Last year, U.S. District Judge Thelton Henderson issued a preliminary injunction against the anti-affirmative action Proposition 209, thus temporarily keeping California affirmative action programs in place until the Courts settled the proposition’s constitutionality. Now, a conservative 9th Circuit Court of Appeal panel’s refusal to hear full arguments before it decides whether or not to overturn the injunction has led many legal analysts to predict that the panel will overturn the injunction and effectively wipe-out California’s affirmative action programs. The conservative make up of the panel also has many legal analysts accusing the pro-209 forces of "judge shopping" to obtain a favorable ruling. Although many believe that the judges on the panel believe that 209 is constitutional, as a "motions panel" they can only overturn the injunction if believe that the District Judge "abused his discretion" in ordering the injunction. As Erwin Chemerinsky, a USC Law Professors explains, "[the judges would have to find] that Henderson doesn’t know the law…I think it would be extremely difficult to fund an abuse of discretion."
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. . . .