Where Are the Liberal Justices on Gay Rights?

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Cross-posted on The Faculty Lounge

In re-reading the marriage cases this afternoon, something struck me: where are the liberals?

There are six opinions in the two cases.  Justices Kennedy wrote the majority opinion in Windsor, with Chief Justice Roberts and Justices Scalia and Alito writing dissents.  Chief Justice Roberts wrote the majority opinion in Perry with Justice Kennedy writing the dissent.

The four liberals joined Justice Kennedy in Windsor but each was silent about their own thoughts.  Three of the liberals joined Chief Justice Roberts in Perry (Breyer, Ginsburg, and Kagan).  Justice Sotomayor joined Justice Kennedy’s dissent.  Each was silent about their own thoughts on this case as well.

Why does this matter?  Presumably, at least one of these four has some view of the Constitution that endorses a more robust view of gay rights than Justice Kennedy.  Kennedy has certainly been a proponent of gay rights, but not in a way that has changed the level of scrutiny and put discrimination based on sexual orientation on par with discrimination based on sex or race, a central cause in current-day LGBT advocacy.  In fact, Kennedy hasn’t ever been really clear about how exactly he is analyzing discrimination against gays and lesbians.  His opinions are full of lifting rhetoric, but are short on clear analysis that helps future litigants and judges.

Without any of the liberals writing separately, we don’t have any official statement in the Supreme Court Reporter from any Justice arguing that sexual orientation discrimination in all of its forms is odious to the Constitution.  We don’t have any Justice with a ringing endorsement of equality for LGBT people.  We don’t have any Justice making the strong case for marriage equality.

By remaining silent, not only are the liberal Justices depriving us from learning their particular views, but they are depriving future litigants the opportunity to use their strong reasoning to further their cause.  After all, the logic in today’s concurring opinions often becomes the logic in tomorrow’s majority opinion.

What’s even more troubling about this is that this appears to be a trend.  In its history, the Court has issued four decisions advancing the cause of gay rights — Windsor today striking down DOMA, Perry today rejecting the appeal of the decision finding Prop 8 unconstitutional (I’ll give the Court the benefit of the doubt here by calling Perry a case advancing gay rights), Lawrence 10 years ago rejecting Texas’s sodomy statute, and Romer 17 years ago finding Colorado’s Amendment 2 unconstitutional.

Combined in those cases there have been 12 separate opinions.  Not a single one was written by anyone to the left of Justice Sandra Day O’Connor.  (Kennedy has written 4 times, Scalia 3 times, O’Connor 2 times, and Thomas, Alito, and Roberts each 1 time.)

Of course, when it comes down to it, the liberals on the Court owe the public nothing other than their votes.  In that regard, this current batch of liberal Justices has reliably voted for gay rights since 1996, and that should be celebrated.

But, it really would be wonderful if one of them had stepped up with a resounding call for gay equality in any one of these cases.  Instead, all we get from them is silence.

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Israel Faces a New Front of Segregation

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Two female soldiers were recently punished because one was braiding the other’s hair outside of the tent. A religious soldier complained that this was an immodest behavior, and the two were disciplined. The public uproar made the military reverse their conviction.  During Israel’s “Pillar of Defense” operation in Gaza, a sign was seen in one shelter in Jerusalem: “This shelter is for men only.” Such cruel and dehumanizing practices are where Israeli society is headed. How did Israel get here?

Taking Israel’s political commentators and pollsters by surprise, Yair Lapid, head of the Yesh Atid party, won 19 out of 120 mandates, second only to Halikud-Beytenu. The central demand of Lapid during the coalition-building negotiations was that the government introduce an “equal burden” reform. This is a code phrase for ending the effective waiver that exempts ultra-orthodox men from military service. When Israel was established, Prime Minister David Ben Gurion agreed to release a handful of religious men from the military. Instead, these men would study torah full time, carrying the torch of the pre-Holocaust Yeshiva life. Over the decades, this waiver became the way out for most ultra orthodox men – about 70,000 per year. Lapid’s demand, then, struck a sensitive chord. Many Israelis are enraged by the idea that some groups are categorically exempt from the risk of death and the expenditure of precious youth in military service. The bitterness towards the ultra-orthodox grows even deeper due to their low participation rate in the labor force, and the fact that many live on government welfare. Lapid’s voters, the middle class productive taxpayers who struggle to make ends meet, are thus seeking a more balanced distribution of national effort.

One factor goes almost unnoticed in the governmental efforts to integrate the ultra-orthodox: the severe damage to sex equality that such integration supposedly requires. Policymakers believe that in order to draw the ultra-orthodox into the military and the labor market, they must be provided with conditions that meet strict religious demands: namely, sex-segregated environments.

The broad assumption that sex segregation is a necessary evil has prompted the military to establish “women-sterile” units for ultra-orthodox men. These men neither serve alongside women nor stationed in co-ed bases. They also never receive instructions from women through the military radio, for women’s voices may lead to sinful thoughts. Ironically, this sidelining of Israeli women comes just when they begun achieving substantial equal opportunities in the military, with more combat and commanding roles open to them.

Academia is another area in which sex segregation is expanding. In recently years, almost every public university and college in Israel has opened sex-segregated degree programs. Such programs, which often receive governmental subsidies, are deeply troubling.

In most programs, male students are promised that they will not be taught by female lecturers (but male professors do teach women). For deans and staff developers, women then become less attractive as faculty members because they are less employable. This adds another hurdle to the already fragile and imperfect sex equality in the employment market.

One might hope that these students would be unwittingly exposed to general campus life, mingle with people different from them in the cafeteria, or catch a glimpse of a posting on an interesting extra-curricular talk, thereby becoming more exposed to the academic spirit. Alas, these special programs are held far from the main campuses, in special facilities inside ultra-orthodox neighborhoods, precluding such exposure.

It is hard to see how subjects such as law, psychology or nursing can be taught while the academic institution agrees to abide by a fundamentally non-egalitarian rule, contradicting basic humanistic and liberal values. Some reports indicate that teachers in those programs are instructed to modify the curriculum as to not challenge students’ worldview, or provoke their rabbis. A psychology instructor recently reported that she was directed to exclude evolution from a course on the human mind. Similarly, it is not unlikely that a constitutional law professor might prefer omitting central cases involving same sex discrimination, or the welfare rights of single mothers.

As the U.S. Supreme Court has understood in Brown v. The Board of Education, separate is never equal. Women who are required to cover their bodies, sit at the back of the bus, walk on the other side of the street, and speak softly to avoid sexual provocation are bound to internalize how their society sees them. Their bodies are marked as sinful, and they have little legitimacy to act, think, create, and express themselves. Moreover, the academic programs open to women are different than those open to men, focusing on traditional “pink collar” jobs such as teaching, or art therapy, whereas men can study subjects such as economics or computer programming.

Advocates of such segregated programs see them as a temporary phase, after which these men and women will become part of the general labor market and Israel’s social texture. But none of these advocates can say at what point Israeli society will draw a red line and refuse to respect segregation demands. Why should a male nursing student agree to treat women patients, for example, if the government catered to his expectation never to come in contact with women throughout his studies? The government already encourages employers to establish women-only call centers or computer-chip assembly sites. Why shouldn’t the ultra-orthodox rightfully feel entitled to work in all-male or all-female environments? The ripple effect on secular women is already felt, and it is bound to expand.

Israeli liberals are too quick to assume that sex segregation is an unavoidable condition to prompt the ultra orthodox to carry more of the social burden. The readiness for cultural pluralism must always raise the question “whose culture are we respecting?” There is ample evidence that many men and women within the ultra orthodox community are adamantly opposed to military, academic, and work-force segregation, just as they were to sex-segregation on buses. In the latter case, the government simply ignored their voices and collaborated with the extremists who used bullying techniques to impose those supposedly more pious religious practices. We should not repeat this mistake.

-Yofi Tirosh

Dr. Yofi Tirosh is a member of the Faculty of Law at Tel Aviv University

Posted in Feminism and Religion, Sisters In Other Nations | Comments Off

A feminist perspective on Agency for International Development v. Alliance for Open Society International, Inc.: Essentialism v. Pragmatism

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Last week the Supreme Court held that the federal government cannot force organizations to maintain a policy explicitly opposing prostitution as a pre-condition to obtaining funds to combat HIV/AIDS worldwide.  The decision is widely read as a victory for freedom of expression, since the Court declared that the United States Leadership Act Against HIV/AIDS’s condition to receive funds violated the First Amendment.   First Amendment decisions are not always compatible with general feminist views.  This time, however, the decision has the potential to lend support to women’s rights.

The United States Leadership Against HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria Act of 2003 was passed as part of a strategy for the U.S. to become a world leader in combating these pandemics.  The Act imposed two conditions on organizations interested in obtaining funds: 1) the funds could not be used to promote the legalization or practice of prostitution and sex trafficking, and 2) funds could not be used to provide assistance to groups or organizations that did not have an institutional policy that explicitly opposed prostitution and sex trafficking.  The second condition was held unconstitutional, but both conditions are flawed in that they treat prostitution and sex trafficking as two sides of the same coin. By mistakenly conflating sex trafficking and prostitution, the illusion that combating sex trafficking will free women from prostitution is perpetuated.  Arguing in favor of the legalization of sex trafficking amounts to promoting slavery, while working for the legalization of prostitution is something different entirely.  Numerous perspectives exist as to whether women are better off when prostitution is legal or illegal.  One would be hard pressed to find a sex slave who argues in favor of sex trafficking, but many sex workers advocate for the legalization and dignified treatment of their work.

This decision allows for more pragmatic strategies on the fight against HIV/AIDS; always a good sign.  The decision will also allow for organizations dealing with HIV/AIDS to separate positions between sex trafficking and prostitution.  Principled positions may sound good on paper, but, especially when dealing with global problems, pragmatism must prevail.  What works on one side of the Earth may not work on the other.  Sex workers usually argue that legalization and regulation of their occupation would allow them access to better health services and safer work environments.  The essential exploitation that comes with prostitution is always up for discussion.  While we have that discussion, though, we may want to ensure that the least number of women have to work in unsafe conditions, subject to diseases and gender violence.  As I usually tell students, we all want world peace, but it is unlikely we will get it anytime soon.  In the meantime, we must be pragmatic about what we can really get.  A good start is to work side by side with sex workers in combating both HIV/AIDS and sex trafficking.  While the justices of the Supreme Court may not have had this in mind when they signed their opinion, the decision may help to treat prostitution and sex trafficking differently.

Posted in Academia, Feminism and Law, Human Trafficking, Prostitution, Sex Trafficking | 7 Comments

Aloni on “Relationship Recognition Madness”

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Erez Aloni (Whittier) has published an op-ed,  “Relationship Recognition Madness.” at Huff Po.  Here is an excerpt. He takes on the new FAFSA rules that take account the income of co-habitating unmarried parents in determining a student’s eligibility for financial aid.

Under the purview of the Department of Education, the new Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) will now include in its calculation of students’ eligibility for financial aid the income of cohabiting, unmarried parents — including same-sex spouses that are generally unrecognized by the federal government due to the Defense of Marriage Act. LGBTQ organizations have long fought for this legal change; indeed, our community has accepted it as a political victory…..

This new policy, advocated by LGBTQ organizations, ultimately penalizes unmarried (and same-sex) parents just as do laws that do not recognize these couples (and to clarify, the rule targets only parents who live together to the exclusion of others).

When combined, these two practices — the nonrecognition of unmarried couples in the allocation of rights and benefits and the recognition of them in the calculation of student financial aid — result in a functional financial penalty to nonmarried couples. The net result is economic maldistribution. No law or policy can be judged “fair” or “unfair” without considering this fact.

Read the full piece here.

-Bridget Crawford

Posted in Feminism and Economics, Feminism and Families | Comments Off

Sepper on “Doctoring Discrimination in the Same-Sex Marriage Debates”

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Elizabeth Sepper (Washington University St. Louis) has posted to SSRN her working paper Doctoring Discrimination in the Same-Sex Marriage Debates,  Indiana L.J. (forthcoming 2014).  Here is the abstract:

As an increasing number of state legislatures legalize same-sex marriage, some religious believers refuse to serve same-sex married couples. In the academy, law and religion scholars frame these refusals as “conscientious objection” to the act of marriage. They propose “marriage conscience protection” that would allow public employees and private individuals or businesses to refuse to “facilitate” same-sex marriages. They rely on the theoretical premise that commercial actors’ objections to marriage are equivalent to doctors’ objections to controversial medical procedures. Their proposal is then modeled on medical conscience legislation, which allows doctors to refuse to perform abortions. Such legislation, they say, would dispel conflicts over same-sex marriage and lead to acceptance of gay couples’ relationships.

This Article argues that same-sex marriage objections lack the distinct and compelling features of conscientious objection recognized by law. It offers the first systemic critique of medicine as a construct for the same-sex marriage debates. It demonstrates that legislative protection of conscientious objection has been limited to life-and-death acts for which the objector has direct responsibility and further justified in medicine by ethical commitments particular to the profession – bases that are absent from the marriage context. By identifying the theoretical foundation of conscientious objection protections, this Article provides the groundwork for distinguishing between conscience claims that can be justified and those that cannot, in medicine and beyond.

This Article further contends that the experience of medical conscience legislation represents a cautionary tale, rather than the success story that marriage conscience proponents claim. Conscience protection in the medical model could actually increase conflict and entrench opposition. Ultimately, these critiques undermine the theoretical and practical foundations of “marriage conscience protection.” They suggest that antidiscrimination law, where we have traditionally balanced religion and equality, constitutes a more useful lens through which to view religious accommodation.

The full paper is available here.

-Bridget Crawford

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Apps Can Teach You Anything: Yes, a Masturbation App

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I’m not making this up:

Forwarded to me by a friend who said he did *not* see this app and think of me (huh?).  Anyway, it’s HappyPlayTime (tag line: “female masturbation made friendly”).  Here‘s the app’s “mission”:

Sexuality is one of the most basic instincts of human beings. Being comfortable with your own sexual pleasure is a prerequisite to both being able to healthily accept pleasure from others, and pleasing others. How can you exchange pleasure with someone else if you don’t understand what your own body likes? That’s why masturbation, and learning how to masturbate is such a fundamental life lesson.

Unfortunately for many women, there has been a cultural stigma that blocks access to self-stimulation. HAPPYPLAYTIME is here to eliminate this barrier as much as possible. By talking openly and lightheartedly about female masturbation, we are taking the first step to becoming truly sexually liberated.

Reader reports welcome.

-Bridget Crawford

Posted in Feminism and Technology, Sex and Sexuality | Comments Off

Update on Kaitlyn Hunt Case

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Kaitlyn Hunt, the Florida high school senior accused of a sex offense for a lesbian relationship with a then-14 year old girl has rejected a deal that would have required her to plead guilty to third-degree felony child abuse.

A trial is scheduled for mid-July.

Here is an excerpt from the press release by Ms. Hunt’s attorneys:

Our client is a courageous teenager who chooses not to accept the current plea offer by the State of Florida.

This situation involves two teenagers who are the same sex, involved in a relationship. If this case involved a boy and girl, there would be little or no media attention.

Our client is a model citizen. She was placed in the incubating environment—a school with her fellow classmates. They attend classes and participate in intramural and extracurricular activities together. These fellow classmates eat lunch together and play on the same sports teams. They are allowed to communicate and have contact without barriers. Then, when as is natural, relationships develop between two teenagers in and as a result of the environment created by the State, it leads (in this case) to criminal prosecution.

If this incident occurred 108 days earlier, when Kaitlyn Hunt was 17, we would not be here with our client facing criminal prosecution.

See more news coverage here.

-Bridget Crawford

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Camille Paglia’s Review of Three Academic Studies of BDSM

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Camille Paglia reviews (here) for the Chronicle three recent books:

Three books from university presses dramatize the degree to which once taboo sexual subjects have gained academic legitimacy. Margot Weiss’s Techniques of Pleasure: BDSM and the Circuits of Sexuality (Duke University Press, 2011) and Staci Newmahr’s Playing on the Edge: Sadomasochism, Risk, and Intimacy (Indiana University Press, 2011) record first-person ethnographic explorations of BDSM communities in two large American cities. (The relatively new abbreviation BDSM incorporates bondage and discipline, domination and submission, and sadomasochism.) Danielle J. Lindemann’s Dominatrix: Gender, Eroticism, and Control in the Dungeon (University of Chicago Press, 2012) documents the world of professional dominatrixes in New York and San Francisco.

These books embody the dramatic changes in American academe over the past 40 years, propelled by social movements such as the sexual revolution, second-wave feminism, and gay liberation….[D]espite the refreshing candor displayed by the three books under review, a startling prudery remains in the way their provocative subjects have been buried in a sludge of opaque theorizing, which will inevitably prevent these books from reaching a wider audience. Weiss, Newmahr, and Lindemann come through as smart, lively women, but their natural voices have been squelched by the dreary protocols of gender studies.

It is unclear whether the grave problems with these books stemmed from the authors’ wary job maneuvering in a depressed market or were imposed by an authoritarian academic apparatus of politically correct advisers and outside readers. But the result is a deplorable waste.

Read the full review here.  It is acerbic, erudite and brutally honest.

-Bridget Crawford

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Fla. Asst. State Attorney Prosecuting High School Senior for Same-Sex Relationship

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There is a petition here at change.org urging the Indian River County (Florida) State Attorney and Assistant Attorney to stop the prosecution of 18-year old Kaitlyn Hunt, an 18-year old high school senior in a consensual relationship with a fellow 15-year old student.

Here‘s Gawker’s take:

Kaitlyn Hunt, an 18-year-old high school senior from Indian River County, Florida, is facing felony charges for engaging in a sexual relationship with another girl at her school.

Kate, then 17, reportedly met the unnamed then-14-year-old toward the beginning of the school year.

The two began dating last September shortly after Kate’s 18th birthday, and their relationship eventually became intimate.

Everything was fine until a few months later, when Kate was suddenly arrested and charged with two counts of sexual battery on a person 12-16 years old.

It seems Kate’s girlfriend’s parents found out about the relationship, and went straight to the police.

…Sebastian River High School, where Kate was voted “Student with Most School Spirit,” has taken a similarly prejudiced approach toward dealing with the situation, according to Kate’s father.

First she was kicked off the school’s basketball team by the coach in order to avoid “drama.”

Then, caving to pressure from the parents of Kate’s girlfriend, the school board voted to expel her.

Kate is now faced with a Sophie’s Choice: Accept Assistant State Attorney Brian Workman’s plea deal, which would require her to admit to a felony, spend two years under house arrest, and possibly end up on the sex offender registry for life — or go to trial.

She has until this Friday to decide.

I’d love to know how many 18-year old high school boys in Indian River Country, Florida have been charged with violating the state’s age-of-consent laws.

-Bridget Crawford

Posted in LGBT Rights, Primary and Secondary Education | Comments Off

Sexual Behavior and Critics of Consent Theory

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Over (here) at The Atlantic, Conor Friedersdorf has in interesting take on whether consent is an appropriate litmus test for measuring ethical sexual behavior. Unfortunately, the article’s title — The Ethics of Extreme Porn: Is Some Sex Wrong Even Among Consenting Adults? — is overly sensational and not especially illuminating of the article’s content.  To be fair, he does start with an evaluation of some pornography, but his subject is sexual behavior of all kinds.

Here is an excerpt:

[Critics of consent] seem to imply (but may or may not believe, were it to come up directly) that consent as a cultural lodestar is a shameful moral abdication, indicative of an age where other, much more important norms have been abandoned. As I see it, the emphasis on consent in today’s sexual morality isn’t decadence. However incomplete, it is a historic triumph. And growing reverence for consent would gradually make our culture radically more moral.

A good read.

-Bridget Crawford

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Corbin on “Compelled Disclosures”

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Carolina Mala Corbin (Miami) has posted to SSRN her article Compelled Disclosures, Ala. L. Rev. (forthcoming).  Here is the abstract:

Courts have faced a wave of compelled disclosure cases recently. By government mandate, tobacco manufacturers must include graphic warnings on their cigarette packages, doctors must show and describe ultrasound images of fetuses to women seeking to abort them, and crisis pregnancy centers must disclose that they do not provide contraception or abortion services. Although applying the same compelled speech doctrine to similar issues, appeals courts have reached very different results in challenges to these laws. Drawing from First Amendment theory, this Article first identifies why compelled disclosures undermine free speech values. It then applies those insights to the specific examples above. In doing so, it examines not only compelled text but the new phenomenon of compelled images, particularly compelled images designed to provoke an emotional response. The Article concludes that recent appeals court decisions have it backwards: It is mandatory abortion counseling laws that offend free speech principles, not laws requiring cigarette warnings or crisis pregnancy center disclosures.

The full article is available here.

-Bridget Crawford

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A Creative Photographer’s Birthday Gift to Her 5 Year-Old Daughter (and the Rest of Us)

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Texas-based photographer Jamie C. Moore wanted to take pictures of her daughter Emma on the occasion of Emma’s fifth birthday.  She writes (here) on her blog:

So my amazing daughter, Emma,  turned 5 last month, and I had been searching everywhere for new-creative inspiration for her 5yr pictures. I noticed quite a pattern of so many young girls dressing up as beautiful Disney Princesses, no matter where I looked 95% of the “ideas” were the “How to’s” of  how to dress your little girl like a Disney Princess. Now don’t get me wrong, I LOVE Disney Princesses, from their beautiful dresses, perfect hair, gorgeous voices and  most with ideal love stories in the mix you can’t help but become entranced with the characters. But it got me thinking, they’re just characters, a writers tale of a princess (most before 1998)…an unrealistic fantasy for most girls (Yay Kate Middleton!).

It started me thinking about all the REAL women for my daughter to know about and look up too, REAL women who without ever meeting Emma have changed her life for the better. My daughter wasn’t born into royalty, but she was born into a country where she can now vote, become a doctor, a pilot, an astronaut, or even President if she wants and that’s what REALLY matters. I wanted her to know the value of these amazing women who had gone against everything so she can now have everything. We chose 5 women (five amazing and strong women), as it was her 5th birthday but there are thousands of unbelievable women (and girls) who have beat the odds and fought (and still fight) for their equal rights all over the world……..so let’s set aside the Barbie Dolls and the Disney Princesses for just a moment, and let’s show our girls the REAL women they can be.

Here is just one of the results:



Check out the rest of Ms. Moore’s photographs here.

-Bridget Crawford

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Gender and Curse Words

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From Holy Sh*t: A Brief History of Swearing by Melissa Moher (via Slate here) :

With the development of feminism, many swearwords have become more equal-opportunity, not less. Bitch can now be applied to men and women, as can cunt. In the 19th century shit as a noun was reserved exclusively for men — the “West Somerset Word-Book” defines it as “a term of contempt, applied to men only,” as in “He’s a regular shit.” Now, women too can work, vote, own their own property, and be called a shit.

When swearwords don’t become more equal-opportunity, they often begin to be used solely for women — Geoffrey Hughes calls this the “feminization of ambisexual terms.” Words such as scold, shrew, termagent, witch, harlot, bawd, and tramp were all at one point in their histories terms for men; furthermore, the terms were usually neutral and sometimes even adulatory. Scold, for example, comes from the Old Norse word for “poet.” When these terms were feminized, they perjorated, going from neutral or positive to insulting. Bugger bucks this trend, too, going from a word used of men and women equally to an insulting term reserved almost exclusively for men.

My anecdotal experience suggests that “b*tch” or “c*nt” are not as “equal opportunity” as the author suggests, but I’m definitely curious to read the full book.

-Bridget Crawford

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Spindelman’s Review of Dale Carpenter’s “Flagrant Conduct: The Story of Lawrence v. Texas”

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Marc Spindelman (OSU) has published Tyrone Garner’s Lawrence v. Texas at 111 Mich. L. Rev. 1111 (2013).  Here is the abstract:

Dale Carpenter’s Flagrant Conduct: The Story of Lawrence v. Texas has been roundly greeted with well-earned praise. After exploring the book’s understanding of Lawrence v. Texas as a great civil rights victory for lesbian and gay rights, this Review offers an alternative perspective on the case. Built from facts about the background of the case that the book supplies, and organized in particular around the story that the book tells about Tyrone Garner and his life, this alternative perspective on Lawrence explores and assesses some of what the decision may mean not only for sexual orientation equality but also for equality along the often- intersecting lines of gender, class, and race.

Lawrence emerges in this light not as a singular victory for lesbian and gay civil rights, or perhaps even for civil rights more generally, but as a complexly mixed opinion about and for equality in society and under law.

The full review is available here.

-Bridget Crawford

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Persad on “What Marriage Law Can Learn from Citizenship Law (and Vice Versa)”

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Govind Persad (Visiting Scholar, University of Pennsylvania; PhD Candidate, Philosophy, Stanford University) has posted to SSRN What Marriage Law Can Learn from Citizenship Law (and Vice Versa)Here is the abstract:

Citizenship and marriage are legal statuses that generate numerous privileges and responsibilities. Legal doctrine and argument have analogized these statuses in passing: consider, for example, Ted Olson’s statement in the Hollingsworth v. Perry oral argument that denying the label “marriage” to gay unions “is like you were to say you can vote, you can travel, but you may not be a citizen.” However, the parallel between citizenship and marriage has rarely been investigated in depth. This paper investigates the marriage-citizenship parallel with a particular focus on three questions prompted by recent developments in law and policy:

1) Should we provide second-best statuses? Some couples — in particular gay and lesbian couples — have been offered permanent statuses, like civil unions, that bear legal privileges but fall short of full marriage equality. In contrast, similar differentiations within citizenship are generally resisted. The history of citizenship may presage the increasing unacceptability of differentiations within status in the gay marriage context. Meanwhile, the history of marriage equality efforts may help present-day citizenship advocates choose legal strategies.

2) Should statuses be a gateway to rights? Some early gay rights advocates unsuccessfully argued that advocates should challenge the primacy of marriage, rather than seek access to the institution. Advocates attempting to expand the rights of current noncitizens face similar choices: should they seek to give current noncitizens greater access to citizenship, or challenge the reservation of important rights to citizens?

3) Can status relationships be plural? Many critics of dual and multiple citizenship argued that allegiance to multiple states was immoral, unadministrable, or both. More recently, polygamous marriage has become a topic of legal and political discourse, first as a foil in anti-gay marriage arguments and later as a political possibility in its own right. I will consider whether polygamous marriage advocates can profitably draw on arguments for multiple citizenship, and how multiple-citizenship advocates should responsibly respond to the analogy with polygamy.

The full paper is available here.  Readers may be interested to know that Persad’s work won the 2012 Michael Greenberg Award for student scholarship from the National LGBT Bar Association.

-Bridget Crawford

Posted in Feminism and Families, Feminist Legal Scholarship, Immigration | Comments Off

Ben-Asher on “The Lawmaking Family”

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Noa Ben-Asher (Pace) has posted to SSRN her working paper The Lawmaking Family.  Here is the abstract:

 Increasingly there are conflicts over families trying to “opt out” of various legal structures, especially public school education. Examples of opting-out conflicts include a father seeking to exempt his son from health education classes; a mother seeking to exempt her daughter from mandatory education about the perils of female sexuality; and a vegetarian student wishing to opt out of in-class frog dissection. The Article shows that, perhaps paradoxically, the right to direct the upbringing of children was more robust before it was constitutionalized by the Supreme Court in Meyer v. Nebraska (1923) and Pierce v. Society of Sisters (1925). In fact, the position of U.S. courts on opting-out conflicts has shifted dramatically over the twentieth century. In the early twentieth century, parents mostly prevailed in such conflicts. Today, the state typically prevails. Contemporary conflicts often involve public-school management of health, sexuality, and liberal development of students through surveys, nudges, and mandatory readings. When these techniques infringe on familial liberty, lawmakers lack conceptual tools to respond. A new understanding of familial liberty is needed.

This Article offers that understanding. The approach here is based on the idea of family laws. Family laws are legal systems that families create or adopt to govern their day-to-day lives. These rules exist independently of state laws, and can be religious, such as Amish or Buddhist family laws, or secular, such as feminist or vegetarian family laws. The Article identifies three basic characteristics of family laws: They are (1) general and articulable; (2) grounded in religion, ethics, or morality; and (3) perceived as binding by members of a particular family. The Article argues that, with some limiting principles, lawmaking families should possess a liberty to opt out of programs and policies that conflict with a family law. Through an examination of three different types of family  laws–religious, feminist, and vegetarian–the Article demonstrates how the proposed approach would empower existing lawmaking families. Almost a century has passed since the Supreme Court declared the liberty of parents to educate their children in Meyer v. Nebraska. It is time to breathe new life into this moribund liberty by empowering the Lawmaking Family.

 This is an important theoretical piece. The full paper is available here.

-Bridget Crawford


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Angelina Jolie On Preventive Mastectomy

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Actress and activist Angelina Jolie writes about her decision to undergo a mastectomy and reconstructive surgery. Her op-ed, “My Medical Choice,” lays out her reasons, which include a discussion of the death of her mother from cancer, and her own decision to go public, and is published in the New York Times.

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Student-Teacher Loses Her Job Over SlutWalk

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From the Las Cruces (New Mexico) Sun News (here):

[Theresa] Illgen, 23, appeared in a front-page photograph in the Las Cruces Sun-News wearing a bra and appearing to motivate those who marched to educate students, and the public, about the issue of rape culture and victim blaming. The national march typically includes participants who dress in skimpy clothing who peacefully protest against excusing rape by referring to any aspect of a woman’s appearance.

“I didn’t know the picture would be published,” Illgen said. “The next day, I started thinking that there was going to be something that will happen from this.”

During her lunch hour Thursday at Mayfield, Illgen met with a vice principal and counselor at the school who Illgen said, “Told me the best option was to consider my student teaching done.” Illgen was also told to gather her personal belongings and leave Mayfield quietly.

“I was told my actions interfered with student learning,” she said.

Illgen added she was led to believe the decision to cease her student teaching, inhistory and sociology, came from Las Cruces school district officials rather than school administrators.

The offending photo?

(image credit: Robin Zielinski/Sun-News, here)

-Bridget Crawford

Posted in Employment Discrimination, Primary and Secondary Education | Comments Off

Where are the Women? Stanford Law School “CodeX FutureLaw Conference” Edition

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Check out the line-up for yourself, here. 26 speakers; 25 men.  One woman who is a student.

Conference organizer Tim Hwang said this in a Law.com article about the purpose of the conference. He said the inspiration behind the conference was “what awesome things are people working on [in legal services field] that should be shared more widely?”

He perhaps didn’t say that he only wanted to hear what men were doing, but the impact of the conference line-up is precisely that.

-Bridget Crawford

Posted in Where are the Women? | Comments Off

After More Than a Century, the Netherlands Gets a King

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For the first time in 123 years, the Netherlands has a male sovereign. Queen Beatrix has abdicated, somewhat ironically on Queen’s Day, paving the way for her oldest son, Willem-Alexander, to become the nation’s king. Beatrix follows in the tradition of her mother, Juliana, who abdicated to make way for her in 1980, as did Juliana’s mother Wilhelmina, who left the throne in 1948 for Juliana. Male tenure in the House of Orange may be a blip: Willem-Alexander’s heir is his daughter Catherine-Amalia, now Princess of Orange. Lining up after her are her two sisters. Photos of female royals (with glittering headgear) celebrating the investiture here from the Daily Mail. In any case, the Dutch sovereign no longer gets a coronation. There’s just a secular ceremony, and a lot of celebration. More coverage from the CBC. the Guardian (with video), Le Monde.

Posted in Feminist Legal History | Comments Off

Defining Pregnancy In Law

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Khiara M. Bridges, Boston University School of Law, has published When Pregnancy Is an Injury: Rape, Law  and Culture, at 65 Stanford Law Review 457 (2013). Here is the abstract.       

This Article examines criminal statutes that grade more severely sexual assaults that result in pregnancy. These laws, which define pregnancy as a “substantial bodily injury,” run directly counter to positive constructions of pregnancy within culture. The fact that the criminal law, in this instance, reflects this negative, subversive understanding of pregnancy creates the possibility that this idea may be received within culture as a construction of pregnancy that is as legitimate as positive understandings. In this way, these laws create possibilities for the reimagining of pregnancy within law and society. Moreover, these laws recall the argumentation that proponents of abortion rights once made – argumentation that one no longer hears and sees in the debates surrounding abortion. However, recent developments in antiabortion argumentation – namely the notion accepted in Carhart II that it is abortion that injures women – counsel the retrieval of the argument that unwanted pregnancies are injuries to women. Thus, the sexual assault laws are means to legitimatize a claim that may serve as an effective counterdiscourse to prevailing antiabortion argumentation.

The exploration proceeds in three Parts. Part I provides an overview of sexual assault statutes that punish more severely perpetrators who cause their victims to become pregnant and suggests that these laws are worthy of cultural analysis because they define pregnancy as an injury and, as such, are wholly at odds with positive constructions of pregnancy. Part II moves the discussion outside of the context of rape. It contends that the definition of pregnancy as an injury does not solely describe women’s experience of pregnancies that result from rape, but generally describes women’s experience of unwanted pregnancy. Indeed, it is the profound unwantedness of the pregnancy that results from rape that makes it an injury. Thus, the criminal law gives legitimacy to a subversive phenomenology of unwanted pregnancy, which may have repercussions for how pregnancy – and abortion – is understood within society. Part III looks at representations of pregnancy in other areas of the law, revealing that the law frequently embodies positive constructions of pregnancy even when negative constructions might be expected. The rare times that the law appears to represent pregnancy subversively are when laws index the social effects of pregnancies. Accordingly, while the law in these instances represents pregnancy as an injury, the injury is to the body politic. Thus, the subversive nature of the representation is mitigated, as it does not endeavor to describe a bodily experience of pregnancy. A brief conclusion follows.

Download the full text of the article from SSRN at the link.

Posted in Acts of Violence, Feminism and Culture, Feminism and Law, Women's Health | Comments Off

Of Husband Hunting and Diamond Mines

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There has been a tremendous dust-up in response to Susan Patton’s (a member of the Princeton class of 1977) letter to the Daily Princetonian.  In her letter, Patton exhorts Princeton women to begin the task of husband hunting in their freshman year, warning them that “[f]or most of you, the cornerstone of your future and happiness will be inextricably linked to the man you marry, and you will never again have this concentration of men who are worthy of you.”

Below is my response, a version of which was also published in the Daily Princetonian:

I have to say that while I disagree with most of Patton’s assertions, I don’t find them especially offensive. After all, women can take Patton’s advice or leave it. While Patton’s tone does seem overwrought and off key in several respects, I don’t find her message much different from any other piece of alumni advice. In fact, I find myself uneasier with the assumption by some women that Patton’s point of view is one that should be suppressed. I don’t agree with much of what Patton says. But neither do I think that Patton’s view should be silenced. Haven’t men told women to shut up long enough without women telling each other (for it is mostly women doing the silencing) to shut up? I for one think Patton ought to speak louder and longer to her points. If she did, we might engender fuller and more constructive engagement on the issue of women’s family lives.

I am especially uneasy with the class and race privilege evidenced in the outraged responses to Patton’s letter. There seems to be at work here an implicit understanding that elite college women who look for early marriage with classmates (or perhaps for any marriage at all) are turning their backs on stellar opportunities or are being untrue to bedrock feminist principles such as autonomy or equality. This is problematic because although women come in all stripes, too often norms of feminism are shaped by the elite few. Feminism has been and continues to be the province of the wealthy, the white and the well-connected. Many of these women want to have it all or want a larger piece of the pie. Other women might be content to get any of it at all or might be content with some of the crumbs from the pie much less a piece of it. It is difficult to frame a broad-based emancipatory feminist program in the face of such starkly contrasting metaphors for female success.

continue reading the post here

-Lolita Buckner Inniss

cross-post from Ain’t I a Feminist Legal Scholar, Too?

Posted in Academia, Feminism and Culture, Feminism and Families, Race and Racism, Socioeconomic Class | Comments Off

All-woman team from Ethiopia looks to compete in Jessup moot competition

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Here’s an excerpt from a message Diane Marie Amann has posted over  on IntLawGrrls:

“For the 1st time in history, a team made up solely of women will represent Ethiopia in the final rounds of the Jessup International Law Moot Court competition, which begin this Sunday, March 31, in Washington, D.C.

“Competing for Ethiopia will be 5 women, Adiam Zemenfes, Aklile Solomon, Liilnna Kifle, Maya Fresenay, Mintwab Afework, all of whom are students at the Addis Ababa University School of Law. They’re coached by a 6th woman, Blen Sahilu. The team is described in an ASIL Cable by New York Law School student Kienan D. Christianson, as follows:

 These women are exceptional students and are ranked at the top of their class. Moreover, they are dedicated leaders and volunteers for the campaign ‘To End violence against Women’ known as the ‘Yellow Movement.’

“But there’s a hitch: The Jessup does not fund competitors, so the team has been fund-raising to assure its way to D.C. These women are still $4,000 short of their goal. If you’d like to support their efforts, please donate here, typing “Ethiopian Moot Court team” in the “on behalf of” box. I did.”




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Parade of Male Dean Candidates

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As a soon-to-be-tenured female faculty member, I have been watching the news of recent law school dean appointments at Connecticut, UNLV, IU-Indy, and Northern Kentucky with interest. Three points stand out among all the announcements. First, these candidates are all distinguished and deserving candidates. [My own institution, IU-Indy, is fortunate to have Andy Klein at the helm to make some difficult decisions that lie ahead.] Second, one must have a certain degree of courage to agree to guide legal education in this time of change and challenge. Finally, one cannot help but notice that all of the appointments are male.

I cannot help but wonder if the source of this gender disparity  is the fact that women are relucant to take the helm of institutions where there may be inadequate resources or a faculty culture that is resistant to change. Or is the problem that the key decision-makers don’t believe that women have the leadership credentials to manage schools in difficult times? I do find it difficult to believe that in 2013, women are still regularly excluded from the leadership ranks of law schools. Of course, the empiricists will point out that there is a problem with a sample size of only four. But my problem with this particular sample size is that it conveys the impression that women are continuing to be shut out at the top ranks of legal academia.

Because of issues of confidentiality, we will never know whether any of the female candidates brought back for campus interviews for these positions selected to make the process look fair on the surface or whether they were “real” candidates that were the subject of true deliberation. It would be helpful to know how many women applied for each of these jobs and how much consideration did they receive. Finally, if experience as an associate dean is the required gateway to a deanship, do certain law schools stand out in terms of the number of women they have appointed to associate dean positions. Do others lag behind?

-Shawn Marie Boyne

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Colorado Civil Unions: Marriage Minus

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Did anyone notice that Colorado’s new civil union law purports to create a status that is the legal equivalent of marriage–except that parties to a civil union are prohibited from filing a joint state income tax return? (See § 14-15-117.) The purported reason for this is that couples who are not “married” for federal tax purposes cannot file a joint federal income tax return and the Colorado state income tax piggybacks on the federal income tax. But other states that have civil unions or same-sex marriage don’t seem to have a problem with requiring joint filing by same-sex couples (however much in the way of extra administrative burdens and extra costs it might add). (See Carlton Smith & Edward Stein, Dealing with DOMA: Federal Non-recognition Complicates State Income Taxation of Same-Sex Relationships, 24 Colum. J. Gender & L. 29, 33 (2012).) This also ignores the fact that different-sex couples (who are eligible to enter into a Colorado civil union) are apparently (at least according to the IRS) eligible to file joint federal income tax returns so long as their relationship is the legal equivalent of marriage. But will different-sex parties to a Colorado civil union now be allowed to file a joint federal return if their relationship is something less than a marriage? What about same-sex parties to a Colorado civil union if the U.S. Supreme Court decides to strike down section 3 of DOMA?

-Anthony Infanti

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Marc Stein’s “Sexual Injustice” Available in Paperback

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Marc Stein’s Sexual Injustice: Supreme Court Decisions From Griswold To Roe is now available in paperback from the University of North Carolina Press.

The publisher gives the following infor for professors interested in course adoption:

To order a print exam copy,   email me the name, enrollment, and semester of your course. Then go to the   book’s page, click ADD   PAPER, and enter 01EXAM at   checkout. To order by mail, use our exam copy order   form. Print exam copies are $6.00. 

To order an   electronic exam copy, visit our electronic exam   copy request page, fill out the form, and submit it. If it is available,   a book previewer widget will be sent to you.


You may also purchase   this book at 20% off by entering 01ENEW at checkout.

Posted in Academia, Feminism and Law, Sex and Sexuality | Comments Off

On the Importance of Recognizing Women’s Role in Parenting

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I read with interest the post Why we should be careful about taking the ‘maternity’ out of ‘parental leave’ over at Blue Milk.  I think the piece nicely summarizes some of the conservative undercurrents in the arguments surrounding gender-neutral parental leave policies and other parenting conversations:

It presents care as a transferable and marketable commodity, further marginalising questions about the impact different forms may have on those who depend on care the most (in this case, babies). It also fails to challenge work-practices that demand impossibly long working hours, and measurements of performance that ultimately devalue children and caring responsibilities.

Moreover, as an example of a dominant strand of feminism in Australia, the gender-equity paradigm is paradoxically de-gendered. Indeed, Cannold argues for ‘the parenthood conundrum’ to be ‘articulated in gender-neutral ways’. This, however, taps into a productivist ethos entirely consistent with the demands of the neoliberal marketplace, with caregivers replaceable or interchangeable in much the same way as employees in workplaces. In addition, a feminism promoting gender neutrality (in the name of equality) denies the bodily experience of women after they have given birth. Though a boon to the productive workplace, the breast pump may not necessarily protect the emotional needs of women and babies. To deny that baby leave is a women’s issue, to decouple ‘maternity’ from ‘leave’, is also to conceal human vulnerability and dependence. It reproduces what Iris Young has called ‘the normalising but impossible ideal’ that we are autonomous, unencumbered self-sufficient individuals, somehow beyond human dependency.

Emphasis in the original.

I’m all in favor of getting more men involved in caregiving, and recognizing men’s contributions as caregivers, but we also need to be conscious of what gets left out of the conversation when parenting or even mothering is constructed as gender-neutral by some scholars.

The full post (here) is worth a read.

-Bridget Crawford

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Student Reflection: Obstacles to Gender Equality at Work and Home, in Reaction to Rosenblum

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The following is a guest post by Margaret Serrano, a student at Pace University School of Law (JD expected 2013).

Pace Law School Professor Darren Rosenblum posted yesterday to his Huffington Post Blog (here) to criticize Sheryl Sandberg’s Lean In for failing to recognize the “central role played by public policy” in to increasing gender equality in the work place. “Reversing centuries of corporate sexism will not happen just because women wish it,” he explains. Private sector focused efforts such as those advanced by Sandberg “are doomed to fail,” he predicts, “because they ignore how our legal system establishes rules to stack men into high-power jobs and women onto the ‘mommy track’…only if the state ‘leans in’ to shift public policy and expectations will people be permitted to contribute to work and family, without regard to one’s sex.”

I reacted strongly to this post (not to mention Rosenblum’s 2010 Unsex Mothering Article) because it stirred up so many of the stereotypes that have been affecting my own life in the five years since I became a parent. In my family, beyond the breastfeeding, which, of course I do, my husband is the one who spends more hours of the day with our children, while I take on more professional and financial activities and responsibility.

As such, we have endured years of comments from friends, relatives, and passers-by to the effect that my husband must be some kind of a lazy bum for wanting to spend so much time in the home. Then there are those like Hanna Rosin who feel a need to point out how undesirable and sexually unappealing men who care for children are, despite advocating that more of them should take on this role (see her 2012 book The End of Men and the Rise of Women, especially the chapter “The Seesaw Marriage: True Love (Just for Elites),” replete with anecdotes of men who feel emasculated by their role in the home sphere, and women who look down on them in various different ways because of it). Also, pretty much every time my husband comes home from taking our children somewhere, he tells stories of nosy strangers who feel entitled to ask him if he has thought of whether our not our crying baby is hungry (would that not obviously be anyone’s first thought?!), and who always want to know where the baby’s mother his (because, of course, I am really the one whose responsibility this really is if our child is crying).

On the flip side of this same coin, I have had it suggested many times that I am an irresponsible woman, or at best silly and naive, for not having had the good sense to have married a wealthy man who can take care of me while I can stay home with my children. Further, I have received much purportedly well-meaning advice to the affect that my children will necessarily turn out stupider or emotionally scarred because I have periodically sent them to daycare settings. These are all very typical experiences in the mommy wars; I know I haven’t been a particular target of abuse.

Until I became pregnant with my daughter Jasmine in 2007, I more or less unexaminedly believed that today’s world was free of gender discrimination, because everyone seemed to express feelings that it should be and, well, hadn’t we all come a long way? Then, of course, I became a parent and I quickly learned, even before I gave birth, that the world may claim to be ready to treat women as equals to men, but not if children are involved. I have been on about 14 job interviews while visibly pregnant (thankfully each string of interviews did eventually lead to a job, both in 2007 and in 2012). It was interesting to observe each of the interviewers squirm around the fact that he (yes, actually all but two were men!) was dying to ask me how in God’s name I planned to do good work for him once I had the baby. Many of them even went ahead and asked, or had their secretaries ask me, purportedly outside of the interview. Then, I had to wonder if those who didn’t ask were worse, because that probably meant they were writing me off without the chance to explain how I planned to do it.

Around this same time I started to notice that most women who do make it to elevated professional positions, let’s say Supreme Court justices or corporate board members, don’t have children. Things like this made me begin to wonder why there aren’t quotas, not for women, but rather in favor of people who are caregivers for children? Wouldn’t that be what would really show that society is really supporting families and the best interest of children? If that can’t happen in our society, aren’t we then setting a clear expectation that all people choose between having families and fully participating in the professional world? Are we OK with that as a society? Isn’t there a valuable perspective that people who know what it’s like to care for children bring? Isn’t it unacceptably sad that those who run our world are denied the opportunity to be close to their family (don’t we all know a rich and powerful older man who regrets all the time he never could spend with his family, or his children who are still in therapy over it)? We really need to think hard about what this all means and make sure that we, as a people, can live with our the consequences of our actions in this regard.

I also had one last thought regarding policies to advance gender equality in the work place. I agree that it would be much, much better for our country to have a leave policy, like that of Sweden (as Rosenblum details in both pieces of writing cited here), which comes much closer to supporting all parents in childcare roles. If that cannot and will not be in our society for now, however, I wonder if it wouldn’t be more honest for all jobs to be openly, explicitly designated as jobs for primary caregivers and jobs not for primary caregivers.

I know this is a very problematic proposal, and not at all practical, but the fact that it would be more honest says something important. That way, at least, employers could stop pretending that they are not having to gain information through backdoor methods about who they want to hire, or simply avoid hiring or promoting women in general. Additionally, applicants, men or women, could have a clear idea about what jobs they can or should apply for, and perhaps there would be jobs more clearly available for those who wanted to ramp down but still remain in the work force for some years. I am not sure how to express what I am getting at with this idea yet, but I guess I would like to find a way to shed some light on the suppressed dishonesty of workforce discrimination today, if we can’t get a leave policy like Sweden’s at this point in time. Or maybe I am seeking a way to articulate a remedy for discrimination centered around on disclosure about employer’s true requirements. I will keep pondering this idea.

-Margaret Serrano

title of post updated 3/17/13 – ed.

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Emens on “Compulsory Sexuality”

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Elizabeth Emens (Columbia) has posted to SSRN her article Compulsory Sexuality, 66 Stan. L. Rev. (forthcoming). Here is the abstract:

Asexuality is an emerging identity category that challenges the common assumption that everyone is defined by some type of sexual attraction. Asexuals — those who feel no sexual attraction to others — constitute one percent of the population, according to a prominent study. In recent years, some individuals have begun to identify as asexual and to connect around their experiences interacting with a sexual society. Asexuality has also become a protected classification under one state’s antidiscrimination law, but legal scholarship has thus far neglected the subject.

This article introduces asexuality as a category of analysis, an object of empirical study, and a phenomenon of medical science. It then offers a close examination of the growing community of self-identified asexuals. Asexual identity has revealing intersections with the more familiar categories of gender, sexual orientation, and disability, and inspires new models for understanding sexuality.

Thinking about asexuality also sheds light on our legal system. Ours is arguably a sexual law, organized around the assumption that sex is important. The article traces several ways that our sexual law burdens, and occasionally benefits, asexuals. These indirect legal burdens combine with recent research on bias against asexuals to suggest a plausible case for legally protecting asexuals from discrimination. New York has included asexuality in its antidiscrimination law, and the article uses original research to tell the story of that legal innovation. The article concludes by exploring the common intuition that asexuality is a poor fit with existing antidiscrimination law. A close study of protected classifications identifies the core criteria that track the degrees of protection achieved by different identity categories, few of which are currently met by asexuality, though this could change with time. In so doing, the article provides a novel approach for understanding the landscape of antidiscrimination law.

The full piece is available here.  This is a great piece, and one I recommend.

-Bridget Crawford

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For International Women’s Day, a Google Doodle

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It’s International Women’s Day. Google heralds the event with a special Doodle from Google.





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Sabbatical Visitorship: Columbia Law School Center for Gender & Sexuality Law

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869c1f8711eb01b6c673e7134dd39635_biggerThe Center for Gender and Sexuality Law at Columbia Law School invites applications for a sabbatical visitor for the 2013-2014 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.  Application deadline is April 15, 2013.

For more information: http://www.law.columbia.edu/center_program/gendersexuality/sabbatical

Katherine Franke, Columbia Law School

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What Continues to Motivate the Anti-Abortion-Rights Movement 40 Years After Roe?

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The Washington Post (op-ed): Why pro-lifers keep fighting abortion, by Helen Alvaré & Meg T. McDonnell:

Pro-choice Americans must wonder from time to time what keeps pro-lifers going. Why don’t we lay down our signs, cease our marching and admit that we’ve been good and beaten for these 40 years since Roe v. Wade? One of us is a baby boomer, the other a millennial; our views may help others understand these things and, along the way, think about some rarely considered aspects of the U.S. experience with legal abortion. . . .


Two points in particular jumped out at me upon reading this op-ed. First, Alvaré and McDonnell describe abortion as “the destruction of a human life, at its most vulnerable stage, with the consent of the mother.” Seeing the pregnant woman as complicit in “the destruction of human life” (although it is interesting that they shy from the word “murder”) is certainly consistent with seeing a fertilized human egg as morally equivalent to a fully developed person. However, the anti-choice movement typically disavows any desire to punish women for abortions, despite this complicity, preferring to cast women as helpless victims of predatory abortion doctors. This undermines any claim that embryos are persons, for it is highly doubtful that they would view with compassion mothers who “consent” to the “destruction” of their children once they are born. It would be enlightening to know how Alvaré and McDonnell feel about this issue.

Second, Alvaré and McDonnell rightly point out that “poor and minority women and girls get the short end of the stick” when it comes to governmental support for child-rearing. To their credit, the authors blame Republicans as well as Democrats for this. But the fact is, Republican policies are particularly hostile to mothers who struggle financially. Yet the anti-choice movement chooses to direct its fervor toward preventing abortion rather than promoting policies to help low-income mothers. Indeed, the states that enforce the most vehemently anti-abortion policies spend the least to educate children, facilitate adoption, and provide assistance to poor children.

For more on the inconsistencies between the anti-abortion-rights movement’s rhetoric and its positions, see my article, The Meaning of ‘Life': Belief and Reason in the Abortion Debate. For my assessment of the anti-abortion-rights movement forty years after Roe, see Roe v. Wade’s 40th Anniversary: A Moment of Truth for the Anti-Abortion-Rights Movement?

-Caitlin Borgmann (cross-posted at Reproductive Rights Prof Blog)

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Male Fragility and Law

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Mary Anne Franks collects examples of the male fragility narrative in law and in society. It’s a fascinating observation, reminiscent of a recent discussion at Slate: Societal constructions of masculine identity are actually quite fragile, and as a result society regularly establishes social structures (such as no-gays-in-the-military) to protect the fragile identities of straight men.

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Lean In (Toward the Everlasting Glass)

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I think about all the moments I just didn’t believe in myself. Every test I was sure I was about to fail, every job I wasn’t sure I could do,” she says. “It was after watching so many women quietly lean back, after watching myself quietly lean back and miss opportunities, that I started to see the pattern and started to talk about it.

–Sheryl Sandberg

Sheryl Sandberg, the chief operating officer of Facebook, has caused a national discussion of women’s success (and failure) in the workplace with her assertion that women often lose ground because they “lean back,” that is, they choose to forego opportunities. In her upcoming book Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead, Sandberg details how women can overcome what could, I suppose, be called a pathological unwillingness to power. Women need, per Sandberg, a Nietzschean kick in the butt to get out of their career torpor.

I am, in general, a strong believer in the value and importance of hard work. I know, however, that no amount of hard work and determination can overcome certain types of workplace barriers for some women. The historical and current states of gender, class and racial inequality make leaning in futile in some cases. This is chiefly because Sandberg’s lean in notion relies upon the primacy of ideas such as formal equality and rationality. Lean in ignores the extent to which women have been excluded in shaping the substantive content of equality norms. As to rationality, it has long been clear that many employers will persist in gender or other types of discrimination even where they cause harm to their own interests. In short, employers can and frequently do cut off their own noses to spite their faces.

So, for the Sheryl Sandberg’s of the world I offer this paean to leaning in:

“Lean In Toward the Everlasting Glass” (Sung to the Tune of “Leaning on the Everlasting Arms”)

If you seek a job advance or want your career enhanced then

Lean in toward the everlasting glass

The glass is oh so thick

Work, wheedle, politick and

Lean in toward the everlasting glass

                        continue reading here at Ain’t I a Feminist Legal Scholar, Too?

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Internship for Law Students: Hadassah-Brandeis Institute

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From colleagues at Brandeis:

HBI Summer Internship Program Seeks Graduate Student Intern for Project on Gender, Culture, Religion and the Law – June 10 – August 2, 2013

The Hadassah-Brandeis Institute at Brandeis University has an opening for a graduate student with a background in law for their eight-week summer internship program.  An intern is needed to assist Lisa Fishbayn Joffe, Director of the HBI’s Project on Gender, Culture, Religion and the Law, in writing a chapter for her upcoming book, “Gender, Justice and Dialogue:  Women’s Rights and Jewish Law.”  The chapter will deal with the status of sex segregation practices under international human rights law.

The HBI Internship Program is an eight-week program for both undergraduate and graduate students with an interest in Jewish gender studies.  Graduate students receive a weekly stipend, housing on the Brandeis campus, and the opportunity to work with senior scholars in the field.  Interns divide their time between providing research assistance and carrying out their own research.

For further details: http://www.brandeis.edu/hbi/internship/index.html

Application deadline: March 28, 2013

The mission of the Hadassah-Brandeis Institute is to develop fresh ways of thinking about Jews and gender worldwide by producing and promoting scholarly research, artistic projects and public engagement.

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CFP: Beyond Roe: Reproductive Justice in a Changing World

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Beyond Roe: Reproductive Justice in a Changing World

Throughout 2013, five law schools in the Delaware Valley will hold events exploring various aspects of reproductive justice in the 40 years post-Roe v. Wade. The final event in this series is a conference sponsored by the Rutgers School of Law – Camden that will take place on Friday, October 11 on the Rutgers campus in Camden, New Jersey.* You can find more information about the conference here.

We are now pleased to invite proposals for papers and panels. The conference theme is Beyond Roe: Reproductive Justice in a Changing World. We welcome submissions on any topic related to the law, policy and reproduction, including avoiding reproduction, public policy related to reproduction, and reproductive regulation post-Roe.

Paper abstracts should be no more than 500 words, accompanied by a descriptive title for the paper proposed. Proposed panels should include a description of the overall topic, as well as a panel title and the titles of all the papers and panelists to be included in the panel.  Panels should include no less than 4 proposed panelists. Panel proposals should also be no more than 500 words. All submissions must include the names, e-mail addresses, and full affiliations of all authors.  In the case of panels and co-authored papers, please identify a corresponding author and provide sufficient detail in your abstract or proposal so that reviewers can fully assess your proposal and determine how it will fit with other proposals being reviewed.

There will be two plenary sessions at the conference and some submitted papers might be selected for plenary presentations. If you wish for us to consider your paper for a plenary session, please indicate that desire on your submission.

Please e-mail submissions (in .doc, .docx, or .pdf format) to beyondroe@camlaw.rutgers.edu by April 1, 2013. If you have any questions about the conference, please direct them to Kimberly Mutcherson at mutchers@camden.rutgers.edu.

Though the conference will have a primary focus on law, we also invite submissions from other disciplines including philosophy, the social sciences, critical cultural studies (gender and sexuality studies, disability studies, critical race studies, etc.), public health, and others.

We urge you to interpret the conference theme broadly. While this conference emerges from the Roe anniversary, we seek to initiate and support discussion across a wide range of reproductive justice topics and want to build a conference program that looks forward to the world created in the wake of Roe rather than focusing narrowly on the Roe decision itself or on issues related to abortion. Possible topics for inclusion on the program include:

– Burgeoning markets in reproduction fueled by assisted reproductive technology (“ART”), including cross border fertility care (“reproductive tourism”), the market in gametes, creating of kinship ties without biological or genetic links, and informed consent in the fertility industry;

– Public health approaches to abortion, contraception, assisted reproduction, pregnancy and childbirth;

– Race, class, sexual orientation and access to childbearing and the economics of reproduction;

– The medical market and insurance issues related to abortion/contraception, prenatal care, childbirth and fertility services;

– Reproductive justice in the courts, including the future of the Supreme Court’s evolution on abortion access, treatment of pregnant prisoners, access to contraception, reproductive health services for undocumented immigrants, prenatal testing, etc.;

– Issues of abortion access, including training for a new generation of abortion providers, harassment of providers, and TRAP laws;

– Racialized and woman protective arguments against abortion and their impact on abortion access and reproductive health;

–  Familial privacy and the state, including the relationship between access to reproduction and parenting and the power wielded by child protective services;

– Intimate partner violence and reproduction;

– Affordable Care Act implications for reproductive health services;

– Pregnancy and the workplace; and

– Human rights discourse and access to reproductive health services.

There may be a publishing opportunity for interested conference participants. We will share more information about that possibility with panelists whose work is selected for inclusion in the conference program.

* For those unfamiliar with our campus, we are located a few short minutes from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Amtrak’s 30th street station is a 10-minute cab ride from campus and the Philadelphia International Airport is approximately 20 minutes from campus by cab. Philadelphia offers a wealth of cultural opportunities, including world-class museums, fine dining, theater, and an extensive public park system that can be enjoyed while away from the conference (http://www.visitphilly.com/).


Posted in Call for Papers or Participation, Reproductive Rights | Comments Off

University of Baltimore School of Law’s Sixth Annual Feminist Legal Theory Conference

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The sixth annual Feminist Legal Theory Conference will be hosted by the University of Baltimore School of Law on Thursday and Friday, March 7-8, at the school. Featuring a series of workshops and a keynote address, this year’s conference will focus on “Applied Feminism and Families.” Both family law specialists and experts from other areas of the law will present papers, join in discussions, and consider a host of questions related to the important issue of applied feminism’s impact on families in the United States and in other countries. The event is free and open to the public; attendance details are listed below.

Papers presented during the conference are expected to address questions such as:

What have been the accomplishments or shortcomings of feminist legal theory for families?
How might feminist legal theory respond to the challenges facing families?
What sort of support should society and law provide to families?
Does feminist legal theory support state interventions into family life? In what circumstances?
How do law and feminist legal theory conceptualize the roles of family members, including mothers, fathers, caretakers, children, and others?
How does feminist legal theory help us understand changes in the institution of marriage and family structure?
How do the needs of families vary across cultural, economic, religious, and other differences?
Are theories of essentialism and intersectionality necessary or helpful in shaping laws that impact families?
In what areas outside of family law could or should feminist legal theory be applied to assist families?
This year’s conference will attempt to address these and other questions from the perspectives of activists, practitioners and scholars. The conference will provide an opportunity for participants and audience members to exchange ideas about the current state of feminist legal theories. Conference organizers say they hope to deepen the understanding of how feminist legal theory relates to families and to move new insights into practice. In addition, the conference is designed to provide presenters with the opportunity to gain feedback on their papers.

U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota will serve as the event’s keynote speaker. The first woman elected to represent the State of Minnesota in the Senate in 2006 and a strong advocate for middle-class families on a range of critical issues including economic growth, job creation and fiscal responsibility and accountability in government, Klobuchar will speak on Friday, March 8 beginning at 2 p.m. in the Venable Baetjer Howard Moot Court Room in the School of Law.

There is no charge to attend the conference, but pre-registration is requested as seating is limited. RSVP at law.ubalt.edu.

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Qualifications of a Supermodel

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Model Cameron Russell gives a remarkably candid and articulate explanation:

I am not a uniquely accomplished 25-year-old. I’ve modeled for 10 years and I took six years to finish my undergraduate degree part-time, graduating this past June with honors from Columbia University. If I ever had needed to put together a CV it would be quite short. Like many young people I’d highlight my desire to work hard. But hard work is not why I have been successful as a model. I’m not saying I’m lazy. But the most important part of my job is to show up with a 23-inch waist, looking young, feminine and white.

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In Defense of Law Review Affirmative Action

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As you may have seen, the new Scholastica submission service allows law reviews to collect demographic information from authors. A flurry of blog posts has recently cropped up in response; as far as I can tell, they range from negative to negative to kinda-maybe-negative to negative to still negative. The most positive post I’ve seen comes from Michelle Meyer at the Faculty Lounge, who discusses whether Scholastica’s norms are like symposium selection norms, and in the process implies that Scholastica’s model might be okay. Michael Mannheimer at Prawfs also makes a sort of lukewarm defense that editors were probably doing this anyway.

But is it really the case that law review affirmative action would be a bad thing? Continue reading

Posted in Feminists in Academia, Race and Racism, The Overrepresentation of Men, The Underrepresentation of Women, Where are the Women? | Comments Off

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

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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 of the day was an extended and candid Q&A with Justice Ginsburg herself.

Justice Ginsburg spoke at moderate length on the unfortunate politicization of the confirmation process. She noted that, “I hope for the day that we can get back to where the system was when I was nominated in 1993. There was a true bi-partisan spirit prevailing in our Congress. We are heading in the wrong direction. We need to reverse gears and go back to the time when there was bi-partisan support for the president’s nominees. I wonder if the president would even nominate me now with my longtime affiliation with the ACLU. During my confirmation, not one Senator asked me about it.”

Justice Ginsburg was also very clear about the need for women on the bench, emphasizing that women judges bring perspective that the court otherwise lacks, and that a commitment to equality requires more than just tokenism. She spoke of how, during her first year on the bench, lawyers would refer to her as Justice O’Connor, although they look nothing alike. But in recent years, the confirmation of additional women Justices has changed the dynamic of the Court.

Justice Ginsburg also gave background on a fascinating case from her days at the ACLU, ultimately involving a woman’s right not to have an abortion. A military servicewoman became pregnant, and the military ordered her to terminate the pregnancy or leave the base. The ACLU took her case, and was successful in defending the woman’s choice. Afterwards, Justice Ginsburg asked the woman if there was anything else that she wanted, and she replied, “I’d love to do flight training.” And they both just laughed at the impossibility of such an idea. But today, women can receive flight training; and in fact the female TJSL student on the Q&A panel was a military pilot prior to law school. My, how times have changed.

The rest of the conference was also fantastic. Continue reading

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Where are the Women? Florida Law Review Edition

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Here’s the TOC for Volume 64, Number 6 of the Florida Law Review:

Martin H. Redish & Matthew B. Arnould, Judicial Review, Constitutional Interpretation, and the Democratic Dilemma: Proposing a “Controlled Activism” Alternative

Erwin Chemerinsky, The Elusive Quest for Value Neutral Judging: A Response to Redish and Arnould

Gary Lawson, No History, No Certainty, No Legitimacy . . . No Problem: Originalism and the Limits of Legal Theory

Sergio J. Campos, Erie as a Choice of Enforcement Defaults

George W. Dent, Jr., Corporate Governance: The Sweedish Solution

Ben Trachtenberg, Confronting Coventurers: Coconspirator Hearsay, Sir Walter Raleigh, and the Sixth Amendment Confrontation Clause

Derek W. Black, Civil Rights, Charter Schools, and Lessons to be Learned

-Bridget Crawford

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Gilman on “The Class Differential in Privacy Law” and “The Poverty Defense”

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Michele Gilman (Baltimore) has posted two articles to SSRN. 

The Class Differential in Privacy Law, 77 Brooklyn L. Rev. 1389 (2012)

This article analyzes how privacy law fails the poor. Due to advanced technologies, all Americans are facing corporate and governmental surveillance. However, privacy law is focused on middle-class concerns about limiting the disclosure of personal data so that it is not misused. By contrast, along the welfare-to-work continuum, poor people face privacy intrusions at the time that the state or their employers gather data. This data collection tends to be stigmatizing and humiliating, and it thus not only compounds the harmful effects of living in poverty, but also dampens democratic participation by the poor. The poor interact with the government and low-wage employers in ways that are on-going and interpersonal, and as a result, the “right to be left alone” embodied in current privacy law does not protect their interests in dignity and autonomy. This article argues that poor Americans experience privacy differently than persons with greater economic resources and that the law, in its constitutional, statutory and common law dimensions, reinforces this differential. This class differential in privacy law has costs not only for the poor, but for all citizens.

The Poverty Defense, 47 Univ. of Richmond L. Rev. 495 (2013)

Poverty is correlated with crime, but it is widely assumed that it should not be a defense. In the 1970s, Judge David Bazelon challenged this assumption, proposing a rotten social background defense, that is, how growing up under circumstances of severe deprivation can subsequently impact a criminal defendant’s mental state and actions. Relatedly, other theorists have posited that poverty should be a defense to crime based on poverty’s coercive aspects or because society forfeits its right to condemn when it tolerates significant economic inequality. Critics counter that a poverty defense should not be adopted because it is not only inconsistent with American norms of individual responsibility, but also practically impossible. This vigorous debate has been deemed an ivory tower exercise. Yet scholars have entirely overlooked that a poverty defense is utilized in thousands of cases a year. In both civil and criminal child neglect cases, various states excuse conduct that would otherwise be neglect on account of a parent’s poverty. In short, a poverty defense is not hypothetical. Courts’ interpretations of the poverty defense in child neglect cases reflect the various theoretical strands posited by scholars. The case law reveals that a poverty defense is workable, but that its potential to help poor defendants is limited unless courts have a rich, multi-dimensional understanding of the causes and effects of poverty. This article explains how the poverty defense works in practice in child welfare cases, and can guide scholars, and more importantly, lawmakers and courts, in considering whether to extend a poverty defense to other areas of the law.

-Bridget Crawford

Posted in Feminism and Economics, Feminism and Law, Invasion of Privacy, Women and Economics | Comments Off

Bernette Johnson Becomes Louisiana’s First African American Supreme Court Chief Justice

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Bernette Johnson has been sworn in as Louisiana’s first African American Supreme Court Chief Justice, succeeding Catherine (Kitty) Kimball. Chief Justice Johnson filed a federal lawsuit last year after Justice Jeffrey Victory claimed that he had more seniority than she did and should assume the position of Chief Justice. The dispute arose because CJ Johnson had served as an appointed justice of the Court as well as an elected Justice, and Justice Victory argued that the years for which she had been appointed should not count toward her years of seniority on the Court. The remaining Justices finally decided that total years of service, not merely elected years, should count toward seniority.

Posted in Academia, Feminism and Law, Feminist Legal History, Firsts, Legal Profession | Comments Off

All the “Ladies” in the House? Women, Put Your Hands Up (Gloves Off)

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Author Ann Friedman writes in the New Republic “Hey ‘Ladies': The Unlikely Revival of a Fusty Old Label.”  Here is an excerpt:

With its slippery meaning—associations range from grandma’s lavender-scented powder to the raunchiest of rap lyrics—it encapsulates the fundamental mutability of modern feminism….“Lady” has come to occupy the middle ground.

This is new territory for an old and loaded term. “Lady” once implied a proper woman who is not to be disrespected, crosses her legs at the ankle, and never talks out of turn. She doesn’t work; she lunches. Later, of course, it was adopted as a catcall (and cattle call) in the style of the late-’80s Beastie Boys….

Sarah Nicole Prickett over at Vice.com responds:

There are girls, of course. There was, in 2012, a whole candystorm of girl-titled sitcoms, girl-themed VICE columns, girl-powered rainbow-pop singles. Do all these things exist ’cause, like, revolution? Or does the market research say, gentlemen of the board, it appears we have more girls than ever before in the history of human civilization? Let’s take a census….

Girls are forever. Women, I know, are for life.

For now I often, and not incorrectly, self-identify as a bitch. How you grow up to be a bitch is: You hit puberty, take one look at girl world, and hitch a ride the fuck out of there on your brother’s friend’s motorcycle. Bitches start early, and they don’t quit. As someone who’s been at one time or another enamoured with every Bad Feminist, from Ayn Rand (I was a baby!) to Camille Paglia to Elizabeth Wurtzel to Kara Walker, I do think ’90s bitches are my tribe….

And there are other ways to be female, and will be more still. In my feminist dreamworld, gender is never abolished, only multiplied and made even more fluid. Even then, all possibilities equal, I would still want to be a woman, always a woman, not ever the liberal, pale kind of lady that is feminism’s new white-gloved wave.

Read Prickett’s full response here.  You can follow her work on Twitter @snpsnpsnp

-Bridget Crawford


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Death of Cardiss Collins, 1931-2012, Illinois Congressional Representative

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The New York Times reports (here) today on the death of Cardiss Collins, “who reluctantly ran for a Chicago Congressional seat left vacant when her husband died in a plane crash and went on to become Illinois’s first black congresswoman, serving for nearly 25 years as a voice for racial and gender equality and expanded health care for the poor.”  Here is an excerpt:

Mrs. Collins’s husband, George W. Collins, had served two years when he was among 45 people killed in the crash of United Airlines Flight 553 near Midway Airport in Chicago on Dec. 8, 1972. Local Democrats, led by Mayor Richard J. Daley, quickly endorsed Mrs. Collins to succeed him. Mrs. Collins, then 41 and an auditor for the Illinois Revenue Department who was worried about the couple’s 13-year-old son, Kevin, was wary of running but eventually agreed to do so.

She campaigned little but easily won the primary in April and cruised through the general election in June with 92 percent of the vote. Six years later, and after some early struggles in office — she had never considered a political career before she was thrust into one — she became chairwoman of the Congressional Black Caucus. For much of the 1980s, she was the only black woman in Congress. * * *

Mrs. Collins, who rose to leading roles on a range of Congressional committees, was also a steady supporter of equity in college athletics, pressing the N.C.A.A. to honor the requirements of Title IX and requiring colleges to disclose more details about how they spent federal money.

She was particularly assertive on affirmative action and minority employment issues, criticizing various agencies and industries for what she called their poor records of hiring minorities. The Smithsonian Institution and the airline industry were among her targets.

She pushed through legislation in 1990 expanding Medicare coverage for mammography screening for older and disabled women and introduced resolutions designating October National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. She wrote laws increasing safety labeling on toys, setting safety standards for bicycle helmets and expanding child care services for federal workers nationwide. She also sponsored several measures to make air travel safer.

May her memory be a blessing.

-Bridget Crawford

image source: legacy.com

Posted in Deaths, Feminism and Politics, Firsts | Comments Off


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Because sometimes, no other description will do.

Posted in Masculinity | 1 Comment

Where are the Women? Yale Law Journal Editorial Board Edition

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The Yale Law Journal has announced its new editorial board here.

For the 6th year in a row, the EIC is a man. The six officers are all men.

Out of 22 content committee editors for the print journal (Articles, Essays, Notes, and Comments), only 5 are women.

-Bridget Crawford

Posted in Law Schools, Where are the Women? | Comments Off

Manian on “Abortion Restrictions and Side Effects on Women’s Health”

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Maya Manian (USF) has posted to SSRN her article Lessons from Personhood’s Defeat: Abortion Restrictions and Side Effects on Women’s Health, Ohio State L.J. (forthcoming).  Here is the abstract:

State personhood laws pose a puzzle. These laws would establish fertilized eggs as persons and, by doing so, would ban all abortions. Many states have consistently supported laws restricting abortion care. Yet, thus far no personhood laws have passed. Why? This Article offers a possible explanation and draws lessons from that explanation for understanding and resisting abortion restrictions more broadly. I suggest that voters’ recognition of the implications of personhood legislation for health issues other than abortion may have led to personhood’s defeat. In other words, opponents of personhood proposals appear to have successfully reconnected abortion to pregnancy care, contraception, fertility, and women’s health in general. Public concern over the “side effects” of personhood laws seems to have persuaded even those opposed to abortion to reject personhood legislation. If this is so, personhood opponents may have struck on a strategy that could apply more broadly. As this Article explains, various anti-abortion regulations — not just personhood laws — have deleterious “side effects” on women’s health. Focusing the public’s attention on these side effects could not only create stronger support for access to abortion care but could also better promote the full spectrum of women’s healthcare needs.

The full article is available here.

Professor Manian blogs more on the topic here.

-Bridget Crawford


Posted in Feminist Legal Scholarship, Reproductive Rights, Women's Health | Comments Off

Claudine V. Pease-Wingenter, “Halting the Profession’s Female Brain Drain While Increasing the Provision of Legal Services to the Poor: A Proposal to Revamp and Expand Emeritus Attorney Programs”

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Claudine V. Pease-Wingenter (Phoenix) has posted to SSRN her article, “Halting the Profession’s Female Brain Drain While Increasing the Provision of Legal Services to the Poor: A Proposal to Revamp and Expand Emeritus Attorney Programs,” 37 Oklahoma City Law Review 433 (2012).  Here is the abstract:

The article begins by describing the current female brain drain in the legal profession. Despite years of gender parity in law school, women currently comprise only about a third of practitioners. A number of factors lead to this situation, but a significant cause is the frequent “perfect storm” of simultaneously establishing oneself in a demanding new profession while also meeting significant caregiving responsibilities at home. Women often take time-off from paid employment for family reasons, but find it difficult to return to the legal profession after the isolation of such a hiatus.

The article advocates reforms to the licensure rules to empower lawyers on such a hiatus to do pro bono work. The provision of such pro bono services could make a huge dent in the devastating “justice gap” that currently plagues our society and undermines our legal system. Moreover, such reforms could also alleviate the trend of women who drift away from the legal profession permanently.

The full article is available here.

-Bridget Crawford

Posted in Feminist Legal Scholarship, Legal Profession | Comments Off

CFP: Feminisms and Rhetorics

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From the FLP mailbox, this CFP:

The 2013 Feminisms & Rhetorics Conference is now accepting proposals. Submissions are due February 1. Please note that the word limit for individual proposal submissions is 250, and the word limit for panel proposals is 750. You may submit the proposal to femrhet2013@stanford.edu . In the email you send with your submission, please include contact information and whether or not you are a graduate student or professional.

The Program in Writing and Rhetoric and the Hume Writing Center invite proposals for the Ninth Biennial Feminisms and Rhetorics conference, to be held at Stanford University September 25-28, 2013 . Our emphasis this year is on links, the connections between people, between places, between times, between movements. The conference theme—Linked: Rhetorics, Feminisms, and Global Communities—reflects Stanford’s setting in the heart of the Silicon Valley, a real as well as virtual space with links to every corner of the globe. We aim for a conference that will be multivocal, multimodal, multilingual, and interdisciplinary, one in which we will work together to articulate the contours of feminist rhetorics.

Building on the 2011 conference, with its focus on the challenges and opportunities of feminism, the 2013 conference will seek to explore links between and among local and global, academic and nonacademic, past and present, public and private, and online and offline communities. In particular, we invite conversations about cross-cultural and global rhetorics, science and technology, entrepreneurship, outreach, or intersections among these.

With the overarching goal of facilitating and complicating links, we invite proposals (panels or individual submissions) that explore a wide range of topics, including but not limited to:

• Historical investigations of feminism
• Feminist Rhetoricians
• Rhetorics of the body
• Disability and the (medical) body
• Rhetorics of race and feminism
• Queer Studies and feminism
• Sexual and gender identification rhetorics
• Feminist models of mentoring
• Political rhetoric and feminism
• Feminist pedagogy
• WPA work and women
• Feminist critiques of power structures
• Feminist critiques/uses of the rhetoric of science

The following list of questions demonstrate some possible links to consider:

* What links do we make or fail/neglect to make in the work we do (in communities, in our field(s), in the classroom setting, across cultures)?
* How are cross-cultural rhetorics embodied?
* How do feminist rhetorics intersect with/operate in global, social, financial, activist, and communication networks? How can we use these links for productive outreach?
* How does or can writing link multimedia worlds?
* What are the specific spaces (geographical, virtual, etc.) where solidarities (strategic, impermanent, etc.) are formed? How do new audiences, contexts, ideas, movements emerge in these spaces? How are the feminisms of the 21 st century “linked in”?
* What kind of genderings/racings/classings happen in the rhetorical situations of internet-based social networks?
* What kind of genderings/racings/classings happen in the rhetorical situations of classrooms, departments, working groups?
* How does the link between feminism and rhetoric help us interrogate nationalism, fundamentalism, violence, and/or war?
* How does the link between feminism and rhetoric help us interrogate composition, writing program administration, departmental debates?
* How does the link between feminism and rhetoric help us interrogate productive links between disciplines?
* What can feminist theory/ies bring to cross/intercultural communication? How can entrepreneurial or social-entrepreneurial efforts help us redefine or improve cross/intercultural communication and outreach?
* How might the study of intercultural rhetorics enrich and complicate accepted narratives of feminisms, western rhetoric and science?

Deadline for submission: February 1, 2013.  250 word limit for individual proposals and 750 for panel proposals. .  Please submit proposals or send questions and comments to: femrhet2013@stanford.edu

-Bridget Crawford

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