A federal appeals court upheld California's statewide ban on using affirmative action in admissions decisions at public universities yesterday. Proposition 209, approved by California voters in 1996, bans public colleges and universities from considering gender, ethnicity, or race in the admissions process. The 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals has upheld the ban once before. The court wrote in its decision that it had already established precedent in this earlier case.
Ralph Kasarda, an attorney who argued in favor of Proposition 209, said in a statement, "The bottom line from both decisions by the 9th Circuit - today's and the ruling 15 years ago - is that California voters have every right to prohibit government from color-coding people and playing favorites based on individuals' sex or skin color." A plaintiff in the lawsuit, UC Berkeley student Maria Belman, argued that affirmative action is necessary, telling reporters from the Associated Press that "there's racism in our society. You need something to make up for that."
This October, the US Supreme Court will hear a case, Fisher v. University of Texas, involving affirmative action at the University of Texas at Austin. The case, brought by Abigail Fisher, a Caucasian student claiming to have been denied admissions on account of her race, could "eliminate diversity as a rationale sufficient to justify any use of race in admission decisions," according to the New York Times.
Media Resources: Reuters 4/3/12; AP 4/3/12; Los Angeles Times 4/3/12; Feminist Daily Newswire 2/21/12
10/30/2014 Medication Abortion Access Threatened by Oklahoma Court Ruling - An Oklahoma state district court judge has refused to block a state law restricting medication abortion, clearing the way for the law to go into affect on November 1.
The Oklahoma Coalition for Reproductive Justice, together with a local abortion clinic in Tulsa, challenged HB 2684 in September, arguing that the law was an unconstitutional restriction on non-surgical abortion in the earliest weeks of pregnancy. . . .
10/30/2014 UPS Switches Pregnant Worker Policy Ahead of Supreme Court Case - The United Parcel Service (UPS) is changing its policy on light duty assignments for pregnant workers, even though the company will stand by its refusal to extend accommodations to a former employee in an upcoming Supreme Court case.
UPS announced on Monday in a memo to employees, and in a brief filed with the US Supreme Court, that the company will begin offering temporary, light-duty positions to pregnant workers on January 1, 2015. . . .
10/30/2014 North Dakota Medical Students Speak Out Against Measure 1 - Medical students at the University of North Dakota School of Medicine and Health Sciences are asking North Dakotans to vote no on Measure 1, a personhood measure on the state ballot this fall.
The students issued published a letter in the Grand Forks Herald stating that they opposed Measure 1 in part because they are against "the government's taking control of the personal health care decisions of its citizens." Nearly 60 UND School of Medicine students signed the letter, citing concerns over the "very broad and ambiguous language" used in the proposed amendment, which has no regard for serious and life-threatening medical situations such as ectopic pregnancies.
Measure 1 would change the North Dakota state constitution to create an "inalienable right to life" for humans "at any stage of development" - including the moment of fertilization and conception. . . .