Entin’s Tribute To Ruth Bader Ginsburg @CWRU_Law

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Jonathan L. Entin, Case Western Reserve University School of Law, has published a Tribute to Ruth Bader Ginsburg at 71 Case Western Reserve Law Review 1 2020).  Download the article from SSRN at the link. 

 

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Widiss on Menstruation Discrimination and the Problem of Shadow Precedents

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Deborah A. Widiss, Indiana University Maurer School of Law, is publishing Menstruation Discrimination and the Problem of Shadow Precedents in the Columbia Journal of Gender and the Law. Here is the abstract.

A burgeoning menstrual justice movement calls attention to menstruation-related discrimination in workplaces, schools, prisons, and many other aspects of life. In recent years, a few courts have suggested such discrimination could violate Title VII, the federal law that prohibits sex discrimination in employment. Their analysis focuses on the Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA), an amendment to Title VII passed to override a Supreme Court case that had held pregnancy discrimination was not sex discrimination. This essay, written for a symposium at Columbia Law School, applies my earlier research on the statutory interpretation of Congressional overrides to highlight two potential challenges this nascent litigation campaign may face, and to suggest how to avoid them. The first risk is that courts will simply deny such claims, reasoning that menstruation is not directly addressed by the text of the PDA and therefore should not be recognized as sex discrimination. The second—which is more subtle, and also perhaps more likely—is that courts could find such discrimination to be actionable, but do so relying solely on the PDA’s explicit reference to “medical conditions” related to pregnancy. While that would be helpful for addressing discrimination in workplaces, it could open the door to arguments that menstruation is outside the ambit of sex discrimination laws that do not include comparable language. Theorists and advocates should instead seek to establish that menstruation discrimination is discrimination the basis of “sex” itself, in that it is a condition linked to female reproductive organs (although transmen and boys and non-binary persons may also menstruate) and associated with stereotypical assumptions about women’s proper role in society. That reasoning, which suggests that the PDA is properly interpreted as signaling Congress’s disapproval with the Supreme Court’s unduly cramped understanding of what constitutes sex discrimination in the earlier pregnancy case, should apply not only to Title VII, but also to the interpretation of statutory and regulatory prohibitions on sex discrimination in non-employment contexts.

Download the article from SSRN at the link.

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2021 Summer Feminist Legal Theory Series: Call for Participants, Presenters and Papers

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Call for Presenters, Papers and Participants: Summer Feminist Legal Theory Series

Panels, Half-Baked Ideas + Junior Scholar Paper Presentations

The U.S. Feminist Judgments Project is pleased to announce its 2021 Summer Feminist Legal Theory Series. The series is co-sponsored by the Elisabeth Haub School of Law at Pace University, the William S. Boyd School of Law at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, The Feminism and Legal Theory Project, The Vulnerability and the Human Condition Initiative, the Institute for Feminist Legal Studies at Osgoode, the Family Law Center at the University of Virginia School of Law, and the AALS Section on Women in Legal Education.

The series is coordinated by Bridget J. Crawford (Pace) and Kathy Stanchi (UNLV). It will meet online via Zoom on Wednesdays from 2:00pm-3:00 Eastern/11am-12:00pm Pacific, starting June 2, 2021 and running for six sessions.

There will be three different types of programming held over the course of six sessions:

(1) Two panel discussions will offer “big picture” perspectives on the history, beginnings, present and/or future of feminist legal theory.

(2) One date will be reserved for up to six simultaneous “half baked” presentations. These presentations are designed to allow scholars of any level of seniority to receive feedback at the very earliest stages of thinking about a project that implicates feminist theory in some way. “Half baked” presenters should have 5 double-spaced pages of written material or notes to share with a small audience of participants approximately one week before their presentation. Each presenter will have an intentionally small audience with participants who have signed up in advance to give feedback on the particular “half baked” idea. (Details to be announced.)

(3) Three dates will be reserved for junior scholars to present their work. These are meant to be traditional “paper presentation” workshops for those with five (5) or fewer years of experience as a tenured or tenure-track instructor as of July 1, 2021.

In selecting papers for presentations by junior scholars, preference will be given to papers that are in draft form, unpublished and on topics related to feminist legal theory, broadly defined, that will be of general interest to a wide range of colleagues. Papers can involve any domestic or international issues of interest to feminist scholars. The topics can be theoretical in nature or represent applications of feminist legal theory. Papers are encouraged, but not required, to relate in some way to broadly-defined feminist influences on judicial reasoning and opinion-writing. Junior scholar paper presenters will be strongly encouraged to limit their prepared remarks to 20 minutes, to allow ample time for comments from a senior scholar assigned to provide supportive productive feedback followed by questions and discussion with audience members.

Preregistration for all attendees and speakers is required. Details after the fold.

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CFP: Law, Gender & Sexuality: Reflections on “Thinking” and “Doing” Feminist Research

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Open Call for papers for special issue of

Society & Social Change

‘Law, Gender and Sexuality: Reflections on “Thinking” and “Doing” Feminist Research’

Editors Dr Anna Carline and Dr Sharron A. FitzGerald

This special issue launches Society & Social Change a new feminist platform for inter and trans disciplinary scholarship in law, gender and sexuality research.

The driving force behind Society & Social Change is its connections to the Law, Gender and Sexuality Research Network (LEX). LEX is a collective of international scholars that brings together and champions researchers who are committed to forging new pathways and puncturing conceptual blind spots in our thinking in this area. In the spirit of social change, LEX Researchers are at the forefront of social justice and social transformation in a number of key areas (e.g. violence against women, domestic violence, gender-based violence, sexual violence, equality, justice human rights, sexual citizenship, health etc). What makes LEX exciting is its members’ commitment to achieving social change through  their adherence to the civil rights principles of ‘good’ trouble.

In the spirit of social transformation through ‘good trouble’, we intend this call to motivate interdisciplinary contributions from feminist academics and researchers that can showcase the breath of the sophisticated theoretical and empirical work in the field. We welcome all contributions that present cutting-edge and innovative scholarship at the intersections of the following disciplines:

  • The arts
  • Literature
  • Humanities
  • Science
  • Climate change
  • Philosophy
  • Law
  • Sociology
  • Psychology
  • Ethics
  • History
  • Human geography
  • Migration studies
  • Communications studies
  • Criminology and
  • Social policy.

Papers should be approximately 9,000 words, including an abstract (150-200 words)

Deadlines: Abstract April 27 2021 Submission date: 29 October 2021

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Origins of “Are You There, Law? It’s Me, Menstruation” (Columbia Journal of Gender & Law Symposium, April 2021)

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On April 9-10, 2021, the Columbia Journal of Gender & Law hosted a virtual symposium, “Are You There, Law? It’s Me, Menstruation.” The symposium’s title is inspired by Judy Blume’s young adult classic, Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret (1970), soon to be a Lionsgate film of the same name. Over one year before, Emily Waldman (Pace), Margaret Johnson (Baltimore) and I had proposed the program to the student editors of CJGL; we agreed to serve as the faculty co-conveners. As our symposium planning partners, we had the fantastic student editors at the CJGL, including Jenna Lauter and Sarah Ortlip-Sommers.

This is the only symposium (that I know of, at least) that developed out of a tweet (that itself developed out of a hallway conversation that developed out of another symposium that developed out of a different law review article by a different professor – dayenu?!).

This blog post is the back story of a uniquely named conference.

At the end of January 2020, my Pace colleague (and co-author) Emily Waldman casually mentioned that she had just come back from a Virginia Law Review symposium, Tinker at the Schoolhouse Gates: 50 Years After Tinker v. Des Moines, marking the anniversary of that landmark student speech decision.

At the time, Emily and I had been talking about, thinking about, and researching different intersections of menstruation and law. We had recently published The Unconstitutional Tampon Tax, 53 U. Rich. L. Rev. 339 (2019), arguing that the state sales tax on menstrual products is unconstitutional. We were in the process of finishing up an article, co-authored with Margaret E. Johnson (Baltimore), Title IX and Menstruation, 43 Harv. J. Law & Gender 225 (2020). In that piece, we argue that public secondary schools should provide free menstrual products to students, because the failure to address menstruation-related needs could amount to a denial of educational opportunities on the basis of sex under Title IX.

The more Emily and I were thinking and talking about the many ways that menstruation impacts life for approximately half of the human inhabitants of the world, the more we found ourselves asking what law could and should do to eliminate any obstacles to all people’s full participation in public life. (Here, I acknowledge the serendipity of having an office on the same floor as a colleague who took an interest in an early version of a different article on the tampon tax and human rights that I presented at an internal faculty workshop. One conversation led to another, and shortly thereafter, Emily and I were collaborating on a series of articles, drawing on her expertise in Constitutional Law, Employment Law, and Education Law, and my interests in Tax Law and Feminist Legal Theory.)

Right after Emily mentioned her participation in Tinker symposium, I started thinking about what other important fiftieth anniversaries might serve as inspirations for law review symposia. Late that night, it occurred to me. The year 2020 was the fiftieth anniversary of the publication of Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret. Through that book, many young readers encounter for the first time a frank discussion of menstruation in a context other than a school health class or an awkward conversation with parents. That night, I tweeted (here):

I’m thinking we need a law review symposium on “God, Margaret and the Law 50 Years Later” this year. This YA book by@judyblume was published 50 yrs ago this year + is impt influence on today’s #menstrual equity movement in US. Thank you, Judy Blume!

After 52 likes–what more does a middle-aged law prof need?–and a suggestion from colleague Jessica Dixon Weaver (SMU) (here) (“imagine the panels and the keynote from Judy B. herself!”), the next day I drafted up a symposium proposal with the working title, “Are You There, God? It’s Me, Menstruation.” I had sketched out possible panels focused on constitutional law, employment law, prisoners’ rights, and other issues. I was worried that the title was too tongue-in-cheek to be taken seriously. But Emily liked it. She thought that the title would resonate with Judy Blume fans and that it uniquely encapsulated many of the issues we had been discussing between ourselves: How can and should the law account for the fact that half the population menstruates for a large portion of their lives?

We invited our co-author Margaret Johnson to join our proposal and sent it off on February 5, 2020 to the student editors at the CJGL. Despite the many distractions of the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, the students received the proposal with enthusiasm and agreed to take on planning a symposium to be held the next academic year. We issued an open call for participation (here) and received a fantastic number of responses from scholars, activists, and students around the globe.

Although we had hoped to hold the symposium in person in 2021, in the end, public health concerns limited us to an all-Zoom format. The format turned out to have many advantages, though. In addition to traditional panels with colleagues from India, Australia and the U.K., there was a unique “lightning round” featuring authors of short-form, menstruation-themed companion essays that the Journal solicited through the open call and then published on its website. The lightning round participants ranged from a pair of high school students to college students, law students and senior law scholars. It was exciting to see and hear so many diverse perspectives represented!

Another highlight of the symposium was the keynote address by menstrual equity advocate United States Representative Grace Meng (D-Queens), the sponsor of the Menstrual Equity for All Act. There also were appearances by author Judy Blume, first in conversation with a Columbia Law student and then in an interview with a 12-year old reader–that’s the same age as the fictional Margaret!

In between the time of the proposal and the actual symposium at Columbia, Emily Waldman and I had began working on a book, Menstruation Matters: Making Law and Society Responsive to Human Needs. It will be published by NYU Press in 2022. The book aptly could have the same name I invented for the symposium: “Are You There, Law? It’s Me, Menstruation.” Our book has chapters devoted to multiple discrete areas of the law in which menstruation matters a great deal to whether and how half the population can participate for large portions of their life in education, employment, religious observances, family life and beyond. Now in the final stretches of manuscript preparation, we grateful for symposium’s introduction of many more voices into the conversation about law’s limitations and potential when it comes to menstruation-related issues. Both the symposium issue of the CJGL and our book tread new ground in legal scholarship.

We’ll post more when the symposium issue comes out and when we have a 2022 publication date from NYU Press for our monograph!

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Lolita Buckner Inniss to Become Dean at Colorado Law

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Portrait of Lolita Buckner InnissFeminist Law Prof Lolita Buckner Inniss (SMU) will become Dean at Colorado Law, effective July 1, 2021. Here is an excerpt from Colorado’s announcement:

“Professor Inniss impressed many constituents in our campus community, including the search committee and me, with her accomplished record as a legal scholar and her inspiring, expansive vision for Colorado Law,” said [University of Colorado Boulder Provost Russell] Moore. “Based on my interactions with her, I am confident that she will build upon and extend the gains in accessibility, excellence and national reputation achieved by Dean Anaya, and will take Colorado Law to all new and exciting levels of success.”

Inniss is the senior associate dean for academic affairs and a professor of law, university distinguished professor and the inaugural Robert G. Storey Distinguished Faculty Fellow at the Southern Methodist University Dedman School of Law.

She received a bachelor’s degree from Princeton University, where she majored in romance languages and literature with certifications (minors) in African American and Latin American Studies. She earned her Juris Doctor from UCLA, where she was an editor of the National Black Law Journal. She also holds a masters of law degree with distinction and a doctoral degree in law from Osgoode Hall Law School, York University, in Canada, where she focused on comparative racism and legal history. At York University, Inniss received the Mary Jane Mossman Award for Work in Feminist Legal Theory and the Harley D. Hallett Award. Also at York University, she was a Peter Hogg Scholar and a graduate associate of the Institute of Feminist Legal Studies.

“I am both honored and delighted to be named the next dean of Colorado Law,” Inniss said. “This is a marvelous opportunity to make further contributions to the study of law working with CU Boulder students, faculty and staff, and to help lead a dynamic and nationally recognized law school into a bold new future.”

The full announcement is here. Fantastic news!

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Pittsburgh Tax Review CFP: “Teaching Tax Law”

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Pittsburgh Tax Review

Call for Papers:

Teaching Tax Law

Spring 2022 Special Issue

In the second issue of its 19th volume, the Pittsburgh Tax Review will publish a series of contributions addressing the teaching of tax law. The aim of this special issue is to collect in one place the insights of leading tax teachers as a service for all those who are interested in and devoted to educating current law students and future tax lawyers. The Pittsburgh Tax Review has already secured the participation of five distinguished scholar/teachers: Alice Abreu (Temple University Beasley School of Law), Samuel Donaldson (Georgia State University College of Law), Heather Field (UC Hastings College of Law), Deborah Geier (Cleveland State University Cleveland-Marshall College of Law), and Katherine Pratt (Loyola Law School, Los Angeles).

The Pittsburgh Tax Review invites proposals from others for one to two additional contributions to be included in this special issue. Proposals for a contribution of between 8,000 and 10,000 words are welcome from all who teach tax law. Potential contributions to the special issue might take a variety of forms. For example, contributions to the special issue might describe classroom techniques and innovations, innovations in course design or structure, or novel courses. Or contributions might explore the lessons learned during the time we have all now spent teaching during the pandemic and consider how that might impact our teaching once we all return to the classroom. Or contributions might be completely forward looking and propose novel ideas or experiments in teaching that have not yet been implemented. Or contributions might approach the topic of teaching tax law from an entirely different perspective.

Interested individuals should send an abstract outlining the topic and substance of their proposed contribution to the Pittsburgh Tax Review by email at taxrev@pitt.edu. Abstracts should be no longer than 250 words and should be submitted by May 15, 2021. Proposals will be reviewed and invitations will be issued by June 15, 2021. Those invited to participate will be required to submit tentative drafts by October 15, 2021 (to be shared among all of the contributors to the special issue) and final drafts ready for editing by the Pittsburgh Tax Review’s staff of student editors by December 31, 2021.

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14 Companion Essays to #AreYouThereLaw Symposium @ColumbiaJGL on Menstruation and Law

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On April 9-10, 2021, the Columbia Journal of Gender & Law hosted the symposium Are You There Law? It’s Me, Menstruation, a two-day program that featured over 40 participants. The symposium included  a keynote address by Congresswoman Grace Meng and a guest appearance by author Judy Blume.

There were three features of the symposium that jumped out at me as innovative. First, we were treated to an interview of Judy Blume by a 12-year old reader who asked smart questions about how Blume developed the story in Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret (1970). The symposium celebrated both the 50th anniversary of the publication of Margaret as well as the 30th anniversary of the journal. I don’t think I’ve ever seen anything like that in a symposium — and it worked!  In a very special way, the *actual* 12-year old reader, with whom Judy Blume had instant rapport, stood in for so many of the people involved in the contemporary menstrual equity movement who were inspired by Blume’s books. One of the audience attendees even got to ask Judy Blume a question that the audience member said she had been dying to ask for years. And attendees got some fun insight from Blume about preparations for the film version of Margaret.

The second notable feature is the series  innovative features of the symposium included a series of 14 short, 500-word essays published on the journal’s website. The mini-essays included voices and perspectives that enhance to usual conference papers that the journal will publish. The collection even includes a co-authored essay by a pair of high school students who are menstrual activists. So great! Links to all of the essays appear after the fold.

Finally, I loved the “lightning round” which took the place of the usual lunch break. Attendees could elect a shorter lunch break and then return to hear short presentations from the 500-word essay contributors. There are many ways that Zoom is a poor substitute for in-person conferences, but this “lightning round” worked well (in my opinion) with authors joining from around the globe and reaching a large audience.

Check out the essays below.

 

Vol. 41 Symposium Essay: NIDDAH – JEWISH MENSTRUATION AND THE LAWS GOVERNING MARRIAGE IN ISRAEL

April 7, 2021
 
 

Vol. 41 Symposium Essay: UNCLEAN

March 24, 2021
 
 

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Pre-Register for @ColumbiaJGL Symposium “Are You There, Law? It’s Me, Menstruation” April 9-10, 2021 #areyoutherelaw

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The Columbia Journal of Gender & Law is hosting a virtual symposium called, “Are You There, Law? It’s Me, Menstruation” on April 9-10, 2021. The event is free and open to the public (pre-registration required here).

Representative Grace Meng (D-NY) will deliver the keynote address. Author Judy Blume will make an appearance as well. The symposium is loosely inspired by the 50th anniversary of the publication of Blume’s young adult classic Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret (1970) (as well as a tweet from over a year ago that set in motion planning for such a symposium).

The symposium highlights the work of more than forty authors, representing a diverse range of perspectives, both in print and online (check out some of the innovative short essays here).

The full symposium program is available here.

Speakers include practitioners, activists and scholars from other disciplines, as well as these law profs: Ann Bartow (UNH), Anita Bernstein (Brooklyn), Naomi Cahn (Virginia), Liz Cooper (Fordham) Chris Cotropia (Richmond), Michele Gilman (Baltimore), Beth Goldblatt (University of Technology Sydney), Valeria Gomez (Connecticut), Victoria J. Haneman (Creighton), Lolita Buckner Inniss (SMU), Kit Johnson (Oklahoma), Margaret E. Johnson (Baltimore), Marcy Karin (UDC), Pamela Laufer-Ukeles (Academic College of Law and Science, Hod Hasharon Israel), Prianka Nair (Brooklyn), Carla Spivack (OKCU), Linda Steele(University of Technology Sydney), Allison Tait (Richmond), Leslie Y. Tenzer (Pace), Emily Gold Waldman (Pace), and Deborah Widiss (Indiana-Maurer).

This Friday and Saturday, you can follow the conference on social media with the hashtag #areyoutherelaw.

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

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Last year, we had to cancel our two-day, in-person Spring 2020 Equality Law Scholars’ Forum scheduled at the University of San Francisco Law School (we held a small feedback session virtually for several junior scholars in Fall 2020), but we’re back in full for Fall 2021!   Building on the success of the Inaugural Equality Law Scholars’ Forum held at UC Berkeley Law in 2017 and at UC Davis Law in 2018, and in the spirit of academic engagement and mentoring in the area of Equality Law, we (Tristin Green, University of San Francisco; Angela Onwuachi-Willig, Boston University; and Leticia Saucedo, UC Davis) announce the Third Annual Equality Law Scholars’ Forum to be held in Fall 2021.  We are planning for the event to be held in person at the Boston University School of Law. 

This Scholars’ Forum seeks to provide junior scholars with commentary and critique and to provide scholars at all career stages the opportunity to engage with new scholarly currents and ideas.  We hope to bring together scholars with varied perspectives (e.g., critical race theory, class critical theory, feminist legal theory, law and economics, law and society) across fields (e.g., criminal system, education, employment, family, health, immigration, property, tax) and with work relevant to many diverse identities (e.g., age, class, disability, national origin, race, sex, sexuality) to build bridges and to generate new ideas in the area of Equality Law.  

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

This year’s Forum will be held on November 12-13, 2021 at the Boston University School of Law

Junior scholars are invited to submit abstracts of proposed papers, 3-5 pages in length, by June 1, 2021.

Full drafts of papers must be available for circulation to participants by October 29, 2021.

Proposals should be submitted to:

Tristin Green, University of San Francisco Law School, tgreen4@usfca.edu.  Electronic submissions via email are preferred.

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Title IX’s Prohibition of Discrimination “on the Basis of Sex” Prohibits Discrimination on Basis of Gender Identity or Sexual Orientation

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In an anticipated (but not surprising) memorandum, the U.S. Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division, has issued guidance (here) to federal agencies on the applicability of Bostock v. Clayton County, 140 S. Ct. 1731 (2020) to Title IX. Here is an excerpt from the memo:

Title IX’s “on the basis of sex” language is sufficiently similar to “because of” sex under Title VII as to be considered interchangeable. In Bostock itself, the Supreme Court described Title VII’s language that way: “[I]n Title VII, Congress outlawed discrimination in the workplace on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, or national origin.” Bostock, 140 S. Ct. at 1737 (emphasis added)….The Bostock Court concluded that Title VII’s prohibition of discrimination “because of” sex includes discrimination because of sexual orientation and transgender status, finding that when an employer discriminates against employees for being gay or transgender, “the employer must intentionally discriminate against individual men and women in part because of sex.” Bostock, 140 S. Ct. at 1740–43. The same reasoning supports the interpretation that Title IX’s prohibition of discrimination “on the basis of” sex would prohibit recipients from discriminating against an individual based on that person’s sexual orientation or transgender status. This interpretation of Title IX is consistent with the Supreme Court’s longstanding directive that “if we are to give Title IX the scope that its origins dictate, we must accord it a sweep as broad as its language.” N. Haven Bd. of Ed. v. Bell, 456 U.S. 512, 521 (1982) (citations and internal alterations omitted). 

President Biden’s Executive Order 13988 articulates the Administration’s policy that “[a]ll persons should receive equal treatment under the law, no matter their gender identity or sexual orientation.” This Title IX memo is consistent with that policy.

H/T Emily Gold Waldman.

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Highlights of 37 Years of the Feminist Legal Theory Project

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The latest newsletter (here) of the Vulnerability and the Human Condition Project at Emory University, spearheaded by Martha Fineman, highlights many of the contributions made over the last 37 years by the Feminism and Legal Theory Project

The Feminism and Legal Theory Project has archived its materials in the Hugh F. MacMillan Law Library at Emory University School of Law and digitally in the “Women and the Law” collection on HeinOnline

The archives contain drafts of papers and calls for papers from the almost four decades of FLT work. Significantly, it also contains recordings and videos of workshops where papers are presented and discussed. Scholars such as Patricia Williams, Lucie White, Robin West, and many others are seen presenting for the very first time in public in this archive.  

The materials housed currently at Emory are a rich resource for students and scholars wishing to do historic work in feminist legal theory. Anyone who wishes to learn more about the archives is welcome to contact Professor Martha Fineman.

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The SPOT Period: Philadelphia Non-Profit’s “Menstrual Hub” Addresses Period Poverty — It’s an Actual Building!

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portrait of Ms. Lynette Medley

image: Ms. Lynette Medley image source: https://www.nomoresecretsmbs.org/about

In February, 2021, the nonprofit organization No More Secrets Mind Body Spirit, Inc., founded by Lynette Medley, opened The SPOT Period, a physical gathering place that offers free menstrual products, menstruation-related counseling and education, a computer lab with three machines. 

The SPOT Period also has a “Breonna Taylor Safe Room,” a decompression space “because we understand being Black female in America isn’t the most safe identity,” as Ms. Medley told the Billy Penn daily newsletter (here). The SPOT Period also provides community members who need it access to toilets and running water at its building on Germantown Avenue.

Ms. Medley is the originator of the hashtag #blackgirlsbleed and her organization received a special resolution from Philadelphia Councilwoman Cherelle L. Parker for its work against menstrual stigma (see here).

The SPOT Period has a gofundme campaign here to help support its work. Ms. Medley’s Twitter account @lynette_medley provides valuable updates on the work The SPOT Period, period poverty activism and menstrual equity issues.

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Menstrual Equity Advocate Dana Brooks Named One of “25 Women You Need to Know” by Tallahassee Democrat Newspaper

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Florida attorney Dana Brooks has been named as one of the “25 Women You Need to Know” by the Tallahassee Democrat (here). Here is an excerpt from the Tallahassee paper’s profile:

Brooks began her career in clinical social work, but felt called to advocacy and problem-solving. “I am a person of action,” she says. “I could not stand by while people were being wronged. I knew I could help them fix their problems.”

She enrolled in law school at Florida State University, graduating just three days shy of her 40th birthday.

Now, she is a shareholder with Fasig Brooks, where she combines the practice of personal injury law with staunch advocacy for women, notably victims of sexual and workplace harassment.

She recently joined the fight to end “period poverty,” referring to the lack of access to sanitary products for menstruation that prevent women and girls from going to work and school every day. “I am committed to ending period poverty,” she says. To that end, she successfully fought against the tampon tax and is collaborating with a school project to install sanitary product dispensers in all public schools.

Ms. Brooks was the attorney behind the class action litigation to repeal Florida’s tampon tax. See her interview for the Feminist Law Professors blog here.

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Gov’t in New South Wales, Australia to Provide Free Menstrual Products in 30 Schools

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map of australia

image source: ontheworldmap.com

The government in New South Wales, Australia has announced a pilot program to provide free menstrual products in 30 government schools. Here is an excerpt from the government press release:

Free menstrual hygiene products will be available to students in two pilot regions in NSW ahead of a wider rollout.

Minister for Education Sarah Mitchell and Minister for Women Bronnie Taylor announced the locations of the trial today at Birrong Girls High School.

Ms Mitchell said the pilot would run in 30 schools across Western Sydney and Dubbo for two terms.

“It’s important no female student feels like they can’t fully participate in all aspects of school life because they do not have access to menstrual hygiene products,” Ms Mitchell said.

“I want to make sure there are no barriers to education for female students just because they get periods.

“Once the pilot is finished we can look at how we roll this service out to all schools in the state.”

Dispensers will be provided with sanitary products including pads and tampons at no cost to schools or students. The department will trial two types of dispensers, which will be placed in the female students’ bathrooms.

The full press release is here.

Victoria, Australia was the first state in the country to do so, beginning with its pilot program in September 2019.

The state of South Australia has also announced that it will make products available for free in all of its schools.

News coverage here and here.

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Gender & the Law Emerging Scholar Award: Call for Submissions @HaubLawatPace

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Elisabeth Haub School of Law at Pace University 

Gender & the Law Emerging Scholar Award: Call for Submissions

The Elisabeth Haub School of Law is pleased to announce the competition for its annual Gender & the Law Emerging Scholar Award.  This paper competition is open to all full-time law professors with five (5) or fewer years of full-time law teaching experience as of July 1, 2021. The deadline for submissions is July 1, 2021.

The purpose of the award is to encourage and recognize excellent legal scholarship related to gender and the law.  The work chosen for the Gender & the Law Emerging Scholar Award should make a substantial contribution to legal literature and reflect original research and/or major developments in previously reported research.

Papers will be reviewed on a blind basis by a committee comprised of three members of the Haub Law faculty with expertise in this area: Bridget Crawford, Noa Ben-Asher and Emily Gold Waldman.  The winner of the competition will be invited to present the paper to selected students and faculty at Haub Law (located in White Plains, NY) during the 2021-2022 academic year, with reasonable travel expenses paid.

ELIGIBILITY:

  • All persons who have held full-time tenure-track or tenured teaching positions for five (5) or fewer full academic years as of July 1, 2021 are eligible for consideration.
  • There is no subject-matter limitation for submissions, as long as the paper relates in some way to gender and the law.
  • Jointly authored papers are accepted as long as each author independently meets the eligibility requirements.

PUBLICATION COMMITMENTS/LIMITATIONS:

  • There is no publication commitment associated with the competition. 
  • Papers are eligible regardless of whether they were published prior to submission date, are scheduled to be published after the submission date, or are not yet under submission.
  • Each applicant is limited to one (1) entry.
  • Papers considered in prior years’ competitions are eligible for resubmission.
  • There are no page-length or word-count limitations.
  • All publications (including scholarly articles, book chapters, legal briefs and other writings) are eligible for consideration.

SUBMISSION:

  • We will accept submissions for the Emerging Scholar Award from April 1, 2021, through July 1, 2021. The winner will be announced by August 30, 2021.
  • To participate, please email your article, redacted as necessary to preserve anonymity (for the blind judging process), as a portable data file (PDF) to Judy Jaeger, Senior Staff Associate, at jjaeger@law.pace.edu with the subject line “Emerging Scholar Award.”
  • Please include in the body of the email your name, institutional affiliation and confirmation that you meet the eligibility requirements.
  • Unredacted papers will not be considered.

Information on Emerging Scholar Award and the Elisabeth Haub School of Law

The Elisabeth Haub School of Law is pleased to host an annual paper competition for its Gender & the Law Emerging Scholar Award.  The law school at Pace University is one of a small number of schools in the United States named after a woman, and we are proud of our school’s long-standing commitment to gender justice.

Since the establishment of the Women’s Justice Center in 1991, Haub Law has made gender justice a priority.  Students have the ability to pursue a path to practice in Women, Gender & the Law, through which they develop skills and strategies for effective representation and advocacy for gender justice, regardless of what career they pursue.  The Haub Law faculty includes nationally-recognized academic experts and advocates for gender justice. Our faculty teach, research and write about gender equality and justice as it relates to constitutional law, corporate law, criminal law, education, environmental law, estate planning, juvenile justice, legal theory, poverty, public health, social media, and taxation, to name just a few areas.  An important hallmark of Haub Law is that in addition to our specialty classes that focus on gender, issues involving gender are also integrated into a wide range of other courses.

Prior Winners

2020 – Greer Donely, University of Pittsburgh School of Law, Contraceptive Equity: Curing the Sex Discrimination in the ACA’s Mandate, 71 Ala. L. Rev. 499 (2019).

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@TouroLawCenter Journal of Race, Gender and Ethnicity Symposium on “The Evolution of Gender Equity” April 7, 2021

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conference posterOn April 7, 2021, the Journal of Race, Gender, and Ethnicity at Touro Law Center will present a program on “The Evolution of Gender Equity.”

The program runs 4-6pm and features Professors Victoria Haneman (Creighton) Sital Kilantry (Cornell), as well as Touro Law Adjunct Professor Meredith Miller and Sibohan Klassen of the Gender Equality Law Center.

More information will be available here, but at the moment the link is not working.

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Motherhood and the Law Symposium at Louisville Law School – April 9, 2020

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conference logoLouisville Law School will sponsor a half-day symposium on April 9, 2021. Here is the program description:

The Motherhood and the Law half-day Symposium will highlight the life challenges and career hurdles faced by women and femme lawyers as they balance motherhood and fulfilling and productive careers. The conference will feature engaging keynotes and panels designed to explore topics related to the socio-legal challenges of breastfeeding while working, the discriminatory “mother tax” and more. All are welcome to attend, learn and contribute to these valuable conversations.

Participants include Louisville Law profs Shavonnie Carthens and JoAnne Sweeny

More information is available here.

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Pace Law School Seeks Visitors for 2021-2022 AY or Spring 2022

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The Elisabeth Haub School of Law at Pace University is pleased to announce that it is currently seeking applicants for one or more visitors to teach during the 2021-22 academic year or the Spring 2022 semester. Among the courses that the visiting professors might teach are Evidence, Criminal Law, Criminal Procedure, Civil Procedure, Corporations, Torts, Contracts, Securities Regulation, and courses within the Environmental Law Program.

Applications are encouraged from people of color, individuals of varied sexual and affectional orientations, individuals who are differently-abled, veterans of the armed forces or national service, and anyone whose background and experience will contribute to the diversity of the law school. Pace University is committed to achieving completely equal opportunity in all aspects of University life.

Applications will be considered on a rolling basis. Please direct any questions via email to Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, Professor Jill Gross, at jgross@law.pace.edu

Pace University’s Elisabeth Haub School of Law offers J.D. degrees, Masters of Law degrees in both Environmental and International Law, and a series of joint degree programs including a Doctor of Juridical Science (SJD) in Environmental Law. The school, housed on the University’s campus in White Plains, NY, opened its doors in 1976 and has over 8,000 alumni around the world. The school maintains a unique philosophy and approach to legal education that strikes an important balance between practice and theory. For more information, visit http://law.pace.edu.

All applicants should have excellent academic credentials as well as demonstrated skill and experience in teaching.

The position, whether for one or both semesters, is a temporary, non-tenure-track appointment.

Applicants should be willing and available to teach using in-person, remote, or hybrid formats, depending on changing circumstances and the needs of the particular classes.

Please apply via link here.

Applications will be considered on a rolling basis.

Please direct any questions via email to Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, Professor Jill Gross, at jgross@law.pace.edu

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Names Are Important: Sexual Orientation, Gender Identities, and the Law: A Research Bibliography

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Dana Neacşu, David Brian Holt, and Margaret Butler have published Names are Important: Sexual Orientation, Gender Identities, and the Law: A Research Bibliography (2006-2016) (2018). Here is the abstract.

This chapter accompanies a bibliography describing legal scholarship related to sexual orientation and gender identities. Names are important, and groups of people ideally will be recognized as they wish. Readers may not be familiar with all the words and acronyms used to describe sexual orientations and gender identities. This chapter is meant to help readers understand the language used, and to recognize the nuance and diversity of experience and identity.

Download the paper from SSRN at the link.

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Tristin Green on “Spatial Features and Discrimination” – New Employment Law Article

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Tristin Green (USF) has recently posted to SSRN her article I’ll See You at Work: Spatial Features and Discrimination, UC Davis Law Review (forthcoming 2021). Here is the abstract:

We increasingly talk about HR practices and work cultures as mechanisms for discrimination in work with nary a thought given to one of the most obvious influences on our daily work lives: where we work. This article seeks to change that. In it, I delineate spatial features as a condition of discrimination in workplaces and develop an understanding of what spatial features might matter and why. Drawing together some seemingly disparate lines of research and literature—from social psychology and sociology to geographies and urban planning—I theorize three specific spatial feature categories: insularity, precarity, and permeability. Each of these categories is about place as it affects our interactions and our expectations around interactions in our work.

The Article also examines the law’s current stance toward spatial features, segregation, and discrimination. It turns out that we are at an important crossroad: Where once spatial segregation was an obvious form of discrimination, today courts are backpedaling. Segregation is downplayed as evidence of discrimination, and spatial features are often either ignored entirely or siphoned off into individualized allegations, where they are treated as passing, innocuous moments of subjective experience rather than as organization-driven causal contributors to systemic discrimination. I urge us to put work “place” on our research and advocacy agendas and to consider spatial features and segregation as casual mechanisms for discrimination in legal cases as well. I make several specific recommendations to this end.

The full article is available here.

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A New Environmentally-Friendly Banana Fiber Menstrual Pad Coming to a Store Near You?

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India-based researchers , , , Anju Bist, & have published the results of their study: A Novel Banana Fiber Pad for Menstrual Hygiene in India: A Feasibility and Acceptability Study, 21 BMC Women’s Health (2021).  Here is a brief excerpt:

Menstrual hygiene products used by women have evolved in the past several decades with comfort, ease of use and cost driving women’s choices. In a country like India, where women form nearly 50% of the population, the sheer volume of periodic menstrual non-biodegradable waste generated has significant environmental implications. With majority of the country hailing from low-middle class backgrounds, observing healthy menstrual hygiene practices with environmentally friendly products necessitates the consideration of affordable and highly sustainable alternatives. Further, during the COVID-19 pandemic, period poverty is higher than ever, causing women to turn to the reusable product market for affordable and long lasting alternatives. Hence, we studied the Feasibility and Acceptability (FA) of a novel banana fiber based menstrual pad (BFP) amongst women living in rural and urban environments. * * *

The results indicated high levels of feasibility (rural =82.2%, urban =80.3% and acceptability (rural =80.2%, urban =77.5%) of BFPs across both participant groups. Comparing key BFP characteristics such as leakage and comfort to participants’ prior practices revealed general satisfaction…leading to them recommending BFPs to others. User perception on the reasons for their preference of BFP highlighted their concern for environment, health and cost as decisive factors.  * * *

Based on feasibility and acceptability results, BFP is a promising consideration as an environmentally sound, non-invasive; yet reusable alternative to fulfill MHM needs in populous countries such as India. Longer term studies in larger samples are necessary to validate these findings.

The full paper is available here (open access–hurrah!).

Although I don’t think these pads will make the cross-over to the U.S. market any time soon, I am encouraged to learn about this study. If U.S. consumers demand safer, more environmentally friendly products, the market can respond.

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Steele on “Protecting Protected Activity”

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portrait of Professor Daiquiri Steele

Professor Daiquiri Steele

Daiquiri Steele (Tulane) has published Protecting Protected Activity, 95 Washington L. Rev. 1891 (2020).  Here is an abstract:

The United States Supreme Court recently rolled back protections in employment retaliation cases by requiring plaintiffs to prove that their protected activity was the but for cause of adverse actions by their employers. As a result, employers may escape liability even though the employee plaintiffs have proven that employers had an impermissible motive in taking adverse actions. In doing so, the Court undermined the underlying statutes’ retaliation provisions created to help enforce the underlying statute, leading to a court instituted failure to protect activity that Congress sought to protect.

While legal scholars have paid much attention to the establishment of a but for causation requirement in retaliation claims brought under employment discrimination statutes, they have paid less attention to other workplace statutes. This Article focuses on the transference of a but for causation requirement to cases involving retaliation under minimum labor standards statutes.

The Article critiques judicial application of the but for causation standard by explaining the inconsistent outcomes that may result for similarly situated plaintiffs, by critiquing the judiciary’s reliance on a purely private law, negligence based model rather than appreciating the role of minimum labor standards statutes as public law, and by demonstrating how application of traditional canons of statutory interpretation support a causation standard lower than but for causation.

To remedy these problems, the Article suggests that courts should allow the common law tort of wrongful discharge in violation of public policy—a tort that addresses the intersection of public law and private law—to inform its interpretation of employment retaliation statutes generally and minimum labor standards legislation in particular.

The full article is available here.

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Symposium Schedule for “Are You There, Law? It’s Me, Menstruation” @ColumbiaJGL 4/9-4/10

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The Columbia Journal for Gender & Law has posted here the full schedule for the Symposium “Are You There Law? It’s Me, Menstruation” to be held on April 9-10, 2021 via Zoom. The event is free and open to the public, but pre-registration is required here.

portrait of Grace Meng

Representative Grace Meng (D-NY)

Highlights of the program include a keynote address by Representative Grace Meng (D-NY), the sponsor of the Menstrual Equity for All Act and other menstruation-related legislation.

Judy Blume – Getty Images

There will also be a special guest appearance by author Judy Blume! The program coincides (almost) with the 50th anniversary of the publication of her young adult classic Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret (1970). The program also celebrates the 30th anniversary of the Columbia Journal of Gender and Law.

Some of the symposium papers are already up in draft form on SSRN:

Margaret E. Johnson, Professor of Law, Co-Director, Center on Applied Feminism, University of Baltimore: Asking the Menstruation Question to Achieve Menstrual Justice

Bridget J. Crawford, Professor of Law, Elisabeth Haub School of Law at Pace University: #BloodyBarPocalypse: Unconstitutional Tampon Bans at the Bar Exam

Emily Gold Waldman, Professor of Law and Associate Dean for Faculty Development & Strategic Planning, Elisabeth Haub School of Law at Pace University: Compared to What? Menstruation, Pregnancy, and the Complexities of Comparison

Deborah A. Widiss, Professor of Law and Associate Dean of Research, Indiana University Maurer School of Law: Menstruation Discrimination and the Problem of Shadow Precedents

Naomi Cahn, University of Virginia School of Law, Justice Anthony M. Kennedy Distinguished Professor of Law, Nancy L. Buc ’69 Research Professor in Democracy and Equity, Director, Family Law Center, University of Virginia School of Law: Justice for the Menopause: A Research Agenda

Christopher A. Cotropia, Dennis I. Belcher Professor of Law, University of Richmond School of Law: Law’s Ability to Further the “Menstrual Movement”

Marcy Lynn Karin, Jack and Lovell Olender Professor of Law; Director, Legislation/Civil Rights Clinic, UDC David A. Clarke School of Law & Valeria Gomez, William R. Davis Clinical Teaching Fellow, University of Connecticut School of Law: Menstrual Justice in Immigration Detention

Victoria J. Haneman, Frank J. Kellegher Professor of Trusts & Estates, Creighton University School of Law: Menstrual Capitalism, Period Poverty and the Role of the B Corporation

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13 Short Symposium Essays in Connection with “Are You There, Law? It’s Me, Menstruation?” @ColumbiaJGL

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On April 9/10, 2021, the Columbia Journal of Gender & Law will celebrate the 50th anniversary of the publication of Judy Blume’s book, Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret and the 30th anniversary of the journal with a symposium called Are You There, Law? It’s Me, Menstruation? The program for that event is now posted here.

There will be the traditional book of scholarly essays published after the symposium, but the Columbia students have taken a fresh, innovative step in publishing short, symposium-adjacent essays from a wide range of contributors drawn from an open call. The results is a fantastic set of short pieces with authors that include high school students, college and law students, practicing attorneys, law professors, activists and authors from around the globe. The essays are open access and available at these links; I’ve included a line or two from each essay to provide a glimpse of the topics covered.

Jeremy Bearer-Friend (GW Law), Talking About Tampons in Tax Class

Was I was taking too much of a risk by teaching about menstrual hygiene products in my tax policy seminar? … As someone who does not menstruate, I also believe it is important to model classroom discussions of menstruation.

Claire Cox & Adele Stewart (co-leads, Georgia STOMP), Menstrual Equity Advances in Georgia

In 2017, a Georgia STOMP coalition founding member organization posed eliminating the tax on menstrual products to their local Representative, a man. He supported eliminating the tax but said a woman should sponsor the bill. From the early days, before Georgia STOMP was even founded, one thing has been clear: we need to elect more women and ensure more male allies understand menstrual equity and period poverty.

Victoria Efetevbia (student, Georgetown University Law Center), Untitled

Menstrual activism draws attention to youth but lacks race analysis. “Adultification” is a recognized phenomenon, but linkage between the reproductive experiences of Black menstruating youth/girls and Black adult women is lacking.

Rachel Sabella (former member NYC Task Force on Menstrual Equity), Addressing Menstrual Equity Through Policy Change

As an advocate to end hunger, I have also become passionate about menstrual equity. The main factor driving the need of clients at food pantries is an inability to afford food. But those who need assistance with food often lack access to other necessities including menstrual products. The business community can be generous in donating food to address hunger—as a tax write-off, for positive press, or to release products close to their expiration date. The same generosity, however, does not exist for donated menstrual products.

Judy Friedman (Attorney, Period Equity), Bleeding on the Job

In creating inclusive, “period-friendly” workplaces, companies regularly adopt well-meaning but poorly conceived protective policies, which often prove inadequate, and, at times, even harmful to their purported beneficiaries. In our increasingly competitive corporate climate, empowering every member of the workforce to reach their full potential is vital to a company’s ability to thrive.

Aurora J. Grutman (Yale student), Reading Judy Blume at Yale

The Beinecke Library at Yale University is the closest that one can get in real life to Dumbledore’s pensieve. After spending the afternoon with Blume’s papers at Yale, I can confirm that Blume is more than just an aware adult. The archive reveals Judy Blume to be unpretentious, intellectually generous, and deeply connected to other people.

Claire Kinderwater & Grace Wandler (students, Missoula International School), The Intersection of Education, Menstruation and Poverty

Menstrual inequality is a prevalent form of injustice throughout the world…. Participating in a year-long project involving young women in Malawi opened our eyes to the injustices surrounding these topics. Our project involved sending reusable period underwear to impoverished women in Malawi and providing them with information about the biology of menstruation and ways to manage their cycles.

Shafuq Naseem, Better Menstrual Health Education in the United States is a Necessity

My menstrual health education often left me with questions, which usually led me to unreliable sources. More frequently than not, health education worldwide leaves students feeling unprepared and apprehensive about their menstruation.

Lanji Ouko-Awori (Attorney, Nairobi, Kenya), Sex for Sanitary Pads

“Period” and “menstruation” are words often whispered rather than spoken, due to the taboo against menstruation in Africa and the Western world. The physical, metabolic phenomenon of menstruation creates such shame and embarrassment that at least three out of ten girls in remote areas in Kenya miss school during their periods because of menstruation stigmatization or a lack of access to menstrual hygiene products.

Yadurshini Raveendran, Unclean

Growing up in urban Sri Lanka, a girl’s first period was considered a celebration, feted publicly in a grandiose fashion often symbolizing the family’s social status. As a private person, the idea of publicizing this very private affair was uncomfortable and embarrassing. What was more startling was the huge lifestyle and societal changes that were now a part of my life.

Leslie Y.G. Tenzer (Pace Law), A Period Emoji Fail

Language promotes inclusion. The adoption, use, and repetition of words serve to establish societal norms. The same is true of emojis…. The broad references to a blood drop emoji dilute its ability to destigmatize menstruation. The blood drop emoji is not a clear, identifiable representation of menstruation. Emojis best normalize when they prompt those using and receiving the symbol to think of the idea associated with it in more standard terms.

Sneha Krishnan (Jindal Global University) & Rohini Menon (Environment, Technology and Community Health Consultancy Services), Subjective Experiences of Menstruation

Menstruation has been classified as an element of the female discourse that is perceived as a concern for ‘women’ worldwide. This classification has excluded the experiences of trans and genderqueer individuals who go through menstruation due to their biological identity. Although the UN has declared that the stigma and shame around menstruation have caused harm to women and discrimination against them[1], this article examines the unexplored or unsaid narratives of ‘feminine’ cycles for trans and genderqueer individuals.

Allison Tait (Richmond Law), The Queen’s Period

One of the most important people at the court of Queen Elizabeth I was neither a courtier nor one of the Queen’s ladies in waiting; it was her personal laundress. The laundress, charged with the care of the Queen’s sheets, was privy to all the intimate secrets of the royal body, including knowledge about the Queen’s menstrual cycle.

 

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Posted in Feminism and Culture, Feminism and the Workplace, Feminist Legal History, Feminist Legal Scholarship, Law Teaching, Race and Racism, Sisters In Other Nations, Socioeconomic Class, Upcoming Conferences, Women and Economics, Women's Health | Comments Off on 13 Short Symposium Essays in Connection with “Are You There, Law? It’s Me, Menstruation?” @ColumbiaJGL

Advancing Women’s Equality: Confronting Barriers to Full Inclusion and Progress: March 31, 2021

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March 31, 2021 1pm EST
 
Advancing Women’s Equality: What’s Next?
 

 

About this Event

This program concludes a four-part 2021 series: Advancing Women’s Equality: Confronting Barriers to Full Inclusion and Progress. In this series, we address women’s status in the United States through a civil liberties lens, examining how histories of race, sex, immigration, and LGBTQ discrimination undermine constitutional equality. The series identifies historic and contemporary legal and social barriers to women’s advancement and identifies pathways forward.

Our program on March 31, 2021 concludes this dynamic series. Susan Herman, Barbara Arnwine, Tricia “CK” Hoffler, and Dr. Julie Suk will join Professor Michele Goodwin to consider the unfinished business of civil liberties and civil rights in our society. This conversation centers women and the communities adjacent to their lives, while tackling the most urgent issues of our times. In addition to addressing voting rights, immigration, and racial justice, the conversation will engage what inspires their work. What are the key civil rights issues that concern them most in these times? Are civil liberties at odds with civil rights? What offers them hope?

Barbara Arnwine is the president and founder of Transformative Justice Coalition. She was the executive director of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law from 1989 until 2015.

Susan N. Herman holds a chair as Ruth Bader Ginsburg Professor of Law at Brooklyn Law School, where she teaches courses in Constitutional Law, Criminal Procedure, and seminars on national security. She is the past president of the ACLU (2008-2021).

Tricia “CK” Hoffler is the President of the National Bar Association and the CEO of The CK Hoffler Firm.

Dr. Julie Chi-hye Suk is Professor of Sociology, Political Science, and Liberal Studies at The Graduate Center of the City University of New York (CUNY). She is also a Florence Rogatz Visiting Professor of Law and Senior Research Scholar at Yale Law School for 2020-21.

Moderator: Michele Goodwin, ACLU National Board, Executive Committee & Affiliate Rep.

Co-Sponsors: University of Minnesota Law School; Mitchell Hamline Law School; and the American Constitution Society-MN Chapter, ACLU-MN, UCI School of Law 

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Yale Law Journal CFP: Law of the Territories

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The Yale Law Journal invites submissions on the Law of the Territories, covering the broad range of local, federal, and international issues arising out of and affecting the U.S. territories and their people, for Volume 131’s Special Issue. The deadline for submissions is July 15, 2021.

The Law of the Territories is an emerging field that explores novel legal questions facing residents of the U.S. territories. More than 3.5 million people—98% of whom are racial or ethnic minorities—live in American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico, the Northern Mariana Islands, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. They are unable to vote for President and lack voting representation in Congress, even though Congress exercises plenary power over their communities. In the last five years, the Law of the Territories has experienced a resurgence of activity before the Supreme Court not seen since the Insular Cases, a series of controversial decisions from the early 1900s that endorsed the United States’s annexation and governance of its colonies. The Court’s holdings in the Insular Cases have received broad criticism for their racist underpinnings and departure from foundational constitutional principles. But the Court has hesitated to either overrule them or fundamentally reconsider its territorial jurisprudence. Meanwhile, each of the territories has developed its own distinct body of law—and the people of the territories have pressed with increasing urgency for self-determination and decolonization through both domestic and international processes.

We seek Articles and Essays that address unresolved debates, emerging controversies, and unexplored problems related to the Law of the Territories, including, but not limited to: 

  • the relationship between federalism and empire; 
  • the challenge of cultural accommodation within the United States’s constitutional framework; 
  • the relevance of international models of association to the debate over territorial decolonization, and more broadly, the light that comparative perspectives might shed on the issues surrounding self-determination; 
  • the intersection of race, gender, and class inequality in the context of U.S. colonial governance; 
  • and the promises and pitfalls of territorial autonomy.

The deadline for submissions is July 15, 2021. For more information, please see our announcement.

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University of San Francisco School of Law Seeks Visitors for 2021-2022

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The University of San Francisco School of Law is seeking applicants for one or more Visiting Professorships for the 2021-2022 academic year. USF Law welcomes outstanding candidates in contracts, criminal law and procedure, torts, and tax. In serving one of the most diverse law student populations in the country, we strongly encourage applications from groups historically marginalized or from underrepresented communities.

The full announcement is here.

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Cleveland-Marshall Seeks to Hire Visiting Faculty for 2021-2022 Academic Year

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The Cleveland-Marshall College of Law is hiring a Visiting Professor for the 2021-22 academic year, with expertise in one of the following areas: Health Law; Critical Race Theory; or Cybersecurity and Data Privacy.  For any questions, please contact the Hiring Committee Chair, Professor Milena Sterio at m.sterio@csuohio.edu.  To apply, please visit the following link: https://hrjobs.csuohio.edu/postings/13828.

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Yuvraj Joshi on “Racial Justice and Peace”

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Yuvraj Joshi (Doctoral Candidate, SSHRC Fellow, ISPS Fellow, Yale Law School) has posted to SSRN his article Racial Justice and Peace, forthcoming in the Georgetown Law Journal (2022). Here is the abstract:

The United States recently saw the largest racial justice protests in its history. An estimated 15 to 26 million people took to the streets over the killings of Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade, George Floyd, and countless other Black people. This Article explores how these protests and their chants of “no justice, no peace” should lead us to reconsider American equality law.

The Article surfaces legal claims—here called “peace-justice claims”—that address the relationship between ameliorating inequality and achieving peace. Using unpublished archival documents, it tells the story of how Americans embroiled in early desegregation debates sought competing visions of peace that either included or excluded justice, and how the Supreme Court’s decision in Cooper v. Aaron arbitrated those claims to promote integration despite massive resistance. The Article also traces how those claims have evolved and how the Court has used peace and justice considerations to limit rather than advance minority rights. This analysis shows that intertwined arguments about justice and peace, not just equality and dignity, lie at the heart of equal protection doctrine.

By using sources of both legal and social history to capture the peace-justice claims of policymakers, social activists, and lay people, this Article contributes to a “new civil rights history,” expanding the scope of legal actors beyond lawyers and judges. Juxtaposing minority claims with court-developed legal doctrine highlights the Supreme Court’s inadequate recognition of the peace-justice interests at stake. Taking “no justice, no peace” seriously, courts should recognize the exclusion and estrangement of Black people as a basis for minority-protective interpretations of the Constitution.

This attention to peace-justice claims is enriched by insights from transitional justice, a field that helps societies to overcome histories of oppression. Although societies require both peace and justice, these values sometimes appear in tension, leading to what is internationally known as the “peace versus justice dilemma.” Viewing legal cases as sites of this dilemma draws attention to whether Americans seek a “negative peace” based on the suppression of social conflict or a “positive peace” grounded in the pursuit of social justice. American law and legal institutions should strive for positive peace by addressing structural inequalities.

The full article is available here.

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Sarah Rajec & Andrew Gilden on “Patenting Pleasure”

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Sarah R. Wasserman Rajec (William & Mary) and Andrew Gilden (Willamette) have posted to SSRN their working paper Patenting Pleasure. Here is the abstract:

The United States Patent and Trademark Office has granted thousands of patents for inventions whose purpose is to facilitate the sexual pleasure of their users. These “pleasure patents” raise a range of novel questions about both patent theory and the relationship between law and sexuality more broadly. Given that “immoral” inventions were long excluded from the patent system, and that sexual devices were widely criminalized for much of the past 150 years, how have patentees successfully framed the contributions of their sexual inventions? If a patentable invention must be both new and useful, how have patentees described the utility of sexual pleasure? Do pleasure patents promote the progress of the useful arts? How might progress, as understood by the patent system, intersect with gender equality and sexual freedoms?

This Article identifies several hundred patents that the USPTO has formally classified as improving sexual stimulation and intercourse, and it closely examines how patentees have described the utility of sexual pleasure over time. In describing the utility of technologies such as phalluses, vibrators, and virtual reality systems, patentees employ a diverse and rich set of themes about the purposes and social values of sexual pleasure. By facilitating sexual pleasure, these patented technologies can, according to their inventors: improve marital harmony, overcome female frigidity, calm fears of HIV transmission, reduce sexual assault, suppress demand for sex work, minimize the loneliness of single people, facilitate LGBTQ relationships, and promote the emotional well-being of people with disabilities. As social and sexual norms have changed over time, so too have the various explanations for the social value of pleasure patents. This Article shows that the patent system is an underappreciated, and perhaps unexpected, archive of historical and contemporary sexual norms.

The full article is available here.

I’m not an IP person, but I definitely want to read this article!

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Montclair (NJ) High School Students Prevented from Placing Donated Menstrual Products in School Restrooms

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A couple of years ago, students at Montclair High School in Montclair, New Jersey began placing in school bathrooms various menstrual products they gathered through school-wide tampon and pad donation drives. By all accounts, the project seems to have been well-received by teachers and students that school year.

MontclairHigh MainFront.JPG

photo of Montclair (NJ) High School By Tlantanu at English Wikipedia, CC BY-SA 3.0, Link

The next academic year, the students asked the new principal for permission to continue making menstrual products available in the restrooms.  To be clear, the students were not asking the school to pay for the products, just for permission to put donated products in restrooms.  The then-principal (who is no longer at the school) denied the students’ request.  Why? No clear reason was given.

Along with his denial, the principal did make some noises about the possibility that students might soak the freely-available tampons in vodka and insert these tampons to get buzzed during the school day.

Apparently, the school district’s nurse did not offer any support for the students’ project, either. Whoa. School nurses should function as educators and health-support personnel. The behavior of this health professional only exacerbates the perception that school nurses are suspicious of menstruating students and do not have the necessary knowledge to help students who need menstruation-related health advice. The failure of the district nurse to support the students’ project is inexplicable.

There are so many ways that Montclair High School missed the mark in turning down the students’ request.  Separate and apart from whether the school should provide free menstrual products in school bathrooms (more on that below, ehem), there is no reason that the students should be discouraged from undertaking a project that makes life easier for menstruating students, costs the school nothing, and sends an important message that menstrual products do not need to be hidden or kept secret. These products should be available just the way toilet paper is.

Let’s also address that vodka comment. Rumors of teenagers using vodka-soaked tampons as alleged by the then-principal (aka “slimming”) have been making the rounds for years (see, e.g., here and here), but I have found scant reliable evidence of the practice. And if teens really were going to try to get buzzed using vodka-soaked tampons, would they be using the school-provided tampons to do so? Anyone with any experience with teenagers (or who has been a teenager) can imagine many more efficient (and less detectable) practices than bringing booze to school, procuring a tampon from the school bathroom, soaking it, inserting the tampon, and getting rid of the evidence.

If school administrators latched onto sensationalist news stories as a weak excuse to shut down this volunteer effort by students for their peers, those administrators were not acting in the best interests of the students.

It doesn’t take much research to uncover the connection between the ready availability of menstrual products in schools and lower levels of student absenteeism. Period poverty is real, and a public school that serves students of all socioeconomic backgrounds should make it easy for students to concentrate on school, without worrying about being able to address menstruation in a timely and appropriate way.  Professor Chris Cotropia (Richmond) has demonstrated that in one cohort he studied, 92% of female high school students had the experience of needing a new pad or tampon during the school day. 91% reported “trouble affording” these products on their own. Professor Cotropia’s work demonstrates that access to menstrual products matters for attendance, academic performance and health.

Regardless of any student’s income level, periods don’t always arrive predictably, on a precise schedule. Every single person who has ever had a period knows this. Period unpredictability is especially true for menstruating teenagers. Making products available only via the school nurse’s office isn’t necessarily a solution, either, if the nurse’s office is far away, inaccessible, etc. etc. Because of stigma and shame associated with menstruation, many students simply don’t feel comfortable asking for menstrual products. Restrictions on bathroom access can exacerbate challenges for menstruating students.

To return again to the specifics of the Montclair situation, remember: the Montclair students were not asking the school to foot the bill, just for permission to do what they had been doing before.

So, what was the school really worried about? Maybe the then-principal thought that students might get too used to these “luxuries” of free menstrual products (hey, students and faculty alike seem to have gotten used to free toilet paper).

There’s a strong argument that Title IX would treat making menstrual products available in school restrooms as consistent with the obligation of federally-funded schools to make their programs available without regard to sex. Want to know more? Margaret Johnson (Baltimore), Emily Gold Waldman (Pace) and I have written all about it in Title IX and Menstruation, 43 Harv. J. of Law & Gender 225 (2020).

There are several states—including New York, California, Illinois and New Hampshire—that require schools to make menstrual products available for free in school bathrooms. Some local school districts, like the Boston Public Schools, the Brookline (MA) schools, and the Cambridge (MA) Public Schools, have done so voluntarily. Any concerns about expense appear to be overstated. Actual data provided by the Cambridge Public Schools suggest that the annual cost of providing free menstrual products to students is about $2.48 per student per year

Pandemic-era learning has meant that the students at Montclair High haven’t been back in the building since March of last year.  But when the school re-opens, let’s hope that the new principal has the good sense at least to permit the students to continue to stock the bathrooms with donated menstrual products. 

Better yet, the Montclair Township Council should pass an ordinance requiring all Montclair schools (@montclairschls) that serve students in grades 6 through 12 to make menstrual products available at no charge to students in all school bathrooms.  

Mayor Sean M. Spiller (@SeanMSpiller), do the students have your support? Eyes and ears await legislation from Councilor-at-Large Robert J. Russo, Deputy Mayor and 1st Ward Councilor William L. Hurlock (@WillliamLHurlock), Councilor-at-Large Peter Yacobellis (@PeterYacobellis), 2d Ward Councilor Robin Schlager, 3d Ward Councilor Lori Price Adams (@LoriPriceAdams) and 4th Ward Councilor David Cummings, hoping that they will follow the lead of school districts like Boston, Brookline and Cambridge.

And to the new principal of Montclair High School, you can be a leader on this issue and join other educators who recognize the value of making menstrual products available for free in school restrooms.

-Bridget Crawford

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Giorkaris & Pouliasi on “Tampon Taxes and Gender (In)Equality: The Cyprus Case Study”

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Dr Ioannis P. Giokaris (University of Nicosia) and Maria Eleni Pouliasi (O.P. Jindal Global University) have published To Tax or Not to Tax? Tampon Taxes and Gender (In)Equality: The Cyprus Case Study, 21 Cyprus Rev. 257 (2020). Here is the abstract:

The ‘tampon tax’ is a consumption based tax, imposed on products of menstrual hygiene, which has come to the centre of attention worldwide as feminist activists keep protesting against its imposition. This article suggests that the VAT directive itself violates the charter of fundamental rights of the EU, as it obliges the member States to impose at least 5% VAT on sanitary products, the consequence of that being that the domestic law implementing the directive necessarily violates the charter as well. Although Cyprus imposes the lowest VAT rate possible, the level of awareness in the Republic as well as the cover of the topic by the local media is surprisingly low compared to the international evolutions in the field, while its domestic law is violating gender equality, despite the correct implementation of the directive.

The full article is available here.

Carla Spivack (OKCU) and I have argued elsewhere that the VAT on menstrual products violates various human rights norms and it’s exciting to see the argument being extended by others!

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Cornell Law School/London South Bank University Transnational Feminism Symposium Announcement 3/26/21

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Cornell Law School and London South Bank University are hosting a global online conference on Friday, March 26, 2021, entitled  “Beyond Western Hegemonies of International Law and Feminist Theory.” The central theme of this conference will focus on the legacies and repercussions of the hegemony of Western thought within both feminist research and practice in the sphere of international law and attempts and proposals for overcoming these. Professor Chandra Mohanty, a pioneer and expert in women’s and gender studies will be delivering the keynote entitled “Transnational Feminism as Insurgent Praxis.”

The full conference schedule and registration details are available here: https://support.law.cornell.edu/conferences/TLF/  Details below.

Date and Time: Mar 26, 2021 from 8.30 a.m. to 2.30 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time (New York time)

Keynote Address by Professor Chandra Talpade Mohanty (11 am to noon: New York time): “Transnational Feminism as Insurgent Praxis”

Brief description of Conference:

This conference brings together scholars and activists working on the intersection of international law, particularly those working on Third World Approaches to International Law (TWAIL), transnational law, and feminist legal theories. The relationship between international law and feminist theory has predominantly been shaped by Western feminisms, especially liberal and dominance feminisms. This is most clearly visible in the current international women’s rights agenda. While the effectiveness of the international human rights system has been questioned by a vast array of different scholars, the central theme of this conference will focus on the legacies and repercussions of the hegemony of Western thought within both feminist research and practice in the sphere of international law and attempts and proposals for overcoming these.

Organisers: This conference is hosted by the London South Bank University and Cornell Law School. Papers from the conference will be published in the Transnational Legal Theory Journal.

The conference schedule appears below the fold. All times are Eastern U.S.

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Request for Signatories on Petition Asking St. Andrews University (Scotland) Reverse Decision to Terminate Contract of Director of Institute for Gender Studies

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The University of St. Andrews has decided to terminate the contract of Dr. Alison Duncan Kerr, director of its Institute for Gender Studies. Dr. Andrews was hired to establish the St. Andrews Institute for Gender Studies. But her contract position has come to an end, and the University has informed Dr. Kerr that her position will not be renewed, intending to redistribute her duties to other staff members, none of whom seem to have a particular expertise in gender studies.

St. Andrews’ treatment of Dr. Kerr has been noticed by the international press, but the university seems to be unmoved. See coverage here: Scotland (The Herald), the UK (The Times), the United States (The New York Times), Italy, France, and Switzerland.

There is an open letter/petition asking the University to live up to its previously stated commitment to “fair treatment of fixed-term staff which allows for career progression, especially standard contracts,” among other things.

If you’d like to add you name, please do so here. Supporters are using the social media tag #IStandwithAlison.

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Making the Case of a Constitutional Right to Menstrual Products for Prisoners and Detainees: Flores v. City of New York (E.D. N.Y. Feb. 19, 2021)

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The United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York issued a ruling last week that plaintiff Jennifer Flores can move forward with her suit alleging violations of her constitutional rights by failing to provide her with access to menstrual products while detained at the 108th Precinct. She was made made to appear in court the next day in blood-stained clothes.

Here are the facts, as presented by the court, citing from the plaintiff’s complaint:

The plaintiff, Jennifer Flores (“Ms. Flores”), is a female resident of New York City. (ECF No. 3, Amended Complaint (“Am. Compl.”), ¶ 31.) On the evening of October 12, 2016, Ms. Flores was arrested by New York City Police Department (“NYPD”) officers in Queens, New York, on misdemeanor charges for obstructing government administration. (Id. ¶¶ 69-70.) She alleges that her arrest resulted after she advised her friends of their rights while they were being searched by NYPD officers. (Id.) At the time of her arrest, Ms. Flores was experiencing what she describes as “particular heavy” bleeding consistent with her menstrual cycle. (Id. ¶ 71.) Ms. Flores was wearing a sanitary pad, but did not have additional feminine hygiene products with her at the time of her arrest. (Id. ¶ 72.)

Upon her arrest, NYPD officers transported Ms. Flores to the 108th police precinct. (Id. ¶ 74.) Ms. Flores informed multiple NYPD officers at the precinct that she was experiencing menstrual bleeding, and she requested feminine hygiene products. (Id. ¶ 76.) She was told by multiple NYPD officers that no such products were available at the precinct. (Id. ¶¶ 77-79.) As advised by the “John Doe” defendant police officers, Ms. Flores attempted to use toilet paper and gauze to absorb the bleeding, but neither was adequate, and her clothes were soiled and ruined as a result of the bleeding. (Id. ¶¶ 79-80.) After Ms. Flores had been detained for approximately six hours, her attorney brought her tampons. (Id. ¶ 81.)

The following day, Ms. Flores appeared for arraignment wearing the same clothes that had been bloodied. (Id. ¶ 82.) The criminal court granted Ms. Flores an adjournment in contemplation of dismissal pursuant to New York Criminal Procedure Law § 170.55, and her case was dismissed and sealed. (Id.)

The defendants the City of New York and various police officers motioned to dismiss, but has allowed Ms. Flores to proceed with her constitutional claims. Judge Kiyo Matsumoto noted in her opinion (here) that showing disparate impact alone will not be enough to prove an equal protection claim.

As Emily Gold Waldman (Pace) and I have argued elsewhere (here and here, for example), we think there is a strong case to be made that sales taxes on menstrual products and bans on menstrual products at the bar exam, for example, are in fact facially discriminatory on the basis of sex. Why? Because menstrual products are so closely associated with “female” biology that they functions as a proxy for sex, at least for equal protection purposes (recognizing that not all who menstruate are cis women, that not all cis women menstruate, that some trans men and boys, gender non-binary folx, genderqueer individuals menstruate + contemporary understandings of sex and gender have moved away from binaries to a more capacious approach, but constitutional jurisprudence has not kept up).

We also say that even if these taxes and bans are facially neutral, the long history of animus toward menstruation and menstruating individuals gives rise to an inference of discriminatory intent. By analogy, these arguments should apply in Ms. Flores’ case. We have an entire chapter that addresses the rights of prisoners in our book, Menstruation Matters: Making Law and Society Responsive to Human Needs (NYU Press forthcoming 2022)

I’ll be watching this case with great interest!

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Michelle Wie West Pwns Guiliani & All Other Men Who Objectify Female Athletes (…& Rudy doesn’t know from “panties”)

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Michelle Wie West, golfer extraordinaire and winner of the 2014 U.S. Women’s Open, was spot on in her response to disgusting comments by disgraced lawyer Rudy Giuliani:Image

Michelle Wie West, you said it well! A reminder (yet again) to “fans” and critics to stop talking about the way female athletes focus instead on their athletic performance. Sigh.

And those weren’t her “panties” anyway, Rudy. 

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“Righting” and Rewriting: Reflections on Five Feminist Judgments Projects 2/22 @FemLegalStudies

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On Monday, February 22, 2022 at 9:30 a.m. Pacific, the Centre for Feminist Legal Studies at the University of British Columbia Peter A. Allard School of Law will sponsor a discussion, “Righting” and Rewriting: Reflections on Feminist Judgments Projects. Here is a description of the program:

Beginning with the Women’s Court of Canada in the early 2000s, a number of jurisdictionally-specific feminist judgment projects (FJPs) have grown up around the world. These creative, collaborative initiatives involve feminist scholars and lawyers reimagining and rewriting judicial decisions through a feminist lens, and accounting for intersecting inequalities based on disability, race, class, sexual orientation, gender identity, ethnicity and national identity. On this panel, scholars from a range of jurisdictions will reflect on the possibilities and challenges of FJPs.

Represented on the panel are five Feminist Judgments Projects, those from Africa, Aotearoa/New Zealand, India, Canada and Scotland. The speakers are:

Ambreena Manji
Professor of Land Law and Development, School of Law and Politics, Cardiff University
(African Feminist Judgments Project)

Emmah Senge Wabuke
Doctoral Candidate, Centre for Gender Studies, University of Cambridge; Gates Cambridge Scholar
(African Feminist Judgments Project)

Martha Gayoye
Teaching Fellow & Early Career Fellow, University of Warwick, School of Law
(African Feminist Judgments Project)

Khylee Quince
Associate Professor and Head of School for Māori and Pacific Advancement, Auckland University of Technology School of Law
(Aotearoa/New Zealand Feminist Judgments Project)

Jhuma Sen
Associate Professor, Jindal Global Law School; Assistant Director, Centre for Human Rights Studies, O.P. Jindal Global University
(Indian Feminist Judgements Project) 

Denise Réaume
Professor, University of Toronto, Faculty of Law
(Women’s Court of Canada) 

Sharon Cowan
Professor of Feminist and Queer Legal Studies (she/her), University of Edinburgh School of Law
(Scottish Feminist Judgments Project) 

The program will be moderated by Debra Parkes, Professor and Chair in Feminist Legal Studies, Peter A. Allard School of Law, UBC, with comments by Sonia Lawrence, Associate Professor, Osgoode Hall Law School, York University.

UBC’s own Professor Erez Aloni is one of the contributors to Feminist Judgments: Rewritten Opinions of the United States Supreme Court (Cambridge U. Press 2016). He wrote a fantastic commentary to the feminist judgment in Obergefell v. Hodges, 135 S.Ct. 2584 (2015), written by Professor Carlos Ball (Rutgers).

The U.S. Feminist Judgments Project has expanded to include several subject-specific volumes, already in print or forthcoming:

Other Feminist Judgments projects have been undertaken in the UK/Wales (2010), Australia (2014), and Ireland (2017).

The UBC event is free and open to the public, but preregistration is requested. Details are available here.

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Germany Lowers its #TamponTax but Still Discriminates

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Following the model of online campaigns against the tampon tax in the U.K., Canada, Australia, and the U.S., in March 2018, two German women launched a petition at Change.org urging “Die Periode ist kein Luxus – senken Sie die Tamponsteuer!” (Roughly: “Periods are not a luxury – lower the tampon tax!”). At the time, Germany’s VAT on  menstrual products was 19%.

Beginning in January 2020, most menstrual products in Germany are now taxed at a rate of 7% (news story here). Over at Vulvani, Britta Wiebe tracks the trajectory of the German campaign and the legislative response, but points out that pantyliners are still subject to the higher rate:

The new taxation is almost completely successful. Unfortunately, a small questions remains. Because the reduced tax rate applies to all period products except panty liners. This means that panty liners are still taxed at 19 percent. You might ask yourself why? So do we! It is said that panty liners are not used exclusively for menstruation, but rather for daily use. Unfortunately, the logic of politicians makes no sense at all. Because the reduced tax rate is supposed to apply to products of daily use. Well, at least the menstrual world remains exciting.

Read Wiebe’s full analysis here.

In the U.S. context, Professor Emily Gold Waldman (Pace) and I have argued (here) that the tampon tax is unconstitutional. Professor Carla Spivack (OKCU) and I have argued (here) that the tampon tax also violates multiple human rights norms and is ripe for challenge, especially in the European Court of Human Rights, where there is some helpful precedent.

The particularities of the EU tax laws restrain countries’ ability to move menstrual products into the zero rate VAT category. But how about a new pan-European online petition? Instead of “Periods are not a luxury – lower the tampon tax!” let’s move to “Periods are not a luxury – the EU must eliminate the tampon tax!”Die Periode ist kein Luxus – Die Europäische Union muss die Tamponsteur beseitigen! (Thanks, Google Translate!)

 
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Michigan Governor Proposes Budget That Will Allow Repeal of State’s Tampon Tax

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Back in August, the team over at Period Equity filed a class action law suit challenging the constitutionality of Michigan’s sales tax on menstrual products and seeking a refund (with interest) for prior taxes paid by approximately 2.4 million consumers. (Prior blog coverage is here; news coverage is here, e.g.)

Earlier this month, Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer proposed a budget that addresses the potential $4.8m impact of repeal  on the state’s School Aid Fund, which is funded by the sales tax.  Governor Whitmer proposes to fill that gap from the state’s general fund.  (More info on the proposed Michigan budget is here.)

In explaining her reasoning to the press, Governor Whitmer claimed that the class action has nothing to do with her budget proposal. Here‘s an excerpt story from Michigan Advance:

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer told the Michigan Advance Thursday that her Fiscal Year 2022 budget plan will include a provision to end the Michigan sales tax on menstrual products, commonly referred to as the “tampon tax.” 

“After combatting a global public health crisis for nearly a year now, it’s more important than ever to make sure people can access the affordable care they need. That’s why in 2021, there is no reason we should still be forcing people who are taking care of their reproductive health to pay more for this necessary care,” Whitmer said. * * *

Whitmer told the Advance the lawsuit didn’t factor into her decision on proposing the plan, but says that “good policy maybe means that we won’t have to duke it out in court, because it’s not something that I look forward to defending. I think this is the right thing to do.”

Read the full story here.

Similar litigation spurred legislatures in New York, Florida and Ohio to repeal the unconstitutional tampon tax. Let’s go, Michigan!

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“Young Australian of the Year” Isobel Marshall Honored for Menstrual Equity Work

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Every year in Australia, the non-profit (and government owned) National Australia Day Council gives several awards: Australian of the Year, Senior Australian of the Year, Young Australian of the Year and Australia’s Local Hero. The awards are meant to serve as “a focal point for Australia Day celebrations and a forum for the recognition of outstanding achievement.” (What is Australia Day, you ask? It’s complicated. See here.)

In any case this year’s “Young Australian of the Year” is Isobel Marshall, a student at the University of Adelaide who created an organic menstrual product company called TABOO.  100% of the company’s net profits go to charity.  Here is Ms. Marshall’s official bio provided by the National Australia Day Council:

image source: canberra times

At just 18 years of age, Isobel Marshall co-founded TABOO with school friend Eloise Hall, to help women around the world by breaking down stigma around menstruation and providing greater access to hygiene products.

Isobel and business partner Eloise, crowdfunded $56,000 to launch their range of products in August 2019. TABOO sells high quality, ethically sourced, organic cotton pads and tampons to an Australian market, with 100 per cent of net profits going to One Girls – a charity providing education programs for girls and women in Sierra Leone and Uganda.

Locally, Isobel and TABOO have partnered with Vinnies Women’s Crisis centre, providing free access to pads and tampons for women who require emergency accommodation in South Australia. Recognising period poverty is not just a big city issue, they also support the Ngaanyatjarra Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara Women’s Council.

More info about Ms. Marshall is here. Incidentally, the 2021 winners in all four categories— Australian of the Year, Senior Australian of the Year, Young Australian of the Year and Australia’s Local Hero–are all women.

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MacKinnon on “Weaponizing the First Amendment: An Equality Reading”

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Catharine A. MacKinnon has published Weaponizing the First Amendment: An Equality Reading, 106 Va. L. Rev. 1223 (2020). Here is an abstract:

This Article traces how and why the First Amendment has gone from a shield of the powerless to a sword of the powerful in the past hundred years. The central doctrinal role of “content neutrality” and “viewpoint neutrality” in this development is analyzed; the crucial tipping points of anti-Semitism, in Collin v. Smith, and pornography, in Hudnut v. American Booksellers, are identified. The potential for substantive equality to promote freedom of speech is glimpsed.

The full article is available here. It is an expanded and developed version of some of the ideas sketched in Professor MacKinnon’s chapter, “The First Amendment: An Equality Reading” in The Free Speech Century (Lee Bollinger & Geoffrey Stone eds., Oxford University Press 2018).

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Copenhagen Business School Colloquium on “Gender Equality Aspects Amid a Pandemic: Discussions on Tax Measures and Fiscal Policy”

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The Interdisciplinary Research Group on Taxation and Fiscal Policy at the Copenhagen Business School is sponsoring a 9-part colloquium series featuring researchers from around the world. On February 17, 2021, the session is “Gender Equality Aspects Amid a Pandemic: Discussions on Tax Measures and Fiscal Policy.” Here is the program description:

The impact of COVID-19 is at the moment undeniably extensive as the world faces the most severe recession in nearly a century. Economic emergency programs, the design and implementation of COVID-19 tax policies and subsequent state aid actions have been launched in many countries to mitigate the impact of the pandemic. Unlike previous economic recessions or financial crises, feminized sectors of the labor market, such as healthcare, education, care, retail, and client-facing services, which all are characterized by low-paid and multiple part-time jobs, seems to be hit the hardest by the pandemic. These sectors have, supported by emerging data, experienced higher job losses than traditionally male-dominated sectors and appears to be inadequately covered, by most financial state aid schemes at the moment.

Women have, in comparison to men, also reduced their hours of work to care for, and home school, children. Aggregating already existing problems associated to both the loss of paid work hours and to the gender-segregated allocation of unpaid hours for household work and caring. The sudden closure of childcare programs and schools in many countries has had a crucial impact for women whose labour force participation depends on these institutions. The possibility of several waves of the virus that could trigger additional childcare closures make it extremely likely that married women (in general when considering the current norm of heterosexual couples) in particular may be slower to re-enter the work force in the hope of protecting the (single-breadwinner) family income.

This seminar will discuss existing gender gaps within various domestic tax systems and national tax policies. Even before the pandemic, domestic tax systems inherently worked against economic gender equality, despite impressive growth performances in many economies. Although most tax systems being utilizing a gender equal wording in its legislative texts, tax systems and fiscal policy decisions affect men and women differently when the legislative tax acts are factually applied. Therefore, many aspects of taxation have had an indirect but substantial effect on gender-related socioeconomic inequalities. These gender differences subsequently persist in not only employment rates but also general patterns and gender gaps in unpaid care work. As a result, employment rates, income, old age security, poverty and wealth are all closely linked to the allocative and distributional outcome of tax regulations.

Speakers are Åsa Gunnarsson of Umeå University (Sweden), Miranda Stewart of Melbourne Law School (Australia) and Caroline Herber of the Max Planck Institute (Germany). The program is moderated by Yvette Lind of Copenhagen Business School.

Registration is free, but pre-registration (here) is required.

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Jennifer Weiss-Wolf, “The Fight for Menstrual Equity Continues in 2021”

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Jennifer Weiss-Wolf (NYU Brennan Center and Period Equity) has published a new op-ed in Marie Claire. Here’s what she calls the five menstrual equity policies we should commit to fighting for in 2021:”

  • End the Tampon Tax Across the U.S.
  • Reintroduce and Pass the Menstrual Equity For All Act (ME4ALL) in Congress
  • Ensure Accessibility for At-Risk Populations
  • Join the Fight for Equal Rights
  • Acknowledge the Other M-Word: Menopause

The full piece is available here.

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Iowa Law Visiting Professor/Associate Professor

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The College of Law is seeking qualified applicants for a one-semester visit to be held at the University of Iowa College of Law during the academic year 2021-2022. Qualified applicants should be experienced law school professors with a record of strong teaching in law school classes, specifically in the areas of Environmental Law, Tax, Cyber/Privacy, IBT/Trade, or Contracts.

JD is required. Demonstrated contributions to diversity, equity, and inclusion is desired. Visiting Professors will teach two law school classes as designated by the law school.

Email application intent and CV to Jill Soppe, HR Associate (jill-soppe@uiowa.edu). Application deadline is February 4, 2021. For more information, please contact Adrien Wing, chair of the Faculty Appointments Committee, at adrien-wing@uiowa.edu.

The University of Iowa is an equal opportunity/affirmative action employer. All qualified applicants are encouraged to apply and will receive consideration for employment free from discrimination on the basis of race, creed, color, national origin, age, sex, pregnancy, sexual orientation, gender identity, genetic information, religion, associational preference, status as a qualified individual with a disability, or status as a protected veteran.

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Mitchell Hamline School of Law Seeks VAPs for 2021-2022

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Mitchell Hamline School of Law seeks entry-level candidates to join our growing, vibrant faculty as visiting assistant professors (VAPs) in July 2021. Appointment is for two years with an option to be considered for a one-year renewal.

The VAP program trains talented lawyers-particularly those from underrepresented groups-to be great teachers and to compete successfully in the national law school market for permanent faculty hires. Although VAPs typically will teach in both blended and residential enrollment options, a hallmark of the program is to introduce VAPs to best practices in blended legal education, a field Mitchell Hamline pioneered among accredited law schools.

More info is here.

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Celebrating US Feminist Judgments Employment Discrimination + Essay on Bostock

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Congratulations to Ann McGinley, Nicole Porter and all of the fantastic contributors on the publication of Feminist Judgments: Rewritten Employment Discrimination Opinions (Cambridge University Press 2020)!

Separate and apart from the book, project participants Ann McGinley (UNLV), Nicole Porter (Toledo), Danielle Weatherby (Arkansas), Ryan Nelson (Harvard Law Research Associate), Pamela Wilkins (Mercer) and Catherine Archibald (Detroit-Mercy) have written a thoughtful essay here, published by the University of Connecticut Law Review, responding to the Supreme Court’s decision in Bostock. Here is an excerpt:

[G]iven our experiences rewriting and editing opinions from feminist perspectives, we have something to say about Bostock and its significance for LGBTQ+ employment cases and employment discrimination law more broadly. Accordingly, we wrote this essay, which has three goals: first, to introduce our book; second, to analyze the Bostock case and its effect on employment discrimination law as it relates to sexual orientation and gender identity; and third, to discuss more broadly the effect of Bostock on employment discrimination jurisprudence through a feminist lens. Throughout the essay, we are attempting to answer the question of whether Bostock is a feminist opinion. Our answers are varied and even uncertain; but ultimately, we conclude that even though we, as feminists, might have written it differently, the LGBTQ+ community deserves to celebrate this momentous victory.

The full piece is available here.

I haven’t done a full count, but UNLV *might* be the faculty with the greatest number of participants in the overall U.S. Feminist Judgments Project. This press release from UNLV notes the participation of Professor Kathryn Stanchi (co-convener,  U.S, Feminist Judgments Project) and Professor Linda Berger (co-convener, U.S. Feminist Judgments Project) and me as editors of the first volume in the series, “Feminist Judgments: Rewritten Opinions of the United States Supreme Court.” Other UNLV Law faculty whose contributions have appeared in the series also are Professor Leslie Griffin, Professor Francine Lipman, Professor Elizabeth MacDowell, Professor Addie Rolnick, and Professor Stacey Tovino (now at the University of Oklahoma College of Law). Professor Frank Rudy Cooper serves the Advisory Panel of the Employment Discrimination volume.

H/T Francine Lipman.

 

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#BlackTaxpayersMatter: Intersection of Race, Tax Systems, Laws and Enforcement

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#BlackTaxpayersMatter: Intersection of Race, Tax Systems, Laws and Enforcement

Date: Friday, February 5, 2021

Time: 3:30 p.m. – 5:00 p.m. EST

Format: Free non-CLE Webinar

Sponsor: ABA Section of Civil Rights and Social Justice

Co-Sponsors: ABA Center for Human Rights, ABA Center for Public Interest Law, ABA Commission on Hispanic Legal Rights & Responsibilities, ABA Commission on Homelessness & Poverty, ABA Commission on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity, ABA Death Penalty Representation Project, ABA Diversity and Inclusion Center, ABA Law Student Division, ABA Section of State and Local Government Law, ABA Tort Trial & Insurance Practice Section, ABA Young Lawyers Division, American Tax Policy Institute, CPA Academy, National Tax Association

DESCRIPTION: 

The United States exhibits wider disparities of wealth than any other major developed nation. Over the past five decades, wealth has increasingly concentrated among the highest-income households. These households are disproportionately white and male. In 2018, three white men held aggregate wealth greater than the aggregate wealth of one-half of all Americans. The median white household has 41 times more wealth than the median Black household and 22 times more wealth than the median Latinx household. On average women earn less than men in all industries. At the intersection of race and gender the gaps are even more shocking. Women of color are disproportionately poor, suffering poverty rates of 21.4% Black women, 18.7% Latinas, and 22.8% Native American women, as compared to 7% for white men. Moreover, education, work, and marriage and other attributes that fall under the rubric of “personal responsibility” do not remedy these disparities. White heads of household without a high school education have on average more wealth than college educated Black heads of households. White households with a single white parent have more than twice the net worth of two parent Black households. White households with an unemployed head have a higher net worth than Black households with a head who is working full time. 

In short, something must be done to reverse these racist trends. Tax and spending systems are the most profound fiscal tools under the government’s control. Many aspects of tax systems worsen inequality, especially the racial wealth gap. Three nationally recognized expert panelists will provide a deep dive into institutional racism in tax systems. The panel will begin with a broad overview focusing on racism in international and domestic tax systems targeting Black and Latinx taxpayers. The focus will then narrow further looking at the disparate impact of taxpayer audits on communities of color. Finally, panelists will suggest concrete strategies to start to remedy these wrongs.

Speakers:

  • Donnie Charleston – Director, Public Policy & Advocacy, E Pluribus Unum
  • Steven Dean – Professor of Law, Brooklyn Law School
  • Francine J. Lipman – William S. Boyd Professor of Law, University of Nevada, Las Vegas William S. Boyd School of Law

Moderator:

Register HERE: https://americanbar.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_oanKfWmMRjGdvOZcZJBvwg 

The Section of Civil Rights and Social Justice is the only ABA membership entity solely dedicated to the advancement of human rights, civil rights, civil liberties, and social justice. We invite you to become involved with critical legal and public policy issues by joining one or more Section committees. You may want to become part of a committee to learn more about developments in a particular issue area. Or you may choose to take a more active role by participating in or organizing specific activities. Whatever your area of interest or specialization, we have a home for you.  To get involved, join us here.

 

 

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

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I’ve updated this guide to submitting to 29 specialty law reviews and law journals classified by the W&L Law Journal Rankings under the subject  “Gender, Women and Sexuality,” as well as  5 additional journals with the word “gender” in the title. 

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

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

Corrections, additions, refinements are very welcome.

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@ColoLaw Names 4 Dean Finalists — All Women!

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The four finalists for the deanship at Colorado Law are:

  • Michèle Alexandre, dean and professor of law, Stetson University College of Law.
  • Johanna Bond, Sydney and Frances Lewis Professor of Law, Washington and Lee University School of Law.
  • Lolita Buckner Inniss, senior associate dean for academic affairs and professor of law, University Distinguished Professor and inaugural Robert G. Storey Distinguished Faculty Fellow, Southern Methodist University Dedman School of Law.
  • Sarah Krakoff, Moses Lasky Professor of Law, University of Colorado Law School.

Details here.

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