The U.S. Supreme Court has accepted a pivotal affirmative action case for review during its 1997-98 term. The case centers around whether the New Jersey Piscataway School Board legally or illegally laid off a white woman teacher rather than an equally qualified African-American woman teacher. Lower courts have ruled that the school board illegally fired the white teacher. New Jersey law requires tenured teachers to be laid-off in reverse order of seniority. Two equally qualified teachers, Sharon Taxman and Debra Williams, started their jobs on the same day nine years ago. Taxman, who is white, was laid-off and Williams, the only person of color in a 10-teacher business department, was not laid-off. In 1975, the school board adopted an affirmative-action plan when "candidates appear to be of equal qualification."
During a question and answer session with a group of Hispanic Americans, President Bill Clinton strongly reaffirmed his commitment to affirmative action programs. Clinton commented, "I'm not willing to give up on affirmative action in education. I'm not about to give up on it, and we are exploring what our legal options are as well as what policies we might implement to try to stop public high education in America from becoming resegregated." The President did not comment on the Supreme Court's decision to review the New Jersey affirmative action case.
Media Resources: USA Today - June 30, 1997 and Reuter - June 27, 1997
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. . . .