Groups Rally to Protect Affirmative Action in High Court Cases
Advocacy groups, students, and supporters of affirmative action rallied at the Supreme Court yesterday morning as the high court considered two lawsuits on the subject. The National Organization for Women (NOW), the Rainbow PUSH Coalition, the National Associate for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), By Any Means Necessary (BAMN), and United for Equality and Affirmative Action (UEAA) gathered with thousands of demonstrators to promote the effort of primary and secondary schools to achieve racial diversity with affirmative action policies.
The cases heard by the Supreme Court yesterday, Parents Involved in Community Schools v. Seattle School District and Meredith v. Jefferson County Board of Education, both challenge the legality of using affirmative action to effectively desegregate public schools. In the first case, a Seattle, Washington school board had a policy that allowed students to chose the school they would prefer to attend, but balanced admissions so as to achieve a racial balance within 10 percentage points of its overall enrollment, the Chicago Tribune reports. In the second case, the school board in Jefferson County, Kentucky considered race when assigning students to schools so as to have an African American enrollment between 15 and 50 percent of the entire student body.
According to the AP, CNN, and the Chicago Tribune, five of the nine Supreme Court justices seem to lean towards the elimination of race-based programs that aim to achieve integrated school populations. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, along with Justices John Paul Stevens, David Souter, and Stephen Breyer, appeared to be more sympathetic to affirmative action programs and the importance of racially balanced schools. Said Justice Bader Ginsburg of the necessity of such programs, "It's very hard for me to see how you can have a racial objective but a non-racial means to get there," CNN reports.
8/28/2015 Alaska Court Protects Abortion Access for Low-Income Women - The Alaska Superior Court struck down a state law yesterday that would have severely limited abortion access for low-income women in Alaska.
The state's Superior Court also struck down a Department of Health and Social Services regulation that placed narrow specifications on Medicaid coverage for abortions, requiring that Medicaid-funded abortions be determined by a physician to be "medically necessary." Last year, the Center for Reproductive Rights, the American Civil Liberties Union, and Planned Parenthood sued on behalf of the Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest, claiming that the narrow definition of "medically necessary" arbitrarily established conditions designed to restrict the ability of low-income women to access abortion services.
The law was temporarily blocked last July by an Alaskan state court judge.
Superior Court Judge John Suddock ordered yesterday that the state be blocked from implementing this regulation, ruling that it placed an undue burden on low-income women seeking abortion services in Alaska.
"By providing health care to all poor Alaskans except women who need abortions, the challenged regulation violates the state constitutional guarantee of 'equal rights, opportunities, and protection under the law'," the ruling read.
"We applaud the superior court for striing down these cruel restrictions on women's health and rights that violate the Alaska Constitution," said Chris Charbonneau, CEO of Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest and the Hawaiian Islands. . . .
8/26/2015 Saudi Women Prepare to Vote for the First Time - The fight for gender equality is making slow but notable progress in Saudi Arabia, where women will be allowed to vote for the first time in upcoming December elections.
This shift in Saudi law came in 2011, when a royal decree announced that women would be allowed to vote and run in local elections beginning in December of 2015. . . .