Monday, December 19, 2022

Patrice Ruane Publishes Article on Women's Employment from the Great Depression to the Great Recesssion

Patrice Ruane has published From Pin Workers to Essential Workers: Lessons About Women's Employment and the Covid-19 Pandemic from the Great Depression and the Great Recession in volume 29 of the UCLA Journal of Gender and the Law. The abstract is here: 

This Article argues that inaccurate ideas about women and work during economic downturns, including misconceptions about which women work and how they work, lead to inadequate policy responses and ultimately hurt working women. New Deal-era federal women’s aid programs, designed around an artificial picture of the average working woman, did not provide the same robust level of jobs support that men’s programs provided. Similarly, the major federal stimulus package during the Great Recession invested in male-majority industries but failed to invest in industries dependent upon women’s labor, in part because of the misconception that working women were already “winning” the jobs race. Framing the average working woman during the pandemic recession as a remote worker in a two-income household has the potential to steer federal policy away from avenues that would help the majority of women workers who are not remote workers in two-income households. Recovery efforts during the Great Depression and the Great Recession were gender-informed and effective, but biased toward men. These recovery efforts were concentrated in male-majority industries and consequently led to men’s employment recovering long before women’s employment did. Because pandemic-related job losses have been so unevenly borne by women, gender-informed recovery policies are not only justifiable, but necessary to achieve equitable recovery.


This Article also questions the speculation, articulated in an influential paper by a group of economists, that the COVID-19 pandemic will accelerate changing social norms and lead to greater gender parity by increasing the number of people who are accustomed to working remotely and driving men to take on additional childcare responsibilities. The conditions following the Great Depression and the Great Recession were more conducive to changing gender norms and expectations because both events disrupted traditional male-breadwinner models of the family and resulted in large numbers of families in which the woman was employed and the man unemployed. But neither resulted in lasting improvements in gender equity in the home or at work. Both events were followed by a reactionary impulse to return to a traditionally gendered view of the organization of labor. The pandemic recession does not present the opportunity to disrupt gender norms by creating more households headed by women breadwinners, yet the risk of a conservative reversion to more traditionally gendered norms is still present.


December 19, 2022 in Equal Employment, Family, Gender, Work/life, Workplace | Permalink | Comments (0)

New State Litigation Tracker Released by Brennan Center for Justice and the Center for Reproductive Rights

The Brennan Center for Justice (NYU Law) and the Center for Reproductive Rights have built a state litigation tracker for the public to monitor ongoing litigation in states courts following the Dobbs Supreme Court decision.  This online tool "will include pending and completed state court litigation against abortion bans that were, or would have been, unconstitutional under Roe."  The site states that "[a]s of December 5, 2022, a total of 34 cases have been filed challenging abortion bans in 19 states, of which 31 remain pending at either the trial or appellate levels." These partners will update the tracker with key filings and court orders.

Check out the tracker here: 


December 19, 2022 in Abortion, Courts, Pregnancy, Reproductive Rights | Permalink | Comments (0)

Expansions in California's Abundant Birth Project

The United States' first program giving cash to pregnant Black women in San Francisco has expanded to four additional counties. California's Abundant Birth Project is described as: 

The Abundant Birth Project is a simple, yet novel, approach to achieving better maternal health and birthing outcomes: provide pregnant Black and Pacific Islander women a monthly income supplement for the duration of their pregnancy and during the postpartum period as an economic and reproductive health intervention. Prematurity is a leading cause of infant mortality and has been linked to lifelong conditions, such as behavioral development issues, learning difficulties, and chronic disease. In San Francisco, Black infants are almost twice as likely to be born prematurely compared with White infants (13.8% versus 7.3%, from 2012-2016) and Pacific Islander infants have the second-highest preterm birth rate (10.4%). Furthermore, Black families account for half of the maternal deaths and over 15% of infant deaths, despite representing only 4% of all births. Pacific Islander families face similar disparities.

San Francisco Mayor, London N. Breed, celebrated the launch of the program stating:  

“Providing guaranteed income support to mothers during pregnancy is an innovative and equitable approach that will ease some of the financial stress that all too often keeps women from being able to put their health first. The Abundant Birth Project is rooted in racial justice and recognizes that Black and Pacific Islander mothers suffer disparate health impacts, in part because of the persistent wealth and income gap. Thanks to the work of the many partners involved, we are taking real action to end these disparities and are empowering mothers with the resources they need to have healthy pregnancies and births.”

Daisy Nguyen, reporter with, reported on the expansion of the program.  

Since June 2021, the Abundant Birth Project has given $1,000 per month to nearly 150 Black residents during a portion of their pregnancies and the first six months of their children’s lives. With the extra funding from the California Department of Social Services and another $1.5 million in city funds, the program aims to reach another 525 people in San Francisco, Alameda, Contra Costa, Los Angeles and Riverside counties.

Learn more about the Abundant Birth Project here.  

December 19, 2022 in Healthcare, Poverty, Pregnancy, Race, Reproductive Rights | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, December 14, 2022

The Black-White Paradigm and the Continuing Erasure of Latinas as Law Deans

Laura Padilla, The Black-White Paradigm's Continuing Erasure of Latinas: See Women Law Deans of Color, 99 Denver L. Rev. 683 (2022)

The Black-white paradigm persists with unintended consequences. For example, there have been only six Latina law deans to date with only four presently serving. This Article provides data about women law deans of color, the dearth of Latina law deans, and explanations for the data. It focuses on the enduring Black-white paradigm, as well as other external and internal forces. This Article suggests how to increase the number of Latina law deans and emphasizes why it matters.

December 14, 2022 in Education, Law schools, Race | Permalink | Comments (0)

Cambridge Dictionary Updates Definition of Woman to Include Trans Woman

Cambridge Dictionary Updates Definition of "Woman" to Include Trans Woman

The Cambridge Dictionary recently updated its definitions for “woman” and “man” to include transgender people, becoming the latest dictionary to formally expand what it means to be a woman.

A Cambridge Dictionary spokeswoman told The Washington Post on Tuesday that its editors “made this addition to the entry for ‘woman’ in October,” but the change only gained attention this week after Britain’s Telegraph newspaper first reported the news.

“They carefully studied usage patterns of the word woman and concluded that this definition is one that learners of English should be aware of to support their understanding of how the language is used,” Sophie White, a spokeswoman with Cambridge University Press and Assessment, said of the editors’ decision in a statement to The Post.
In the Cambridge entry for “woman,” the longtime definition for the word — “An adult female human being” — is still there and “remains unchanged,” White said. But an additional definition of the word appears below.

“An adult who lives and identifies as female though they may have been said to have a different sex at birth,” it reads.

December 14, 2022 in Gender, LGBT, Pop Culture | Permalink | Comments (0)

Abortion News Roundup Week of 12/14

Judge Grants RFRA-Based Preliminary Injunction Against Abortion Ban in IN

“Many Hoosiers have sincere religious beliefs that they must be able to obtain an abortion,” the American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana, which filed the suit, said in a statement. “… Today’s preliminary injunction is a second layer of protection.”

Under Indiana’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act, government can only “substantially burden” exercise of religion if it advances a “compelling” government interest in the least restrictive way possible.

The class action lawsuit argues that the new abortion law violates RFRA. The plaintiffs include practitioners of Judaism, Islam, Unitarian Universalism, Episcopalianism and paganism — all belief systems that allow abortions under circumstances outside the ban’s narrow exceptions.

IA Judge Blocks Effort to Ban Most Abortions in the State

NPR, Judge Denies IA Governor's Request to Revive Fetal Heartbeat Act

Ms, Anti-Abortion Groups Ask Trump-Appointed Judge to Ban Mailing Abortion Pills

Campaign Launches to Put Abortion Access on Ohio Ballot in 2023

Jessica Quinter & Caroline Markowitz, Judicial Bypass and Parental Rights After Dobbs, Yale L.J. (forthcoming)

Wash Post, Antiabortion Movement Sets Sights on Putting People in Jail

Conf 12/16, NACDL National Summit on the Criminalization of Reproductive Rights

December 14, 2022 in Abortion, Pregnancy, Reproductive Rights | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, December 12, 2022

Class Action Complaint Alleging Sex Discrimination in Twitter Layoffs

Plaintiffs Carolina Bernal Strifling and Willow Wren Turkal have filed a Class Action Complaint in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California alleging that Twitter, Inc. disproportionately discharged or constructively discharged women employees as part of recent layoffs. They sue under Title VII and California's Fair Employment and Housing Act. The complaint alleges: 

4. The mass termination of employees at Twitter has impacted female employees to a much greater extent than male employees – and to a highly statistically significant degree. Moreover, Elon Musk has made a number of publicly discriminatory remarks about women, further confirming that the mass termination’s greater impact on female employees resulted from discrimination. Musk also quickly implemented new policies at Twitter that would have a disparate impact on women, thus forcing more women to leave the company.  

* * *  

30. Prior to the layoffs [on November 4, 2022], Twitter employed approximately 2,234 female employees and 2,900 male employees in the United States. Of those employees, approximately 1,271 females and 1,350 males were notified that day they were being laid off.


31. Thus, 57% of female employees were laid off on November 4, 2022, while 47% of male employees were laid off.

* * *  

34. Further, the disparity between women and men being laid off cannot be explained based upon a justification that Musk intended to retain more employees in engineering-related roles.

35. According to the spreadsheet, prior to the layoffs of November 4, 2022, Twitter employed approximately 1,003 female and 2,150 male employees in engineering-related roles in the United States. Of those employees, approximately 630 females and 1,037 males were notified that day they were being laid off. Thus, 63% of females in engineering-related roles were laid off on November 4, 2022, while 48% of male employees in engineering-related were laid off.

Read the full class action complaint here.  

December 12, 2022 in Equal Employment, Workplace | Permalink | Comments (0)

Artist Michelle Browder Honoring the "Mothers of Gynecology" with a New Museum and Clinic

Daja E. Henry with the 19th News has written about how A new museum and clinic will honor the enslaved "Mothers of Gynecology." This site is expected to break ground on Mother's Day 2023. It sits less than a mile away from Alabama's state capitol. The project will convert James Marion Sims' makeshift hospital into a $5.5MM museum that will include a clinic and training facilities for midwives, doulas, and medical students. The site will honor the enslaved women and girls who "shed blood for the creation of American gynecology, despite their inability to consent." The artist is Michelle Browder. Author, Daja Henry, writes the following about the project: 

December 12, 2022 in Healthcare, Pregnancy, Race, Science | Permalink | Comments (0)

Susan Saab Fortney on "Taking Courthouse Discrimination Seriously: The Role of Judges as Ethical Leaders"

Susan Saab Fortney has published Taking Courthouse Discrimination Seriously: The Role of Judges as Ethical Leaders in volume 70 of the Kansas Law Review (2022). The abstract provides: 

Sexual misconduct allegations against Alex Kozinski, a once powerful judge in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit, spotlighted concerns related to sexual harassment in the judiciary. Following news reports related to the alleged misconduct, Chief Justice John G. Roberts, Jr. charged a working group with examining safeguards to deal with inappropriate conduct in the judicial workplace. Based on recommendations made in the Report of the Federal Judiciary Workplace Conduct Working Group, the Judicial Conference approved a number of reforms and improvements related to workplace conduct in the federal judiciary. The reforms included revising the Code of Conduct for U.S. Judges. As amended, the Code of Judicial Conduct for U.S. Judges now clearly states that judges should neither engage in, nor tolerate, workplace conduct that is reasonably interpreted as harassment, abusive behavior, or retaliation for reporting such conduct. Under this provision, judges should not turn a blind eye to others’ misconduct, but should accept their responsibilities as ethical leaders committed to a diverse, inclusive, and respectful workplace where harassment is not tolerated. Drawing on the Report of the Federal Judiciary Workplace Conduct Working Group, related studies, and a survey of state codes, this article examines areas where state Codes of Judicial Conduct and related procedural rules should be revised to address more effectively the serious problems of harassment and other workplace misconduct at the courthouse.

December 12, 2022 in Courts, Equal Employment, Women lawyers, Workplace | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, December 9, 2022

Title IX Concerns from the Lack of Transparency in Reporting Intercollegiate Names, Images and Likeness Earnings

Tanyon Boston, NIL Data Transparency, 83 Louisiana L. Rev. (forthcoming 2023)

 Since July 2021, intercollegiate athletes have earned nearly $1 billion from monetizing their names, images, and likenesses (NIL), with some earning more than professionals. Such earnings were made possible by state NIL laws and by the NCAA’s simultaneous retreat from enforcing restrictions on athletes’ ability to earn compensation for the use of their NILs. Commentators argue that the unforeseeably impressive NIL figures are driven by disproportionate institutional support for athletes in certain high-profile sports. If true, this may raise Title IX concerns, as NIL earnings for female athletes lag considerably behind that of their male counterparts. Although most state NIL laws require athletes to report NIL data to their schools, schools are not required to make the information publicly available—not even in redacted form. The current lack of NIL transparency by schools makes it virtually impossible to accurately identify potential gender disparities.

This Essay explores the relationship between the lack of NIL transparency and incentives for colleges and universities to meet Title IX’s requirements for NIL. It argues that shielding NIL data from public scrutiny is inappropriate given Title IX’s culture of disclosure. This Essay further argues that stakeholders will be unlikely to implement a NIL framework that aligns with Title IX’s purpose, without a universal disclosure mandate. After exploring how a lack of NIL transparency frustrates Title IX’s purpose, this Essay concludes with a workable proposal for collecting and disclosing NIL data.

December 9, 2022 in Education, Sports | Permalink | Comments (0)

Study Documents Political Link Between SCOTUS Ruling in Dobbs and Increase of Voter Registration by Young, White, Democratic Women

Udi Somer, Or Rappel-Kroyzer, Amy Adamczyk,  Lindsay Lerner, Anna Weiner, "The Political Ramifications of Judicial Institutions: Establishing a Link between Dobbs and Gender Disparities in the 2022 Midterms" 

In the American system of government, judicial institutions are designed to operate within the legal sphere, with limited interface with politics. Is it possible, though, that a behavior that is at the heart of the political process be influenced directly by a ruling of the Court?

In June 2022, the US Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade. With the Dobbs v Jackson Women's Health Organization decision, the Court annulled women’s constitutional right to abortion, on the books since 1973. Dobbs occurred less than six months before the Midterm Elections in November 2022.

We capitalize on voter registration bigdata for the universe of voters in North Carolina (NC) three months before and three months after the Court’s decision. NC is the only state whose voter registry has the necessary granularity over time, data availability, and scope of questions needed to assess the link with Dobbs. Furthermore, politically and demographically, NC is largely similar to the nation as a whole. Bigdata for >150K voters in NC indicate that the ruling mobilized women and created an uptick in voter registration gender gap, absent in previous midterms. This trend is evident at the level of individual registrants and aggregately at the county level.

Dobbs created a medical predicament for women as women, and thus their reaction in terms of political mobilization should have been unitary. However, those women who registered came from politically and sociologically well-defined constituencies. They were overwhelmingly Democrats, White non-Hispanic, in their 20s and born in the Northeastern United States.

Much of the credit for the absence of a Red Wave, predicted in the 2022 midterm elections, was given to the salience of abortion politics due to Dobbs (e.g., De Vise, 2022; Knoll and Smith 2022). However, this argument is based, at best, on exit polls and, at worst, on anecdotal conversations with voters. To overcome the myriad problems ranging from limited samples, non-response and response biases to the fact that polls may confound the ruling with various political variables, we offer a direct behavioral measure for women’s reaction to the ruling: voter registration. We causally link Dobbs to variance in gender gaps in voter registration based on original bigdata and identify the matrix of sociopolitical antecedents of this gap.

December 9, 2022 in Abortion, Constitutional, Pop Culture | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, December 8, 2022

Conference and CFP, Equal Justice Under Law?

American University, Annual Symposium, Equal Justice Under Law

CFP Deadline Jan. 3, 2023

2023 Annual Symposium: Equal Justice Under Law?

On February 3, 2023, the American University Law Review's 2023 Annual Symposium—Equal Justice Under Law?—will explore what is left of the Constitution after the 2021-2022 U.S. Supreme Court term. The Law Review is thrilled to announce that Dean Erwin Chemerinsky will be this year's Keynote Speaker. Dean Chemerinsky is a distinguished scholar and has authored fourteen books, including leading casebooks and treatises about constitutional law, criminal procedure, and federal jurisdiction. Additionally, the Law Review will host multiple Supreme Court practitioners as panelists this year to weigh in on the Court's recent term and the questions it raises moving forward.

Call for Papers: American University Law Review’s 2023 Annual Symposium

Download PDF Here!

The American University Law Review is placing a call for submissions of original legal articles and scholarly commentaries for its forthcoming Annual Symposium issue, this year dedicated to a review and response to the 2021 through 2022 Supreme Court term and the upcoming term. Specifically, the Law Review seeks submissions analyzing the rapidly evolving response to the Supreme Court’s decisions in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health OrganizationKennedy v. Bremerton School DistrictCarson v. MakinShurtleff v. City of Boston, and pending cases before the Supreme Court in the next term on affirmative action, the Indian Child Welfare Act, and free speech. Approximately four to six submissions will be selected, with a publication date slated for the spring of 2023.

December 8, 2022 in Call for Papers, Conferences, Constitutional, Race, Religion, Reproductive Rights, SCOTUS | Permalink | Comments (0)

The Respect for Marriage Act Doesn't Codify the Fundamental Right of Same-Sex Marriage But Requires Interstate Recognition of Marriages

The 19th, Why The Respect for Marriage Act Doesn't Codify Same-Sex Marriage Rights

The U.S. House approved legislation Thursday to shore up marriage rights for LGBTQ+ couples. The Respect for Marriage Act has been hailed by lawmakers as a landmark law that will protect queer Americans for generations to come. 

The Senate advanced the bill last month, and President Joe Biden is expected to sign it. 

But the bill doesn’t codify the Supreme Court’s 2015 Obergefell v. Hodges decision that granted LGBTQ+ couples the right to marry. Instead, it forces states without marriage equality laws to recognize LGBTQ+ marriages from other states. 

It also declares all legal marriages in the United States must be recognized, even across state lines. That means if a marriage is recognized in Maine, it must be recognized in Texas. That part is seen as critical so that queer families can cross state lines to get married even if their home states don’t offer those rights. It also means that married couples can travel without having to worry that a hospital in another state won’t recognize their marriage in the event that one spouse has an emergency and another needs to visit or make medical decisions on their behalf. The same would be true for interracial couples, who the bill also protects — although the justices have not indicated that interracial marriage rights should be reconsidered.

Bill to Protect Same Sex Marriage Rights Clears Congress

The legislation repeals the Defense of Marriage Act, which defines marriage as between a man and a woman and allows states to refuse to honor same-sex marriages performed in other states. It prohibits states from denying the validity of an out-of-state marriage based on sex, race or ethnicity.

But in a condition that Republican backers insisted upon, it would guarantee that religious organizations would not be required to provide any goods or services for the celebration of any marriage, and could not lose tax-exempt status or other benefits for refusing to recognize same-sex unions.

December 8, 2022 in Constitutional, Family, Legislation, LGBT | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, December 6, 2022

Gendered and Racialized Emotional Labor in Public Organizations


Emotional labor research in public administration lags behind other fields, is often omitted from discussions of representative bureaucracy, and rarely looks at its gendered and racialized dimensions. The existing scholarship fails to consider the dynamic nature of emotions and that different emotions (e.g., happiness versus anger) might warrant different emotional labor techniques for different groups. Meanwhile, scholars from sociology, applied psychology, and organizational behavior widely recognize the importance of emotional labor, but few have used an intersectional lens to study the well-recognized phenomenon.

This dissertation uses an intersectional approach to codify the difficult-to-measure and often unobserved emotional labor that can institutionalize inequity within public organizations. An intersectional approach is essential to make visible the experiences of those at the intersection of multiple marginalized identities, and this dissertation describes in detail how the antecedents, experiences, and consequences of emotional labor differ based on the employee’s combination of gender and racial identity. Using a mixed-methods research design that combines daily diary entries and semi-structured interviews, this work (1) describes and measures the emotional labor embedded in both service encounters with the public and internal interactions among colleagues, (2) looks at subgroup differences in the emotional effort at the intersection of race and gender, and (3) assesses the relationship between emotional labor and burnout to inform our understanding of the well-being of a diverse public sector workforce.

I find meaningful differences within and between individuals in the emotions needed to effectively engage the public and navigate public institutions. The results reveal that, compared to their peers, women of color engage in more taxing forms of emotional labor, feel more emotionally constrained by organizational rules, are more cognizant of managing gendered and racialized stereotypes, and are more sensitive to whether the climate allows for authentic expression. I also show that public employees experienced heightened burnout during the pandemic, and the suppression of emotion contributed to that burnout, but in different ways for different groups. In particular, women of color who suppressed negative emotions were more likely to experience a reduced sense of personal accomplishment, increased cynicism, disengagement from their work, and more emotional exhaustion.

This project reveals important distinctions in the type of emotional labor demanded of public employees and how those emotional demands differ across gender and racial identities. The results make visible the experiences of those at the margins of multiple lived experiences of oppression, allowing women of color to articulate their own emotional experiences in ways that center their voices. Importantly, this work highlights the importance of factoring emotional labor into the experience of burnout at work while emphasizing that the relationship between the two varies for individuals of different backgrounds. I provide concrete proof that there is an uneven distribution of emotional labor in public organizations, and it falls predominantly on women of color.

Measuring a construct as complex and dynamic as emotional labor lays the groundwork for important reform. By codifying, measuring, and describing the differential emotional burdens embedded in public organizations, I quantitatively demonstrate the need for equitable human resource management practices that address how organizations structurally reinforce inequity.

December 6, 2022 in Equal Employment, Race, Work/life, Workplace | Permalink | Comments (0)

Court Attempts to Combat Misgendering by Judges

Marcus Alan McGhee, Judicial Cognition of Gender Transition: One Court's Attempts at Combating Misgendering by Judges,  6 HOWARD HUMAN & CIVIL RIGHT L. REV. 1 (September 12, 2022).

Members of the transgender community—especially those that identify as transgender women of color—encounter more incivility in one day than most will in a year’s time. When they enter the court system, a beacon of integrity and impartiality, they should find refuge from disenfranchisement. Instead, many transgender individuals encounter judicial officers ensconced in their intransigence and unwilling to accept binding precedent that permits them to change their name and gender markers to align with their identity. Beyond this failure to follow the law, some jurists have even purposefully rejected a litigant’s requests to be identified by their preferred pronouns. Other judges have amplified the discourteousness by deliberately misgendering litigants or referring to them as “whichever” or “it.” This article posits that to curtail a court’s churlish behavior, such instances should be referred to judicial misconduct commissions to investigate whether the judge violated established ethical rules, and when appropriate, enter an official misconduct finding to hold that judicial officer accountable.

December 6, 2022 in Courts, Gender, LGBT | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, December 5, 2022

Michele Goodwin and Mary Ziegler on "The Next Anti-Abortion Tactic: Attacking the Spread of Information"

Michele Goodwin and Mary Ziegler have published an Op-Ed titled "The Next Anti-Abortion Tactic: Attacking the Spread of Information in the New York Times." Here is an excerpt: 

Now that abortion has been banned in more than a dozen states, abortion opponents want to stoke confusion about the legality of not just having an abortion, but even of discussing the procedure. The ultimate goal seems to be ensuring that women are unclear about their options to obtain an abortion or contraception, in their home state or elsewhere.

Signs of this trend can be found around the country. In Nebraska, law enforcement obtained a warrant to search a teenager’s private Facebook messages, in which she told her mother of her urgent desire to end her pregnancy. The mother is now being prosecuted on charges of helping her daughter abort the pregnancy by giving advice about abortion pills.

Proposed legislation in South Carolina would have made it unlawful to provide information about abortions. In September, the University of Idaho issued guidance that it might be illegal for employees to “promote” birth control or abortion. In Texas, two abortion funds (groups that help people pay and travel for abortions) this year received deposition demand letters from people tied to anti-abortion lawmakers for information on anyone who has “aided and abetted” the procedure.

And in Oklahoma, some library workers were warned about helping patrons find information about abortion, or even uttering the word. In an email, the employees were told they could face a $10,000 fine, jail time or even lose their jobs if they didn’t comply. (The library system later updated its guidance.)

Attacks on speech about abortion may seem a sudden reversal for an anti-abortion movement that long claimed to be a champion of the First Amendment. But in fact, decades before Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, the decision that overturned Roe,social conservatives set their sights on the First Amendment as a tool to chip away at reproductive rights. And it worked.

* * * 

The gains of social conservatives in curtailing access to abortion are substantial. The next front of their work — hindering access to information about abortion by trampling the First Amendment rights of others — requires more than reversing a Supreme Court decision. The next frontier is interpretation of the First Amendment in ways that contradict how some conservatives have previously interpreted the Constitution, presenting new obstacles for those who wish to keep abortion accessible for women.

December 5, 2022 in Abortion, Constitutional, Legislation | Permalink | Comments (0)

Washington Post on "Pregnant and desperate in post-Roe America"

The Washington Post reports on how three patients are navigating unexpected pregnancies in Pregnant and desperate in post-Roe America.

Over the next decade, if recent trends hold, more than a million people with unwanted pregnancies are likely to run up against an abortion ban. Some will find a way, traveling hundreds of miles or securing illegal pills through the mail. Others will resign themselves to parenthood.

The Washington Post made contact with three pregnant women who were seeking abortions while living in states with strict abortion bans. These women, reached early in their pregnancies, communicated regularly with The Post, sharing their experiences through calls, text messages and other documentation that supported their accounts. They participated on the condition that only their first names be used to protect their privacy.

December 5, 2022 in Abortion, Healthcare, Pregnancy, Reproductive Rights | Permalink | Comments (0)

NPR Article on Increasingly Common Bills Targeting Trans Youth

NPR published an article covering how Bills targeting trans youth are growing more common -- and radically reshaping lives

An NPR analysis of this fast-changing landscape found that over the past two years, state lawmakers introduced at least 306 bills targeting trans people, more than in any previous period. A majority of this legislation, 86%, focuses on trans youth.

While not every proposal has succeeded — about 15% of the bills have become law — the surge of legislative activity reflects what many advocates see as an increasingly hostile environment for LGBTQ rights in statehouses across the country and even some corners of Congress.

Some of the new laws have been temporarily blocked by the courts. But legal challenges have done little to slow the pace of new proposals, according to Katie Eyer, a professor at Rutgers Law School. It's an echo, she says, of the period after Brown v. Board of Education, when the U.S. Supreme Court struck down segregation in schools, but many states kept trying to pass laws to obstruct the ruling.

In four states — Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona and Tennessee — lawmakers have enacted either a partial or total ban on access to gender-affirming care, though in Alabama and Arkansas the laws are not currently in effect due to court injunctions. At least 20 others have tried.

Many of these proposals have sought to restrict anyone under the age of 18 from care that includes puberty blockers, hormone replacement therapy or transition-related surgery. In some of those states, health care providers now face the threat of jail time for offering gender-affirming care.

* * * 

Advocates fear the overall fallout could be dramatic. An estimated 300,000 American youth ages 13 to 17 identify as transgender, and according to a March study by the Williams Institute at the UCLA School of Law, at least 53,800 were at risk of losing gender-affirming medical care.

The article includes useful visual maps depicting the states that have passed laws restricting health care access for trans youth and the state that have enacted anti-trans laws centered on schooling. 

December 5, 2022 in Gender, Legislation, LGBT | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, December 1, 2022

Gender Gaps in Legal Education and the Impact of Class Participation Assessments

Kenneth Khoo & Jaclyn Neo, Gender Gaps in Legal Education: The Impact of Class Participation Assessments 

The gender gap is a well-studied phenomenon in education policy. While prior research has illustrated the presence of this gap in U.S. Law Schools, questions remain as to whether these findings are generalizable to other jurisdictions where national, cultural, historical, institutional and societal norms are substantially different. In this article, we investigate the presence and nature of a gender gap in one of Asia’s leading law schools, the National University of Singapore (“NUS Law”). Employing a novel dataset with granular data on student, instructor, course, and component characteristics, we provide evidence that the gender gap persists over numerous cohorts of students. Even after controlling for a wide range of covariates such as standardized entry scores, high school rankings, income proxies, and a large array of fixed effects, female students systemically underperform their male counterparts across numerous metrics of law school performance. To examine the plausibility of possible causal mechanisms behind the gender gap, we exploit a natural experiment in which NUS Law randomly assigned first and second-year students to a range of mandatory courses with different class participation assessment weights. We provide evidence that female students who were assigned to courses with larger class participation weights had relatively lower class participation scores when compared to male students. Remarkably, however, policies that permitted female students to choose their courses in their third and fourth years eliminated this negative relationship – even after accounting for heterogeneity across class sizes and course choices. Our work suggests that pedagogical policy should consider the relationship between assessment modes and female student autonomy in narrowing the gender gap in legal education.

December 1, 2022 in Education, Gender, International, Law schools | Permalink | Comments (0)

Study Shows Women Lawyers Rarely Litigate Patent Cases

Paul Gugliuzza & Rachel Rebouche, Gender Inequality in Patent Litigation, 100 N.C. L. Rev. 1683 (2022)

This Article presents an empirical study of gender diversity—or, more accurately, the lack thereof—among the lawyers who handle patent cases in the federal courts, focusing on appellate litigation at the Federal Circuit and the Supreme Court. Drawing on two original datasets, the Article finds that, over the past decade, 87.4% of oral arguments in patent appeals at the Federal Circuit have been presented by men. The numbers are similar at the Supreme Court: over the past thirty years, more than 90% of arguments in patent cases have been delivered by male attorneys.

The typical explanation for these sorts of gender gaps is that men are disproportionality represented in the science and technology fields that underlie patent practice. But a closer look at the numbers shows that gender parity exists in specific areas of patent litigation. Until a recent retirement, half of the Federal Circuit’s twelve active judges were women, and the women on the court tend to have more pre-appointment experience in patent law than their male counterparts. In addition, the data collected for this study demonstrate that, when the government becomes involved in patent litigation (usually because a case involves the Patent and Trademark Office), women present oral argument at the Federal Circuit 48.5% of the time—more than five times as frequently as the rate for private-sector litigants.

The story this Article tells—of women being largely absent from high-level patent litigation—is actually a story about gender inequality among the lawyers hired by large corporations, particularly the Federal Circuit’s most frequent litigants, including Apple, Amazon, Google, and Samsung, all of which have been represented by women in less than 15% of their arguments over the past decade.

Figuring out why women rarely litigate patent appeals for private-sector clients is challenging, but the disparity between law firms and the government parallels inequalities in law practice more generally. To that end, this Article suggests both small steps that would increase gender balance among the lawyers arguing patent cases as well as broader structural reforms that would improve diversity across the bar.

December 1, 2022 in Business, Courts, Gender, Women lawyers | Permalink | Comments (0)