Affirmative Action Case Highlights Importance of Federal Judicial Apppointments
Yesterday, the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit struck down a federal affirmative action measure designed to increase job opportunities for women and minorities in the broadcasting industry. The case highlights the importance of federal judicial appointments as the Senate confirmation hearing for Attorney General nominee John Ashcroft continues. A three-judge panel of Republican appointees (two nominated by Ronald Reagan and one by George Bush, Sr) called the affirmative action measure unconstitutional in this second federal decision since 1998 striking down affirmative action policies directed at broadcasters. Under the ruling, a company’s record on hiring women and minorities will no longer be a factor in deciding whether to renew a broadcaster’s license, despite the fact that statistics released yesterday show minority ownership of television stations at the lowest in a decade. The Bush administration has voiced opposition to affirmative action programs. Bush’s choice for Attorney General, whose role in refusing to confirm a black nominee for the Missouri State Supreme Court is under scrutiny today, would influence federal judicial appointments.
Media Resources: New York Times - January 17, 2001 and Feminist Majority Foundation
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. . . .