Thursday, March 28, 2024

Symposium, Securing Reproductive Justice After Dobbs, in Journal of Law, Medicine & Ethics

Aziza Ahmed, Nicole Huberfeld & Linda McClain, Introduction: Securing Reproductive Justice After Dobbs, 51 Journal of Law, Medicine & Ethics 463 (Fall 2023)

By overruling Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pennsylvania v. Casey and throwing the question of how to regulate abortion to the “people and their elected representatives,” Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization radically reset the legal, ethical, medical, public health, and political landscape. This introduction to a special multidisciplinary symposium, “Seeking Reproductive Justice in the Next 50 Years,” in the Journal of Law, Medicine, & Ethics, sets the stage for the twenty-five symposium articles that map and document the post-Dobbs landscape. Dobbs has already had dire and far-reaching effects on the legal regulation of pregnancy and reproduction. In this new landscape, questions arise about how to secure reproductive justice and about what strategies and approaches hold promise. This essay introduces the several organizing parts of the symposium, Beginnings, Social and Legal Dimensions of the Post-Dobbs Health Care Environment, Legal Regulation of Pregnancy and Reproduction, and New Strategies and Approaches. We explain how each article contributes a critical aspect of the bigger picture, demonstrating the need for working across disciplines.

I was glad to be a part of this symposium. See Tracy Thomas, Protecting Abortion with State Health Care Freedom of Choice, 51 J. Law, Medicine & Ethics 601 (2023).

March 28, 2024 in Abortion, Constitutional, Healthcare, Pregnancy, Reproductive Rights | Permalink | Comments (0)

The Critical Role of History After Dobbs

Serena Mayeri, The Critical Role of History After Dobbs, 2 Journal of American Constitutional History 171 (Winter 2024)

The Dobbs majority’s reliance on a flawed and impoverished account of “history and tradition” to deny fundamental freedoms today may tempt us to despair of appealing to the past as a source of constitutional rights or principles. But the problem with Dobbs is not its discussion of history per se; rather, it is how and for what purposes the Court looks to the past. History need not preserve archaic values; it can counsel against past errors and justify affirmative approaches to protecting rights and combating inequality.

This essay explores critical roles for history in legal, constitutional, and political arguments about reproductive freedom and democracy after Dobbs. These critical approaches define differently the historical voices and sources that matter; the constitutional principles and lessons to be drawn from the past; and the roles that history and tradition should play in shaping our present and future. Critical histories read the Reconstruction Amendments as a mandate for emancipation and for the eradication of all forms of bodily and reproductive coercion. They elevate the voices of those who long were excluded from political participation and place abortion restrictions in a longer history of reproductive control and anti-democratic political traditions. Critical histories can and do inform the interpretation of state as well as federal constitutional provisions in and outside of court. From courtrooms, legislatures, and campuses to workplaces, street protests, and dinner tables, these histories play a more crucial role than ever in informing legal and political discourse about reproductive justice and the future of democracy.

March 28, 2024 in Abortion, Constitutional, Legal History, SCOTUS | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, March 25, 2024

Equal Rights Amendment Event on April 12th

On April 12th, the Columbia Law School ERA Project and Georgetown Law will host an event in-person (D.C.) and online titled The Present and Future of the Equal Rights Amendment. Speakers include Kirsten Gillibrand, Mazie Hirono, Ben Cardin, Cori Bush, Ayanna Pressley, and others. Here are panel summaries:  

The first panel at 10:15 is designed to clarify the remaining challenges to final ratification of the ERA as the 28th amendment to the US Constitution. Topics for discussion papers include: what are the impediments to final ratification, how have similar objections to earlier amendments been addressed/resolved, how we might overcome them, whether they are more legal or political in nature, etc. 

The second panel at 1pm is designed to develop a substantive framework for a new source of equality rights in the constitution. We hope that, as a new, free-standing amendment, the ERA can/should embrace an alternative and more modern approach to equality as an independent source of constitutional rights beyond the tiers of scrutiny under the 14th Amendment.  

Register here

March 25, 2024 in Constitutional, Legislation | Permalink | Comments (0)

Abortion in China's Courts

A new article on abortion in China has been posted on SSRN, titled Contesting and Controlling Abortion in China's Courts. The article is authored by Molly Bodurtha, Benjamin Liebman, Li Chenqian, and Xiaohan Wu. The abstract previews:


The decision of the United States Supreme Court in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization has brought renewed global attention to how legal systems protect and restrict women’s reproductive autonomy. Central themes have included how the rollback of reproductive rights in the United States coincides with the Court’s embrace of a broader “jurisprudence of masculinity” and the relationship between abortion restrictions and authoritarianism, as multiple countries have enacted restrictive measures while undergoing democratic backsliding. Comparative inquiry is central to the abortion debate: Dobbs’ majority opinion, Chief Justice Roberts’ concurring opinion, and the dissent all discussed abortion regulations in other countries, with the Chief Justice’s concurrence clearly associating elective abortion with authoritarian governance in China and North Korea.

Despite these comparative references, the scholarly conversation on abortion, democracy, and how courts reflect and entrench gender disparities entirely omits China, the largest authoritarian state and a country with a high incidence of abortion. This is largely unsurprising: the central challenge facing Chinese women has not been abortion access but state-mandated birth control and abortion. Almost no prior scholarship examines how Chinese courts adjudicate disputes over abortion. This lack of attention reflects the common understanding that courts play no role in regulating reproduction and that abortion remains unproblematic in China.

Yet Chinese courts do confront and decide claims involving abortion. Drawing on a dataset of more than 30,000 civil cases discussing abortion, this article examines claims by men that their wives obtained abortions without the man’s “authorization.” Chinese courts rarely award damages explicitly on this basis. But men’s claims to have legal rights to control women’s reproductive choices are common, despite having no legal basis in Chinese law. The persistence of such claims suggests that women’s access to abortion care is more regulated in China than academic and popular accounts convey.

As China shifts toward encouraging rather than restricting births, traditional views of gender roles and the family increasingly align with the Party-state’s new pro-natalist policies. Courts may be an important venue for adjudicating reproductive rights and for enforcing such policies. China also presents an important example of how abortion and gender are contested in a legal system in which constitutional rights play little role and the legal status of abortion appears to be settled. China demonstrates that resolving the legal status of abortion does not eliminate legal conflict, but rather opens up new areas of legal contestation regarding reproductive rights. Recognizing how and when abortion is litigated in China suggests the need for scholars to place more attention on the role of private law litigation in contesting and restricting reproduction across legal systems. Men’s claims to control women’s reproductive choices in China also highlight the ways in which rights advocacy can serve regressive as well as progressive goals in democratic and authoritarian systems, and also that regime type may not dictate how legal systems address legal conflict over abortion.

March 25, 2024 in Abortion, International | Permalink | Comments (0)

Forthcoming Book on "The Feminist Legislation Project"

A new book is available for pre-orders now, The Feminist Legislation Project: Rewriting Laws for Gender-Based Justice. The book is edited by Becky Batagol, Kate Seear, Heli Askola, and Jamie Walvisch. It will be released in July 2024. The legislation is Australian-based with global applicability. Here is a summary: 

In this book, leading law academics along with lawyers, activists and others demonstrate what legislation could look like if its concern was to create justice for women.

Each chapter contains a short piece of legislation - proposed in order to address a contemporary legal problem from a feminist perspective. These range across criminal law (sexual offences, Indigenous women's experiences of criminal law, laws in relation to forced marriage, modern slavery, childcare and sentencing), civil law (aged care and housing rights, regulating the gig economy; surrogacy, gender equity in the construction industry) and constitutional law (human rights legislation, reimagining parliaments where laws are made for the benefit of women). The proposed laws are, moreover, drafted with feedback from a senior parliamentary draftsperson (providing guidance to contributors in a personal capacity), to ensure conformity with legislative rigour, as well as accompanied by an explanation of their reasons and their aims. Although the legislation is Australian-based, the issues raised by each are recognisably global, and are reflected in the legislation of most other nations.

This first feminist legislation project will appeal to scholars of feminist legal studies, gender and the law, gender studies and others studying or working in relevant legal areas.

March 25, 2024 in Books, Gender, International, Legislation, Theory | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, March 21, 2024

New Book, Social Movements and the Law--Talking About Black Lives Matter and #MeToo

Lolita Buckner Innis & Bridget Crawford, Social Movements and the Law: Talking About Black Lives Matter and #MeToo
University of California Press (forthcoming 2024)

Black Lives Matter and #MeToo are two of the most prominent social movements of the U.S. in the twenty-first century. On the ground and on social media, in reality and virtuality, more people have taken an active stance in support of either or both movements than almost any other in the country’s history. Social Movements and the Law brings together the voices of twelve scholars and public intellectuals to explore how Black Lives Matter and #MeToo unfolded—separately and together—and how they enrich, inform, and complicate each other. Structured in dialogues, this book shows—rather than tells—how people with different perspectives can engage with open minds and a generosity of spirit. Each chapter begins with an introduction from the editors and includes informative text boxes, illustrations, and discussion questions. This accessible guide to this increasingly influential area of the law centers a rich intersectional analysis of the two social movements and aids readers in further reflection and conversation. It is especially timely given the heightened public attention—both negative and positive—to the broader scholarly study of human social behavior and interaction.

The dialogue participants are Lolita Buckner Inniss, Bridget J. Crawford, Mehrsa Baradaran, Noa Ben-Asher, Bennett I. Capers, Linda S. Greene, Aya Gruber, Osamudia James, Keisha Lindsay, Ruthann Robson, Kathryn M. Stanchi, and Lua Kamál Yuille.

Included here are a short abstract, the table of contents for the book, and the editors’ introductory chapter. The book will be available for pre-order from the University of California Press in April, 2024.

March 21, 2024 in Books, Constitutional, Equal Employment, Race, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, March 20, 2024

Learning the Law Through Taylor Swift Cases

Taylor Swift in a graduation gown

ABA J., Swift Justice: Students Learn About the Law Through Taylor Swift Cases

As anyone who pays attention to current events knows all too well, Taylor Swift has become ubiquitous.

She’s touring the world, playing to sold out stadiums on her record-breaking “The Eras Tour.” She’s in movie theaters, showing a version of said tour to enchanted Swifties who either couldn’t see her in person or did and want to relive their best day.

She’s at NFL games, trying to bring good karma for her boyfriend, Travis Kelce, and his team, the Kansas City Chiefs. She’s talked about on cable news and social media, as the political world waits to see if she’ll speak now about who she’s endorsing in the 2024 presidential election.

And in at least two law schools, she’s the subject of a class available to students wanting to gain practical knowledge about the law by studying her various legal entanglements and how she emerged stronger.

At the University of Miami School of Law, there was “Intellectual Property Law Through the Lens of Taylor Swift,” a seven-week course taught by Vivek Jayaram, founder of Jayaram Law and co-director of the Arts Law Track in Miami Law’s Entertainment, Arts and Sports Law LL.M program.

Jayaram, who has practiced intellectual property and corporate law for over 20 years, came up with the idea for the class at lunch one day with Gregory Levy, associate dean of Miami Law. Jayaram had just read an article about Swift’s lawsuit with Evermore Park, a theme park in Utah that sued her for trademark infringement after she released an album titled “Evermore” in December 2020.

There were some other lawsuits and legal disputes he had read about involving Swift, including a well-publicized fight starting in 2019 over ownership of her old master recordings that led to her re-recording her back catalogue. There also was a 2014 battle with Spotify over streaming royalties and 2015 deals with and Alibaba to combat Chinese counterfeiting of her merchandise.

“I said to Greg: ‘I bet Swifties know more about IP law than a lot of lawyers,’” recalls Jayaram, whose favorite Swift album is 1989. “That initiated a bit of a conversation about centering an IP class around her.”

The inaugural class, which met in the spring of 2023, had about 25-30 students. Jayaram says his end game was to use Swift as a means of exploring interesting issues in IP law. He adds that while she was hardly the first artist to experience copyright and trademark issues, she has dealt with them in interesting, innovative ways that have allowed her to experience greater success.

“She’s not the first one who has re-recorded her old songs, but she’s really the only one who has been really successful at it,” says Jayaram, pointing out artists as diverse as The Everly Brothers, Journey and Def Leppard have tried it, with significantly less commercially successful results. “It’s very unusual to do this and have it shoot up to the top of the charts.”

Another law professor had a similar epiphany—this time, after speaking with some of his students who were excited about going to various shows on her recent “The Eras Tour.” “I thought that she could work as a class,” says Sean Kammer, an environmental and torts law professor at University of South Dakota Knudson School of Law. “I got to work and started from the point of view of what are the ways we can use Taylor Swift and her music to learn about the law?”

Kammer’s class, called “The Taylor Swift Effect,” does not just focus on IP law—instead, it looks at various issues, including how Swift’s songwriting and storytelling can help lawyers become better advocates.

“We look at questions that are more theoretical, like how we experience music and how we derive very deep meanings from these pieces,” says Kammer, whose favorite Swift song is “All Too Well” (10 Minute Version). “At the end of the class, we look at what we can learn as creators of legal arguments, to tell the stories we need to tell, by taking lessons from how a songwriter writes a song in terms of organization, style and narrative.”

Other undergraduate and graduate schools have opened their course catalogs to the multi-Grammy winner and recently certified billionaire. Stanford University, Arizona State, Rice University, the University of California at Berkeley and others have introduced classes examining a range of issues, including her lyrical and musical style, the psychology of her music and relationships, and business-oriented courses examining her as an entrepreneur.

March 20, 2024 in Education, Law schools, Pop Culture | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, March 18, 2024

Hillel Bavli on "Stereotypes as Evidence"

Hillel Bavli has published a draft of Stereotypes as Evidence on SSRN. This article is forthcoming in volume 77 of the Stanford Law Review in 2025. It analyzes how the admission of profile evidence "involves substantial risks for the aims of fairness and equal treatment based on race, gender, economic status, and other personal characteristics."

Baserate evidence connects a defendant to an act through the defendant’s membership in a certain population. It includes evidence arising from forensic analysis, criminal profiling, statistical analysis, artificial intelligence, and many other common and emerging scientific methods. But while this evidence is prevalent in civil and criminal trials, it is poorly understood, and there is little predictability in how a court will decide its admissibility or even what standard the court will apply.


In this article, I show that although some forms of baserate evidence are desirable and even critical to achieving an accurate case outcome, a common form of baserate evidence called profile evidence constitutes unrecognized character evidence—evidence that a defendant acted in accordance with a certain character trait and that is prohibited by federal and state evidentiary rules. To show this, and to describe precisely the relationship between baserate evidence and character evidence, I draw on an area of statistics called Bayesian inference to define a new concept that I call population-propensity evidence. It describes a behavioral propensity of a population to suggest that an individual member of the population acted in accordance with this propensity. I show that this evidence—a form of baserate evidence that involves behavioral stereotyping—relies on impermissible character reasoning and therefore determines whether baserate evidence constitutes character evidence.


Finally, I discuss critical implications of my analysis. First, I show how an understanding of population-propensity evidence contributes descriptively to resolving longstanding confusion and inconsistency surrounding baserate evidence and profile evidence in particular. I then demonstrate that applying the rule against character evidence to determine the admissibility of profile evidence is essential to achieving correct and predictable evidentiary decisions, to minimizing the influence of implicit biases based on race and other personal characteristics of a defendant, and to reaching accurate verdicts.


March 18, 2024 in Courts, Judges, Theory | Permalink | Comments (0)

Laura Portuondo on "Gendered Liberty"

Laura Portuondo has posted Gendered Liberty on SSRN. This article is forthcoming in the Georgetown Law Review in 2024. The abstract previews: 

Individual liberty is ascendant in constitutional law, but only for some. First Amendment doctrine has increasingly protected liberty interests in conduct linked to conscientious identity, as exemplified by newly successful claims to religious exemptions from antidiscrimination law. This contrasts with shrinking Fourteenth Amendment protections for liberty interests in conduct linked to gender identity, as exemplified by the recently eliminated right to abortion and imperiled rights to contraception, marriage, and sexual intimacy. More muscular protections for conscientious liberty have diminished even statutory protections for gender-related conduct. The result is a liberty jurisprudence that increasingly protects conservative religious objectors, even as it increasingly dismisses marginalized gender groups. This Article argues that this disparity is neither a requirement of constitutional doctrine nor an extension of a neutral theory of liberty. Instead, it emerges from a gendered theory of liberty: one that protects the freedom to enforce traditional ideas about gender and denies the freedom to challenge them.

By describing gendered liberty, this Article shows that the fall of liberty under the Fourteenth Amendment and its rise under the First Amendment are symbiotic. These doctrines work together to launder controversial judgments about the value of gender nonconformity into seemingly neutral stories about liberty. In doing so, they permit the Supreme Court to subordinate the autonomy and self-determination of those who would defy gender stereotypes to that of those who would enforce gender stereotypes. More importantly, they permit the Supreme Court to deny that it is engaged in a project of subordination at all. This Article resists these claims of neutrality and the stories about liberty they rely on by showing that liberty includes those who do not conform to gendered expectations.

March 18, 2024 in Constitutional, Courts, Gender, Reproductive Rights, Same-sex marriage, Theory | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, March 13, 2024

A New Look at Tort Law's Categorization of Wrongdoing in Non-Collaborative Sex

Cristina Tilley, Impaired, in Pairs, 73 DePaul L. Rev. (2024)

Rape, like many other one-on-one aggressions, can be treated as both a crime and a tort. But neither body of law responds effectively to these aggressions. Criminal rape prosecution is notoriously difficult, and civil rape suits are notoriously rare. Today, as private law theorists have begun to study tort’s potential to drive social justice on issues of race, gender, and class, it is an ideal time to reassess the terms of civil liability for intimate injury. Culture has long limited “real rape” to premeditated, stranger-on-stranger, aggression. Consequently, tort has long categorized what this Essay terms “non-collaborative sex” as an intentional tort in which a predator strategically targets a plaintiff whose autonomy will be negated. The modern reality – that many, if not most, rapes take place between drunken acquaintances whose cognition and judgment have been dulled – is underaccounted for in modern tort doctrine. This Article urges a new look at tort’s categorization of wrongdoing in non-collaborative sex. The reflexive assumption that sexual wronging is intentional has placed the weight of sexual assault adjudication on the question of female consent. And while tort doctrine appears willing to acknowledge that sex often goes wrong when drugs and alcohol are involved, it takes a curiously gendered approach to the role that impairment plays. How so? The Restatement of Tort fixates on holding women responsible when they drunkenly, but mistakenly, signal consent. But it does not consider whether to hold men responsible when they drunkenly, but mistakenly, conclude they have consent. When both parties are cognitively dulled in this fashion, it may be doctrinally unprincipled to say that either has the capacity to intend their actions. If so, the Article suggests, physical oppression associated with non-collaborative, intoxicated, sex might be better placed in the tort categories of negligence or strict liability, where cognitive purpose is not the sine qua non of wrongdoing.

March 13, 2024 in Theory, Violence Against Women | Permalink | Comments (0)

Solidifying Students' Rights to Gender Expression, A Response to Dara Purvis, Transgender Students and the First Amendment

Scott Skinner-Thompson, Solidifying Students' Right to Gender Expression, 104 Boston U. L. Rev.  (2024)

The genders and sexualities of students are regulated, shaped, and oppressed by formal school policies and informal educational norms. Some of these policies are quite obvious; others subtler. Such regulation includes rigid binary-based dress codes, ad hoc policing of gender non-normative clothing, sex-segregated spaces and activities, regulation of student pronoun use, and literal gender identity committees for determining students’ eligibility for athletic participation. Against this backdrop of social control, students routinely seek freedom—the freedom to explore, understand, develop, and express their genders and sexualities. Indeed, expression of one’s gender and sexuality—through clothing, nomenclature, pronouns, association, use of sex-segregated spaces, and more—is at the heart of being and becoming one’s gender and sexuality. For those reasons, the First Amendment’s protections for free speech—for free expression—have served as a cornerstone of queer liberation for over a half-century, protecting queer people’s ability to gather together, develop their identities, and share their experiences. And to the extent the First Amendment provides special solicitude to speech that runs against cultural grains, renewed emphasis on the expressive components of gender identity could provide significant protection for beautifully nonconforming gender identities. Notwithstanding the First Amendment’s queer pedigree and emancipatory potential, the operationalization of free speech rights for transgender and gender-nonconforming students remains underdeveloped. That lack of precise development leaves queer students’ right to expression (and right to their identities) vulnerable to erosion or, worse still, weaponization against them.Thankfully, Dara Purvis’s new article, Transgender Students and the First Amendment, provides a great service by refining the governing tests for determining whether schools are impermissibly infringing students’ gender expression. Building on her tremendous prior scholarship in this area, Professor Purvis underscores how students’ gender expression is potentially vulnerable to regulation pursuant to two principal doctrinal arguments that may help such regulation elide the First Amendment. The first riposte Purvis addresses is that students’ non-normative expression is “disruptive” to the educational environment and therefore permissibly silenced pursuant to the governing test first articulated in Tinker v. Des Moines. The second is that students’ gender expression might be characterized as lewd and therefore subject to constitutionally tolerable restriction pursuant to Bethel v. Fraser. With regard to each, Purvis confronts these potential doctrinal vulnerabilities by taking account of the broader social ecosystem of both the school house and the state house. In other words, she flips the scripts and explains how the schools and legislatures themselves are disrupting transgender students’ expression and sexualizing nonnormative gender identities.

March 13, 2024 in Constitutional, Education, LGBT | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, March 11, 2024

New Volume of "Feminist Judgments Rewritten" Published in Immigration Law

The "Feminist Judgments Project" has published another volume in its Cambridge University Press series. This volume, titled Feminist Judgments: Immigration Law Opinions Rewritten was edited by Kathleen Kim, Kevin Lapp and Jennifer Lee. Here is the book's description: 

This volume, part of the Feminist Judgment Series, shows how feminist legal theory along with critical race theory and intersectional modes of critique might transform immigration law. Here, a diverse collection of scholars and lawyers bring critical feminist, race, and intersectional insights to Supreme Court opinions. Feminist reasoning values the perspectives of outsiders, exposes the deep-rooted bias in the legal opinions of courts, and illuminates the effects of ostensibly neutral policies that create and maintain oppression and hierarchy. One by one, the chapters reimagine the norms that drive immigration policies and practices. In place of discrimination and subordination, the authors demand welcome and equality. Where current law omits the voice and stories of noncitizens, the authors center their lives and experiences. Collectively, they reveal how a feminist vision of immigration law could center a commitment to equality and justice and foster a country where diverse newcomers readily flourish with dignity.

March 11, 2024 in Books, Theory | Permalink | Comments (0)

Neoshia Roemer on "Equity for American Indian Families"

Neoshia Roemer has posted her work-in-progress, Equity for American Indian Familieson SSRN. The abstract previews: 

Recently, the Supreme Court opined on the Indian Child Welfare Act’s (“ICWA”) constitutionality in Haaland v. Brackeen. Despite its opponents’ penchant for creating well curated and financially resourced cases before the Roberts court, which has shown its hand at being the “post-racial” court and friend of the conservative legal movement, ICWA survived.

While Brackeen was an invigorating win for ICWA, it declined to answer an important question: whether ICWA would survive a challenge under the equal protection doctrine. Although equal protection is always a topic that gains the attention of the legal academy because of its purported social justice potential, equal protection as to Indian law creates a more complex conversation as an adverse ruling on equal protection could essentially dismantle federal Indian law—the body of law that governs the self-determination of American Indian Tribes—piece by piece.

Brackeen epitomized American equality. By using equal protection claims to demand a uniformity that has never existed for anyone except America’s rights holders, ICWA’s opponents attempted to further the colonial extraction of Tribes’ most important resources: their children. Like the American mythos that proudly boasts we are all created equal, opponents of ICWA further colonial assimilation by projecting a specific brand of American identity that prioritizes the “good parent” or “right kind of families” vis a vis the rights of white parents with means over others. Equality—the kind best (mis)understood to mean that everyone is operating on the same level playing field—is neither conducive nor responsive to ICWA’s goals.

Moving beyond arguments over whether strict scrutiny or rational basis should define ICWA in an equal protection challenge, this Article encourages a new framework altogether: anti-colonial equity. ICWA is not a racial remedy or panacea. It represents the pursuit of equal justice. Amidst a history of removal policies, ICWA has been a vehicle for Tribes securing their futures; it is those futures that ICWA’s opponents seek to remove now in the light of a legal tradition that has increasingly perverted the concept of equality under the law. As such, this Article challenges the notion that equality is the appropriate framework for an ICWA challenge and proposes a reconsideration of ICWA as anti-colonial equity statute as it was created and executed through American legal history and tradition.

March 11, 2024 in Constitutional, Family, SCOTUS | Permalink | Comments (0)

Maybell Romero on "Shamed"

Maybell Romero has posted a draft work-in-progress on SSRN titled "Shamed." The abstract previews: 

Victims of rape, sexual assault, and sexual abuse have long had to contend with victim blaming and victim shaming. While legal scholars have had fruitful and theoretically engaging debates regarding the validity and merits of using shaming sanctions and shaming criminal defendants, there has been precious little written about the shame that victims face, let alone a recognition that their interaction with shame as both a social force and emotion is multidimensional. In a previous piece titled “Ruined”, I examined the language judges use during sentencing hearings in sexual assault cases to describe victims, such as pronouncing them “broken,” “ruined,” or “destroyed.” This Article serves as a continuation of the inquiry I started in “Ruined” by expanding in focus. It seeks to differentiate between the related concepts of shame and stigma and explain why shaming of rape victims is so common. I propose a novel typology with which to examine a rape victim’s experience and separate the shame that victims are made to feel by the criminal adjudicative process, the shame victims are supposed to perform, and the shame victims are supposed to feel into discrete components to consider, revealing that shame in relation to such victims is multilayered and much more complex than legal scholarship has made it out to be.

I share my own experiences with each of these manifestations of shame to demonstrate the usefulness of my new typology, but I also relate how I have felt ashamed to come forward with my story as a practicing attorney as well as my experiences of being shamed in the legal academy. I conclude, however, with a note of optimism, reflecting on the positive things to have come with my very public self-disclosure of being a rape and sexual abuse victim and hoping to encourage others to employ personal narrative and autoethnographic methods in their own scholarship, as well.

March 11, 2024 in Courts, Violence Against Women, Work/life | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, March 8, 2024

Exploring the Tension Between Culture or Religious Practice and Gender Equality

Rangita de Silva De Alwis, Customs, Culture, Courts, and Constitutions: Negotiating the Balance on Gender Equality 

The tension between culture or religious practice and gender equality is a globally pervasive challenge in human rights practice. The human rights of women and the right to culture are sometimes in opposition while at the same time, the binary distinction between women’s human rights and the right to culture are also contested. In this paper, I examine how constitutions and courts have negotiated the balance through the interpretation of women’s rights.

The goal of this paper is not to examine the exegesis of religious texts or the hermeneutics of canonical arguments which are subjects of plural interpretation, or the burgeoning social movements that are active in claiming a dynamic interpretation of religion and cultural practice. Rather it is to analyze how constitutions and national courts frame the human rights of women in light of culture, and customary traditions. The paper maps the religious and free speech clauses of each national constitution and a compendium of case law from national courts in relation to the judicial interpretation of culture, customary laws, and religion pertaining to questions on women’s rights and gender equality. Given the complex nature of the debate on culture and women’s rights, an analysis that examines the textual authority of constitutions and the jurisprudence in national case law provides insights in situations when rights may compete and gender equality hangs in the balance.

March 8, 2024 in Constitutional, Gender, International, Religion | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, March 7, 2024

Paula Monopoli to Speak on Women as Constitution Makers: Revisiting the 19th Amendment After Dobbs

Tuesday, March 5, 2024

Gender and Gaslighting in the Public Messaging of Covid

Jane Campbell Moriarty, Hysteria Redux: Gaslighting in the Age of Covid, in Symposium: Gender, Health & the Constitution, 15 ConLawNOW 65 (2024)

This article addresses the relationship among hysteria, gaslighting, and gender during the Covid pandemic in the political and public-health messaging about Covid. It analyzes the U.S. public health messaging in the age of Covid, explaining how individualism, gender, and gaslighting have shaped the public response to the virus and negatively affected public health. In explaining the poor U.S. public health outcomes during Covid, the article evaluates the role of disinformation about vaccines, the “feminization” of masking, and the “vax and relax” public mantra, which suggested that those who did not relax were perhaps a bit hysterical. Finally, the article considers how gaslighting occurs in the context of dismissing the potential long-term dangers of Covid infections and reinfections.

March 5, 2024 in Gender, Healthcare, Manliness, Science | Permalink | Comments (0)

A Feminist Approach to Competition Law and Policy

Kati Cseres, Feminist Competition Law, Cambridge Handbook on the Theoretical Foundations of Antitrust and Competition Law (Cambridge University Press, forthcoming 2024)

This paper takes up the challenge to show what a feminist approach to competition law and policy is, and what its contribution can be to the scholarship of competition law.

Despite increasing attention from academics and policy makers concerning the intersection of gender equality and competition law, most debates and discussions add gender to the analytical framework, economic calculation or survey, but fail to investigate the gender divisions that deeply bifurcate the structure of modern society, including legal rules, formal and informal institutions and enforcement practices. The implications of gendered lives, experiences and social realities on people’s preferences, choices and decisions in markets remain outside of such discussions. Therefore, feminist methodology and feminist social science research on gendered social realities remains a blind spot in current debates and discussions.

Remarkably, a similar blind spot exists in the diverse strands of feminist social science research, notably feminist legal and economic scholarship that has already been applied to various legal fields, but have engaged less thoroughly with the legal frameworks of market processes. Therefore, competition law has been a blind spot in these investigations so far.

By focusing on the central role of gender and women’s experiences, feminists take a contextualized lens and draw attention to the complexity of the economy, economic activities and the embeddedness of markets in broader social, economic and political contexts. Their analysis is multidimensional and pluralist, with a strong focus on human diversity and intersectionality. Feminist approaches go beyond merely adding gender to the analysis and investigate the deeper layers of legal rules, economic models and enforcement practices that entrench gendered power structures, dynamics, institutional arrangements and produce and reproduce various forms of inequalities.

From the richness of feminist methodologies, I draw on feminist legal theory, feminist (institutional) economics and feminist political economy to demonstrate how feminist approaches probe the alleged ‘neutrality’ and objectivity of competition law and to unpack the gendered nature (and impact) of its underlying legal rules, concepts and enforcement practices. I explore various assumptions embedded in existing competition rules and concepts, show which gender-based consequences the application of these rules and concepts may have and how policy makers and enforcers could implement gender into the substantive analysis of specific cases as well as into the procedures and institutional arrangements in the enforcement of competition law.

I argue that feminists’ analytical lens is, in fact, intimately related to the analytical lens of competition law. The focus of their analysis concern power structures and dynamics, investigate how various social and economic actors are impacted through these power inequalities and strive to control excessive power and change existing social, economic and political structures. However, the site and scope of their analysis differs. Competition law is concerned with market processes, structures and activities, while feminists repeatedly and forcefully called attention to those activities, processes and arrangements that lie outside of the market and the economy.

March 5, 2024 in Business, International, Theory | Permalink | Comments (0)

Alabama Passes Legislation to Protect IVF Treatment in Light of State Supreme Court Ruling on Embryos

Wash Post, Alabama Lawmakers Pass Legislation to Protect IVF Treatment

The Alabama legislature voted Thursday to protect providers and patients doing in vitro fertilization from criminal or civil liability if embryos they create are subsequently damaged or destroyed.

The fast action by both the House and Senate on bills to shield IVF came less than two weeks after the state’s Supreme Court ruled that frozen embryos are people and that individuals could be liable for destroying them. The unprecedented decision, which gave fertilized eggs the same protection as babies under the state’s Wrongful Death of a Minor Act, threw IVF treatment in Alabama into turmoil.

Within days, nearly every clinic in the state either suspended IVF or halted embryo disposal. Some women in the middle of treatment fled the state after securing care from out-of-state providers. Many others feared that their significant emotional, physical and financial investment in having a child would be for naught.

March 5, 2024 in Family, Healthcare, Legislation, Reproductive Rights | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, March 4, 2024

Siegel and Ziegler on "Abortion-Eugenics Discourse in Dobbs: A Social Movement History"

Reva Siegel and Mary Ziegler have posted Abortion-Eugenics Discourse in Dobbs: A Social Movement History on SSRN. It is forthcoming in volume 2 of the Journal of American Constitutional History in 2024. Here is the abstract.


Black Americans have long debated whether birth control and abortion threaten or uplift the community. In this Essay, we show that antiabortion advocates have intervened these debates by associating abortion with eugenics. For decades, antiabortion advocates have blamed racially disparate abortion rates on intentional discrimination—often highlighting a shadowy figure named Margaret Sanger—rather than explaining the disparity as resulting from structural racism. We follow this abortion-is-eugenic argument from the streets to the pages of the United States Reports, where it appears in the much-studied 2019 decision of Box v. Planned Parenthood of Indiana & Kentucky and in the Court’s decision overturning Roe v. Wade, Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization.

Antiabortion advocates have developed a constitutional memory of "Sanger" to suggest that criminalizing abortion is necessary to achieving racial justice. We demonstrate how that memory is mobilized in constitutional law and politics to legitimize reproductive coercion and to deflect attention from the structural roots of racial disparities in abortion rates today—conditions for which laws criminalizing abortion provide no relief.

March 4, 2024 in Abortion, Courts, Race | Permalink | Comments (0)