Category Archives: Courts and the Judiciary

Everything But The Girl: Northern District Of Indiana Opinion Sharpens Split Over Nature Of Affirmative Defense In Single-Instance Harassment Cases

An employer is subject to vicarious liability to a victimized employee for an actionable hostile environment created by a supervisor with immediate (or successively higher) authority over the employee. When no tangible employment action is taken, a defending employer may … Continue reading

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Posted in Acts of Violence, Coerced Sex, Courts and the Judiciary, Employment Discrimination, Feminism and the Workplace | Comments Off

Request for Signatories to Amicus Brief in Hosana-Tabor Case (First Amendment, Employment Discrimination and Gender Issues)

We have drafted an amicus brief for law professors in the Hosanna-Tabor case, which involves a ministerial exception to employment laws and has important implications for gender discrimination. Cheryl Perich was a kindergarten and fourth grade teacher at Hosanna-Tabor Evangelical … Continue reading

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

Gettin’ (Un)Lucky in Kentucky: Court of Appeals of Kentucky Finds Trial Court Erred in Excluding Evidence That Alleged Victim Was a “Crack Whore”

Assume that a defendant is on trial for sexually assaulting a victim. And, assume that the defendant’s defense is, essentially, that the alleged victim is a “crack whore.” Should the defendant be able to present evidence of the alleged victim’s … Continue reading

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Posted in Acts of Violence, Coerced Sex, Courts and the Judiciary | 2 Comments

When Innocence Is Pink: Why There Is A Gender Gap In Exonerations of the Wrongfully Convicted and Efforts That Might Shrink It

There are over 60 innocence projects nationwide, and they do tremendous work. According to the Cardozo Innocence Project website, “There have been 271 post-conviction DNA exonerations in United States history.” The Innocence Project has profiles of each of the exonerees … Continue reading

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

As Judge Nancy Gertner Retires, We Lose One of Our Greatest Judges But Gain One of Her Greatest Opinions

Judge Nancy Gertner kicks ass. I remember writing a motion in limine regarding the admissibility of virtual reality evidence for the annual mock technology trial when I was a student at William and Mary. Judge Gertner served as the judge … Continue reading

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

Exception(al) Opinion: Supreme Court of Montana Opinion Might Mean Montana Has Broadest Abuse Exception to Court-Ordered Mediation

Mediation in child custody determinations is popular, partly due to the mediation principle of neutrality, which theoretically gives both parents an equal chance at a fair allocation of parenting time. However, not all divorce cases are appropriate for mediation. In severe cases of intimate partner violence there are … Continue reading

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

Article of Interest: Kerri L. Stone’s Clarifying Stereotype

Federal Rule of Evidence 801(d)(2)(E) provides that “[a] statement is not hearsay if…[t]he statement is offered against a party and is…a statement by a coconspirator of a party during the course and in furtherance of the conspiracy. Rule 801(d)(2)(E) is based … Continue reading

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

Film About Loving v. Virginia at Tribeca Film Festival

The Tribeca Film festival begins next week.  Included in the film line-up is Loving Story, a documentary about Mildred and Richard Loving.  Here is the film description: Loving v. Virginia was a watershed civil rights case in which the United … Continue reading

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Posted in Courts and the Judiciary, Feminism and the Arts, Feminist Legal History, Race and Racism | Comments Off

(Non)Consenting Adults: Illinois Opinion Finds Adultery Is Serious Provocation, Sexual Assault Is Not

I’m currently teaching 2nd degree murder in my Criminal Law class and was looking for a good Illinois case on the subject. In Illinois, a defendant who could otherwise be convicted of 1st degree murder can be convicted of 2nd … Continue reading

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

NY Appellate Court Upholds Distribution of Decedent’s Estate to Same-Sex Spouse

An appellate court in New York has upheld the decision of New York County Surrogate Kristen Booth Glen (formerly of CUNY Law) to recognize a decedent’s same-sex marriage for estate administration purposes.  Specifically, Surrogate Glen had permitted probate of the … Continue reading

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Posted in Courts and the Judiciary, Feminism and Families, LGBT Rights | Comments Off

Full Text Opinion in H. Kenneth Ranftle v. Craig Leiby

The full text of the decision of the Supreme Court of the State of New York, Appellate Division, First Department appears after the fold.

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Should Courts Award Child-Rearing Damages for “Wrongful Birth” in Cases of the Rape of a Minor?

The issue of whether there should be a right to abortion in cases of rape has arisen again in response to comments by teen sensation Justin Bieber. The 16 year-old pop star was asked about abortion in rape cases, and … Continue reading

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

There’s No Sex in Your Violence: Opinion Reveals Minnesota Only Allows Hostile Work Environment Claims Based On Sexual Harassment, Not Gender Discrimination

A female employee brings an action against a school district under the Minnesota Human Rights Act (MHRA), alleging hostile work environment based upon gender discrimination. The gravaman of her complaint is that her male supervisor made sexist statements about the … Continue reading

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Posted in Acts of Violence, Courts and the Judiciary, Employment Discrimination, Feminism and the Workplace, Sexual Harassment | Comments Off

(A few reasons) why Angela Onwuachi-Willig should be appointed to the Iowa Supreme Court

Various law blogs (including this one) have mentioned the news that University of Iowa law professor Angela Onwuachi-Willig is on the short list for the Iowa Supreme Court. Angela is a leading scholar on topics of racial justice and critical … Continue reading

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

Onwuachi-Willig: Finalist for Iowa Supreme Court

Among the 9 finalists for the 3 vacancies on the Iowa Supreme Court Justice there is one woman, one racial minority, and one law professor – – – and then there are the 8 other candidates. The 3 vacancies on … Continue reading

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Posted in Academia, Courts and the Judiciary | Comments Off

The “Inevitable Firing” Approach: How The Inevitable Discovery Doctrine Should Inform Subordinate Discrimination Cases

A company fires an employee. The employee files an action against the company, alleging that the firing was discriminatory. The company moves for summary judgement dismissing the complaint. The fired employee has no direct evidence that the supervisor who fired … Continue reading

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

Beiner on “White Male Heterosexist Norms in the Confirmation Process”

Theresa Beiner (University of Arkansas) has posted to SSRN her article, White Male Heterosexist Norms in the Confirmation Process (forthcoming 2011).  Here is the abstract: Justice Sonia Sotomayor’s confirmation hearing took a controversial turn when commentators picked up on a … Continue reading

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Posted in Courts and the Judiciary, Feminist Legal Scholarship | 1 Comment

What Kind Of Right?: Court of Appeals of Michigan Finds Rape Shield Rule Vests Rights In Victims

MCL 750.520j, Michigan’s rape shield statute, provides that: (1) Evidence of specific instances of the victim’s sexual conduct, opinion evidence of the victim’s sexual conduct, and reputation evidence of the victim’s sexual conduct shall not be admitted … unless and only … Continue reading

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

On the Issues Magazine Article “Judging Our Future” on Female Judges

In this month’s On the Issues magazine there is a quick article (here) about the presence/absence of women judges in the United States.  “Judging our Future: Supreme Women Move Up” gives some of the stats: Since Elena Kagan took her … Continue reading

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Posted in Courts and the Judiciary, Legal Profession, The Underrepresentation of Women | 1 Comment

7th Circuit Answers Lawyer Who Told Panel of Judges to “Ask Your Wives” About Washing Machines

The United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit has issued an order in the case Thorogood v. Sears, Robebuck & Co. The 3-judge panel — Judges Posner, Kanne and Evans — writes: [I]n view of the accusations leveled … Continue reading

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Posted in Courts and the Judiciary | 1 Comment

Jessie Hill on Dangerous Terrain: Mapping the Female Body in Gonzales v. Carhart

Jessie Hill has posted on SSRN a short and fascinating analysis of the graphic language used in Gonzales v. Carhart (2007), the “partial-birth abortion” case. Here is part of the abstract: This brief Article focuses on the rhetoric of the … Continue reading

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Posted in Academia, Courts and the Judiciary, Feminism and Law, Reproductive Rights, Women's Health | Comments Off

Judicial Notice of Girl’s Birth (aka Judge Kimba Wood Rocks!)

From the WSJ Law Blog: [Bennett Epstein, a] Manhattan lawyer recently asked New York federal judge Kimba Wood to grant him a day’s reprieve in a criminal trial to attend the bris of his grandson. Epstein’s daughter has not yet … Continue reading

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Posted in Courts and the Judiciary | 2 Comments

“What separates a stereotype from reality?”

Yesterday I blogged about Flores-Villar v. United States, the pending Supreme Court case about whether the laws of citizenship can treat the foreign-born children of American men less favorably than it treats the foreign-born children of American women. Ruthann Robson … Continue reading

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Posted in Courts and the Judiciary, Feminism and Law | 2 Comments

In the Supreme Court Today: Sex Discrimination in Passing Your Citizenship On to Your Children

In the Supreme Court this morning, the Obama administration is defending discrimination in the law of U.S. citizenship on the grounds that other countries do it too. When a non-marital child is born outside the United States and has one … Continue reading

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Posted in Courts and the Judiciary, Feminism and Families, Feminism and Law, Immigration | 3 Comments

Guest Blogger Seth Stern: Justice Brennan’s Woman Problem

In the month since the publication of the biography of Justice William J. Brennan Jr. I co-authored, no passage has attracted more attention than our account of his refusal to hire female clerks. It probably shouldn’t have come as a surprise … Continue reading

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Posted in Courts and the Judiciary, Employment Discrimination, Guest Blogger | 1 Comment

Judge Chatter about Amniote Intromittent Organ Might Lead to Removal from Bench

The State of New York Commission on Judicial Conduct has determined (here) that Saratoga County Family Court Judge Gilbert Abramson should be removed from the bench for failure (on several occasions and despite warnings) to notify defendants of their right … Continue reading

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Racialized Blame: What Virginia Thomas and Anita Hill Have to Do With It

Writing in the November 15, 2010 edition of The Nation, Professor Melissa Harris-Perry (Princeton) reacts to the news that Virginia Thomas, wife of United States Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, called Professor Anita Hill and asked Professor Hill to apologize: … Continue reading

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

Who’s Sorry Now is Like the Corners of My Mind (or, Connie Francis Meets Gladys Knight and Mashes-up Public Memory)

A New York Times headline recently trumpeted that Virginia Thomas, wife of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, had telephoned law professor Anita Hill at her faculty office and left a message. You can read about it here. Odd behavior, to … Continue reading

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Posted in Courts and the Judiciary, Feminism and Politics, Sexual Harassment | 1 Comment

Justice Kagan’s First Week at Work

Image source: here. H/T Joan Shaungnessy -Bridget Crawford

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Posted in Courts and the Judiciary | 1 Comment

As Seen on TV?: SDNY Finds Social Framework Testimony Wouldn’t Help Jurors Because Gender Stereotypes are Exposed on Sitcoms & News Reports

Moreover, the Court agrees with the Minnesota Court of Appeals’ reasoning in Ray v. Miller Meester Advertising, Inc., 664 N.W.2d 355 (Minn.Ct.App.2003) wherein the court found that the trial court abused its discretion by admitting Dr. Borgida’s testimony because the … Continue reading

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Posted in Courts and the Judiciary, Employment Discrimination, Feminism and the Workplace | 2 Comments

The Wonder State: Eastern District of Arkansas Finds Serious Flaw With Arkansas’ Rape Shield Rule

This Court views the case as illustrating a serious flaw in Arkansas’s criminal justice system, whereby Arkansas applies its rape shield statute in a broad and sweeping fashion without properly focusing on the constitutional rights of the accused. Jackson v. … Continue reading

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Memo to Yale Law School Professor Adam Cohen: “What Price Waterhouse did is like saying ‘nigger.’”

A member of the blogroll who has requested anonymity contributes the following post: Adam Cohen, who is apparently a law professor at Yale Law School, seems not to be familiar with the case of Hopkins v. Price Waterhouse, and that Cohen … Continue reading

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Posted in Courts and the Judiciary, Employment Discrimination, Feminism and the Workplace | 4 Comments

Northern District of California Permits Defendants to Interrogate Title IX Plaintiff About Whether She Consented to Teacher’s Sexual Behavior When She Was 15

A plaintiff claims that she was 15 years-old when she was subjected to sexual molestation by her then 38 year-old teacher at a charter school.  Accordingly, she brings a Section 1983 action (1) against the school and its director/principal for failure to train and … Continue reading

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

Naomi Schoenbaum on Elena Kagan’s “Post-Identity” Approach to Gender

Naomi Schoenbaum, a Bigelow Fellow at The University of Chicago Law School, has published "Post-Gender Justice: What Does Being a Woman Mean to Elena Kagan?" in The New Republic.  Here is an excerpt:   Kagan has been deemed a female … Continue reading

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Posted in Courts and the Judiciary, Firsts | 1 Comment

Declaration of Independence Thoughts: Kagan Hearing and (White Male) Philosophers

Adopted by the Continental Congress on July 4, 1776, the Declaration of Independence is the foundational text for the July Fourth "Independence Day" national holiday in the United States. Among the discussions of the document this year, two stand out.  … Continue reading

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Posted in Courts and the Judiciary, Feminist Legal History | 1 Comment

Demonstrably Durable: Indiana Case Reveals Indiana Courts Still Recognize Demonstrably False Accusation Exception To Rape Shield Rule

"Under common law, evidence of prior false allegations of sexual misconduct is admissible if the allegation was demonstrably false and similar to that with which the defendant was charged, or if the complaining witness has admitted that the prior accusation … Continue reading

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

Ringhand on Supreme Court Nomination Process

Today’s New York Times has a long article (here) discussing the empirical work of Feminist Law Professor Lori Ringhand (University of Georgia) and her co-author Paul M. Collins, Jr. (Political Science, U. of N. Texas).  Here’s how the Times summarizes: … Continue reading

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

2010 Status Update – Women and Legal Education

According to blogs in the legal academy, women did not fare well this year in the law school lateral hire market, with the majority of lateral moves being made by men. Further, Supreme Court clerkships are weighty credentials among academics … Continue reading

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Posted in Courts and the Judiciary, Law Teaching, The Underrepresentation of Women | 1 Comment

An all women Supreme Court?

It’s not impossible.   The Texas Supreme Court is a testament to the possibility.   It happened eighty-five years ago,   if only for a single case. In 1925, the Texas Governor appointed three women to fill all the positions … Continue reading

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Posted in Courts and the Judiciary, Feminism and Law, Feminist Legal History, If you're a woman, Legal Profession, The Underrepresentation of Women | 2 Comments

Invasion of Privacy: Court of Appeals of Texas Finds Trial Court Properly Excluded Evidence of Alleged Victim’s Prior Nonconsensual Sexual Acts Under Rape Shield Rule

Texas Rule of Evidence 412(a) provides that In a prosecution for sexual assault or aggravated sexual assault, or attempt to commit sexual assault or aggravated sexual assault, reputation or opinion evidence of the past sexual behavior of an alleged victim … Continue reading

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Where Are The Women? The Catholic University of America and its Law School’s Center for Law, Philosophy and Culture is hosting a womenless symposium on”The Nature of Judicial Duty: A Reflection on Philip Hamburger’s Law and Judicial Duty”on April 8-9, 2010.

The Symposium’s home page is here. The listed speakers include: Philip Hamburger (keynote), Richard A. Epstein, Emilio M. Garza, R.H. Helmholz, H. Jefferson Powell, Lloyd L. Weinreb and Michael P. Zuckert. –Ann Bartow

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Posted in Courts and the Judiciary, Feminism and Religion, The Overrepresentation of Men, The Underrepresentation of Women, Where are the Women? | Comments Off

If SCOTUS Opinions Don’t Use Gender-Neutral Language, Why Should Any Lawyer?

Leslie Rose (Golden Gate) has posted to SSRN her article, The Supreme Court and Gender-Neutral Language: Setting the Standard or Lagging Behind (forthcoming Duke J. of Gender Law & Policy).  Here is the abstract: Most modern legal writing texts and … Continue reading

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Posted in Courts and the Judiciary, Legal Profession, Sociolinguistics | 1 Comment

Is there a gendered difference in how long it takes someone to become a “real” citizen?

That’s not exactly the question in Flores-Villar v. United States, a case in which the Court granted cert. today.   But the case does involve a statute which provided a gender differential for unmarried mothers and unmarried fathers regarding the … Continue reading

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Posted in Courts and the Judiciary, Feminism and Families, Immigration | Comments Off

Take the Power and Do Justice, Urges Family Court Judge

The Honorable Kathie E. Davidson Today, the Women’s Association of Law Students at my school (Pace)  celebrated the achievements of The Honorable Kathie E. Davidson, the Supervising Judge of the (New York State) Ninth Judicial District Family Courts.   In … Continue reading

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Coyote Publishing v. Ross Miller: 9th Circuit Upholds Restrictions on Ads for Prostitution

The opinion is available here. The ads at issue were characterized as “pure commercial speech.” Below are two excerpts in which the court explains the ways that legalized prostitution drives the demand for sex slaves and sex trafficking: The federal … Continue reading

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Posted in Coerced Sex, Courts and the Judiciary, Feminism and Law, Human Trafficking | Comments Off

The Rape Sieve Rule?: According to Dissent, Opinion Abrogates Every Rape Shield Statute in the Sixth Circuit

Some 35 years ago, the Michigan state legislature determined that a criminal defendant accused of rape may not introduce evidence about the victim’s past sexual behavior, because the victim’s past willingness is not relevant to the question of present consent. … Continue reading

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On the Silence of Justice Thomas

This article discusses the fact that Justice Thomas has not asked a question during oral argument for about four years, and has been mostly quiet his entire time on the SCOTUS bench. It notes that a recent graduate of the … Continue reading

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Posted in Courts and the Judiciary, Legal Profession | Comments Off

Race and Gender Matter — Is This Surprising?

The ABA Journal reports (here) that “Race & Gender of Judges Make Enormous Difference in Rulings, Studies Find.”  Is this surprising to anyone? The academic studies that inspired the ABA Journal article (and a panel discussion at the ABA Midyear … Continue reading

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Residual Value: Nevada Case Reveals Potential Usefulness of Residual Hearsay Exception to Gender and Race Discrimination Plaintiffs

Federal Rule of Evidence 807 provides an exception to the rule against hearsay for A statement not specifically covered by Rule 803 or  804 but having equivalent circumstantial guarantees of trustworthiness, is not excluded by the hearsay rule, if the … Continue reading

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

“And after Wellons was convicted and sentenced to die, jurors presented the female judge with a gift of “chocolate shaped as male genitalia,” as the Supreme Court recounted it. If that were not enough, they gave the bailiff a chocolate gift “shaped as female breasts.””

Today in SCOTUS Death Penalty jurisprudence: The Supreme Court concluded that a chocolate penis given by the jurors to the judge “raised serious questions concerning the conduct of the trial.” Ya think? See the Supreme Court ruling granting cert. See … Continue reading

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