Monday, May 6, 2024

Sweeny and Canon on "The Language of Love v. Beshear"

JoAnne Sweeny and Dan Canon have published The Language of Love v. Beshear: Telling a Client's Story While Creating a Civil Rights Case Narrative in volume 17 of the Journal of the Association of Legal Writing Directors. The article was shared on SSRN here. The Introduction is excerpted here: 

We tend to think of a good lawyer as being a vigorous, focused advocate, one who thinks first and foremost of the interests, needs, and desires of their clients. But what if the client’s case will affect an entire group of people; a group who may also seek to have its collective rights vindicated? This is the dilemma of the civil rights attorney—how does an effective advocate balance the specific needs of the client with the broader, long-term needs of the group the client represents? And who should have a say in what story is told on behalf of the client? In civil rights cases, it is not just the client, but activists, organizations, academics, and the media who have a stake in the outcome. How much of a say should they have in the creation of a litigation story that will most directly impact a single client? How are those stories crafted? With careless, blunt-force litigation, or with purposefulness? And does it matter who gets to tell the story?

 

* * *


Focusing on the Kentucky case, Love v. Beshear, this article shows how civil rights attorneys may be constrained by their dual roles—advisors to their clients and advocates for civil rights—and how they decide what story to tell to remain true to their clients’ needs while keeping engaged with the larger civil rights issues inherent in these impact litigation cases. Moreover, once the litigation has begun, the other players—organizations, media, even the judges themselves—can change the story, highlighting what they see fit. The ultimate story of who a lawyer’s clients are ultimately may not be up to the lawyer or the client.  

 

It concludes: 

 

Obergefell built a bridge to same-sex marriage, creating solid ground for the next group of civil rights lawyers
to again expand our understanding of what relationships and “equal dignity” really mean. As the country’s understanding of same-sex couples has evolved, so has the array of stories that lawyers can tell about groups that may be insular or unfamiliar to the broader public. For example, now that transgender, bisexual, nonbinary, and polyamorous people’s stories are becoming more mainstream, their stories can be used to champion a broader understanding (and legal recognition) of fundamental rights. This continuous opening of new chapters to familiar stories is the essence of civil rights advocacy.

May 6, 2024 in Courts, Gender, Judges, Legal History, Same-sex marriage, SCOTUS | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, May 1, 2024

New Book, Father Time, How and Why Men are Biologically Transformed When They Care for Babies

Sarah Blaffer Hrdy, Father Time: A Natural History of Men and Babies

A sweeping account of male nurturing, explaining how and why men are biologically transformed when they care for babies

It has long seemed self-evident that women care for babies and men do other things. Hasn’t it always been so? When evolutionary science came along, it rubber-stamped this venerable division of labor: mammalian males evolved to compete for status and mates, while females were purpose-built to gestate, suckle, and otherwise nurture the victors’ offspring. But come the twenty-first century, increasing numbers of men are tending babies, sometimes right from birth. How can this be happening? Puzzled and dazzled by the tender expertise of new fathers around the world—several in her own family—celebrated evolutionary anthropologist and primatologist Sarah Blaffer Hrdy set out to trace the deep history of male nurturing and explain a surprising departure from everything she had assumed to be “normal.”

In Father Time, Hrdy draws on a wealth of research to argue that this ongoing transformation in men is not only cultural, but profoundly biological. Men in prolonged intimate contact with babies exhibit responses nearly identical to those in the bodies and brains of mothers. They develop caring potential few realized men possessed. In her quest to explain how men came to nurture babies, Hrdy travels back through millions of years of human, primate, and mammalian evolution, then back further still to the earliest vertebrates—all while taking into account recent economic and social trends and technological innovations and incorporating new findings from neuroscience, genetics, endocrinology, and more. The result is a masterful synthesis of evolutionary and historical perspectives that expands our understanding of what it means to be a man—and what the implications might be for society and our species.

May 1, 2024 in Books, Family, Gender, Masculinities | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, April 23, 2024

The Ethical and Practical Significance of Narratives in Court Cases

Sharon Bassan, Implicit Narratives About Women, Drexel University, Research Paper Series, forthcoming 

In the dynamic landscape of legal academia, narrative analysis emerges as a captivating and essential avenue of exploration. Narratives shape laws, policies, and societal norms, urging readers to recognize the profound influence of stories in the often-overlooked realms of legal discourse. Yet, the realm of storytelling, particularly within the nuanced sphere of court rulings, often goes unnoticed. The article takes the reader on an intellectual journey, delving into the intricate world where legal, ethical, and feminist perspectives converge with the power of storytelling, where narratives wield transformative power. It offers critical reading of the rhetoric and narratives in two legal cases that address the constitutionality of restricted access to reproductive practices. The first, a Supreme Court ruling from Israel, establishes the eligibility of same-sex couples and single men for domestic surrogacy services after years of ineligibility. The second, the ruling of Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization. At first glance, it may seem like another article on reproductive technologies. Well, it isn’t. The article contends that the narratives woven within legal proceedings are not mere rhetorical devices but wield ethical and practical significance. Focusing on the importance of the narrative in court and what they imply about women in society the article carves out the implicit image of women as implied by the narratives in the courts’ ruling and considers the rulings’ potential to affect women’s life opportunities. This analysis serves as a methodological tool to uncover the underlying values, assumptions, and narratives that courts both rely upon and, perhaps more significantly, dismiss.

Findings expose tensions between women’s rights and life opportunities and competing interests – those of single men to be parents (in the Israeli case) and those of fetuses (in the Dobbs case). The analysis shows a similar use of narratives in both contexts - systematically downplaying women’s interests, restricting their opportunities and minimizing their autonomy. The realistic analysis advocated for in the article emphasizes the imperative of adopting a women-focused narrative when discussing reproductive practices performed on women's bodies. The failure to do so, the article argues, carries far-reaching ramifications on women's experiences and life opportunities. Lessons from both cases are relevant to ongoing and future advocacy fights, and the future implications they entail.

April 23, 2024 in Courts, Family, Gender, Reproductive Rights, Theory | Permalink | Comments (0)

The Ethical and Practical Significance of Using Feminist Narratives in Court Cases

Sharon Bassan, Implicit Narratives About Women, Drexel University, Research Paper Series, forthcoming 

In the dynamic landscape of legal academia, narrative analysis emerges as a captivating and essential avenue of exploration. Narratives shape laws, policies, and societal norms, urging readers to recognize the profound influence of stories in the often-overlooked realms of legal discourse. Yet, the realm of storytelling, particularly within the nuanced sphere of court rulings, often goes unnoticed. The article takes the reader on an intellectual journey, delving into the intricate world where legal, ethical, and feminist perspectives converge with the power of storytelling, where narratives wield transformative power. It offers critical reading of the rhetoric and narratives in two legal cases that address the constitutionality of restricted access to reproductive practices. The first, a Supreme Court ruling from Israel, establishes the eligibility of same-sex couples and single men for domestic surrogacy services after years of ineligibility. The second, the ruling of Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization. At first glance, it may seem like another article on reproductive technologies. Well, it isn’t. The article contends that the narratives woven within legal proceedings are not mere rhetorical devices but wield ethical and practical significance. Focusing on the importance of the narrative in court and what they imply about women in society the article carves out the implicit image of women as implied by the narratives in the courts’ ruling and considers the rulings’ potential to affect women’s life opportunities. This analysis serves as a methodological tool to uncover the underlying values, assumptions, and narratives that courts both rely upon and, perhaps more significantly, dismiss.

Findings expose tensions between women’s rights and life opportunities and competing interests – those of single men to be parents (in the Israeli case) and those of fetuses (in the Dobbs case). The analysis shows a similar use of narratives in both contexts - systematically downplaying women’s interests, restricting their opportunities and minimizing their autonomy. The realistic analysis advocated for in the article emphasizes the imperative of adopting a women-focused narrative when discussing reproductive practices performed on women's bodies. The failure to do so, the article argues, carries far-reaching ramifications on women's experiences and life opportunities. Lessons from both cases are relevant to ongoing and future advocacy fights, and the future implications they entail.

April 23, 2024 in Courts, Family, Gender, Reproductive Rights, Theory | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, April 22, 2024

Judy Stinson Lecture on "Reclaiming the Singular They"

Robert Anderson presented the Judy Stinson Lecture at Arizona State University on the topic of "Reclaiming the Singular They in Legal Writing." A recording of the presentation is available here.  It gives background on the grammatical prohibition on the singular they.  It describes a historic tension between grammar guides and dictionaries on this issue. The underlying article that was the basis for the lecture is available here

April 22, 2024 in Conferences, Gender, Law schools | Permalink | Comments (0)

Amended Title IX Regulations

The Department of Education published amended Title IX regulations. The agency summarized the key changes in the regulations as including: 

  • Define “sex-based harassment” * * *
  • Provide and clarify definitions of various terms related to a recipient’s obligations to address sex discrimination, including sex-based harassment;
  • Clarify a recipient’s required response to sex discrimination . . . in its education program or activity;
  • Strengthen a recipient’s obligations to provide prompt and equitable grievance procedures and to take other necessary steps when it receives a complaint * * *; and
  • Provide for additional requirements in grievance procedures at postsecondary institutions.
  • With regard to discrimination against individuals who are pregnant or parenting, the final
    regulations:
    • Define the terms “pregnancy or related conditions” and “parental status”;
    • Clarify the prohibition on discrimination against students and applicants for admission and employees or applicants for employment on the basis of current, potential, or past pregnancy or related conditions; and
    • Clarify a recipient’s obligations to students and employees who are pregnant or experiencing pregnancy-related conditions.* *
  • Clarify and streamline administrative requirements with respect to designating a Title IX Coordinator, disseminating a nondiscrimination notice, adopting grievance procedures, and maintaining records;
  • Specify that a recipient must train a range of relevant persons on the recipient’s obligations under Title IX;
  • Clarify that, except as permitted by certain provisions of Title IX or the regulations, a recipient must not carry out any otherwise permissible different treatment or separation on the basis of sex in a way that would cause more than de minimis harm, including by adopting a policy or engaging in a practice that prevents a person from participating in an education program or activity consistent with their gender identity; and
  • Clarify a recipient’s obligation to address retaliation.

The 19th News reported on LGBTQ+ advocates' call for President Biden to do more to protect transgender athletes. 

A coalition of equal rights supporters representing over 20 groups —  including LGBTQ+ advocacy groups the Human Rights Campaign, GLSEN and the Trevor Project — issued a joint statement on Friday arguing that the new regulations do too little to protect transgender athletes.

 

“This regulation does not go far enough in making the law’s protections clear for all student athletes,” the statement said. “Currently, 37 percent of transgender, nonbinary, and intersex youth live in states with laws that ban them from participating in sports consistent with their gender identity. As with all students, Title IX protects transgender, nonbinary and intersex student athletes from discriminatory policies, as the Biden administration has already argued in court and a federal appeals court upheld just this week.” 

 

The coalition called on the Biden administration to “finish the job” by leaving no doubt in the regulations that transgender, nonbinary and intersex student-athletes have protections under Title IX. 

 

April 22, 2024 in Education, Gender, LGBT | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, April 11, 2024

Book Review, Not Everything is About Gender, Reviewing Judith Butler's New Book

Katha Pollitt, Books: Not Everything is About Gender, Atlantic

udith butler, for many years a professor of rhetoric and comparative literature at UC Berkeley, might be among the most influential intellectuals alive today. Even if you have never heard of them (Butler identifies as nonbinary and uses they/them pronouns), you are living in their world, in which babies are “assigned” male or female at birth, and performativity is, at least on campus, an ordinary English word. Butler’s breakout 1990 book, Gender Trouble, argued that biological sex, like gender, is socially constructed, with its physical manifestations mattering only to the degree society assigns them meaning. The book is required reading in just about every women’s-, gender-, or sexuality-studies department. Butler has won a raft of international honors and been burned in effigy as a witch in Brazil. How many thinkers can say as much? ***

The central idea of Who’s Afraid of Gender? is that fascism is gaining strength around the world, and that its weapon is what Butler calls the “phantasm of gender,” which they describe as a confused and irrational bundle of fears that displaces real dangers onto imaginary ones. Instead of facing up to the problems of, for example, war, declining living standards, environmental damage, and climate change, right-wing leaders whip up hysteria about threats to patriarchy, traditional families, and heterosexuality. And it works, Butler argues: “Circulating the phantasm of ‘gender’ is also one way for existing powers—states, churches, political movements—to frighten people to come back into their ranks, to accept censorship, and to externalize their fear and hatred onto vulnerable communities.” ***

In the United States, this politicized use of the word gender itself has not caught on as it has in much of the world, where, as an English word for which many languages have no equivalent, it is often used to attack feminism and LGBTQ rights as foreign imports. Still, as Butler notes, America’s Christian fundamentalists and far-right Republicans are fervently in the anti-gender vanguard, whether or not these groups actually use the word gender.

April 11, 2024 in Books, Gender, Scholarship, Theory | Permalink | Comments (0)

Book Review, Not Everything is About Gender, Reviewing Judith Butler's New Book

Katha Pollitt, Books: Not Everything is About Gender, Atlantic

udith butler, for many years a professor of rhetoric and comparative literature at UC Berkeley, might be among the most influential intellectuals alive today. Even if you have never heard of them (Butler identifies as nonbinary and uses they/them pronouns), you are living in their world, in which babies are “assigned” male or female at birth, and performativity is, at least on campus, an ordinary English word. Butler’s breakout 1990 book, Gender Trouble, argued that biological sex, like gender, is socially constructed, with its physical manifestations mattering only to the degree society assigns them meaning. The book is required reading in just about every women’s-, gender-, or sexuality-studies department. Butler has won a raft of international honors and been burned in effigy as a witch in Brazil. How many thinkers can say as much? ***

The central idea of Who’s Afraid of Gender? is that fascism is gaining strength around the world, and that its weapon is what Butler calls the “phantasm of gender,” which they describe as a confused and irrational bundle of fears that displaces real dangers onto imaginary ones. Instead of facing up to the problems of, for example, war, declining living standards, environmental damage, and climate change, right-wing leaders whip up hysteria about threats to patriarchy, traditional families, and heterosexuality. And it works, Butler argues: “Circulating the phantasm of ‘gender’ is also one way for existing powers—states, churches, political movements—to frighten people to come back into their ranks, to accept censorship, and to externalize their fear and hatred onto vulnerable communities.” ***

In the United States, this politicized use of the word gender itself has not caught on as it has in much of the world, where, as an English word for which many languages have no equivalent, it is often used to attack feminism and LGBTQ rights as foreign imports. Still, as Butler notes, America’s Christian fundamentalists and far-right Republicans are fervently in the anti-gender vanguard, whether or not these groups actually use the word gender.

April 11, 2024 in Books, Gender, Scholarship, Theory | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, April 8, 2024

Lewis Grossman on "Criminalizing Transgender Care"

Lewis Grossman has posted his forthcoming article, Criminalizing Transgender Care, on SSRN. This article is forthcoming in the Iowa Law Review in Fall 2024. Here is the abstract. 

Since 2021, twenty-one states, in extraordinarily quick succession, have enacted statutes banning physicians from prescribing puberty blockers and cross-sex hormones to minors for treatment of gender dysphoria. Although the Food and Drug Administration has not approved these drugs for this use, off-label prescribing is a common practice, and leading medical organizations all agree that this off-label use of puberty blockers and sex hormones is an essential component of transgender medical care. These state laws thus represent an extreme, and unprecedented, interference with the provision of standard-of-care medicine. This article, after exploring the ongoing litigation challenging these bans, argues that they violate a fundamental right under the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment—namely, the right to obtain standard-of-care treatment from a physician. It demonstrates that this right is deeply rooted in America’s history and traditions by presenting the first-ever comprehensive review of state policies regarding off-label prescribing practices and showing that the states have virtually never interfered with physicians’ prescribing decisions in this manner. Finally, in light of relevant judicial precedents, this article shows why courts should strike down these unparalleled, oppressive state laws as unconstitutional.

April 8, 2024 in Gender, Healthcare, Legislation | Permalink | Comments (0)

NYT Coverage of Brenda Andrew's Case and Submitted Sex Stereotyping Amicus Brief

Adam Liptak of the New York Times wrote on April 1st covering Brenda Andrew's case before the Supreme Court. The article, titled Did Prosecutors’ Sex Shaming Help Send Brenda Andrew to Death Row?, included a cite to the amicus brief previously covered by this Blog and available here. The article cites one of Andrew's lawyers stating: 

Every single day the state was presenting gendered evidence about her appearance, about her clothing, about her sexual practices, about her skills as a mother,” she said. “We’ve got someone who is at risk of execution for not conforming to gender stereotypes.

The Supreme Court is deciding whether to hear the case. The questions on certiorari are excerpted below from the full opinion

  1. Whether clearly established federal law as determined by this Court forbids the prosecution’s use of a woman’s plainly irrelevant sexual history, gender presentation, and role as a mother and wife to assess guilt and punishment.
  2. Whether this Court should summarily reverse in light of cumulative effect of the errors in this case at guilt and sentencing, including the introduction of a custodial statement made without the warnings Miranda v. Arizona, 384 U.S. 436 (1966) requires.

April 8, 2024 in Courts, Gender, SCOTUS | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, April 2, 2024

SCOTUS to Consider Whether Gender Bias and Sex Shaming Contributed to Death Penalty Conviction

NY Times, Did Prosecutors' Sex Shaming Help Send Brenda Andrew to Death Row?

*** 

Later this month, the Supreme Court will consider whether to hear Ms. Andrew’s appeal, which said the display of her underwear was a representative part of an unrelenting strategy by prosecutors, as a dissenting judge put it, “of introducing evidence that has no purpose other than to hammer home that Brenda Andrew is a bad wife, a bad mother and a bad woman.”

Nathalie Greenfield, one of Ms. Andrew’s lawyers, said gender stereotypes infected the trial and poisoned the jury.

“Every single day the state was presenting gendered evidence about her appearance, about her clothing, about her sexual practices, about her skills as a mother,” she said. “We’ve got someone who is at risk of execution for not conforming to gender stereotypes.” ***

“Gender bias is normalized and tolerated to an extent that racial bias no longer is in the administration of the death penalty,” said Sandra Babcock, a law professor at Cornell who represents Ms. Andrew in a related case. “Women on trial for capital murder have been subjected to similar shaming tactics for hundreds of years.”

In urging the Supreme Court not to hear the case, Andrew v. White, No. 23-6573, prosecutors said almost nothing to justify using evidence about Ms. Andrew’s appearance and sexuality. They argued instead that it was “but a drop in the ocean” in the case against her. State and federal appeals courts have more or less agreed, suggesting that the prosecutors’ presentation was regrettable but that there was ample evidence of Ms. Andrew’s guilt

See Supreme Court Amicus Brief Argues Brenda Andrew's Capital Murder Case Used Prejudicial "Sexualized Evidence", Gender & the Law Blog.

April 2, 2024 in Constitutional, Courts, Gender, SCOTUS | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, April 1, 2024

New Book about Bias and Discrimination in Women's Healthcare Published by Mayo Clinic Press: "Sex Cells"

The Mayo Clinic Press has published "Sex Cells: The Fight to Overcome Bias and Discrimination in Women’s Healthcare" by Phyllis E. Greenberger, M.S.W. with Kalia Doner. Here is a description of the book: 

This book gives readers access to the wide world of sex-specific medical issues as they play out in the research labs and doctor’s offices, and how women pay the price, with a close look at the impact that has on minority populations.

It has been challenging to get individual researchers and practitioners to accept this, as well as research and medical institutions, and manufacturers of medications and devices. The journey towards equal treatment and the understanding of sex and gender differences in prevention, diagnosis and treatment is still unfolding. This book is the story of that journey—why it was, and still is, so important to do research specific to women/females.

The story is told by Phyllis Greenberger—the woman who is recognized as the driving force for change over the past 25 years—and her allies in government, NGOs, academia, medical research, the US government, and public health advocacy. The array of experts who have contributed to the book offer an insiders’ up-close view of the battle to have female cells, lab animals and humans brought into medical research, so that women can receive treatment that is appropriate and effective for a wide range of conditions.

Told with humor, ferocity and passion, Sex Cells appeals to anyone interested in health, women’s rights, and public health policy.

April 1, 2024 in Books, Gender, Healthcare, Science | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, March 25, 2024

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)

Monday, March 18, 2024

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)

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)

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)

Monday, February 26, 2024

Supreme Court Amicus Brief Argues Brenda Andrew's Capital Murder Case Used Prejudicial "Sexualized Evidence"

A coalition of amici, including a former federal judge, Fair and Just Prosecution, 17 law professors, and 4 domestic violence researchers, have filed an amicus brief in support of Brenda Andrew's petition for cert. in her capital murder case before the U.S. Supreme Court. The brief challenges the weaponizing of gender bias as a jury persuasion tool: "The noxious effects of gender bias pack a powerful punch in the courtroom—and prosecutors know it. Some prosecutors, including those that tried Ms. Andrew, deliberately invoke gender bias, strategically emphasizing a woman’s departure from feminine ideals “to turn jurors against female defendants,” rather than meeting their burden of proof with actual evidence." The brief argues: 

Brenda Andrew’s capital murder prosecution was tainted with irrelevant and prejudicial evidence that spoke not to her criminal culpability, but to her failure to comply with society’s gender-biased expectations about how women should and should not behave. Repeatedly, the prosecution elicited testimony designed to paint Ms. Andrew as a hypersexual seductress and an uncaring mother. The prosecution’s leitmotif of gender deviance was an implicit theme and an explicit exhortation at trial: because Ms. Andrew did not behave as a “virtuous” woman should, the jury should convict her and subject her to the harshest punishment possible. By the time the case was submitted to the jury, the prosecution had deflected the jury’s focus from an inquiry into Ms. Andrew’s guilt or innocence to a referendum on Ms. Andrew’s femininity and morality.

 

Ms. Andrew’s case is an exceptional example of the Oklahoma County District Attorney’s office weaponizing gender bias to poison proceedings against a female defendant who had no prior criminal record, in a case that involved no allegation of torture or exceptional cruelty. This brief includes a portion of the trove of sexualizing evidence in Ms. Andrew’s trial, and presents scholarship demonstrating how prejudicial that evidence was. Until these prosecutorial tactics are eradicated from American courtrooms, “[j]ustice is likely to remain a lottery while so much depends on the woman’s fulfillment of society’s expectations.” [citation omitted] Amici urge this Court to grant Ms. Andrew’s petition for a writ of certiorari.

February 26, 2024 in Constitutional, Courts, Gender | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, February 21, 2024

SCOTUS Denies Cert in Case About Whether Jurors Can Be Excluded for Religious Beliefs Against Lesbian Plaintiff

Lawrence Hurley, NBC News, Supreme Court Declines to Weigh Whether Jurors Can Be Excluded for Religious Beliefs in Case Involving Lesbian Plaintiff

The Supreme Court on Tuesday declined to consider whether potential jurors in an employment dispute involving a lesbian worker could be excluded because of their religious views on homosexuality.

The court rejected an appeal brought by Missouri Attorney General Andrew Bailey, a Republican, in a case involving allegations of employment discrimination against the state’s Department of Corrections.

Conservative Justice Samuel Alito wrote a statement saying he agreed with the decision not to take up the case for technical legal reasons, but said that it raises important issues.

Jean Finney, an employee, sued the department, saying she was retaliated against by a colleague after she began a same-sex relationship with his former spouse.

During the jury selection process, Finney's lawyer asked potential jurors if they had traditional religious beliefs or had been brought up to believe that "people that are homosexuals shouldn't have the same rights as everyone else."

Based on previous Supreme Court decisions, lawyers are allowed to exclude potential jurors without stating a reason but are barred from doing so on the basis of race and gender.

The case largely focuses on two jurors who said they believed that homosexual activity was a sin. But, the state argues, the jurors also said they believed that homosexuals should have the same rights as everyone else. The judge ultimately excluded three jurors who said they had conservative Christian beliefs.

February 21, 2024 in Constitutional, Gender, LGBT, Religion, SCOTUS | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, January 31, 2024

Campus Wars, Women Leaders, and the Glass Cliff

NYT, Campus Wars Aren't About Gender--Are They?

***

“Four women presidents, all new in their roles, far too new to have shaped the culture on their campuses, called before Congress? Of course there’s a pattern,” Dr. Andrews said. “The question is, What’s the agenda? Is it to take down women leaders? To attack elite universities through a perceived vulnerability? To further a political purpose?”

Privately if not always publicly, other women in the academy described a similar reaction to the spectacle around the hearing on Dec. 5 and the fallout since: Ms. Magill and Dr. Gay resigned, their critics made it clear they were coming for Dr. Kornbluth, and last week, prominent male donors demanded the ouster of Cornell president Martha Pollack, too.

***

Are women more likely to end up in vulnerable positions? Social psychologists have proposed the idea of the “glass cliff” to describe the phenomenon of women who become leaders in times of crisis. In institutions not used to female leaders, they are seen as weaker. Subject to greater scrutiny, they tend to fail sooner.

“It’s not clear whether they’re selected because it’s a difficult time and people think women can make it better when things are bad, or if women are really set up, inadvertently or advertently,” said Madeline Heilman, an emerita professor at New York University who has conducted decades of experiments on sex bias in the workplace. Whatever the case, she said, “if they both start well and a man does poorly, people offer excuses and other reasons before they see it as indicative of what he’s like. For a woman, it fits into the stereotype of not being qualified. What is seen as a mistake for men is a lethal error for a woman.”

Decades of experiments show other ways that stereotypes disadvantage women. Men and women alike are too stingy when evaluating women and too generous when evaluating men, whether what’s being judged is their height or the strength of their C.V. Studies of millions of scientific papers find that those with women as lead author are far less likely to be cited than those led by men. Reports on the status of women on individual campuses and from national organizations  document  marginalization and persistent disrespect. Taken in isolation, such episodes can seem small, but they add up, leaving female professors earning less and taking longer to be promoted, irrespective of productivity. Fed up, many “senior” women leave.

January 31, 2024 in Education, Equal Employment, Gender | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, January 11, 2024

The Future of Constitutional Sex Equality Rights after Dobbs

Marc Spindelman, Dobbs' Sex Equality Troubles, 32 William & Mary Bill of Rgst J. 117 (2023)

This article takes up what Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Org. may mean for sex equality rights beyond the abortion setting. It details how Dobbs lays the foundation for rolling back and even eliminating Fourteenth Amendment sex equality protections. The work scales these possibilities against a different dimension of the ruling that’s yet to receive the attention that it merits. An important footnote in Dobbs, Footnote 22, sketches a new history-and-tradition-based approach to unenumerated rights under the Fourteenth Amendment’s Privileges or Immunities Clause. The jurisprudence that this Footnote capacitates could transform the constitutional landscape via new economic and social rights that set the Court on a collision course with the Slaughter-House Cases. Dangers on the economic rights front include reviving Lochner and its political economic principles in new constitutional garb. Dangers on the social rights front, by contrast, include new constitutional family law rules written from the social-conservative right, overriding constitutional and positive law developments that, since the 1960s, have broadly managed family law from and toward the liberal to progressive left. In both these areas, the Court’s decisions would be capable of catching various sex equality protections in their snares. The future in relation to all these prospects may be set by Justice Brett Kavanaugh, the swing-vote justice in Dobbs. So, this article attends to the determinants of Kavanaugh’s Dobbs concurrence, and thus Dobbs’ meaning. While matters could obviously get much worse for sex equality rights after Dobbs, Kavanaugh’s concurrence also offers some reason to hope that they won’t. Struggles for sex equality rights may be intensifying and entering distinctively perilous times. Their future, however, has yet to be determined, including by the Supreme Court

January 11, 2024 in Abortion, Constitutional, Gender, SCOTUS | Permalink | Comments (0)