Why Do Many Female Faculty Members (Rightfully) Insist on Being Called “Professor”?

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The answer is that many women, especially women of color, women with non-traditional bodies, women who are young, women who are middle0aged, women who are old, women who speak with an accent, and gender non-conforming folks, to name a few, don’t have the privilege of being presumed to be authoritative and competent.

From the Twitter feed of Dr. Sarah T. Romano (@STRomanoPhD) (Political Science and Global Studies, Lesley University), this syllabus message to students:

Course Policies and University Resources/Services:

What do I call my instructor?  Across your classes at Lesley University, the most respectful way to address your instructor in class, over email, or in other interactions is as “Professor _____” or “Dr. ____.”  This is because most of your instructors have earned their doctorates, or PhDs, in their fields.  Some faculty may have Masters (MA) degrees and are working on completing their PhDs.  If you are unsure if your instructor has a PhD, “Professor” is a safe bet!  If your instructor invites you to call them by their first name, then of course you may do so.

In law schools, many (most) professors do not have PhDs, so “Professor” is a super-safe bet. If the instructor is an adjunct, a student cannot go *wrong* calling the adjunct “Professor” (different schools do/do not permit adjuncts to use that title).  If the school’s adjuncts do not use the title, the adjunct can simply say, “Oh, it’s simply Mr./Ms. ____.”  Years ago, I remember when tax instructor Meade Emory, adjunct extraordinaire, said we were free to call him “Meade” after graduation. But until then, “Mr. Emory” would do.

My general thought is that when in doubt, one should always choose the more respectful title. But then again, I’m 50 years old and I still refer to some friends of my parents (and parents of childhood friends) as “Mr. ____” and “Mrs. ____.” So I’m old-fashioned like that.

As for my own (now college-aged) child, the general norm in our community was that teachers went by “Mr. ___” and “Ms. ____,” but friends’ parents were always on a first-name basis.  So the universe of people who will call me “Ms. Crawford” in the coming decades is probably limited to those people with whom I went to law school, but we weren’t close enough that we ever learned each others’ first names.  Or my first year law professors.

Professor Bruce Mann, I knew it was you on the phone from the way you said, “Ms. Crawford”!

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Add Yourself to the Law Professor Twitter Census Before 9/9

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Here, if you’re a full-time law professor tweeting under your own name.  Details here.

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Updated Guide for Law Review Submission to Journals Specializing in Gender, Women & Sexuality

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I’ve updated the law review submission guide to 29 U.S.-based law reviews and journals classified under the subject “Gender, Women and Sexuality” by the Washington & Lee Law Journal Rankings and the additional journals that contain the word “gender” in their title, but are not listed in the Washington & Lee Law Journal Rankings. 

They are:

  • Yale Journal of Law & Feminism
  • Harvard Journal of Law & Gender
  • Columbia Journal of Gender & Law
  • New York University Review of Law & Social Change
  • University of Pennsylvania Review of Law & Social Change
  • Michigan Journal of Gender & Law
  • Duke Journal of Gender Law & Policy (closed after 2019-2020)
  • Duke Forum for Law & Social Change
  • Berkeley Journal of Gender, Law & Justice
  • Georgetown Journal of Gender & the Law
  • UCLA Women’s Law Journal
  • Texas Journal of Women, Gender and Law (closed)
  • Southern California Review of Law & Social Justice
  • Law & Inequality
  • Boston College J. of Law & Social Justice (closed)
  • Journal of Gender, Race & Justice
  • Wisconsin Journal of Law, Gender & Society
  • William & Mary Journal of Race, Gender & Social Justice
  • Cardozo Journal of Equal Rights and Social Justice
  • University of Maryland Law Journal of Race, Religion, Gender & Class
  • Tulane Journal of Law & Sexuality
  • Hastings Women’s Law Journal
  • American University Journal of Gender, Social Policy & the Law
  • The Modern American
  • Women’s Rights Law Reporter
  • Idaho Critical Studies Journal
  • Feminist Criminology
  • Women Lawyers Journal
  • Journal of Law & Social Deviance

The guide is available for download here.

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Updated Guide on Submissions to US Law Review Online Presences

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I’ve updated my guide to submitting to online companions to include 50 schools’ law reviews.  The new guide is here on SSRN.  The chart with contains details on the mechanics of submitting essays, commentaries, reviews to the online presence of journals at 50+ schools.

For now, the document contains information about word count limitations, subject matter preferences, submission details and other guidelines authors may find relevant when considering sending their work to law review presences online.

Details vary widely from journal to journal. Not all journals accept unsolicited contributions.

Corrections, additions, refinements to this chart are very welcome. (If for any reason the link doesn’t work because the submission hasn’t been reviewed yet by SSRN, you can navigate to it via my SSRN page here.)

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Reflecting on Twenty-Five Years of Duke Journal of Gender & Law

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In 1994, Professor Katharine Bartlett founded the Duke Journal of Gender Law & Policy to solidify gender law as an intellectually disciplined and complex field of legal scholarship. Despite women’s ongoing struggle to achieve equal rights and treatment in nearly every aspect of the law and society––the workplace, the school, and the home, to name a few––gender law remained “shunned as a political activity inappropriate to institutions committed to academic rigor, objectivity, and neutrality.”

At the time of the Journal’s inaugural publication, gender law scholars and their work remained largely overlooked by other law reviews. But because of fierce advocates like Professor Bartlett and strong publications, including the Duke Journal of Gender Law & Policy, feminist scholarship thrived and earned long-overdue respect. Today, gender law remains both a disciplined, rigorous area of jurisprudence and a source of passionate discourse. Its wide applications, from sexual violence and harassment to family structure and children, continue to impact each person today, regardless of their sex. 

In the past 25 years, the Journal has published insightful scholarship on a breadth of gender issues, such as the paternalism of “informed consent” and abortion, the treatment of women soldiers in the military, and reexamining the First Amendment under Title IX and the equal opportunity to education. The Journal has also been privileged to print outstanding Articles, Essays, and student Notes that explore intersectional critiques on transracial adoptions, race and gender in criminal law, queer theory and feminism, the social realities of HIV law, and racial identity and gender performance. We are proud to be a law review that has pushed convention and remained committed to equality.

In my application to Duke Law, I wrote about how I wanted to become a part of the Journal, not only because it was one of the most cited publications in its subject area, but also because it earnestly championed issues that are important to oppressed groups. I wanted to become part of a tight-knit community of Duke Law students who also felt that gender, race, sexuality, and class would always matter because these make up the fabric of our identity. It is no surprise that these very issues compelled many staff members to go to law school in the first place.

The Journal will conclude in 2020 with its 25th anniversary issue. I have no doubt that with Professor Kathryn Webb Bradley as our faculty advisor and with my phenomenal editorial team, we will produce an excellent final publication.

Gender scholarship’s movement into mainstream law reviews shows that the issues the Journal has published are now becoming more accessible and recognized. This movement also shows that the issues we have had the opportunity to publish will continue to generate conversation, controversy, and action.  As a society and legal community, we still have a long way to go in the fight for equality. As the Duke Journal of Gender Law & Policy, we hope that we have laid the groundwork for even more meaningful change to come.

-Denise Go

Editor in Chief, Volume 27

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Is that Maya Angelou’s Poem in a NYT Crossword Clue? Yes!

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From the New York Times Crossword for Saturday, August 17, 2019:

28 Down Clue: Classic poem with the lines “Did you want to see me broken? /Bowed head and lowered eyes?

28 Down Answer: STILL I RISE

The text of the Maya Angelou’s full poem is here.

(And lest I get too excited that I caught this cultural reference, another in my household pointed out that I had absolutely nothing to offer in response to 59 Across in today’s puzzle: “Late Swedish electronic musician with the 2013 hit “Wake Me Up.” Answer after the fold for those stuck in the Wham! era, like me.) Continue reading

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Law Needs Feminism Because…Monash University Chapter

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The fab feminists at Monash University Faculty of Law are hosting a #LawNeedsFeminism exhibition. The groups is releasing one photo a day via the group’s Facebook page here.

Monash is also the home of the Feminist Legal Studies Group, co-convened by Dr. Becky Batagnol and Dr. Janice Richardson. The group maintains a blog, Themis Says, and interested readers can sign up to receive email notifications of new posts.  Check it out!

 

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Be Counted in the 2019-2020 Law Prof Twitter Census

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You can add yourself (or check that you are listed correctly) over here at the Faculty Lounge.

Law teachers from non-US jurisdictions seem especially underrepresented, so please let us know (if you want to) that you’re on Twitter!

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Bringing Indigeneous Voices Into Judicial Decision-Making

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This news from Sydney (Australia) Law School (here):

Dr Nicole Watson will use an Australian Research Council grant to incorporate Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander voices into judgments and celebrate their contributions to the development of Australian law.

Dr Watson, who is also the Associate Dean (Indigenous), was awarded the University’s only Discovery Indigenous grant.

She will work with Professor Heather Douglas from the University of Queensland and Dr Asmi Wood from the Australian National University to write judgments so they are inclusive of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people’s voices and histories.

“I was inspired by the Feminist Judgments Project, which involved rewriting well-known cases from a feminist perspective,” she says.

“The project began in Canada and has also been undertaken in the UK and Australia. I was very lucky to be involved in the Australian project, rewriting a judgment from a criminal case from Central Australia in the 1930s.”

Bringing Indigenous Voices into Judicial Decision-Making will extend methodologies created by international and Australian scholars for correcting the absence of women’s voices. The project, which has received funding for three years, will focus on producing the missing Indigenous judgment in 20 decisions of Australian superior courts over the course of the 20th century.

“I hope that my University of Sydney colleagues and our students will also be involved in rewriting the judgments,”Dr Watson says. The other component of the project will explore the gulf between judge-made law and the lived experience of Indigenous litigants through an in-depth examination of four test cases from Queensland.

“In the 1980s and 1990s Indigenous people, particularly in Queensland, began using the law as a tool of resistance,” she says. “We plan to examine the histories that preceded four of the test cases. We will be interviewing litigants and their legal representatives to discover how they were able to mobilise resources for the cases, and what the lasting impacts of the litigation have been for their communities.” The project will … build a new relationship between Australian judges and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, and be an original contribution to Australia’s jurisprudence on them and the law.

The University of Sydney’s full announcement is here.

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New Book Announcement: “The Princeton Fugitive Slave” by Lolita Buckner Inniss (@auntiefeminist @SMULawSchool)

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Professor Lolita Buckner Inniss (SMU) has published her book, The Princeton Fugitive Slave: The Trials of James Collins Johnson (Fordham U. Press 2019).  Here is the publisher’s description:

 

James Collins Johnson made his name by escaping slavery in Maryland and fleeing to Princeton, New Jersey, where he built a life in a bustling community of African Americans working at what is now Princeton University. After only four years, he was recognized by a student from Maryland, arrested, and subjected to a trial for extradition under the 1793 Fugitive Slave Act. On the eve of his rendition, after attempts to free Johnson by force had failed, a local aristocratic white woman purchased Johnson’s freedom, allowing him to avoid re-enslavement. The Princeton Fugitive Slave reconstructs James Collins Johnson’s life, from birth and enslaved life in Maryland to his daring escape, sensational trial for re-enslavement, and last-minute change of fortune, and through to the end of his life in Princeton, where he remained a figure of local fascination.

Stories of Johnson’s life in Princeton often describe him as a contented, jovial soul, beloved on campus and memorialized on his gravestone as “The Students Friend.” But these familiar accounts come from student writings and sentimental recollections in alumni reports—stories from elite, predominantly white, often southern sources whose relationships with Johnson were hopelessly distorted by differences in race and social standing. In interrogating these stories against archival records, newspaper accounts, courtroom narratives, photographs, and family histories, author Lolita Buckner Inniss builds a picture of Johnson on his own terms, piecing together the sparse evidence and disaggregating him from the other black vendors with whom he was sometimes confused.

By telling Johnson’s story and examining the relationship between antebellum Princeton’s black residents and the economic engine that supported their community, the book questions the distinction between employment and servitude that shrinks and threatens to disappear when an individual’s freedom is circumscribed by immobility, lack of opportunity, and contingency on local interpretations of a hotly contested body of law.

The Legal History blog covered the book here.

The book is available for pre-order now (I ordered mine!).  The official publication date will be September 3, 2019. Looking forward to reading this book!

 

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Talking About #BlackLivesMatter and #MeToo

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In April, 2019, the Wisconsin Journal of Gender, Law & Society sponsored a symposium on “Race-Ing Justice, En-Gendering Power: Black Lives Matter and the Role of Intersectional Legal Analysis in the Twenty-First Century.” Instead of preparing individual papers for publication, the speakers at the symposium collaborated on a joint essay–written in a conversational style–that both captures and extends salient portions of the symposium discussion. The essay–written by Linda Greene (Wisconsin), Lolita Buckner Inniss (SMU), Mehrsa Baradaran (UC Irvine), Noa Ben-Asher (Pace), Bennett Capers (Brooklyn), Osamudia James (Miami), Keisha Lindsay (Wisconsin, Political Science & Gender and Women’s Studies) and me is now available on SSRN.

Here is the abstract:

This essay explores the apparent differences and similarities between the Black Lives Matter and the #MeToo movements. In April 2019, the Wisconsin Journal of Gender, Law and Society hosted a symposium entitled “Race-Ing Justice, En-Gendering Power: Black Lives Matter and the Role of Intersectional Legal Analysis in the Twenty-First Century.” That program facilitated examination of the historical antecedents, cultural contexts, methods, and goals of these linked equality movements. Conversations continued among the symposium participants long after the end of the official program. In this essay, the symposium’s speakers memorialize their robust conversations and also dive more deeply into the phenomena, implications, and future of Black Lives Matter and #MeToo.

This essay organizes around internal and external spatial metaphors and makes five schematic moves. First, internal considerations ground comparisons of the definitions, goals, and ideas of success employed by or applied to Black Lives Matter and #MeToo. Second, external concerns inspire questions about whether both movements may be better understood through the lens of intersectionality, and relatedly, what challenges these movements pose for an intersectional analysis. Third, a meta-internal framework invites inquiry into how the movements shape the daily work of scholars, teachers, lawyers, and community activists. Fourth, a dialectical external-internal frame drives questions about the movements’ effects on law and popular culture, and the reciprocal effects between those external influences and the movements themselves. Returning to an external, even forward-looking, approach, we ask what the next steps are for both movements. This five-part taxonomy frames the inquiry into where the Black Lives Matter and #MeToo movements are located individually, but also where they are co-located, and, perhaps most importantly, where they are going.

The full essay is available here.

(cross-post from The Faculty Lounge)

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Reimagining Canada’s Aboriginal Rights Jurisprudence

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The (Canada) Indigenous Bar Association is working on a project inspired by the work of the Women’s Court of Canada.  Organizers Professor Larry Chartrand (Saskatchewan) and Professor Naiomi Metallic (Dalhousie) held an initial meeting at the Academics’ Workshop in November, 2018. Here is a partial description of the project, taken from a call for participation from 2018 (I just became aware of it today):

[T]his year’s Academics’ Workshop seeks to disrupt current thinking around Section 35 Aboriginal rights and reimagine how these cases could have been decided.  What if Calder, Sparrow, Van der Peet, etc. were written from the perspective of Nisga’a, Musqueam or Stolo law?  What if the Supreme Court actually questioned Crown sovereignty or the doctrine of discovery?  Or what if Aboriginal rights were read consistently with international human rights obligation, such as the United Nations Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples?  What if treaty obligations in Marshall were truly understood from a Mi’kmaq understanding of the Covenant Chain of Peace and Friendship Treaties?  Or, what if Ktunaxa had actually been informed by an intersectional approach to s. 2(a) and s. 35?

I look forward to following the success of this project!

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New Canadian Feminist Judgments Project CFP

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Received just today from colleagues in Canada.  Please note deadline today.  Consider contacting organizer to request extension, if you are interested. -BJC Deadline extended to 9/30/2019

CANADIAN FEMINIST JUDGMENTS PROJECT
Call for Contributors
Offer of contributions due by August 15 2019

We are seeking scholars to contribute to a national feminist judgments project. Contributors need not identify with a particular kind of feminism, nor as female, but must have a working sense of what feminism means in relation to their work and be willing to commit to a research endeavour that will challenge them to think and write about the law in a different way.


This is a dynamic and innovative project in which scholars will write alternative judgments across a broad range of legal issues. These new judgments will operate as both a critique of common law method as well as a practical demonstration of how different ways of approaching a decision making task are possible. Judgments may be written either by individual authors or jointly by two or more authors. The cases need not be recent but must be important decisions that would benefit from a feminist analysis, or from an Indigenous feminisms perspective. The cases can be from any level, including decisions of tribunals.

We would also welcome contributions which take a more creative approach to rewriting Canadian decisions and reimagining decision making structures, including rewriting statutes, or imagining future legal decisions or structures.
Feminist judges will be free to choose the constraints on their decision making. One option, followed in many other FJPs, is to work with established legal method that existed at the time the decision was originally made, including customary legal perspectives, and simulated practical constraints on decision-making (such as the social-science research available at the time and the prevailing rules of precedent) to produce “authentic” judgments.

Writers who choose not to work in the idiom of “judicial decision” can explain their own approach and the boundaries they set.

Some contributions will require a “commentary”, designed to situate the contribution. For those working in the “alternative judgment” mode, the reader will need to know about the original judgment in its legal, social and political context, and they will need to know about the rules which bound the author of the rewriting.

This project is inspired by the groundbreaking work of the Women’s Court of Canada [WCC] rewriting Canadian equality jurisprudence. Since that project, expanded versions which branched out from equality law to all areas of law have been undertaken in other jurisdictions, including England, Australia , Northern/Ireland, Aotearoa New Zealand, Scotland, India, and the United States.

This uniquely Canadian project must be one in which the contributions of Indigenous scholars, and francophone scholars can be heard, one which includes the voices of BIPOC authors, and represents an array of sexualities – despite being situated within a profession and a part of the academy that continues to be inaccessible to many. Our unique legal landscape(s) and contemporary social, political and legal struggles are at the core of this feminist project.

Leading the initial stage of the project is Professor Estair Van Wagner (Osgoode). The CFJP will be supported in a variety of ways by the Institute for Feminist Legal Studies at Osgoode (Director Professor Sonia Lawrence), the Centre for Feminist Legal Studies at Allard Law (UBC) (Director Professor Debra Parkes), and Professor Angela Cameron, Shirley Greenberg Professor of Women and the Legal Profession at University of Ottawa Faculty of Law. Professor Van Wagner’s experience participating in the Feminist Judgments Project Aotearoa New Zealand inspired her interest in pushing for an expanded Canadian version. Preliminary phases have included making contact with people involved in most if not all of the other FJPs.

Outcome: One outcome of the project will be an edited collection of judgments, published as a book or special edition in 2022. Other likely or possible outcomes include dissemination events and a website. We are committed to an open access form of publication.

Offers to contribute: Please let us know if you would like to contribute in any of the following ways:

Judgment author/s: If you would like to write a judgment (5-7,000 words) please fill out the form at this link.

You will be asked to indicate the name of the case you propose to write on, and provide a brief explanation (max 150 words) of your interest in this case, and why the work would be feminist. We will ask you to identify the substantive subject area(s) of the work you will be doing, and whether you will need a commentator in order to set your work in context for a reader. If you do, please indicate if you have a commentator in mind.

If you would like to write something which is NOT a judgment, please fill out the same form and provide an explanation of what you would like to do.

These authors will form the core of the project and therefore are expected to be able to actively engage, including participating alongside other writers at in person and virtual events.

Conceptual or editorial contributors: If you would like to contribute to the development of the conceptual and theoretical aspects of the project, or would like to offer your assistance with peer reviewing or editing any of the work as part of an editorial collective, please indicate (max 150 words) the nature of the contribution you would be able to make.

Assistance: Once the scope of the project becomes clearer, we will be applying for funding for this project both to support participant meetings (virtual and in person) and for limited research assistance for contributors. If you have suggestions about funding opportunities that might be less known in the academic context, please feel free to provide these to Professor Van Wagner.

Contact:
Please send your offer to contribute using this form.
Questions can be sent to EVanWagner@osgoode.yorku.ca.

Proposed timetable:

15 August 2019:Deadline for offers of contributions *Deadline extended to 9/30/19*
1 October 2019: Project convenors advise on outcome of offers; project proposal drafted

School meetings

Winter 2020

TENTATIVE
May 2020: Judgment writing workshop, authors of judgments to attend.
Summer 2020: Regional and subject area group meetings
October 2020: Draft contributions due and circulated to other subject-area contributors

TENTATIVE
May 2021: Workshop 1 discussing draft judgments (held regionally?)
June 2021:Workshop 2 discussing draft judgments (held regionally?)
August 2021: Second drafts of judgments and all commentaries due
December 2021: Manuscript to publishers

TENTATIVE
Winter/Summer 2022: Dissemination Activities?

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Supreme Court of Canada Cites a Feminist Judgment in Opinion on Exclusion of Evidence of Victim’s Prior Sexual Conduct

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The Supreme Court of Canada issued a decision on June 28, 2019 in the case of R. v. Goldfinch, 2019 SCC 38 (CanLII). The case involved an appeal of an evidential ruling in a criminal sexual assault trial. Canada Criminal Code Section 276 provides that evidence of the victim’s sexual activity “whether with the accused or with any other person, is not admissible to support an inference that, by reason of the sexual nature of that activity, the complainant (a) is more likely to have consented to the sexual activity that forms the subject-matter of the charge; or (b) is less worthy of belief.”

The trial court judge permitted the defendant to introduce evidence of his “friends with benefits” relationship with the victim. A jury found the defendant not guilty. The Crown (or, in U.S.-speak, the prosecution) appealed the trial court’s decision to admit evidence of the defendant’s prior consensual sexual encounters with the victim. The Court of Appeal found that the trial court erred in permitting the introduction of that evidence.

Justice Andromache Karakatsanis

The defendant then exercised his as-of-right opportunity to have the Supreme Court of Canada review the question of whether the trial court erred in allowing admission of evidence of the “friends with benefits” relationship.

The Supreme Court of Canada held that the trial court did err, and ordered a new trial. In a plurality opinion written by Justice Andromache Karakatsanis, the Court reasoned that Section 276 serves two purposes. First, the rule “protects the integrity of the trial process by safeguarding both the dignity and privacy of complainants and the right of accused persons to make full answer and defence.” Second, the rule “is designed to exclude irrelevant information that is more prejudicial to the administration of justice than it is probative.” In this case, the introduction of the friends-with-benefits information “served no purpose other than to support the inference that because the complainant had consented in the past, she was more likely to have consented on the night in question,” Justice Karakatsanis explained, and therefore it was inadmissible.

Professor Jennifer Koshan

Professor Jennifer Koshan of the Faculty of Law at the University of Calgary is one of the founding members of the Women’s Court of Canada (the original Feminist Judgments project). In 2016, she published a “shadow opinion” in R v. JA (2011), a Supreme Court of Canada case that found a spouse could not consent in advance to certain sexual acts to occur when she subsequently became unconscious.  Professor Koshan’s feminist judgment, “Marriage and Advance Consent to Sex: A Feminist Judgment in R v JA” explored, among other themes, the tension between recognizing real harm and also respecting sexual autonomy.

In the Goldfinch decision, Justice Karakatsanis cited Professor Koshan’s feminist judgment in support of the proposition that “the suggestion that sexual assault is less harmful to those who are sexually active or in relationships is simply wrong.”

As far as I know, this is the first time that a court has cited a feminist judgment.  It is a real milestone in the global development of feminist judgments projects. Hopefully more judges will incorporate feminist judgments into actual opinions.

Based on the example of the Women’s Court of Canada, groups of scholars and lawyers have published projects based in England/Wales, Australia, New Zealand, Ireland, the U.S., Scotland, and in the field of International Law.  Projects are ongoing in India, Africa, Mexico. In the U.S., there is a whole series of subject-matter specific feminist judgments books.  The appeal of this new form of socio-legal scholarship is undeniable. It allows the rewriter to show that precedents and facts do not lead inevitably to a single conclusion, but that a judge’s ruling, reasoning or both will depend on context and perspective.

Thank you, to the members of the Women’s Court of Canada, for leading the way.  And congratulations, Professor Koshan, on being the author of the first feminist judgment to be cited by a court!

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Black Women and Non-Binary Writers Paying Tribute to Toni Morrison #CiteBlackWomen

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Dr. Tara L. Conley (Communication, Montclair State) has compiled a list of online essays written by Black women and non-binary writers in tribute to Toni Morrison in the wake of her August 5 death. Dr. Conley’s list is here. She welcomes additions.

Here is an excerpt from Dr. Conley’s own essay, In Toni Morrison’s Hometown, the Familiar Has Become Foreign:

When I heard Toni Morrison passed away, I thought it odd that someone immortal could die. * * * I knew Mom and I would soon be making an eight-hour drive from New York City to Elyria for a family funeral. The last three years of visiting home has been because of funerals. On this trip, I wanted to visit Toni Morrison’s childhood home for the first time.

Reader, the irony of going home to visit Toni Morrison’s childhood home after her death, amidst a series of family homegoings isn’t lost on me. * * *

Morrison called Ohio “neither plantation nor ghetto,” and that’s how I remembered it, too. At the Christian school I attended in Lorain, my classmates were black, Puerto Rican, and white. Our parents worked together at industrial plants and telephone companies. I always felt a sense of shared class consciousness growing up in Elyria-Lorain. Racism wasn’t talked about so much as it was quietly experienced by family members and friends. I was called a nigger on the playground, and so was my mom, and so was my mom’s mom. But that was our problem to deal with.When Donald Trump was running for president, that shared sense of class struggle I knew growing up seemed like a lie. White family friends defended Trump and his rallies; they refused to see him as a problem and became less and less reticent about showing their support. Sports team banners used to tell people what we were most proud of in Northeast Ohio. Now Trump 2020 signs do.

This place I know is foreign.

Read the full essay here.

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Cook on Expert Witnesses in Sex Trafficking Prosecutions

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Blanche Cook (Kentucky) has posted to SSRN her article Stop Traffic: Using Expert Witnesses to Disrupt Intersectional Vulnerability in Sex Trafficking Prosecutions, 24 Berkeley J. Crim. L. 147 (2019). Here is the abstract:

Sex trafficking thrives on intersectional inequality and reinforcing layers of vulnerability. Sex trafficking exists on a continuum of sexualized violence, from microaggressive sexual harassment to macroaggressive gang rapes, all of which create vulnerability in the victim and perfect sovereignty in the perpetrator. Sexualized violence performs power, as it is raced, classed, and gendered. Power not only requires performance, but it necessitates repetitive reenactments of domination in order to normalize its compulsive and pathological nature. Lynchings, police shootings, gang rapes, and sex trafficking are all performances of power on vulnerable bodies through which power perfects itself. The same inequality that creates the necessary preconditions for vulnerability to violence in the first instance, also obfuscates or masks power’s pathology and compulsivity in the investigative and adjudicative processes. By way of illustration, victim blaming renders the pathology of the perpetrator invisible because it removes accountability from the perpetrator and shifts blame onto the victim. Shifting blame onto the victim obfuscates or hides power’s omnipresence, compulsiveness, and pathology. The victim blaming process is pervasive, systemic, and entrenched. Without proper interventions, sex trafficking cases can become ritualized spectacle, where sexualized violence as well as its accompanying investigation and adjudication convince the factfinder of the pathology of the victim and the sovereignty of the perpetrator. The pathology that surrounds victims of sexualized violence adversely impacts their credibility and extends narratives about male entitlement to vulnerable bodies. The recent cases involving R. Kelly and Cyntoia Brown illustrate these points. In the case of singer, song writer Kelly, his videotaping sex with an underaged black female resulted in an acquittal.

The full article is available here.

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Feminist Legal Theory Collaborative Research Network: CFP Law & Society 2020

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Call for Papers – Friday, September 20 Deadline

The Feminist Legal Theory Collaborative Research Network

Seeks submissions for the

Law and Society Association Annual Meeting

May 28-31, 2020 in Denver, Colorado

Submission link: https://form.jotform.com/91827795835172

Dear friends and colleagues:

We invite you to submit a paper for a panel to be sponsored by the Feminist Legal Theory Collaborative Research Network at the 2020 Law and Society Annual Meeting in Denver. The Feminist Legal Theory CRN brings together law and society scholars across a range of fields who are interested in feminist legal theory. Information about the Law and Society meeting is available at https://www.lawandsociety.org/index.html

We will give preference to individual paper proposals over proposals for panels that are pre-formed.  One of the goals of the Feminist Legal Theory CRN is to encourage scholars to engage with the diverse work of others across the academy. Any proposals for a fully-formed panel should address specifically the efforts that the panel organizers have made to ensure diversity among presenters, including race, gender, sexual orientation and gender identity; diversity in the institutions of presenters’ affiliation and/or primary training; diversity among positions in the academy such as senior vs. junior scholars, tenured vs. non-tenured participants, doctrinal vs. non-doctrinal faculty. 

This year’s meeting invites us to explore “Rule and Resistance.”  We are especially interested in proposals that explore the application of feminist legal theory to this theme, broadly construed. We are also interested in papers that will permit us to collaborate with other CRNs, such as the Critical Research on Race and the Law CRN. We welcome multidisciplinary paper proposals and proposals from scholars from all parts of the world.

Our goal is to stimulate focused discussion of papers on which scholars are currently working rather than to seek fully-formed panels.  Thus, while you may submit papers that are closer to publication, we are particularly eager to receive proposals for works-in-progress that are at an earlier stage and will benefit from the discussion that the panels will provide. We strongly encourage applications from junior scholars and graduate students – as well as people who are new to feminist legal theory.

The Planning Committee will assign individual papers to panels of four presenters, based on subject matter. Each paper presentation should run roughly 10 to 15 minutes to allow ample time for discussion. We will also assign a chair, and one or two commentators/discussants for each panel, to provide feedback on the papers and promote discussion.

In addition to traditional panels, we are open to proposals in the other formats that the LSA allows, including Author Meets Reader, Salon, or Roundtable sessions. If you have an idea that you think would work well in one of these formats, please also use the submission form above.  Organizers of these types of sessions should address in their proposal the same diversity criteria listed above.

Finally–and new this year–the FLT CRN welcomes submissions for roundtables on how to incorporate feminist principles into both teaching methods (pedagogical strategies as well as classroom practices) and course coverage across subject areas. Sessions could potentially address topics such as: (1) what feminist teaching can look like and (2) how to deal with the unique challenges of teaching in a hostile or indifferent environment to feminism. Preference will be given to proposals that involve materials or demonstrations.

Please also note that LSA rules limit each participant to a single conference appearance as a paper panelist or as a roundtable participant. As a condition of participating as part of a program sponsored by the CRN, we also ask that you agree to serve as a chair and/or commentator/discussant for another panel or participant. We will of course take into account expertise and topic preferences to the degree possible.

Chairs are responsible for the primary organization of the panel. Chairs will develop a 100 to 250 word description for the session and submit the session proposal to LSA before the November 6 LSA deadline.  This will ensure that other participants accepted by the CRN can submit their proposal to LSA, using the panel number assigned by the CRN. The Chair may also serve as the Discussant for the panel, or there may be a separate Discussant.  Where possible, we will attempt to assign two Discussants to each paper panel. Discussants read the two to three papers assigned to them and prepare a short commentary to offer feedback and serve as a basis for discussion among the panelist and audience members as well as (to the extent relevant) identify ways that the papers relate to one another.

If you would like to present a paper as part of a CRN panel, please make your submission here https://form.jotform.com/91827795835172. The submission form will ask you to provide:

  • A 500 word abstract or summary of your paper;
  • Your paper’s title
  • Your name and institutional affiliation;
  • Number of years you have been in teaching/working as a grad student; and
  • A list of your areas of interest and expertise within feminist legal theory.

Please note that for Author Meets Reader, Salon, or Roundtable sessions, organizers should provide a 500-word summary of the topic and the contributions they expect the proposed participants to make.

If you need to contact the CRN Planning Committee, please do so via  feministlegaltheory@gmail.com. (Please do not send submissions to individual committee members.) 

Please submit all proposals by Friday, September 20, 2019. Late proposals may not be considered for inclusion. This schedule will permit us to organize panels and submit them prior to the LSA’s deadline of November 6. In the past, we have accommodated as many panelists as possible, but have been unable to accept all proposals. If we are unable to accept your proposal for the CRN, we will notify you by early November so that you can submit an independent proposal to LSA.

We hope you’ll join us in Denver to share and discuss the scholarship in which we are all engaged and connect with others doing work on feminist legal theory.

Finally, please make sure to sign up for the Feminist Legal Theory Collaborative Research page on TWEN, as that is our primary platform for communication about the CRN’s activities.  If your primary academic affiliation is outside a U.S.-based law school, please contact Bridget Crawford (bcrawford@law.pace.edu), and she will arrange for you to have access to TWEN, if you provide your institutional email account.  The CRN welcomes participants from all parts of the academy.

2020 LSA Feminist Legal Theory CRN Planning Committee

Naomi Cahn (co-chair)

Bridget Crawford (co-chair)

David Cohen

Tugce Ellialti

Jessica Feinberg

Jessica Knouse

Shruti Rana

Jordan Woods

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Jill Hasday on “Intimate Lies and the Law”

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Jill Hasday’s new book, Intimate Lies and the Law, is out from Oxford University Press on July 24.  She says that deception within intimate relationships is a fascinating topic—especially when it happens to someone else.

For more information, you can check out Jill’s website here

Here’s a description of the book:

Intimacy and deception are often entangled.  People deceive to lure someone into a relationship or to keep her there, to drain an intimate’s bank account or to use her to acquire government benefits, to control an intimate or to resist domination, or to capture myriad other advantages.  No subject is immune from deception in dating, sex, marriage, and family life.  Intimates can lie or otherwise intentionally mislead each other about anything and everything.

Suppose you discover that an intimate has deceived you and inflicted severe—even life-altering—financial, physical, or emotional harm.  After the initial shock and sadness, you might wonder whether the law will help you secure redress.  But the legal system refuses to help most people deceived within an intimate relationship.  Courts and legislatures have shielded this persistent and pervasive source of injury, routinely denying deceived intimates access to the remedies that are available for deceit in other contexts.

Jill Elaine Hasday’s Intimate Lies and the Law is the first book that systematically examines deception in intimate relationships and uncovers the hidden body of law governing this duplicity.  Hasday argues that the law has placed too much emphasis on protecting intimate deceivers and too little importance on helping the people they deceive.  The law can and should do more to recognize, prevent, and redress the injuries that intimate deception can inflict.

Entering an intimate relationship should not mean losing the law’s protection from deceit.

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@RebelCityPod on a Really, Really Important Scottish Feminist You Probably Never Read About

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Via freelance journalist Alex Tiffin (@RespectisVital), I got pointed to the Rebel City Podcast, a podcast made in Glasgow by Paul Shields and Matt Diamond. 

On a recent episode, the podcast featured Ray Barron-Woolford (@Raywoolford), the author of a new book, The Last Queen of Scotland (2019).  It’s not about that Queen of Scotland. Nope. It’s a fascinating history of Kath Duncan (1888-1954), a Scottish political organizer, labor activist, and advocate for the poor.  Here is an excerpt of a review by Chrissy Hamlin of The Hidden Herstories blog:

Woolford’s book tells how Kath Duncan was a highly significant champion of the poor and the unemployed. She was a tireless campaigner for workers’ rights and spent 2 jail terms in Holloway prison for making political speeches. The National Council for Civil Liberties supported her in a landmark court case on the freedom of speech but not many history books will tell you that fact. Duncan also opposed fascism, took part in the Battle of Cable Street and was central to the Aid to Spain movement in the 1930’s. She was a key player in these things – so by rights she should be a household name or have a memorial or statue erected somewhere.

Woolford’s very well researched biography defiantly places Kath Duncan’s story right back into the public eye where it belongs, and restores her to her rightful position as one of the leading civil-rights activists of our time. Her political campaigning can be linked to several of the most significant moments in 20th century British history and has relevance to many of the social and political issues we have today.  

In a year when we are celebrating 100 years of some women getting the vote in the UK – it is vital that we also recognise and acknowledge the life and work of Kath Duncan – a working class woman who played just as significant a role in politics as The Pankhurst’s, Nancy Astor or Barbara Castle. In a world where we constantly strive for more equality this book has an important message about how society deals with freedom of speech and civil liberty. Kath Duncan’s story has finally been uncovered by Woolford and all of us really ought to read it. 

The full review is here. An excerpt of the book is available online here.

The podcast episode is here, among other places (search “Kath Duncan” and “Rebel City Podcast”). I learned a great deal!

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CFP: 12th Feminist Legal Theory Conference at University of Baltimore School of Law: Applied Feminism and Privacy – Deadline 11/1

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From colleagues at the University of Baltimore:

The Center on Applied Feminism at the University of Baltimore School of Law seeks paper proposals for the Twelfth Feminist Legal Theory Conference.  We hope you will join us for this exciting conference on April 2 and 3, 2020.  The theme is Applied Feminism and Privacy. As always, the conference focuses on the intersection of gender and race, class, gender identity, ability, and other personal identities. We are excited that Dr. Leana Wen, President and CEO of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America and the Planned Parenthood Action Fund, has agreed to serve as our Keynote.

We are at a critical time for a broad range of privacy issues. State level abortion bans have put a spotlight on the importance of decisional privacy to women’s equality. Across America, advocates are fighting for reproductive justice and strategizing to preserve long-settled rights. At the same time, our informational privacy is increasingly precarious. Data brokers, app designers, and social media platforms are gathering and selling personal data in highly gendered ways. As a result, women have been targeted with predatory marketing, intentionally excluded from job opportunities, and subject to menstrual tracking by marketers and employers. In online spaces, women have been objectified, cyber-stalked, and subject to revenge porn.  With regard to physical privacy, the structural intersectionality of over-policing and mass incarceration impacts women of color and other women.  And while a man’s home may be his castle, low-income women are expected to allow government agents into their homes – and to turn over reams of other personal information — as a condition of receiving state support. In addition, families of all forms are navigating the space of constitutionally-protected family privacy in relation to legal parentage, marriage and cohabitation, and child welfare systems.

We seek submissions of papers that focus on the topic of Applied Feminism and Privacy.  We will interrogate multiple aspects of privacy, including its physical, decisional, informational, and family dimensions. This conference aims to explore the following questions:  Is privacy dead, as often claimed?  If so, what does this mean for women? How can privacy reinforce or challenge existing inequalities?  How has feminist legal theory wrestled with privacy and what lessons can we draw from past debates? What advocacy will best advance privacy protections that benefit women? How do emerging forms of surveillance impact women? Can intersectional perspectives on privacy lead to greater justice? Who defines the “right to privacy” and what do those understandings mean for women? How is privacy related to other values, such as autonomy, anti-subordination, vulnerability, justice, and equality?

We welcome proposals that consider these questions and any other related questions from a variety of substantive disciplines and perspectives. The Center’s conference will serve as a forum for scholars, practitioners, and activists to share ideas about applied feminism, focusing on connections between theory and practice to effectuate social change. The conference will be open to the public.

To submit a paper proposal, by Friday, November 1, 2019, please complete this form and include your 500 word abstract: https://forms.gle/k4EPNLaYmEvo4KHUA

We will notify presenters of selected papers by early December. About half the presenter slots will be reserved for authors who commit to publishing in the annual symposium volume of the University of Baltimore Law Review, our co-sponsor for this conference. Thus, the form requests that you indicate if you are interested in publishing in the University of Baltimore Law Review’s symposium issue. Authors who are interested in publishing in the Law Review will be strongly considered for publication. The decision about publication rests solely with the Law Review editors, who will communicate separately with the authors. For all presenters, working drafts of papers will be due no later than March 20, 2020. Presenters are responsible for their own travel costs; the conference will provide a discounted hotel rate as well as meals.

We look forward to your submissions. If you have further questions, please contact Prof. Margaret Johnson at majohnson@ubalt.edu. For additional information about the conference, please visit law.ubalt.edu/caf.

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Margaret Johnson (@ProfMEJohnson1) is @UBaltLaw’s First Associate Dean for Experiential Education

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Margaret Johnson has been appointed as the University of Baltimore School of Law’s first Associate Dean for Experiential Education.

Readers of this blog may know Professor Johnson as the School’s Co-Director (with Michele Gilman) of the Center on Applied Feminism. She is also a prior President of Clinical Legal Education Association and prior Chair of the clinical conference planning committee (and newly appointed to the editorial board of the Clinical Law Review, too).

If you haven’t read it yet, Professor Johnson has a fantastic article soon to appear in print: Menstrual Justice, UC Davis L. Rev (forthcoming 2019).

Congratulations, Margaret, on the new responsibilities!

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Op Ed on Discriminatory #TamponTax

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Erwin Chemerinsky (UC Berkeley) and Jennifer Weiss-Wolf (Period Equity) have published an op-ed in the LA Times, Taxing Tampons Isn’t Just Unfair, It’s Unconstitutional. Here is an excerpt:
 
In the United States, where sales taxes are levied by each state, bills have been introduced in 32 legislatures since 2016 to exempt menstrual products from sales tax. Five succeeded: Connecticut, Florida, Illinois and New York passed laws. Additionally, citizens of Nevada approved a 2018 ballot measure to accomplish the same. Another 10 states don’t tax menstrual products — either because they collect no sales tax at all, or because they’re included under general exemption categories. * * * 
 
As a matter of policy, compassion and common sense, most states explicitly exempt “necessities of life” from sales tax, with food and medicine at the top of the list. In some states, necessity exemptions include things such as bingo supplies, cotton candy, erectile dysfunction pills, gun club memberships and tattoos. Menstrual products certainly rank as a necessity for most women, for much of their lives. They are essential for attending school, working and functioning in society. * * *
 
In 2016, five plaintiffs brought a class-action lawsuit against the New York State Department of Taxation making these arguments. The case was withdrawn after the Legislature and Gov. Andrew Cuomo quickly responded to public outcry and passed legislation.
 
But the central argument advanced in that case is valid, and it is one increasingly being made by legal scholars. It should be raised again in the courts. A law that affects only one sex — or one race, or one religion — is inherently discriminatory. U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia once famously remarked that a tax on yarmulkes is a tax on Jews (interestingly, in a case about abortion clinic blockades). In the same vein, a tax on a product used only by women, and used by all (or the vast majority of) women for much of their lives, is a tax on women. * * * 
 
Eliminating the discriminatory tampon tax isn’t a legislative nicety or a budgetary option. It is a legal mandate. Period.
 
The full piece is available here. See also this article by Emily Waldman (Pace) and me: The Unconstitutional Tampon Tax, 53 U. Richmond L. Rev. 339 (2018).
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CFP: Integrating Doctrine and Diversity: Inclusion & Equity in the Law School Classroom

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Dear Colleagues,

We are writing to invite you to consider submitting contributions to a new book we are editing. It is tentatively titled Integrating Doctrine and Diversity: Inclusion & Equity in the Law School Classroom. This book will be published by Carolina Academic Press as a title in their Teaching series.

Call for Submissions

We are looking for law professors who teach 1L subjects who want to write a case study or practical resource for how to integrate diversity into the legal classroom. While we have secured several authors already, we are looking for professors who teach Contracts, Constitutional Law, Torts, Property, Criminal Law, Civil Procedure, & Legal Writing.

Concept:

Each major chapter will focus on one doctrinal class common to the 1L curriculum and will have 3 essays/case studies of about 3500 words in length, written by a professor of that subject. Each chapter will also have a selected annotated bibliography of resources for teaching diversity/inclusion/equity written by a law librarian specific to each subject. This is the first book of this kind and promises to be ground-breaking and exciting. Law professors are asking for resources on how to better incorporate serious issues of diversity/inclusion/equity into the curriculum and no resource currently exists which provides a variety of case studies and annotated resources organized by subject.

Education resources exist on this topic for use in the classroom but up until now they have not been organized and presented by topic for ease of use. The goal of this project is to bring together the insights and experiences of law faculty from J.D. programs across the country to strengthen the cultural competency of law students.”

Please email a statement of interest and a one paragraph summary of your piece to let us know if you want to participate and some basic information about yourself. The deadline for proposals is July 31, 2019.

Format:

The final version must be no longer than 3500 words. We will be using Bluebook format for all footnotes. For questions about style, such as how to write a particular word (i.e., email or e-mail), we will be using The Chicago Manual of Style, 17th ed. 

(see https://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/book/ed17/part2/ch07/psec089.html)

Timeline:

Notification of Accepted Submissions: By August 7, 2019.

Contract Completed and Returned: By August 16, 2019 (Submit to gbt14@camden.rutgers.edu).

First Complete Draft Due: December 2, 2019 (Submit to gbt14@camden.rutgers.edu).

Final Draft Due: February 1, 2020 (Submit to gbt14@camden.rutgers.edu)

Publication: Spring 2021.

Questions or concerns:

If you have any questions/concerns/problems, please contact one of the editors.

Contact a member of the editorial team:

Nicole P. Dyszlewski ndyszlewski@rwu.edu

Raquel Gabriel raquel.gabriel@law.cuny.edu

Suzy Harrington-Steppen sharrington-steppen@rwu.edu

Anna Russell Anna_Russell@LB9.uscourts.gov

Genevieve Tung gbt14@camden.rutgers.edu

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@DukeLaw Journal of Gender, Law & Policy Shutting Down After 2019-2020 Academic Year

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I found this out after I made a submission. The student editors replied that they had filled the volume for next year, and that would be their last.

I haven’t seen any official press release from the school.

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#Tampon #Tax Back in Tanzania

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From Agence France Presse:

A decision by Tanzania’s government to reintroduce a tax on sanitary pads and tampons has angered women in the country, with one activist on Sunday saying it would have “heavy consequences” for women.
 
Taxes on female sanitary products — which are basic necessities — have come under increasing scrutiny across the globe, and Tanzania in 2018 decided to join those nations scrapping Value Added Tax on pads and tampons.
 
However the tax was re-introduced during the unveiling of this year’s budget last week.
 
Finance Minister Philip Mpango said removing the tax was counter-productive, as retailers had not lowered their prices.
 
The full story is here.
 
When the government needs more money, it (re)imposes a tax on a product that is  inextricably linked to biological sex. If that’s not discrimination, what is?
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Ways Around the Tampon Tax – German Style

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Via The Lily News.

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Dov Fox on “Birth Rights and Wrongs”

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Dov Fox (San Diego) has published Birth Rights and Wrongs: How Medicine and Technology are Remaking Reproduction and the Law (Oxford, 2019).  Here is the publisher’s description:

9780190675721

Millions of Americans rely on the likes of birth control, IVF, and genetic testing to make plans as intimate and far reaching as any over a lifetime. This is no less than the medicine of miracles. It fills empty cradles, frees families from terrible disease, and empowers them to fashion their lives on their own terms. But accidents happen.

Pharmacists mix up pills. Lab techs misread tests. Obstetricians tell women their healthy fetuses would be stillborn. Political and economic forces conspire against regulation. And judges throw up their hands when professionals foist parenthood on people who didn’t want it, or childlessness on those who did. Failed abortions, switched donors, and lost embryos may be first-world problems. But these aren’t innocent lapses or harmless errors. They’re wrongs in need of rights.

This book lifts the curtain on reproductive negligence, gives voice to the lives it upends, and vindicates the interests that advances in medicine and technology bring to full expression. It charts the legal universe of errors that:

(1) deprive pregnancy or parenthood of people who set out to pursue them;
(2) impose pregnancy or parenthood on those who tried to avoid these roles; or
(3) confound efforts to have a child with or without certain genetic traits.

This novel architecture forces citizens and courts to rethink the reproductive controversies of our time, and equips us to meet the new challenges-from womb transplants to gene editing-that lie just over the horizon.

The book is available for order on the OUP website (here) and, you know, a certain other websites where many people buy books.

(cross-post from Faculty Lounge)

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CFP-Prison Abolition, Human Rights, and Penal Reform: From the Local to the Global

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Bumping to the front; submission deadline 7/15

From colleagues at the Bernard and Audre Rapoport Center for Human Rights and Justice at The University of Texas at Austin, School of Law:

Prison Abolition, Human Rights, and Penal Reform: From the Local to the Global

Mass incarceration and overcriminalization in the United States are subject to critique by some on both the right and the left today. Many critics increasingly talk of prison abolition. At the same time, the international human rights movement continues to rely upon criminal punishment as its primary enforcement tool for many violations, even as it criticizes harsh prison conditions, the use of the death penalty, and lack of due process in criminal proceedings. What would it mean for the human rights movement to take seriously calls for prison abolitionism and the economic and racial inequalities that overcriminalization reproduces and exacerbates? And what might critics of the carceral regime in the United States have to learn from work done by international human rights advocates in a variety of countries?

September 26-28th, 2019, the Rapoport Center will host in Austin an interdisciplinary conference to consider the relationships among the human rights, prison abolition, and penal reform movements. Do they share the same goals? Should they collaborate? If so, in what ways? The conference is co-sponsored by the Frances Tarlton “Sissy” Farenthold Endowed Lecture Series in Peace, Social Justice and Human Rights, Center for European Studies, William Wayne Justice Center for Public Interest Law, LLILAS Benson Latin American Studies and Collections, John Warfield Center for African and African American Studies, Center for the Study of Race and Democracy, Department of Sociology, Center for Population Research, and Capital Punishment Center.

Ruth Wilson Gilmore will offer the keynote lecture on September 26. We invite proposals for papers, panels, art, or other forms of presentation from activists, practitioners, and scholars in all disciplines. We are eager to include those who study or advocate around criminal law and human rights in different regions and contexts, those who work on various forms of incarceration (including immigration detention), and those who explore alternatives to current criminal punishment regimes. We encourage discussion of the distributive effects of various constructions of and responses to crime. Topics might include:

  • Racial capitalism and prison abolition
  • Prison abolition: short- versus long-term goals
  • Abolition and efforts to reform/transform conditions of confinement: are they in opposition?
  • Capital punishment, human rights, and the goals of death penalty abolition
  • Mass incarceration and surveillance
  • Gender, sexuality, reproductive rights and the prison system
  • Human rights and decriminalization
  • The human rights movement and national and international criminal law
  • Lessons from transitional and restorative justice
  • Incarceration and the intersections of criminal and immigration law
  • Immigration detention and the (private) prison industrial complex
  • Potential responses to violent crime
  • The UN and crime
  • Exportation of criminal justice models: good and bad
  • The role of victims in carceral regimes and anti-carceral responses
  • Reflections on the role human rights courts do and should play in the carceral state
  • Black Lives Matter, human rights, and abolition
  • Queer politics and abolition

Please send an abstract of your paper, panel, or project in under 500 words to Sarah Eliason by July 15, 2019. A limited number of need-based travel grants are available to support travel costs for selected participants. If you wish to apply for a travel grant, please complete this application form by July 15, 2019.

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Bra-Gate: A 2019 Tale of Institutional Misogyny (@JCSherriffOffice)

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by JoAnne Sweeny

Back in May 2019, the Jackson County Detention Center, without any warning to local attorneys, instituted a new security policy that requires all visitors, including inmates’ attorneys, to pass through a metal detector.  Seems reasonable in theory but the practice has lead to what, one assumes, is an unintended side-effect: some women’s underwire bras are setting it off.  In response, instead of simply using a wand to determine what is setting off the alarm as other prisons do, the Jackson County Detention Center is not letting the women pass until they do not set off the detector.  Which means, their bras must come off.

This is not unique to Kansas City.  An even more draconian policy was implemented in Lancaster County prison in 2018: visitors were given only two chances to pass the metal detector and women were required to wear a bra under prison rules.  These policies resulted in women removing the wire from their bras or buying new ones.  A Maryland jail was sued in 2011 after two women were required to take their underwire bras off before visiting even though prison officials had stated four months earlier that underwire bras were allowed.

What makes the situation worse in Kansas City is that this is a detention center, not a prison; almost everyone held there has not been convicted of a crime and is therefore presumed innocent.  Moreover, it is attorneys – who have already been vetted by the detention center – who are being turned away.  A similar situation in Portland, Maine in 2015 led to official apologies.  But in Kansas City, the officials’ response to the attorneys’ complaints has actually added insult to injury.

First, Sheriff Darryl Forté denied that the problem was even happening by calling it “misinformation” and insisting that no one was told to take their bras off.  This is technically true but, as one attorney put it, if the choice is entering the detention center sans bra or not seeing your client, the detention center isn’t actually giving you a choice.  Similarly, when the issue was brought to the attention of a judge as part of a larger proceeding about the burdens suffered by the public defenders in Jackson County, the (male) judge also denied the problem existed, arguing that no one else seemed to have a problem with it.  These denials of the actual experiences of female attorneys are extremely troubling.

Next, the Director of the Department of Corrections, Diana Turner, offered a “solution”: women could keep their underwire on but would only have no contact meetings with inmates, which means that their attorneys would have to see them through glass.  As the attorneys have pointed out, this “solution” impedes their ability to meaningfully interact with their clients and build a rapport with them.  Using a telephone to communicate through a pane of glass makes it impossible for attorneys to go over evidence with their clients or have them sign documents, which are essential tasks for a lawyer, particularly when their client is still awaiting trial.  It’s no wonder that the attorneys found this solution to be a non-starter.

Director Turner also attempted to turn the gender issue into a class issue by accusing the complaining attorneys of “want[ing] privilege” as part of the “educated elite” because they don’t mind that all corrections officers must pass though the same security.  Turner argued that attorneys have essentially stated that “it’s reasonable to suspect your people.  Your staff is just [corrections officers].”  However, no complaining attorney has stated that female corrections officers should be subjected to this policy.  Moreover, there may be a reason to treat corrections officers differently; there is no record of an attorney ever smuggling contraband but, just last year, a former Jackson County corrections officer was sentenced to 16 months in federal prison for smuggling contraband.  Finally, the detention center strip searches every inmate after they meet with their attorneys so even if attorneys were trying to smuggle in contraband, the corrections officers would catch it.  So, this isn’t about contraband at all.  Something else is going on here.

Back to the story.  Despite Forté and Turners’ best efforts, this issue has not gone away.  A letter was signed by over 70 attorneys – men and women – and addressed to prison officials as well as the local legislature.  The issue was also publicly taken up by legislator Kristal Williams and last week there was a peaceful protest and a 90-minute meeting of the County Legislature. At the legislative meeting, the attorneys were met with intransigence.  Sheriff Forté said they would not change the policy, despite several legislators voicing their concerns.  Forté did agree to meet with the complaining attorneys but no date has been set and there is certainly no reason to be hopeful that he will have a change of heart.

Indeed, he has already retaliated.  Forté recently filed a Sunshine Act request to see the emails from attorneys to legislator Williams regarding this issue. When criticized, Forté defended his request as an effort to “educate the community about open records, as well as to ascertain facts about alleged comments.” It is unclear what “education” his request will provide or what “facts” he needs to discover.

So, for those keeping score, when women (and, later, men) complained about a policy they found unnecessary, humiliating, and sexist, they were met with: gaslighting, false solutions, accusations of privilege, stonewalling and, finally, retaliation.  And this is against attorneys who are well-positioned to fight back.  There are 300 female workers at the Jackson County prison and several of them had to buy new underwear just to do their jobs, which Director Turner described positively as these workers “making adjustments” to the policy.  However, their union complaints indicate that they would have preferred to not have taken on such an unnecessary expense and merely capitulated to keep their jobs.

But there is a (sort of) happy ending here.  A week after the legislative hearing, attorneys have reported that their underwire bras are no longer setting off the metal detectors, though Sherriff Forté has stated that the machines were not changed.  One can only hope that this is the end of the saga.

Addendum from Bridget Crawford: Jackson County Sheriff Forté @sheriffforte has blocked Feminist Law Professors from following him on Twitter because of questions sent by me, from the FLP Twitter account, asking for clarification of the policies at the Jackson County Detention Center. For that reason, I have added the (general) Twitter handle of the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office to the title of this blog post, so that the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office will receive a Twitter notice of this blog post. The actions of the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office are attracting negative national attention.  I believe that Sheriff Forte’s blocking this account on Twitter is unconstitutional under Knight First Amendment Institute v. Trump, 302 F. Supp. 3d 541 (2018). Sheriff Forté seems to believe that he does not have to respect the First Amendment rights of members of the public who question him respectfully.  Let’s see if this blog post gets us banned by the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office, too.

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Posted in Criminal Law, Employment Discrimination, Feminism and Culture, Feminism and Law, Feminism and the Workplace, If you're a woman, Legal Profession, Prisons and Prisoners | Comments Off on Bra-Gate: A 2019 Tale of Institutional Misogyny (@JCSherriffOffice)

Hiring Announcment: Detroit Mercy Seeks to Fill 2 Positions

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Announcement: Property Law Position

University of Detroit Mercy School of Law seeks a proven or aspiring scholar and teacher with an interest in teaching first-year Property Law for a tenured or tenure-track position beginning 2020-2021.  Applicants must have a law degree and strong academic background and must demonstrate either a record of or potential for both teaching excellence and high scholarly achievement in any area of law.  The balance of the teaching package will be determined in conversation with the successful candidate.

To Apply

Applicants should send a cover letter, which should include a brief description of their ideal teaching package and a general indication of their areas of scholarly interest.  Please direct the cover letter, a current CV, additional supporting materials (if any), and any questions you may have to:

Professor Julia Belian, Chair of Faculty Recruitment

University of Detroit Mercy School of Law

651 East Jefferson

Detroit, Michigan 48226

(belianju@udmercy.edu, 313-596-0225)

Materials will be accepted via email or regular mail.  Review of applicants will begin in July 2019 and will continue until the position is filled.

******************************

Announcement: International Intellectual Property Clinic Director

University of Detroit Mercy School of Law seeks applicants for a tenured or tenure-track position to teach in and direct the International Intellectual Property Law Clinic starting with the 2020-21 academic year.

The Clinic

The International Intellectual Property Law Clinic is certified by the USPTO for both patent and trademark law and serves the burgeoning creative and entrepreneurial community in Detroit.  In 2012, the USPTO chose Detroit as the location for its first satellite office because Detroit and its surrounding communities are home to one of the largest concentrations of intellectual property attorneys in the United States.  Part of a growing Intellectual Property program at Detroit Mercy Law, the International Intellectual Property Law Clinic hosts the annual International Patent Drafting Competition, which is held at the Elijah J. McCoy Midwest Regional USPTO each February.  The Competition attracts teams from law schools across the United States and Canada.  Detroit Mercy Law also offers an on-line Certificate in Law – Intellectual Property. This non-JD program meets the needs of professionals and organizations for knowledge of intellectual property and cybersecurity laws.  

Requirements

Applicants must

  • Have a law degree and strong academic background.
  • Demonstrate either a record of or potential for both teaching excellence and high scholarly achievement. 
  • Be either a registered patent attorney, a patent agent in good standing with the USPTO, or a licensed attorney in good standing with the highest court of any state.

Ideal candidates will also possess at least three years’ experience (within the past five years) prosecuting patent applications before the USPTO.  Applicants with some experience teaching in a law clinic are preferred, and applicants who are excited about continuing to grow our Intellectual Property Law program, in addition to directing the existing Clinic, are of particular interest.

To Apply

Applicants should send a cover letter with a current CV and any additional supporting materials (or any questions) to:

Professor Julia Belian, Chair of Faculty Recruitment

University of Detroit Mercy School of Law

651 East Jefferson

Detroit, Michigan 48226

(belianju@udmercy.edu, 313-596-0225)

Materials will be accepted via email or regular mail.  Review of applicants will begin in July 2019 and will continue until the position is filled.

About Our Program of Legal Education

Detroit Mercy Law offers a unique curriculum that complements traditional theory- and doctrine-based course work with intensive practical learning.  Students must complete at least one clinic, one upper-level writing course, one global perspectives course, and one course within our Law Firm Program, an innovative simulated law-firm practicum.  Detroit Mercy Law also offers a Dual J.D. program with the University of Windsor in Canada, in which students earn both an American and a Canadian law degree in three years while gaining a comprehensive understanding of two distinct legal systems. 

The Detroit Mercy Law Clinical Program is one of the oldest in the United States, having opened our doors as the Urban Law Clinic in 1965. Today, we offer eleven clinics, including the Criminal Trial Clinic, Environmental Law Clinic, Family Law Clinic, Federal Pro Se Legal Assistance Clinic, Housing Law Clinic, Immigration Law Clinic, Juvenile Appellate Clinic, International Intellectual Property Law Clinic, Trademark and Entrepreneurial Clinic, Veterans Appellate Clinic, and Veterans Law Clinic. Each year our clinics represent more than 1,000 clients and provide more than 20,000 hours of free legal services.

Detroit Mercy Law is located one block from the riverfront in Downtown Detroit, within walking distance of federal, state, and municipal courts, the region’s largest law firms, and major corporations such as General Motors, Quicken Loans, and Comerica Bank.  The School of Law is also uniquely situated two blocks from the Detroit-Windsor Tunnel, an international border crossing linking Detroit with Windsor and Canada. 

Detroit offers a dynamic variety of culinary, cultural, entertainment, and sporting attractions.  See https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DO4J_PC1b5M and learn more at https://www.nytimes.com/2017/11/20/travel/detroit-michigan-downtown.html.

Michigan’s largest, most comprehensive private university, University of Detroit Mercy is an independent Catholic institution of higher education sponsored by the Religious Sisters of Mercy and Society of Jesus.  The university seeks qualified candidates who will contribute to the University’s urban mission, commitment to diversity, and tradition of scholarly excellence.  University of Detroit Mercy is an Equal Opportunity Affirmative Action Employer with a diverse faculty and student body and welcomes persons of all backgrounds.

 

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#Hireath

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I learned a new word today: hireath. From a 2016 student blog at Penn State (here):

Hiraeth is a Welsh word that is somewhat difficult to describe in English, for the reason that there is no single English word that expresses all that it does. Some words often used to try to explain it are homesickness, yearning, and longing.  

However, there is more depth to hiraeth than in any of those words on their own. It seems to be a rather multi-layered word, which includes a different variety of homesickness than what is generally referred to. This kind of homesickness is like a combination of the homesickness, longing, nostalgia, and yearning, for a home that you cannot return to, no longer exists, or maybe never was. It can also include grief or sadness for who or what you have lost, losses which make your “home” not the same as the one you remember.

One attempt to describe hiraeth in English says that it is “a longing to be where your spirit lives.” This description makes some sense out of the combination of words that describe this feeling.  The place where your spirit feels most at home may be a physical location that you can return to at any time, or it may be more nostalgic of a home, not attached to a place, but a time from the past that you can only return to by revisiting old memories. Maybe your spirits home could even be neither of the above, one from which you are not only separated by space or time, but instead a place that never was, where you can only go in your imagination. * * *

Home to me includes the places I would go to as a kid–places like my grandparents’ houses, and the elderly couple’s house across the street from mine. I remember my maternal grandmother elaborately decorating her house for Christmas and Easter, having meals there for each of those big holidays. I remember her, when my family and I visited her house, and my paternal grandfather, when we visited his house, offering everyone cookies even when we were so stuffed we could hardly eat another bite. I remember the neighbors visiting us for the family parties that were held at my house, and my brother and I occasionally visiting them in their house to share a snack and hear some of their stories about the past. The most significant difference between the home I remember and the home I can return to, is that some of the people I remember as a part of home are no longer living.

The full post is here.

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Who is Getting Rich? Not Minimum-Wage Workers

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Over at Forbes, contributor Erik Sherman has a data-filled article here that begins with an eye-popping statistic: the federal minimum wage has not increased in almost 10 years.  That’s a record (and not a good one, in my view).

After sifting through some recent statistics from the Federal Reserve, Sherman summarizes:

At the starting period, Q3 of 1989, the percentage of total wealth owned by the top 1% of the economic order was 23%. For the 90% to 99%, the percentage was 38%. The 50% to 90% had 36% of the wealth and the bottom half owned 4% of the wealth.

Now look at Q4 of 2018. The top 1% held 31% of the wealth. Next, the group between 90% and 99% had 39%. Those between 50% and 90% of the population had 29% of the wealth, while the bottom half had 1%.

Upshot: The very rich got richer.  The bottom half (half!) became comparatively poorer.

Some wage increases went into effect on January 1, 2017 in New York City.  All over New York State, the minimum wage is scheduled to increase to $15/hour, mostly by 2021.  That’s not much, but it is a start.

Let’s see whether the presidential campaign brings renewed attention to the issue.

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@PittLaw Tax Review Hosts Print Symposium

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U.S. Feminist Judgments: Rewritten Tax Opinions

The Pittsburgh Tax Review has published a print symposium/series of essays reviewing or inspired by U.S. Feminist Judgments: Rewritten Tax Opinions (Cambridge 2017). Here’s the table of contents with links to the contributions:

Anthony C. Infanti, Bridget J. Crawford
 
Kim Brooks
 
Diane Klein
 
Ann Mumford
 
Ajay K. Mehrotra
 
Hilary G. Escajeda
 
Åsa Gunnarsson
 
Ann O’Connell, Kerrie Sadiq
 
Alice G. Abreu
 
Montano Cabezas, Brandon King
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CFP: Gender Justice-Theoretical Practices of Intersectionality

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CFP for Essay Collection

Title: Gender Justice: Theoretical Practices of Intersectional Identity

Series: Law, Culture and Humanities (Farleigh Dickinson U Press)

This essay collection examines how gender, as a category of identity, must continually be understood in relation to how structures of inequality define and shape its meaning. It asks how notions of “justice” shape gender identity and whether the legal justice system itself privileges notions of gender or is itself gendered. Shaped by politics and policy, Gender Justice seeks proposals for essays that contribute to understanding how theoretical practices of intersectionality relate to structures of inequality and relations formed as a result of their interaction.

Given its theme, the collection invites essays that examine theoretical practices of intersectional identity at the nexus of “gender and justice” that might also relate to issues of:

  • Sexuality
  • Race
  • Class
  • Age
  • Ability

Proposals to include:

  • Abstract of 200-words
  • Author biography of 100-words

Submission deadline: June 29, 2019

Send to: Editor: Elaine Wood, JD, PhD; esw55@georgetown.edu

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@MarcSpindelman on “Obergefell’s Dreams”

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I’m just catching up with some of the gems in my “to read” pile. I enjoyed very much Obergefell‘s Dreams by Marc Spindelman (Ohio State). Here is an excerpt from the intro:

As doctrine, Hardwick has been defanged, but as method—defined by illogic and unreason—Hardwick’s law remains. In Obergefell, this method and its law carry the day.
 
To say this is to face facts that Obergefell’s readers either already know or should. The opinions in the case, both in majority and in dissent, turn with emotion and twist with passion’s fevers. They trade accusations that, across marriage equality’s bottom line, are modes of thinking that have come unhinged from reason. This is no dispute in which only one side is right. As the Obergefell majority opinion seals the coffin on Hardwick’s distinctively homophobic, hence irrational, sensibilities, it joins with the dissenting opinions in the case to dredge up Hardwick’s dormant irrationality as an approach to decision, giving that approach a renewed lease on constitutional, hence legal, hence social, life. What follows in these pages is one part—the first part—of that account. It begins with a close reading focused on the lead Obergefell dissent written by Chief Justice John Roberts and joined by Justices Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas. The second part, to be published as a separate article, will focus its attentions on the Obergefell majority opinion written by Justice Anthony M. Kennedy.
 
The discussion here proceeds as follows. First is background that situates the work in its intellectual context. Next is an engagement with Chief Justice John Roberts’s Obergefell dissent. Through a close reading of this opinion, one part of a larger case is made out: On Obergefell’s dissenting side at least is doctrinal machinery that rests atop, and may even be defined by,the complex and shifting soil of reason’s eclipse.
 
The full article is available here. It is beautifully written and thought-provoking.
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The Malleable X: On Queer Origins of “Latinx”

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John Paul Brammer (@jpbrammer) writes (here) in Mother Jones how Digging Into the Messy History of “Latinx” Helped Me Embrace My Complex Identity. Here is an excerpt:

A June 2018 survey found that Latino millennials are the least likely bracket in their generation to consider themselves straight. But the term “Latinx” is considered fraught, even reviled, by some. And at best, it has been unevenly adopted. A November story in the New York Times, for example, listed the eight books “reshaping Latinx literature.” A review in the same publication—about a book called Latinx—refers to the “Latino community” and “Latinos” and “Latina.” The newspaper uses the term on a case-by-case basis, according to editor Concepción de León, as conversations about the term and its usage continue to evolve. (Mother Jones does its best to honor an individual’s preference.)

To understand where “Latinx”—and the debate over it—came from, it helps to know a little history about the word “Latino.” Chicano writer David Bowles, who teaches literature at the University of Texas-Rio Grande Valley, laid it out in a thread on Twitter: The part of the Americas colonized by the Spanish Empire was known historically as the Monarquía Hispánica, or the Hispanic Monarchy, because the Latin word for Iberia (home of the Spaniards) was “Hispania.” When these territories eventually won their independence from the Spanish crown, they became home to distinct cultures shaped by mestizaje, the mixing of European, indigenous American, African, and other ethnicities. Scholars trace the term “América latina” to 1856, when it was used by Chilean writer Francisco Bilbao and Colombia’s José María Torres Caicedo. For these thinkers, the phrase helped unite the southern regions below the United States in anti-­imperialist sentiment. * * *

Because Spanish is one of many languages that ascribe a gender to nearly everything, “Latino” (male) was paired with “Latina” (female). At some point in the late 1990s, people who felt they didn’t fit into one of those two descriptors started searching for a more inclusive one. First came “Latin@”—a symbol that combines the “a” and the “o.” But how do you pronounce that? * * *


These days, “Latinx” pops up most frequently in stories about the LGBT community, and it’s often to describe young people, says Brian Latimer, an associate producer at MSNBC who identifies as nonbinary. “I think it’s fascinating—it shows a generational divide in the Hispanic community,” Latimer says. And though it has lightly peppered conversations in Latin America, it has been most championed by people of Latin American descent living in the United States, a fact that has colored the pushback against it. * * *


Though the letter “x” in Spanish can take on a pronunciation similar to the English “x,” it can also take on an “s” sound, or an “h” sound, as with the Mexican state of Oaxaca. “By replacing o’s and a’s with x’s, the word ‘Latinx’ is rendered laughably incomprehensible to any Spanish speaker without some fluency in English,” they wrote. “It does not provide a gender-neutral alternative for Spanish-speaking non-binary individuals and thus excludes them.” (And even English speakers say everything from la-TEEN-ex to LAT-in-ex to la-TEENKS.)

Writer Hector Luis Alamo echoed the frustration in an
opinion piece for the media outlet Latino Rebels titled “The X-ing of Language: The Case AGAINST ‘Latinx.’” Alamo, an Afro-Latino whose family hails from Honduras and who is the founder of Enclave magazine, argued that the term constitutes a “bulldozing of Spanish.” It’s “an academic word, and that group always thinks it knows what’s best for the rest of us,” Alamo told me via email. “Activists and people who want to appear liberal have adopted the word (and are calling out people for not using it).” It’s a critique that has also been leveled at terms like “cisgender” and “nonbinary”—all were devised and propagated by elite academic circles—but “Latinx” carries the added whiff of imperialism. “I want to caution everyone reading against the arrogant supposition that Latin Americans needed US Latinx folx to teach them that Spanish has sexist elements,” Bowles wrote in a Medium post in December. “They figured that shit out for themselves long before we did.”

Whether it is loved or hated, the word at least makes readers think. * * * As the biracial son of Mexican immigrants, I have, at various stages of my life, described myself as Latino, Mexican American, Hispanic, and Chicano. None of these words ever felt quite right; none of them painted the whole picture of how I see myself or how I want to be seen. I felt I had inherited a chaotic identity with too many facets; language, race, geography—which one should win out? But mestizaje tells us it is precisely this struggle, the search for a cohesive identity, that defines us as a people. The “mixedness” is not a halfway state of being, but a complete state of being unto itself. I can think of no better extension of that sentiment than “Latinx,” a word that concedes to malleability, the “x” willing to become whatever it needs to be for the person who wears it.

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Future Business Law Professors Conference @Villanova_Law

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Future Business Law Professors Conference

Presented by the John F. Scarpa Center for Law and Entrepreneurship

Friday, September 6, 2019
9:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.
 

The John F. Scarpa Center for Law and Entrepreneurship will host the Future Business Law Professors Conference on Friday, September 6. All visiting assistant professors, fellows, researchers, law clerks, practitioners and others who are considering entering the higher education academic teaching market in business law – including business associations, securities regulation, corporate finance and business ethics – are invited to attend.

Registration is here.

Participants will learn more about the business law teaching market, receive advice on how to be a successful candidate and meet future colleagues. Attendees will have the opportunity to participate in mock interviews and get a sneak-peak into the hiring process from current business law faculty. Some will be able to present their job talk paper to leaders in the field and receive feedback.

Appointments committee members from any law school potentially hiring in the business law field are also invited to attend.

Senior faculty tentatively scheduled to attend include:

  • Albert Choi (University of Michigan Law School)
  • Jill Fisch (University of Pennsylvania Law School)
  • Arthur Laby (Rutgers University Law School)
  • Tom Lin (Temple University, Beasley School of Law)
  • Andrew Lund (Villanova University, Charles Widger School of Law)
  • Jennifer O’Hare (Villanova University, Charles Widger School of Law)
  • Urska Velikonja (Georgetown University Law Center)
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CFP: Critical Legal Conference 2019, Perugia Italy

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The University of Perugia invites streams [i.e., pre-organized panels, etc.] and papers for the 2019 Critical Legal Conference. The event will take place between 12–14 September 2019. The deadline for submission of abstracts is the 15th of July.  The conference website is here. The official CFP follows.

Theme: Alienation

The 2019 Critical Legal Conference main theme will circle around the concept of “alienation”, a quite ambiguous word, used in social sciences particularly in the 19th and early 20th centuries to indicate among other things, a social and cultural estrangement, a state of powerlessness and anomie (from Greek anomia: lawlessness, normlessness) and also a feeling of self-estrangement.

The idea is to focus on three declinations of the concept of alienation covering several fields of interest both within and outside the law.

The first one is based on the classic Marxian conception of alienation. Drawing from Hegel’s dialectical movement, Karl Marx described alienation as the condition of labour under capitalism: on the one hand, the worker sold his labour power to the capitalist and his work thus becomes an alien object which exists independently, outside him; on the other hand, work is compelled to be spontaneous and creative, it is merely a means to satisfy needs external to it, and the worker’s subjectivity undergoes a process of substantial objectification.

The second declination involves the conceptual structure of the idea of ​​alienation and traces back its roots to the remote and very profound categories of cultural identities.

By entering into our cultural unconscious, we can grasp the multifaceted potential of the notion of alienation in the constant change into aliud – alienum that animates classical mythology: the universe described in Ovid’s Metamorphoses, for example, appears as a sort of celebration of “becoming other “, which functions as a device able to unexpectedly connect distant levels of reality. Through the stories of gods and heroes emerges the image of a reality in which identities are not static, but intrinsically dynamic, and the boundary between “being” and “becoming” is permeable and crossable back and forth.

The last declination is a push to broaden the concept of alienation beyond its immediate dimension. If Marx’s notion of alienation implies the objectification of the subject and consequently inequalities, exclusion and loss of identity, then alienation is the condition of those social groups marginalize by the actual stage of capitalist society. It is the sensation of those kept outside the mainstream perimeter. Alienation becomes a framework able to capture different social and political struggles: the feelings of migrants and minority groups within national societies and the European policies toward them. Alienation can also refer to the situation of several social categories (low-income workers, women, squatters, etc..) excluded and criminalized according to such policies and treated like aliens within western society.

Streams

We welcome both independent panels and papers, and stream, panel and paper proposals. Current streams include:

    • Gramsci’s alienation as finding new ways of thinking
    • Migrations: aliens and the need to re-imagine the nation
    • Legal Aesthetics (Organiser: Thomas Giddens (Dundee))
    • Affect, Alienation & Law (Organisers Swastee Ranjan (Sussex) & Illan Wall (Warwick))
    • Gender, Race and Alienation
    • Alienation and family law: “parental alienation”, best interest of the child
    • Artificial intelligence and alienation
    • Alien nations: authoritarian constitutionalism
    • The deconstruction of Sovereignty
    • Alienation as a counter hegemonic discourse
    • Constructing the Other: Alienation
    • Marx and the Law, how legal discourse frames the objectivation of the subject
    • Alien(s) and the City: Urban spaces, gentrification, touristification and informality
    • Colonial and postcolonial spaces as systems of alienation
    • General Stream

Conference Details

The event will take place in the Department of Law at the University of Perugia: 33, via A. Pascoli 06123 Perugia. Further details of the conference fee, registration and website will be available in the coming weeks.

For further details, please contact Giacomo Capuzzo (giacomo.capuzzo@unipg.it).

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Feminist Judgments: Rewritten Health Law Opinions

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Seema Mohapatra (Indiana-Indianapolis) and Lindsay Wiley (American University WCL) are the co-editors of a new volume-in-progress in the U.S. Feminist Judgments Series.  Their volume, Feminist Judgments: Rewritten Health Law Opinions, will include these cases and contributors:

(1) Schloendorff v. Society of New York Hospitals, 105 N.E. 92, 93 (N.Y. 1914)

  • Commentary Author: Danielle Pelfrey Duryea, University at Buffalo School of Law
  • Rewritten Opinion Author: Kelly Dineen, Creighton University School of Law

(2) Bouvia v. Superior Court, 179 Cal. App. 3d 1127 (Cal. Ct. App. 1986)

  • Commentary Author: Joan H. Krause, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Law
  • Rewritten Opinion Author: Barry R. Furrow, Drexel University Thomas R. Kline School of Law

(3) Conservatorship of Valerie N., 40 Cal.3d 143 (1985)

  • Commentary Authors: Cynthia Soohoo and Sofia Yakren, CUNY Law School
  • Rewritten Opinion Author: Doriane Lambelet Coleman, Duke University School of Law

(4) Burton v. State, 49 So.3d 263 (Fla. Dist. Ct. App. 2010)

  • Commentary Author: Greer Donley, University of Pittsburgh School of Law
  • Rewritten Opinion Author: Nadia Sawicki, Loyola University Chicago School of Law

(5) Reynolds v. McNichols, 488 F.2d 1378 (10th Cir. 1973)

  • Commentary Author: Aziza Ahmed, Northeastern University School of Law
  • Rewritten Opinion Author: Wendy Parmet, Northeastern University School of Law

(6) National Institute of Family & Life Advocates (NIFLA) v. Becerra, 138 S.Ct. 2361 (2018)

  • Commentary Author: Brie Clark, Loyola Law School Los Angeles
  • Rewritten Opinion Author: Sonia Suter, The George Washington University School of Law

(7) Moore v. Regents of University of California, 793 P.2d 479 (Cal. 1990)

  • Commentary Author: Jessica Roberts, University of Houston Law Center
  • Rewritten Opinion Author: Lisa Ikemoto, UC Davis School of Law

(8) Doe v. Mutual of Omaha Insurance Co., 179 F.3d 557 (7th Cir. 1999)

  • Commentary Author: Christina Ho, Rutgers University School of Law
  • Rewritten Opinion Author: Valarie Blake, West Virginia University College of Law

(9) Smith v. Rasmussen, 249 F.3d 755 (8th Cir. 2001)

  • Commentary Author: Heather McCabe, Indiana University School of Social Work and Robert H. McKinney School of Law
  • Rewritten Opinion Author: Craig Konnoth, University of Colorado School of Law at Boulder

(10) Means v. United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, No. 15-1779 (6th Cir. 2016)

  • Commentary Author: Maya Manian, University of San Francisco School of Law
  • Rewritten Opinion Author: Leslie C. Griffin, University of Las Vegas William S. Boyd School of Law

(11) Linton v. Commissioner of Health and Environment, 65 F.3d 508 (6th Cir. 1995)

  • Commentary Author: Ruqaiijah Yearby, St. Louis University School of Law
  • Rewritten Opinion Author: Gwendolyn Majette, Cleveland-Marshall College of Law

(12) Olmstead v. L.C., 527 U.S. 581 (1999)

  • Commentary Author: Doron Dorfman, Stanford Law School
  • Rewritten Opinion Author: Becka Rich, Nova Southeastern University

(13) Does v. Gillespie, 867 F. 3d 1034 (8th Cir. 2017)

  • Commentary Author: Liz Kukura, Drexel University Thomas R. Kline School of Law
  • Rewritten Opinion Authors: Jennifer Oliva, West Virginia University College of Law; Melissa Alexander, University of Wyoming College of Law

In addition to this fantastic roster of volume contributors, the project has a wonderful Advisory Panel:

More information about the project’s workshops and progress to follow!

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New Bibliographic Resource on Gender and the Law in Japan

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I’ve posted two two working papers up on the Social Science Research Network.  The first, developed with one of my students, Kallista Hiraoka, aims to present a comprehensive bibliography of English language scholarship on the subject.  The bibliography contains approximately 140 publications including monographs, book chapters, textbook materials, and journal articles from 1962 to 2018.

We’ve posted the bibliography as a working paper and invite advice of any omissions or errors before we submit this for print journal publication.  We hope this will be a valuable tool for gender equality advocates anywhere in the present draft and its later final publication.

In the meanwhile, perhaps of interest are some of my tentative explorations on the theme, including herstory of Japan’s first women lawyers and its first cohort of women judges, and a critical eye on how improvements in gender balance within the nation’s bar appear to be flatlining.  One update from that paper is that the Japan Federation of Bar Associations has taken note of this issue and begun actively working to find mechanisms to address it. 

The bibliography is here. The paper is here.

If anyone wishes a deeper dive, the University of Washington Law School team kindly recorded my lecture on this paper there last Fall and posted it online here.    

Mark Levin

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Call for Proposals for the Third Annual Equality Law Scholars’ Forum

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Building on the success of the Inaugural Equality Law Scholars’ Forum held at UC Berkeley Law in 2017 and at UC Davis Law in 2018, and in the spirit of academic engagement and mentoring in the area of Equality Law, we (Tristin Green, University of San Francisco; Angela Onwuachi-Willig, Boston University; and Leticia Saucedo, UC Davis) announce the Third Annual Equality Law Scholars’ Forum to be held in Spring 2020.  This Scholars’ Forum seeks to provide junior scholars with commentary and critique and to provide scholars at all career stages the opportunity to engage with new scholarly currents and ideas.  We hope to bring together scholars with varied perspectives (e.g., critical race theory, class critical theory, feminist legal theory, law and economics, law and society) across fields (e.g., criminal system, education, employment, family, health, immigration, property, tax) and with work relevant to many diverse identities (e.g., age, class, disability, national origin, race, sex, sexuality) to build bridges and to generate new ideas in the area of Equality Law.  

We will select five relatively junior scholars (untenured, newly tenured, or prospective professors) in the U.S. to present papers from proposals submitted in response to this Call for Proposals. In so doing, we will select papers that cover a broad range of topics within the area of Equality Law.  Leading senior scholars will provide commentary on each of the featured papers in an intimate and collegial setting.  The Forum will take place all day Friday through lunch on Saturday.  Participants are expected to attend the full Forum.  The Equality Law Scholars’ Forum will pay transportation and accommodation expenses for participants and will host a dinner on Friday evening.  

This year’s Forum will be held on March 13-14, 2020 at the University of San Francisco School of Law.

Junior scholars are invited to submit abstracts of proposed papers, 3-5 pages in length, by August 1, 2019.

Full drafts of papers must be available for circulation to participants by February 28, 2020.

Proposals should be submitted to:

Leticia Saucedo, UC Davis School of Law, lmsaucedo@ucdavis.edu.  Electronic submissions via email are preferred.

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Guide to Submitting to Specialty Law Reviews and Journals in Gender, Women & Sexuality

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I’ve prepared a guide to submitting to 29 specialty law reviews and law journals classified by the W&L Law Journal Rankings under the subject  “Gender, Women and Sexuality,” as well as  5 additional journals with the word “gender” in the title.  The guide is here on SSRN.  The chart contains details on the mechanics of submitting to these 34 journals.

For now, the document contains information about word count limitations, submission details, whether the HeinOnline Law Journal Library indexes the journal’s articles, and other guidelines authors may find relevant when considering sending their work to specialty law reviews in Gender, Women & Sexuality.

Details vary widely from journal to journal. Not all journals accept unsolicited contributions (or are still in existence!).

Corrections, additions, refinements to this chart are very welcome. (SSRN will not make the chart available as a publicly-searchable paper, but it is included in my “privately available” papers accessible from my public SSRN page here. Go figure.)

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Embryos are Property, Not Persons, at Least in Ohio

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The Cleveland Plain Dealer reports on the case here. An excerpt:

An appellate court Thursday ruled against a couple seeking a legal declaration that their embryos lost in a freezer malfunction last year were living persons and should have been treated as patients, not property.

The 8th District Ohio Court of Appeals, in a 2-1 decision, upheld then-Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Judge Stuart Friedman’s ruling that the frozen embryos were not persons.

H/T Nick Piscka.

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Call for Sabbatical Visitors: Columbia Center for Gender & Sexuality Law (@GenderSexLaw)

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From colleagues at Columbia:

The Center for Gender and Sexuality Law at Columbia Law School invites applications for a sabbatical visitor for the 2019-2020 academic year to undertake research, writing and collaboration with Center faculty and students in ways that span traditional academic disciplines. The CGSL welcomes applications from faculty from any field who are interested in spending a semester or the academic year in residence at Columbia Law School working on scholarly projects relating to Gender and/or Sexuality Law.

Sabbatical Visitors will receive an office with phone and computer, secretarial support and full access to university libraries, computer systems and recreational facilities. In addition, Sabbatical Visitors will be expected to participate in CGSL activities and present a paper at the Center’s Colloquium Series.

The Center will be accepting submissions through May 15, 2019.  We prefer electronic submissions be sent to gender_sexuality_law@law.columbia.edu

Applicants should submit:

  • Curriculum vitae 
  • Writing sample 
  • Research statement (of approximately 1,000 words) that describes the proposed work during the Sabbatical period
  • Names of two references who are familiar with your current academic research 

Direct questions to: Liz Boylan, Assistant Director for the Center for Gender & Sexuality Law at eboyla@law.columbia.edu.  Liz may also be reached by phone at 212.854.0167.

Learn more about the Sabbatical Visitors Program on our website, here: https://bit.ly/2IVar6O.

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CFP: Critical Legal Academics and Scholars International Collaborative Virtual Workshops

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Cyra Akila Choudhury (FIU) is coordinating a series of virtual research and writing workshops called CLASIC, the Critical Legal Academics and Scholars International Collaborative.

The workshops will be virtual meetings of collaborative members and can be open to all or by invitation only. It provides a virtual space in which papers, ideas, book proposals, etc., can be workshoped for feedback. The format follows Harvard’s Institute for Global Law and Policy writing workshops.

In addition to workshoping papers, scholars will have the opportunity to collaborate, connect, disseminate work and increase readership/audience for critical legal work that otherwise may be overlooked.

The first workshop will take place on Tuesday, April 23.  More info available here. Anyone interested in participating should email Professor Choudhury: cyra.choudhury (at) fiu.edu.

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Call for Panels and Conference Announcement: Women’s Leadership in Academia Conference @UVALaw, July 18-19, 2019

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From colleagues at UVa:

Call for Panel Proposals

We are currently accepting proposals for panels on issues relating to women in legal academia for the second annual Women’s Leadership in Academia Conference, to be held at UVA Law School on July 18-19, 2019. The conference will address the unique perspectives and challenges of women and provide programming that will be useful to developing leaders. Conference programming is focused on building skills and providing tools and information that are directly applicable to women aspiring to be leaders in legal education. Proposals should include a panel title, description, and proposed panelists. Selected panels will be notified by May 15, and panelists’ conference registration and travel costs will be covered. More information on the conference, including a link to provide panel proposals, is available here. Proposals are due by May 1, 2019. For questions, please contact Leslie Kendrick at kendrick@law.virginia.edu.

Conference news:

Second Annual Women’s Leadership in Academia Conference: July 18-19, 2019

Registration is now open for the second annual conference on Women’s Leadership in Academia, to be held at UVA Law School on July 18-19, 2019. The conference is an event of the Women’s Leadership Initiative, which was developed with the goal of advancing women professors, librarians and clinicians in leadership positions in the legal academy. Conference programming is focused on building skills and providing tools and information that are directly applicable to women aspiring to be leaders in legal education. The conference will address the unique perspectives and challenges of women and provide programming that will be useful to developing leaders. Along with panels and workshops, the conference will feature CV review and advising with recruiters. Travel scholarships are available. Early bird registration is open through May 31, and regular registration continues until the conference reaches full capacity. More information is available here. For questions, please contact Leslie Kendrick at kendrick@law.virginia.edu.

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Symposium Program: Race-ing Justice, En-Gendering Power: Black Lives Matter, #MeToo, and the Role of Intersectional Legal Analysis

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April 12, 2019 Symposium Sponsored by the Wisconsin Journal of Law, Gender & Society

Welcoming Remarks + Framing the Issues 8:45-9:45 am

Professor Linda S. Greene (Wisconsin), Professor Lolita Buckner Inniss (SMU), Sam Bach (WJLGS) 

Session #1: Moderator Linda S. Greene 9:15-10:15 am

Professor Keisha Lindsay  

Professor Lolita Buckner Inniss  

Student Respondents  

Session #2: Moderator Bridget J. Crawford 10:30-11-30 am

Professor Bennett Capers (Brooklyn)  

Professor Noa Ben-Asher (Pace)  

Student Respondents  

Session #3: Keynote Address  

Professor Osamudia James (Acting Dean and Professor of Law, University of Miami School of Law; Former William H. Hastie Fellow, University of Wisconsin 2006-2008) 

Session #4: Moderator: Professor Lolita Buckner Inniss 1:45-2:15 pm

Professor Mehrsa Baradaran

Student Respondents

Student Break-Out Discussions: Moderator Bridget J. Crawford 2:15-3:00 pm

Concluding Remarks 3:00-3:15 pm

Professor Linda S. Greene (Wisconsin), Professor Lolita Buckner Inniss (SMU), Brianna Zawada (WJLGS) 

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Race-ing Justice, En-Gendering Power: Black Lives Matter, #MeToo and the Role of Intersectional Legal Analysis: Symposium @WisconsinLaw J. L., Gender & Soc’y

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Today at the University of Wisconsin, the Journal of Law, Gender & Society is hosting a symposium on “Race-ing Justice, En-Gendering Power: Black Lives Matter, #MeToo and the Role of Intersectional Legal Analysis: Symposium.” Here is the program description:

Recent years have witnessed an overwhelming outcry from activists who have protested seemingly never-ending instances of unjustified police and vigilante detentions, assaults, and killings of black people. These tragedies cross class and gender lines, as black people from all walks of life seemed at all times prone to being summarily judged and even executed by agents of the state or by self-deputized private citizens. During the same period, we are experiencing a cultural watershed moment, as women have begun to fight loudly and publicly against sexual harassment, violence and abuse by powerful or empowered men. Prior generations of women have often suffered violations and indignities in silence, fearing that formal or informal complaints might endanger their jobs or relationships with coworkers, or even attract more harassment or abuse.

These concerns are exacerbated and further complicated by the involvement of so-called alt-right groups as antagonists to both the #MeToo and the Black Lives Matter movements and by strains of virulent anti-Semitism that often come hand-in-hand with the alt-right’s sexist, racist, and xenophobic rhetoric. One particularly salient example of public allegations of sexual violence recently in the news was the United States Supreme Court confirmation hearings of Justice Brett Kavanaugh. The testimony of Dr. Christine Blasey Ford that Kavanaugh attempted to rape her caused some to speculate that women throughout the United States would mobilize politically in response. 

While both the #MeToo and Black Lives Matter movements are critical reflections on compelling legal and social issues, there are some who suggest that the Black Lives Matter movement is fading into obscurity as the minor rumblings of a few disaffected activists who have maximized their media exposure, along the lines of the Occupy movement. In contrast, the #MeToo Movement has spread and flourished across industries in the United States and even around the globe, seeming to reshape the culture and causing many to question the impact of unequal gender relations and to challenge notions of power and sexual autonomy. This is a important moment to enter an unexplored intersection between gender and race.

Speakers include Linda S. Greene (Wisconsin), Lolita Buckner-Inniss (SMU), Noa Ben-Asher (Pace), Bennett Capers (Brooklyn), Osamudia James (Miami), Keisha Lindsay (Political Science, Wisconsin) and Mehrsa Baradaran (Georgia).

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Call for Authors–Feminist Judgments: Rewritten Property Law Opinions

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Deadline for Applying: Friday, April 26, 2019

The U.S. Feminist Judgments Project seeks contributors of rewritten judicial opinions and commentary on the rewritten opinions for an edited collection tentatively titled Feminist Judgments: Rewritten Property Opinions. This edited volume is part of a collaborative project among law professors and others to rewrite, from a feminist perspective, key judicial decisions in the United States. The initial volume, Feminist Judgments: Rewritten Opinions of the United States Supreme Court, edited by Kathryn M. Stanchi, Linda L. Berger, and Bridget J. Crawford, was published by Cambridge University Press in 2016. Cambridge University Press has approved a series of Feminist Judgments books. In 2017, Cambridge University Press published the tax volume titled Feminist Judgments: Rewritten Tax Opinions. Other volumes in the pipeline include rewritten trusts and estates opinions and rewritten family law opinions.

Property law volume editors Eloisa C. Rodriguez-Dod and Elena Maria Marty-Nelson seek prospective authors and commentators for multiple rewritten property opinions covering a range of topics. With the help of an advisory board of distinguished property law scholars, the editors have selected a list of cases that have not appeared in other Feminist Judgment volumes; potential authors are welcome to suggest opinions which do not appear on the list.

Proposals must be either to (1) rewrite a case opinion (subject to a 10,000-word limit) or (2) comment on a rewritten opinion (subject to a 4,000-word limit). Rewritten opinions may be re-imagined majority opinions, concurrences, or dissents. Authors of rewritten opinions will be bound by the law and precedent in effect at the time of the original decision. Commentators should explain the original court decision, how the rewritten feminist opinion differs from the original decision, and the impact the rewritten feminist opinion might have made. The volume editors conceive of feminism as a broad movement and welcome proposals that bring into focus intersectional concerns beyond gender, such as race, class, disability, gender identity, age, sexual orientation, national origin, and immigration status.

To apply, please email (1) a paragraph or two describing your area of expertise and your interest in this project; (2) your top two or three preferences from the list of cases below; and (3) whether you prefer to serve as an author of a rewritten opinion or an author of a commentary to a rewritten opinion. Please submit this information via email to the editors, Eloisa C. Rodriguez-Dod and Elena Maria Marty-Nelson, at elrodrig@fiu.edu and nelsone@nova.edu by Friday, April 26, 2019. The Feminist Judgments Project and the Property book editors are committed to including authors from diverse backgrounds. If you feel an aspect of your personal identity is important to your participation, please feel free to include that in your expression of interest. The editors will notify accepted authors and commentators by Monday, May 13, 2019. First drafts of rewritten opinions will be due on Monday, September 16, 2019. First drafts of commentaries will be due on Monday, October 28, 2019.

Tentative list of cases below.



  1. Moore v. City of E. Cleveland, 431 U.S. 494 (1977) (exclusionary zoning)
  2. Ass’n for Molecular Pathology v. Myriad Genetics, Inc., 569 U.S. 576 (2013) (patents)
  3. Sawada v. Endo, 561 P.2d 1291 (Haw. 1977) (tenancy by the entireties)
  4. Gruen v. Gruen, 496 N.E.2d 869 (N.Y. 1986) (inter vivos gifts)
  5. Coggan v. Coggan, 239 So. 2d 17 (Fla. 1970) (ouster of co-tenant)
  6. Phillips Neighborhood Hous. Tr. v. Brown, 564 N.W.2d 573 (Minn. Ct. App. 1997) (lease termination for illegal activity)
  7. Taylor v. Canterbury, 92 P.3d 961 (Colo. 2004) (secret severance of joint tenancy)
  8. White v. Samsung Elecs. Am., Inc., 971 F.2d 1395 (9th Cir. 1992) (publicity rights)
  9. Johnson v. M’Intosh, 21 U.S. 543 (1823) (Native American property rights)
  10. Dolan v. City of Tigard, 512 U.S. 374 (1994) (exactions/eminent domain)
  11. Bartley v. Sweetser, 890 S.W.2d 250 (Ark. 1994) (premises liability)
  12. Tate v. Water Works & Sewer Bd. of City of Oxford, 217 So. 3d 906 (Ala. Civ. App. 2016) (adverse possession and condemnation)
  13. Blake v. Stradford, 725 N.Y.S.2d 189 (Dist. Ct. 2001) (ejectment of domestic partner)
  14. Pocono Springs Civic Ass’n, Inc. v. MacKenzie, 667 A.2d 233 (Pa. Super. Ct.1995) (abandonment of real property)
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Perspectives on Touching

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Humans are tactile creatures.  It is one of the senses on which we depend for physical, emotional and spiritual health and safety.  It is a sense particularly important to communication, connection, growth and development.  Our body integrity and sense of autonomy is similarly precious.

Somehow, in navigating the transition of our society and community from one obsessed and represented by commitment to binary gender, including identity, expression and orientation, and from one that has plainly failed to correct and address the serious problem of sexual harassment, assault and rape,  it is important to recognize and appreciate the deep differences between attempted/completed sexual assaults and rapes usually in Western culture carried out/experienced primarily in private, and touchings that occur in public and that are not overtly sexual (do not involve groping of organs considered in American society to be sexual).  Thus, it is highly problematic to have a politician, someone who has chosen to devote herself to public political life, talk about another politician’s placing of hands on her shoulders from behind and kissing her on the back of her head, at a public event, as if it is the equivalent of an attempted or completed sexual assault or rape conducted in private, or as the equivalent of persistent and serious harassment from a person in power to a person who lacks that power (the classic sexual harassment problem faced in many employment situations).

We risk trivializing a conversation that has to remain relevant to the majority of the population, for the goal of gender equality to be realized in our community.  Lucy Flores is fortunate that Senator Biden’s placing of his hands on her shoulders from behind and kissing the back of her head in public is the thing that made her fear the earth had dropped under her feet.  She has yet to meet the real thing – none of us should be the object or subject of gender harassment or assault.  Lucy Flores’ experience however dismaying to her is not what I would consider any of those things.  I am very troubled by the fact that she is in the camp of another politician who did not hesitate to undermine, disrespect and taunt the leading candidate for the 2016 presidential election who was hands-and above the most experienced and qualified person running for president. 

Make no mistake – unwanted or unwelcome touchings of any sort are inappropriate in any culture.  But it’s complicated, right?  And it’s a matter of degree.   We have dozens of cultures (including latinx culture) that may render certain touchings acceptable within that culture.  Generational status, age, background, the touchings we grew up with in families, geography (whether you grew up in the south or north or west, etc.) all influence the degree of acceptability various people may have for certain touchings.  Again, breast grabbing, crotch grabbing, vagina grabbing, penis grabbing, backside grabbing, forced mouth kissing are not what I’m talking about – those are plainly and highly problematic.  But that’s not what happened here.  We shouldn’t lose sight of the difference.

-M. Isabel Medina

(these views are the author’s and are not the views of any institution with which she is affiliated)

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