Category Archives: Courts and the Judiciary

Ensuring Access to Justice for Transgender People

In October, 2013, the New York State Judicial Institute sponsored a 3-day training program for judges and court personnel on “Transgender Litigants in the Courtroom: Providing Equal Access and Impartial Justice.” Transcripts of the program are available here, as is … Continue reading

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Posted in Courts and the Judiciary, LGBT Rights | Leave a comment

Does Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia believe society is eroding because women use the ‘F-word’?

That’s what this article effing claims.

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Posted in Courts and the Judiciary, Feminism and Culture, Sociolinguistics | Comments Off

Mass. Supreme Court Affirms Right of Men to Look Up Our Skirts

or at least take pictures up women’s skirts. CNN, e.g., has coverage here.  The AP has coverage here. -Bridget Crawford

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Posted in Courts and the Judiciary, Justice? | Comments Off

Announcing New Book Project: Feminist Judgments – US Supreme Court Edition

Four feminist law profs – Jamie Abrams (Louisville), Bridget Crawford (Pace), Kathy Stanchi (Temple) and Linda Berger (UNLV) – have embarked on a United States Supreme Court version of the British Feminist Judgments book. Feminist Judgments was a collaborative project … Continue reading

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Posted in Courts and the Judiciary, Feminist Legal Scholarship | Comments Off

Invitation to Participate in the Feminist International Judgments Project

Over on IntLawGrrls, Cecilia Marcela Bailliet has posted an invitation to participate in what looks to be a terrific project: Women´s Voices in International Law Initial Meeting to be held on 8th May 2014, SOAS (London) Participants are sought to take an … Continue reading

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Posted in Academia, Call for Papers or Participation, Courts and the Judiciary, Feminism and Law | Tagged | Comments Off

Converge! Re-Imagining the Movement to End Gender Violence

CALL FOR PAPERS AND PRESENTATIONS – SUBMIT YOUR PROPOSAL TO converge@law.miami.edu DUE DATE: Friday, October 18, 2013 (may be extended) For more conference information see http://www.law.miami.edu/academics/converge/ CONVERGE! Re-imagining the Movement to End Gender Violence, will bring together survivors, activists, and … Continue reading

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Posted in Academia, Activism, Acts of Violence, Call for Papers or Participation, Coerced Sex, Courts and the Judiciary, Employment Discrimination, Feminism and Economics, Feminism and Families, Feminism and Law, Feminism and Politics, Feminist Legal Scholarship, Feminists in Academia, Human Trafficking, Immigration, Legal Profession, LGBT Rights, Masculinity, Reproductive Rights, Sex Trafficking, Sexual Harassment, Socioeconomic Class, Upcoming Conferences | Comments Off

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg headlines Thomas Jefferson Law School Women and Law Conference

Last Friday, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg spoke at the 13th Annual Women and Law Conference at Thomas Jefferson Law School. A packed house listened as panelists discussed a variety of issues relating to women in the judiciary, and the highlight … Continue reading

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Posted in Academia, Courts and the Judiciary, Law Schools, Sisters In Other Nations, Upcoming Conferences | Comments Off

Irresistible Impulse: Supreme Court of Iowa Finds Employer Can Fire Employee He Deems an “Irresistible Attraction”

The question is not before us of whether it would be sex discrimination if Tenge had been terminated because Lori perceived her as a threat to her marriage but there was no evidence that she had engaged in any sexually suggestive conduct. Tenge v. Phillips Modern Ag. Co., 446 F.3d 903 (8th Cir. 2006). … Continue reading

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Pages In Your Diary: Supreme Court of West Virginia Badly Errs in Deeming Diary Entries Admissible Despite Rape Shield Rule

A defendant is charged with second-degree sexual assault and related crimes after another individual and he allegedly commit sexual crimes against a 13 year-old victim. After the alleged crimes, the alleged victim starts writing in a notebook and writes in … Continue reading

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Posted in Acts of Violence, Coerced Sex, Courts and the Judiciary, Invasion of Privacy | Comments Off

Judge as Judicial Midwife?: Justice on Botswana’s High Court Strikes Down Customary Law Rule Banning Female Inheritance

Recently, a justice on Botswana’s high court struck down a Ngwaketse Customary Law rule precluding women from inheriting family homes, finding that it contravened the right to equality principle enshrined in Botswana’s constitution. Perhaps as interesting as the justice’s conclusion is … Continue reading

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Posted in Activism, Courts and the Judiciary | Comments Off

eRape?: Should Courts Allow Rape Defendants to Discover the Google Searches of Their Victims?

Jennifer Bennett was beaten, choked, and raped by Thomas Bray at his condo. (Here is the Today Show video on her story) Upon returning to her home, “[s]he stood at the entrance to her bathroom for 15 minutes, fighting the … Continue reading

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Posted in Coerced Sex, Courts and the Judiciary | 1 Comment

Persecution Complex: 3rd Circuit Finds Village Head’s Threat of Marriage or Incarceration Was Not Persecution

Substantial evidence supports the BIA’s decision. While Zhang contends that she was persecuted when the village chief attempted to coerce her into marrying his son, and that she suffered this persecution on account of her membership in a particular social … Continue reading

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Posted in Courts and the Judiciary, Immigration | Comments Off

“President Obama Appoints Record Number of Women Judges in First Term”

ABA Journal story here, which reports: The Senate’s confirmation Monday of Stephanie Rose as a federal judge in the Southern District of Iowa gave President Obama a record. Obama has now appointed 72 women to the federal courts, a record … Continue reading

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Posted in Courts and the Judiciary, Feminism and Politics | Comments Off

The Bitch Is Back: When a Supervisor Repeatedly & Angrily Calls An Employee a “Bitch” to Her Face in Front of Co-Workers, Is it Sexual Harassment?

Kimberly Passananti was the deputy director of the DRC from 2002 until 2007. For several years, her supervisor was DRC director John Sullivan. After losing her job in 2007, Passananti sued, claiming that Sullivan subjected her to sexual harassment and … Continue reading

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Posted in Courts and the Judiciary, Employment Discrimination, Feminism and the Workplace | Comments Off

Corbin on Hosanna-Tabor, Updated

Caroline Mala Corbin (Miami) has posted to SSRN an updated version of her article on the Hosanna-Tabor case.  This version addresses the Supreme Court decision in the case. Here is the abstract: In Hosanna-Tabor Evangelical Lutheran Church and School v. … Continue reading

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Posted in Courts and the Judiciary, Employment Discrimination | Comments Off

Under the Shield: Should the Rape Shield Rule Apply at Sentencing Hearings?

Federal Rule of Evidence 412(a), the Rape Shield Rule, provides that The following evidence is not admissible in a civil or criminal proceeding involving alleged sexual misconduct: (1) evidence offered to prove that a victim engaged in other sexual behavior; or … Continue reading

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SDNY Declares DOMA Unconstitutional in Estate Tax Case

Last month the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York  ruled in Windsor v. United States that DOMA is unconstitutional as applied. Read the full decision here. Edie Windsor and Thea Spyer were married in Canada … Continue reading

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Posted in Courts and the Judiciary, Feminism and Economics, Feminism and Law | Comments Off

Double Nickels on the Dime: Supreme Court of Israel Creates Burden-Shifting Framework for Gender Pay Disparity Cases

According to the Washington Post, Israeli feminists on Friday welcomed a Supreme Court ruling they say will help enforce equal pay laws for men and women. The ruling, issued Thursday, requires employers paying different wages to men and women to … Continue reading

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Posted in Courts and the Judiciary, Employment Discrimination, Feminism and the Workplace | Comments Off

Deborah Tuerkheimer’s Judging Sex & The En Banc Opinion That Reversed The Rape Shield Killing Ruling

Back in 2010, I posted an entry about the Sixth Circuit’s opinion in Gagne v. Booker, 596 F.3d 335 (6th Cir. 2010), the (in)famous rape shield case in which the dissent accused the majority of “effectively abrogat[ing] every rape-shield statute … Continue reading

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Will Pennsylvanie Become The Last State To Allow For The Admission Of Rape Trauma Syndrome Evidence?

According to an article on the CBS21 news site, “[t]wo very important bills are sitting in committees right now.” One of those bills is House Bill 1264, which allows for the admission of expert testimony regarding rape trauma syndrome. Yes, … Continue reading

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What If Dometic Violence Victims “Stand Their Ground” in Florida?

  Marissa Alexander, a mother of two, was denied a new trial after she was convicted and sentenced to 20 years in prison for shooting “in the direction of” her husband.  Here’s Wonkette’s take: [A] Florida judge has decided that … Continue reading

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It’s My Space, That’s Why They Call It MySpace: Court of Appeals of Texas Finds MySpace Comment Covered by Rape Shield Rule

A defendant is charged with various sexual crimes against the alleged victim, a 15 year-old. To support his defense, the defendant seeks to introduce into evidence a comment that the alleged victim made on her MySpace page, where she referred … Continue reading

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Posted in Acts of Violence, Coerced Sex, Courts and the Judiciary | 1 Comment

Wicked Little Town: Transgendered Widow of Firefighter Fights the City of Wharton, Texas for Workers Compensation Benefits

When the Landmark Theater in Chicago announced that John Cameron Mitchell‘s “Hedwig and the Angry Inch” would soon be playing as part of its Midnight Madness, I was not surprised at all. “Hedwig” is this generation’s “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” … Continue reading

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Posted in Courts and the Judiciary, LGBT Rights | 1 Comment

District Of Oregon Dismisses Stereotype of the Emotional, Gossipy, and Flirtatious Woman & Then Labels the Plaintiff One

As noted by Bridget, in delivering the luncheon address at the MSU Symposium on “Gender and the Legal Profession,” the Honorable Nancy Gertner said that “[t]he reason that people are losing discrimination cases is not because it didn’t happen.  It’s because … Continue reading

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Posted in Courts and the Judiciary, Employment Discrimination | Comments Off

Judge Nancy Gertner on “How the Courts Have Repealed the Civil Rights Act”

The Honorable Nancy Gertner (U.S. District Court of Massachusetts, retired) is delivering the luncheon address at the MSU Symposium on “Gender and the Legal Profession.” Here are a few of her highlights from her talk: Judge Gertner explains that the … Continue reading

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Posted in Courts and the Judiciary, Employment Discrimination, Feminism and Law, The Underrepresentation of Women | Comments Off

Gender, Race and the Judiciary @MSU Law Symposium

The first panel at the MSU Symposium on “Gender and the Legal Profession’s Pipeline to Power” is organized around the theme of “Gender, Race and the Judiciary.” Hannah Brenner (MSU) and Renee Knake (MSU) are presenting their work on gender … Continue reading

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Posted in Courts and the Judiciary, Race and Racism | Comments Off

Yxta Murray on “Rape Trauma, the State, and the Art of Tracey Emin”

Yxta Maya Murray (Loyola Law School Los Angeles) has posted to SSRN her article Rape Trauma, the State, and the Art of Tracey Emin, 100 Calif. L. Rev. __ (forthcoming 2012).  Here is the abstract: Prosecutors use “rape trauma syndrome” … Continue reading

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Without Prejudice?: 6th Circuit Deems Rape Shield Evidence Minimally Prejudicial To Victim, Reverses Conviction

The district court excluded the 2007 acts because those encounters occurred at a different place than the indicted offenses. Although there is certainly a difference between private sexual acts and those that take place in public, that does not eliminate, … Continue reading

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Robson on Judge Cebull’s Disgusting “Joke”

Ruthann Robson blogs here about Judge Richard Cebull (D. Montana) and his email “joke” about President Obama’s mother that accuses her of promiscuity, bestiality, as well as interracial sex. Judge Cebull self-reported his misdeeds for investigation by the Chief Justice of … Continue reading

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Posted in Courts and the Judiciary, Hackery, Race and Racism | 1 Comment

Love, Hate, Murder, and Commitment Devices: No-Drop DV Policies and the Reduction in Men Murdered by Intimates

Last week, the folks at Freakonomics posted an interesting podcast (“Save Me From Myself”) about commitment devices. A commitment device is “a means with which to lock yourself into a course of action that you might not otherwise choose but that … Continue reading

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Posted in Acts of Violence, Courts and the Judiciary, Feminism and Economics | Comments Off

The Loss of Sexual Innocence: Supreme Court of Guam Finds Trial Court Erred in Limiting Cross-Examination of Child Rape Victim

A defendant is on trial for criminal sexual conduct based upon acts that he allegedly committed against a 10 year-old victim. Previously, a forensic examination of the alleged victim revealed scar tissue on her hymen. Before trial, the defendant failed … Continue reading

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Taking Exception: Is Evidence of Prior Oral Sex by 15 Year-Old Victim Admissible in Prosecution of 38 Year-Old?

A 38 year-old defendant is charged with four counts of sexual conduct with a minor, and it is undisputed that he engaged in four acts of oral sexual intercourse with the victim, who was 15 years-old. The defendant, however, seeks to present … Continue reading

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Posted in Coerced Sex, Courts and the Judiciary | Comments Off

The Vermont Frat Questionnaire & The Foreseeability of Stranger Rape Based Upon Increased Acquaintance Rape at a College

If I could rape someone, who would it be? This now infamous question, asked at the end of a fraternity questionnaire at the University of Vermont, led to the fraternity being suspended. But let’s say that the university took no … Continue reading

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Judge Orders Woman To Pay Alimony, Legal Fees, To Ex-Spouse Convicting Of Attacking Her

A San Diego judge has told an ex-wife  to pay her ex-husband’s legal fees and be ready to pay him alimony should he make the request once he leaves prison. Judge Geoffrey Pollack noted that he had discretion in the … Continue reading

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Posted in Acts of Violence, Courts and the Judiciary, Feminism and Culture, Feminism and Families, Feminism and Law, If you're a woman, Justice? | Comments Off

The Only Exception: Arkansas Case Reveals Danger Of State’s Undifferentiated Rape Shield Exception

Like many state counterparts, Federal Rule of Evidence 412(a), the Federal Rape Shield Rule, precludes the admission of evidence of an alleged victim’s prior sexual behavior/predisposition to prove her propensity to consent to sexual acts and her likely conformity with … Continue reading

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Touching a Nerve?: 8th Circuit Finds ALJ’s Comment About Touching A Feminist’s Nerve Didn’t Constitute Reversible Bias

[A]fter Perkins testified that her daily routine includes watching the Lifetime channel, the ALJ asked, “And what is the subject matter of that? That’s the girl channel.”…Perkins responded, “Women’s channel.”…The ALJ then stated, “All right. I’m glad our [vocational expert] … Continue reading

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Posted in Courts and the Judiciary, Women's Health | Comments Off

A Picture Is Worth A Thousand Words: Court Of Appeals of Iowa Fails to Resolve Whether Facebook Photos Trigger Rape Shield Rule Analysis

Similar to its federal counterpart, Iowa Rule of Evidence 5.412a, Iowa’s rape shield rule, Notwithstanding any other provision of law, in a criminal case in which a person is accused of sexual abuse, reputation or opinion evidence of the past … Continue reading

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The Oh in Ohio: Court of Appeals of Ohio Shockingly Concludes Rape Shield Rule Doesn’t Cover Nonconsensual Sexual Activity

We disagree with Michael to the extent that it stands for the proposition that the rape shield law has any application to prior sexual abuse suffered by a child victim. In construing the rape shield statute, “our paramount concern is the legislative … Continue reading

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Topeka Misdemeanor Domestic Battery Cases to be Prosecuted by Law Student Interns

In my last post about the Topeka imbroglio, I wondered how vigorously the County DA would prosecute misdemeanor domestic battery cases after the city of Topeka dicriminalized misdemeanor domestic battery and forced the County DA’s hand (by his own admission). … Continue reading

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Posted in Acts of Violence, Courts and the Judiciary | 1 Comment

Topeka Officially Decriminalizes Misdemeanor Domestic Battery

Earlier today, the Topeka City Council, by a vote of 7-3, repealed the local law that makes misdemeanor domestic battery a crime. The move, the councilors were told, would force District Attorney Chad Taylor to prosecute the cases because they would remain … Continue reading

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Placing Topeka’s Possible Decriminalization of Misdemeanor Domestic Battery in Historical Context

After my previous post on the possibility of Topeka decriminalizing misdemeanor domestic battery, I decided to do some research to see if there is any historical precedent for such an action. It turns out that there is (sort of). In … Continue reading

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Topeka City Council to Vote on Measure to Decriminalize Misdemeanor Domestic Battery

Here are some excerpts from the article, Suspected domestic abusers go free as Topeka city, council officials bicker over funds: A bitter argument over money in Topeka, Kan., means that city and county authorities have neglected to prosecute or charge … Continue reading

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Does an Aggravating Factor Based on “a Difference in the Sexes of the Victim and the Defendant” Violate Equal Protection?

Following up on my previous post, here is another interesting case in a similar vein: State v. Wright, 563 S.E.2d 311 (S.C. 2002). In Wright, Todd Wright was convicted of criminal domestic violence of a high and aggravated nature. One of … Continue reading

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Posted in Acts of Violence, Courts and the Judiciary | 1 Comment

Does a Law Punishing More Severely a Male’s Assault of a Female Violate Equal Protection?

Eugene Volokh has an interesting post up over at The Volokh Conspiracy. The post discusses G.S. § 14-33(c)(2), which provides that Unless the conduct is covered under some other provision of law providing greater punishment, any person who commits any assault, … Continue reading

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Corbin on “The Irony of Hosanna-Tabor Evangelical Lutheran Church & School v. EEOC”

Caroline Mala Corin (Miami) has posted to SSRN her piece forthcoming in the Northwestern University Law Review Colloquy, “The Irony of Hosanna-Tabor Evangelical Lutheran Church & School v. EEOC.”  Here is the abstract: The question presented in Hosanna-Tabor Evangelical Lutheran … Continue reading

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Posted in Courts and the Judiciary, Feminism and Religion | Comments Off

Unimpeachable: 7th Circuit Finds Evidence That Sauna Was Used as Place Of Prostitution Inadmissible Under Rape Shield Rule

Like all states, Wisconsin has a rape shield rule. Under Wisconsin’s rule, WIS. STAT. Section 972.11(2)(b), in civil and criminal cases involving alleged sex crimes, any evidence concerning the complaining witness’s prior sexual conduct or opinions of the witness’s prior … Continue reading

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Breaking Bad: District of Vermont Deems Detention of Pregnant Passenger in Need of Bathroom Break Reasonable So Female Officer (Who Never Took Her to the Bathroom) Could Arrive

Authorities believe that a a vehicle contains narcotics. They detain a passenger and call for a narcotics dog. The dog arrives 45 minutes later. Another 20-30 minutes pass, and the authorities still haven’t conducted the canine sniff. The passenger confesses. … Continue reading

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Posted in Courts and the Judiciary | 1 Comment

Birckhead on “Delinquent by Reason of Indigency”

Tamar Birckhead (UNC) has posted to SSRN a draft her essay Delinquent by Reason of Indigency, 38 Wash. U. J. L. & Pol’y __ (forthcoming 2012).  Here is the abstract: This Essay, written for the 12th Annual Access to Equal … Continue reading

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Posted in Courts and the Judiciary, Feminism and Families, Feminism and Law, Socioeconomic Class | Comments Off

Can You Hear Me?: Court of Appeals of Texas Finds Failure to Hold In Camera Rape Shield Hearing Isn’t Reversible Error

Similar to its federal counterpart, Texas Rule of Evidence 412(c) provides that if a criminal defendant is trying to present evidence under an exception to the rape shield rule, the defendant must inform the court out of the hearing of … Continue reading

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A Private Matter?: Military Court Opinion Reveals Problem With Military Rape Shield Rule

Federal Rule of Evidence 412(a), the federal Rape Shield Rule, provides that evidence of an alleged victim’s sexual predisposition or other sexual behavior is inadmissible to establish her propensity to consent to sexual acts and her conformity with that propensity, … Continue reading

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Posted in Acts of Violence, Coerced Sex, Courts and the Judiciary | 1 Comment