro-life, or said much of anything about it at all. These historians concluded that “Anthony spent no time on the politics of abortion. It was of no interest to her despite living in a society (and a family) where women aborted unwanted pregnancies.”

As I concluded: 

It is simply not the case that nineteenth-century feminist leaders expressed explicit and unanimous support for the criminalization of abortion because of the concern of the morality of prenatal life. . . . [T]he few feminist voices joining the periphery of the abortion debate did not support the regulation of abortion. Instead, these writers defended women against the abortion campaign’s attack and shifted the moral blame to men and to society’s oppression of women. What feminists did unanimously endorse was voluntary motherhood and the right of women to control procreation through abstinence. Stanton expanded on this idea, arguing for a woman’s right to be the “sovereign of her own person,” which meant the right to choose when and under what conditions she would become pregnant. Stanton empathized with women who had unwanted pregnancies and argued against a legal system that imposed punishment upon women for infanticide. This advocate of women’s individual right to control makes an unlikely leader for today’s antiabortion movement.

December 9, 2019 in Abortion, Constitutional, Legal History | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, December 4, 2019

The Racialized and Sexually Exploitive US Citizenship Transmission Laws

Blanche Cook, Johnny Appleseed: Citizenship Transmission Laws and a White Heteropatriarchal Property Right in Philandering, Sexual Exploitation, and Rape (the 'WHP') or Johnny and the WHP, 31 Yale J. Law & Feminism (2019) 

Title 8, United States Code, Section 1409—one of this country’s citizenship transmission laws—creates a white hetero-patriarchal property right in philandering, sexual exploitation, and rape (the “WHP”). Section 1409 governs the transmission of citizenship from United States citizens to their children, where the child is born abroad, outside of marriage, and one parent is a citizen and the other is not. Section 1409, however, draws a distinct gender distinction between women and men: An unwed female American citizen who births a child outside the United States, fathered by a foreign man, automatically transmits citizenship to her child. An unwed male American citizen, by contrast, who fathers a child abroad with a foreign woman has the distinctly male prerogative to either grant or deny citizenship to his foreign-born non-marital child at his leisure.

On the surface, it might appear that § 1409 treats men and women differently because it is easy to determine a child’s mother, as opposed to a child’s father, at birth. In fact, a majority of the Supreme Court has deployed these “natural” differences between men and women to shield § 1409 from three separate gender-based equal protection challenges. Justice Ginsburg, however, has keenly observed, “History reveals what lurks behind § 1409.” What lurks behind § 1409 is a long legacy of white hetero-patriarchy deploying the legal category of citizenship to perfect sovereignty in itself and vulnerability in “foreign” women for the very purpose of sexual domination.

The historical model for this racialized regime of sexual domination is the classic case of Dred Scott, where the denial of citizenship to anyone of African descent further facilitated a white hetero-patriarchal property right in philandering, sexual exploitation, and rape. In Dred Scott, the exclusion of anyone of African descent from person-hood, through the legal mechanism of citizenship, perfected power in white men and vulnerability in racialized others. By excluding anyone of African descent from citizenship, enslaved owners continued to enjoy an unbridled property right in the use and enjoyment of the enslaved. The denial of citizenship to the enslaved facilitated their use as property. Following suit, § 1409 makes citizenship the property of men, through which they can exclude their non-marital foreign-born children from membership in the American polity. Section 1409 vests in these fathers not just a right to exclude their children, but to discard them, leaving them profoundly vulnerable to the sting of “illegitimacy,” ethnic and racial animus, and financial precarity — a form of destruction, while simultaneously empowering these fathers to sexually possess, control, use, and enjoy foreign women. Section 1409 understands all too well: in order to sexually exploit the mother, one must control the status of the child.

December 4, 2019 in Gender, International, Legal History, Race | Permalink | Comments (0)

The Potential Persuasive Influence of the Feminist Judgments Project on Judicial Decision Making

Kate Webber Nunez, Persuasive or Pipe Dream? The Feminist Judgments Project's Potential Influence on Judicial Decision Making, British Journal of American Legal Studies (Vol. 9 2020 Forthcoming)

The Feminist Judgments Project (“FJP” or the “Project”) rewrites existing judicial opinions from a feminist perspective. This article explores whether and how the FJP’s alternative jurisprudence can influence future decisions. The FJP rewrites the law in order to reveal the underlying biases that exist in purportedly neutral decision making. In doing so, the FJP seeks to influence future advocacy and, ultimately, change the law. According to the Project’s commentary, this change will come by revealing unconscious bias and opening judicial minds to previously unknown perspectives; a method that draws on psychological theories of decision making, such as cultural cognition. This article takes a different approach and evaluates the FJP using theories from political science on how judges decide cases. The article’s analysis is relevant because certain prominent theories in the political science field would challenge the utility of the Project. Specifically, given an increasingly conservative judiciary and Republican administration, the attitudinal and strategic theories of decision making would give the FJP little prospect of actually influencing the law. This article explains, however, that the field of political science would not universally nor completely dismiss the Project’s efforts. An alternative line of thought, historical institutionalism, presents a theoretical explanation for why and how the FJP’s re-envisioned law could possibly create persuasive arguments that will influence the judiciary. This article applies historical institutionalist concepts to the FJP, exploring how, and the degree to which, this view of decision making supports the Project’s utility. Ultimately, it concludes that the path of persuasion is somewhat narrow and limited, but possible.

December 4, 2019 in Courts, Legal History, Theory | Permalink | Comments (0)

A Story of Mediation and Restorative Justice in a Rape Case

My Justice Dream

This past summer, I sat in an eight-hour mediation circle with the man who raped me. My mom and sister also participated as impacted community members. Two mediators held the space and actively worked to safeguard triggers. They asked us only one question: What brought you here today? 

All of this occurred after several months of therapy and extensive education in consent and patriarchy for my assailant. It was the outcome that I fought for.

This was an exercise in restorative justice (RJ)—and my mediation circle marked one of the first times in North America that a sexual assault case in the legal system concluded with one.***

When I was subpoenaed for a criminal trial, I considered dropping the charges completely—but I was still holding onto my justice dream. At the urging of a friend, I began researching ways to make it happen. I connected with an RJ-aligned lawyer, and we called a meeting with the crown; my proposal was met with a condescending assumption that I didn’t understand how bad rape is.

My response? “I believe that rape is so bad that we have to consider alternative options. We know that incarceration often leads to recidivism and that acquittals are too common. Rates of sexual assault are not declining. It’s time to try something different.” Despite the push back from prosecutors aligned with the punitive system, we eventually got a yes.

December 4, 2019 in Courts, Violence Against Women | Permalink | Comments (0)

Law & Gender Programs at AALS

A Conversation with U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg will join in a question and answer session moderated by AALS President Vicki Jackson, Thurgood Marshall Professor of Constitutional Law at Harvard Law School. During the conversation, Justice Ginsburg will discuss her life, career, and commitment to law and to legal education.

Two programs on the 19th Amendment: Programs on the History and Modern Implications of the 19th Amendment

Discussion Group, The Role of Women as International, Regional, and National Judges

The members of this discussion group are experts who have studied the role of women as adjudicators within international, international criminal, regional, and national tribunals. In this program, they will assess the historical and present role of female judges at different tribunals, examining the premise that women judge differently than men. Discussants will focus on questions of adequate gender representation on these tribunals’ benches and on questions of legitimacy for tribunals whose benches are not particularly gender-diverse. They will also suggest policies that would better enable women to participate in international, regional, and national adjudication and would ameliorate women’s experience on the bench.

Discussion Group Participant: Bridget J. Crawford, Pace University Elisabeth Haub School of Law

Discussion Group Participant: Ms. J. Jarpa Dawuni, Howard University

Discussion Group Participant: Nienke Grossman, University of Baltimore School of Law
Discussion Group Participant: Fernanda Giorgia Nicola, American University, Washington College of Law
Discussion Group Participant: Dr. Heather Roberts, Ph.D., Australian National University College of Law
Discussion Group Participant: Leila N. Sadat, Washington University in St. Louis School of Law
Discussion Group Moderator: Milena Sterio, Cleveland-Marshall College of Law at Cleveland State University
Discussion Group Participant: Ms. Shana Tabak, Tahirih Justice Center
 
Extended Program, Women in Legal Education, Gender Equity at Work
This session will explore issues concerning gender equity in the workplace, including the legal profession and legal academia. An introductory panel featuring Vice Provost Adrienne Davis and Dean Angela Onwuachi-Wilig will explore issues concerning gender equity in the workplace, including the legal profession and legal academia. Following the panel discussion, participants will attend their choice of two small moderated discussion groups that will focus on the following issues:
    Gender Equity in Law School and University Leadership
    Gender Equity in the Tenure-Stream Process
    Gender Equity in Contract Positions
    Gender Equity in the Legal Profession
    Gender Equity in the Workplace
    Gender Equity and our Students
 
Women in Law Education, Teaching Law in a #MeToo World
This session will focus on how we teach law in the age of #Metoo, Time’s Up, Justice Kavanaugh, Intersectionality, President Trump, Proper Pronoun Use, the Women’s March, and other recent developments. This session will consider how we, in our capacity as law teachers, are adapting our teaching as the world around us changes. Panelists will discuss their teaching innovations: courses they created or adapted or other ways in which they have engaged with students in this #MeToo World.

Following the panel presentations, there will be an audience engagement segment in the form of break-out group discussions. Each panelist will co-lead a break-out group. The group discussions will provide interested professors in the audience with an opportunity to think about how they too can create or adapt a course for our #Metoo world. Panelists will provide leadership by offering guidance and inspiration to professors who want to create their own #Metoo teaching innovation.
 
Speaker from a Call for Papers: Nancy C. Cantalupo, Barry University Dwayne O. Andreas School of Law
Speaker from a Call for Papers: Blanche B. Cook, University of Kentucky College of Law
Speaker from a Call for Papers: L. Camille Hebert, The Ohio State University, Michael E. Moritz College of Law
Moderator: Rona Kaufman, Duquesne University School of Law
Speaker from a Call for Papers: Deana A. Pollard-Sacks, Texas Southern U Thurgood Marshall School of Law
Speaker from a Call for Papers: Elizabeth M. Schneider, Brooklyn Law School
 
Reproductive Rights and Justice in Law and Politics
In January 2020, as we launch a new election cycle, one of the most pressing issues facing the country is the state of reproductive rights and justice. In early 2020, the Supreme Court will hear arguments in June Medical Services v. Gee, a case that will give the newly composed Court its first opportunity to reshape the constitutional law of abortion. This panel will bring together experts in this field to assess the state of abortion, access to contraception, pregnancy discrimination protections, and other issues that shape the landscape of reproductive rights and justice. Panelists will consider these issues longitudinally, focusing on how public opinion on these questions has been shaped by both law and politics. Panelists will also consider the current political moment, focusing on the Trump Administration’s efforts to regulate access to reproductive care, pending cases, and the role that these issues will play in the 2020 election.
 
Speaker: Maya Manian, Howard University School of Law
Moderator: Melissa E. Murray, New York University School of Law
Speaker: Kate Shaw, Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law
Speaker: Neil S. Siegel, Duke University School of Law
Speaker: Reva B. Siegel, Yale Law School
 
Teaching Criminal Law and Criminalization: Race, Class, Gender, and Beyond
This program will explore ways in which to broaden our syllabi to include teaching the socio-political and cultural determinants of criminal law and criminalization. A major focus will be to consider how to incorporate discussions about inequalities of race, class, wealth, gender, immigration status, and so on, when teaching criminal law.
 
Speaker: Maryam Ahranjani, University of New Mexico School of Law
Moderator and Speaker: Jenny E. Carroll, University of Alabama School of Law
Speaker: Emily Hughes, University of Iowa College of Law
Speaker: Russell A. McClain, University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law
Speaker: Alice G. Ristroph, Brooklyn Law School
 
The Unequal Workplace: Well-being at Stake
Inequity leads to a decline in the well-being of individuals and organizations. Legal culture is obsessed with rank and hierarchy, resulting in power and privilege historically dominated by straight, white men. This panel examines the origins of law’s unhealthy infatuation with hierarchy, the social inequality that the culture of hierarchy engenders, and the biological impact that social inequality has on our well-being. The panel explores how privilege can result in a lack of awareness of, curiosity about, empathy for, and exposure to life experiences and perspectives of women, LGBTQIA individuals, people of color, first-generation individuals, and others with challenging economic circumstances. The speakers provide ideas for addressing implicit bias, teaching cultural competency, developing cultural capital in marginalized groups, developing leadership skills to support and work with diverse persons in a variety of workplaces, and preparing students to recognize and successfully deal with instances of discrimination they may encounter in the legal profession.
 
Speaker: Renee N. Allen, University of Tennessee College of Law
Moderator: Deborah Lee Borman, University of Arkansas at Little Rock, William H. Bowen School of Law
Speaker: Cindy Galway Buys, Southern Illinois University School of Law
Speaker: DeShun Harris, Texas A&M University School of Law
Speaker: Alicia Jackson, Florida A&M University College of Law
Speaker: Lucy Jewel, University of Tennessee College of Law
Speaker: Nicholas A. Mirkay, III, University of Hawaii, William S. Richardson School of Law
Speaker: Palma Joy Strand, Creighton University
Speaker: Ms. Elaine Sylvester, Esq., Gunderson Dettmer LLP
Speaker: Angela K. Upchurch, Southern Illinois University School of Law
 
Authors Meet Readers: Unequal Profession: Race and Gender in Legal Academia by Meera E. Deo (Thomas Jefferson School of Law)
In Unequal Profession: Race and Gender in Legal Academia (Stanford University Press, 2019) Professor Deo shares results from the first formal empirical study of law faculty at all stages of the career and with an emphasis on raceXgender challenges and opportunities. The qualitative and quantitative findings from original interview and survey data reveal a national pattern of intersectional bias. The data reveal ongoing gender-based barriers to hiring, promotion, and leadership. Classroom confrontations and biased course evaluations have devastating effects on tenure. Colleagues who “mansplain”, “hepeat”, and silence marginalized faculty contribute to higher attrition rates for female professors of color. Data from various sources make clear that these problems are systemic throughout legal practice and other professions. Unequal Profession outlines individual strategies that have facilitated success for many study participants and can be adapted for others. Necessary structural solutions are also emphasized in the book.
 
Speaker: Meera Deo, Thomas Jefferson School of Law
Speaker: Matthew L.M. Fletcher, Michigan State University College of Law
Speaker: Rachel F. Moran, University of California, Los Angeles School of Law
Speaker: Melissa E. Murray, New York University School of Law
Moderator: Angela I. Onwuachi-Willig, Boston University School of Law
 
 
Balance in Legal Education, Legal Workplace Inequities and Impact on Women’s Health
The negative impact of academic workplace inequities may impact law school teaching and affect law students and their views of the structure of the legal workplace. Law school leaders and firm leaders may be unaware of the adverse physical and mental health outcomes resulting from workplace inequities. Professor Ceynar will discuss the study described in her article, “Dancing Backwards in High Heels: Female Professors Experience More Work Demands and Special Favor Requests, Particularly from Academically Entitled Students,” and make recommendations for improvement of inequities for women in the workplace. Attorney and Hispanic Bar President Leila Jade Levi will discuss the inequities in the legal profession that lead to a disintegration of well-being for lawyers. Levi works to improve how lawyers of color, particularly female lawyers of color, navigate the legal profession, whether improving boundaries at work, handling microaggressions, or thoughtful self-care for improvement of the treatment of lawyers.

Moderator: Deborah Lee Borman, University of Arkansas at Little Rock, William H. Bowen School of Law
Speaker: Dr. Michelle Ceynar, Ph.D., Pacific Lutheran University
Speaker: Ms. Leila Jade Levi, Esq., National Women's Law Center
 
Breastfeeding Law and Policy
Despite the ubiquity of the phrase “breast is best,” the law has fallen short of providing breastfeeding parents the support they require to meet their breastfeeding goals. Many breastfeeders have experienced discrimination, harassment, and roadblocks to their breastfeeding plans. Further, the wide differences in breastfeeding rates across race, class, and education level are powerful indicators that there is not equal access to breastfeeding support. This discussion group seeks to explore the varied and overlapping legal and policy issues presented by breastfeeding. Is breastfeeding a public health issue? Is it a civil rights issue? Are the messages and methods used to encourage breastfeeding feminist or anti-feminist? Do they encourage parents regardless of gender to breastfeed or chestfeed? Further, how is the discussion about breastfeeding law and policy reflective of the larger debates about women’s roles and the changing American family?
 
Discussion Group Moderator: Meghan Boone, University of Alabama School of Law
Discussion Group Moderator: Mathilde Cohen, University of Connecticut School of Law
Discussion Group Participant: Melanie D. DeRousse, University of Kansas School of Law
Discussion Group Participant: Andrea Freeman, University of Hawaii, William S. Richardson School of Law
Discussion Group Participant: Marcy Karin, University of the District of Columbia, David Clarke School of Law
Discussion Group Participant: Ms. Pamela Laufer-Ukeles, Academic Center for Law and Science
Discussion Group Participant: Solangel Maldonado, Seton Hall University School of Law
Discussion Group Participant: Melissa E. Murray, New York University School of Law
Discussion Group Participant: Dara E. Purvis, The Pennsylvania State University – Penn State Law
Discussion Group Participant: Darren Rosenblum, Pace University Elisabeth Haub School of Law
Discussion Group Participant: Naomi Schoenbaum, The George Washington University Law School
Discussion Group Participant: Ms. Julie C. Suk, The Graduate Center, City University of New York
Discussion Group Participant: Carol Suzuki, University of New Mexico School of Law
 
Full AALS Program here.
 
 

December 4, 2019 | Permalink | Comments (0)

AALS Programs on the History and Modern Implications of the 19th Amendment

Legal History Section, A Century of Women's Suffrage

2020 marks one hundred years since the Nineteenth Amendment was ratified, ushering in a century of women's suffrage in the United States. This program brings together scholars writing on the history of women's suffrage, including scholars who will explore the suffrage movement that culminated in the Nineteenth Amendment; address how the Nineteenth Amendment affected political parties in the subsequent century; and compare the women's suffrage movement to analogous social movements.

Speaker: Dr. Martha S. Jones, Johns Hopkins University

Speaker from a Call for Papers: Elizabeth D. Katz, Washington University in St. Louis School of Law

Speaker: Holly McCammon, Vanderbilt University Law School

Speaker from a Call for Papers: Kara W. Swanson, Northeastern University School of Law
 
Moderator: Evan C. Zoldan, University of Toledo College of Law
 
 
Women in Legal Education, A Century Since Suffrage: How Did We Get Here? Where Will We Go? How Will We Get There?
This session will explore the legal accomplishments and failures of the women’s movement since 1920. A century ago, women won the right to vote. Since then, women garnered additional rights in virtually every legal area, including in the realms of employment, property, reproduction, education, care taking, sexual freedom, and protection from violence. Despite significant success, much work remains. This session will consider the future of the women’s movement through a critical examination of our past.
Speaker from a Call for Papers: Lolita K. Buckner Inniss, SMU Dedman School of Law
Speaker from a Call for Papers: Nan D. Hunter, Georgetown University Law Center
Speaker from a Call for Papers: Leslie G. Jacobs, University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law
Moderator: Rona Kaufman, Duquesne University School of Law
Speaker from a Call for Papers: Diane J. Klein, University of La Verne College of Law
Speaker from a Call for Papers: Danaya C. Wright, University of Florida Fredric G. Levin College of Law
 
 
Constitutional Law Section:. The Constitution and the Modern Right to Vote

In honor of the 100th anniversary of the Nineteenth Amendment and the 150th anniversary of the Fifteenth, the Constitutional Law Section is putting on a joint program with the Section on Election Law (co-sponsored by the Section on Legal History). The program will run from 2 pm – 5 pm on Thursday, January 2nd in Virginia Suite C.

The overall program is described as follows:

While the constitutional amendments related to voting rights have suggested that all citizens ought to be included in the franchise, the modern right to vote has nonetheless been heavily contested. The efforts to meaningfully include all citizens in the franchise in the century after the Nineteenth Amendment (and the 150 years after the Fifteenth Amendment) have been complicated, fraught, and have often diverged from the underlying idea of inclusion. Tensions still exist in modern voting rights law regarding the meaning of the right to vote, as illustrated by the litigation and activism around issues such as partisan and racial gerrymandering, voter identification, and proof of citizenship requirements. These examples reveal the complexities of the project of democratic inclusion, and this panel will explore how those complexities have evolved and are manifest in today’s right-to-vote doctrine.

Panel 1 (2:00 pm - 3:30 pm): This panel will explore the Nineteenth Amendment’s role in constitutional interpretation both inside and outside of the courts in the century after suffrage.

Speakers:   

Steven Calabresi, Northwestern University Pritzker School of Law
Paula A. Monopoli, University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law (selected from a Call for Papers)
Reva B. Siegel, Yale Law School
Julie C. Suk, The Graduate Center, City University of New York

Moderator:  Louis J. Virelli III, Stetson University College of Law

 

December 4, 2019 in Conferences, Constitutional, Gender, Law schools, Legal History | Permalink | Comments (0)